How much a refretting changes the worth of a 73 Tele

Timbresmith1

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If the current fret condition diminishes your playing experience, you owe it to yourself and the instrument to have it professionally re-fretted. But keep in mind, not all professional luthiers are adept or willing to refret a maple neck. Ask the luthier for examples of his work and/or referrals by previous clients.

BUT, don't underestimate the improvements you can get from a simple level/crown/polish. Even if divots are left behind, often playability can still be much improved.

Collectors of high-end vintage instruments are often not players, and can afford to ignore worn-out frets or neck resets on acoustics because their buyers usually won't care. They are not necessarily musicians or players, but deal in collectibility.
If there are divots that can’t be leveled-out, it’s refret time. Unless it’s somebody else’s divot on the 1st fret from playing the g# on an E maj chord and you never play in E maj.
 

StoneH

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I have a 73 Tele in excellent condition. Basically it only has fine scratches on the back. Not really noticeable. I brought it into a shop to have it cleaned up, I don't know why, it really didn't need it but I'm anal. The tech talked me into having it refretted. Without knowing much I said sure. Now I want to sell it and I know the refretting will affect the price I just don't know how much.
This is what he installed:
#152 fret
Width .092
Crown .048

look forward to some replies
thanks
john

I recently had my '69 Strat appraised. I thought I had a good idea of what it was worth, but I was off $3,000. Gruhn Guitars is world renowned and will turn a straight forward appraisal around in about 48 hours ($75). https://guitars.com/
 

Killing Floor

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If the work is professional quality it will only increase the value. Won’t decrease. Nobody wants a vintage guitar that isn’t playable even if they are just a collector because playability affects cost.

I assume you don’t have the original strings haha. Get it done by a pro.
 

Telenator

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We're talking a 73 Tele here. A re-fret isn't going to change the value. Anyone who claims it does is only trying to beat the price down further. Beside, 73 Teles just aren't worth that much that it matters in the first place. If it were a 72, it might be a little different.
 

David C

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What @kafka said. I've been dragging my feet about getting my '73 re-fretted for years, and it's not really a lot of fun to play. I'm debating period-correct fretwire or converting to jumbo, but either one will be stainless so it doesn't have to be done again in my lifetime.

View attachment 906440
I think it's time to bite the bullet and make it back into a guitar you feel like picking up and playing. They're just frets after all...
 

Bearston

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What @kafka said. I've been dragging my feet about getting my '73 re-fretted for years, and it's not really a lot of fun to play. I'm debating period-correct fretwire or converting to jumbo, but either one will be stainless so it doesn't have to be done again in my lifetime.

View attachment 906440


I wouldn't re-fret this guy, a quality fret dressing will give you plenty of life before at least 2 additional dresses. Before re-fretting.
 

pippoman

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I wouldn’t think it would diminish the value at all, at least it wouldn’t for me. I’m fairly hard on steel frets and love the feel of a fresh re-fret as long as the tech or luthier knows what he’s doing. Not all re-frets are equal. I had a 95 Strat Plus re-fretted with jumbo stainless frets a year or so ago and it’s easily the best playing Strat I’ve ever owned; even compared to my Suhr Classic (actually, I sold the Suhr and I do miss it). It cost me about $400+ including a great setup and to and fro shipping, but it was money well spent. I’ve played it a lot and it shows zero wear, so I’m going SS on everything moving forward. Aperio in Atlanta did my fret job.
 

pippoman

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We're talking a 73 Tele here. A re-fret isn't going to change the value. Anyone who claims it does is only trying to beat the price down further. Beside, 73 Teles just aren't worth that much that it matters in the first place. If it were a 72, it might be a little different.
No offense to the op, but I was thinking the same thing. On a pre-65 the frets would have to be completely worn out for me to have a re-fret done, but if it needed it and I was actually gonna play it vs. put it on display, it would get the attention it deserved. I would re-fret. It’s called maintenance.

Btw, I’m not a collector. So, for a 70s and up Tele, a re-fret would be a no brainer if it needed one.
 
