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Quoted $150 by a local luthier for a complete fret job

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by itskohler, Jan 18, 2021.

  1. Chuck berry

    Chuck berry TDPRI Member

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    Its cheap but if he's good go for it. There is a lot of work there to be done. 4-5 hours and that is if everything goes well.
     
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  2. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Yes.
    That's the regular price for Athens, Greece.
    But I don't know where you live so prices (and salaries ) might differ.
    It would be more helpful to you if next time you add your location for similar questions :)
     
  3. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    About what a 4 hour bar gig pays.
     
  4. Andy ZZ

    Andy ZZ TDPRI Member

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    I've noticed this about Luthiers:
    If they get a lt of work, their prices are generally lower than the guys who do occasional work. Especially regarding refrets and neck reconditioning.
    I also noticed that refrets on removable necks are considerably less costly than set necks and acoustics.
    I have done refrets for myself and a few friends. Some were good, a few turned out great. One was a ***** that I had to redo.
    Interesting but tedious work that I have no desire to continue doing.
    I would much rather pay, and would pay well, to a luthier that can consistently do a superb fret job.
    A really good fret job approaches the "priceless" category for me.
    -az-
     
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  5. doghouseman

    doghouseman Tele-Meister

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    in your head man....
    Agreed. Lately, I just buy a new neck rather than get a new fret job. You really have to pay a lot for a good fret job and it is almost not worth it unless you have a nice vintage guitar.
     
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  6. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Again it depends on where you live.
    A STELLAR fretjob in Athens Greece is 100-150 EUR while a new decent neck (after VAT, import duties and customs costs) minimum 300....plus the cost of nut cutting, fret leveling and crowning.
     
  7. sananteleo

    sananteleo TDPRI Member

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    As everybody's said, that's way low, so the question is: why? Is he young, inexperienced, trying to attract more work to his shop, isn't familiar with the going rates? What's the reason? That's not to say that he won't do an ok job- no way to tell unless you can see his work. But I'd expect to pay $350 and up by a reputable guy. I have a '81 Les Paul. Gibson was putting low frets on in those days, and they're too low for me. They're perfect in every other way, just too low. I don't know who to take it to here, so I contacted Dan Erlewine. He quoted me $850! I didn't go for it : )...
     
  8. aeyeq

    aeyeq Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    You could always give a big tip.
     
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  9. SamIV

    SamIV Tele-Holic

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    Sounds like covid pricing. There is an old Italian fellow in New Orleans who does work for the Symphony and lots of local bands, and offers similar pricing. My brother had a guitar re-fretted for $125 by him. And it was quite good work. His shop is full of sawdust and instruments in all sort of disrepair. Its next to a coffee shop. Has a sign on the door that says, if I am not here, find me in the coffee shop.
     
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  10. decibel

    decibel Tele-Meister

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    Pay him more. I doubt he'll mind.
     
  11. Tuneup

    Tuneup Tele-Holic

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    If that's true maybe he doesn't know what the going price is, and charges what he thinks is fair.
     
  12. pippoman

    pippoman Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    sounds like a great deal, but yeah, it’s cheap. I sent my Strat to Aperio Guitar in Georgia for a jumbo SS fret job and setup. He did a perfect job and now its easily the best playing Strat I’ve ever owned. $400 & change and worth every penny of it. All Greg does is SS frets, aside from building his own line of guitars. Check him out:

    Greg Hails
    Aperio Guitar LLC
    Johns Creek, GA
    Aperioguitar.com
    678-475-9688
     
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  13. itskohler

    itskohler TDPRI Member

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    I saw his website and he's on the short list of people I'd be sending it to should it come back less than satisfactory.
     
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  14. Ironworxx

    Ironworxx TDPRI Member

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    The 3-2' pieces of stainless steel fret wire alone cost about $40. Think about all the steps to do a re-fret job - remove old frets, radius new SS frets, cut to length, install new frets, level, crown, file ends, angle file, and radius the ends. Filing the SS frets takes a little longer and is a little harder on your tools. Restring & set up the guitar. I think $190-$200 would be closer to the correct price based on about a $55-$70/hour rate. The labor rates in western Kentucky are probably a lot