Last edited:

magicfingers99

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There are guitars to play snd guitars to hang in a showcase. An unplayable guitar has zero value to me. I have a Dali on my living room wall. Where it belongs. I have no interest in regretting it.
I had a DALI, could never keep it in tune. I just used around the campfire, where everybody was drunk anyhow.
looked real pretty and long as you played soft nobody noticed the drifitng, finally glued a couple dowel rods on the neck and bridge and changed it into a slide guitar. still looks real purdy though..
 

brookdalebill

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Joining the chorus.
Refretting a guitar is like putting good tires on a car.
You just gotta have em’ if you’re going to use it.
I’d just make sure your repairman/luthier has a good reputation for good work.
 

El Tele Lobo

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What @kafka said. I've been dragging my feet about getting my '73 re-fretted for years, and it's not really a lot of fun to play. I'm debating period-correct fretwire or converting to jumbo, but either one will be stainless so it doesn't have to be done again in my lifetime.

View attachment 906440

If you're doing stainless, I'd go with period correct. I have a neck with stainless wire that is 7.25"-9.5" compound with vintage 6230 wire and it plays beautifully.
 

Arfage

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I have a 73 Tele in excellent condition. Basically it only has fine scratches on the back. Not really noticeable. I brought it into a shop to have it cleaned up, I don't know why, it really didn't need it but I'm anal. The tech talked me into having it refretted. Without knowing much I said sure. Now I want to sell it and I know the refretting will affect the price I just don't know how much.
This is what he installed:
#152 fret
Width .092
Crown .048

look forward to some replies
thanks
john
I think the real question here is how do ****ty frets affect your playing. If you bought it just to mark it up and sell it again, leave it like it is. If you actually want to play it and enjoy it for the instrument as it is, it's has to have proper frets, hopefully bigger than the ones it came with, otherwise regular playing will have you shoveling out another $500+ before long.
 

brashboy

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I have a 73 Tele in excellent condition. Basically it only has fine scratches on the back. Not really noticeable. I brought it into a shop to have it cleaned up, I don't know why, it really didn't need it but I'm anal. The tech talked me into having it refretted. Without knowing much I said sure. Now I want to sell it and I know the refretting will affect the price I just don't know how much.
This is what he installed:
#152 fret
Width .092
Crown .048

look forward to some replies
thanks
john
You mean, compared to having the original frets, worn down, with divots?
 

moosie

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That is what I was quoted by a very prominent luthier who specializes in vintage instruments. I ended up doing it myself. If you can get a perfect job for $150, go for it. But I would want to see some examples of those 70's necks that were done. They are the worst. The combination of slide in/out frets and HEAVY poly applied OVER the frets make removal a challenge. Heating the frets enough while avoiding scorching is very tricky. There is usually more poly build-up on the nut side of the fret than the bridge side. I would do it again, but not for less than $500. My time was worth way more than $150, including materials, cutting a new nut, and setup. That was the $800 quote.

In fact, I actually bought a used MIM 70's Thinline reissue neck and used that for a while until I decided I could do the job myself. This is another option for people who are reluctant to refret a vintage neck. Just remove the neck, store it, and buy a replacement. That was Leo's plan.

The first picture is the final result as I was unable to tint my poly to match the vintage color. My problem is I needed to remove all of the finish to properly level the fingerboard because of the chipping. The fret end shows how deep the poly was piled on. It may have also been an accumulation of poly after several levelings. The remaining picture shows the type of chipping you can get when trying to slide the frets out. Experience minimizes, but doesn't eliminate this problem. So the price you pay will likely have something to do with the quality of final result.

BTW, the frets were described by the seller as "good". Since they obviously were shot, I got a $350 refund on the selling price. It wasn't enough. It took a considerable amount of time to do that fret job.
Nasty. But regarding the pale new finish, why not add a few drops of tint?
 

Sax-son

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When it come to re-rets, I say take it to the best you can find. It is a skill set unto it's own and shouldn't be done on the cheap. It's a worthwhile investment. As far as a vintage guitar with worn frets, I never worry about it's collectors value. Any guitar that doesn't play well due to worn frets is just another piece of **** to me regardless of what some collector thinks of it's monetary value. First and foremost it is an instrument to perform music, not something to adorn your walls with.
 




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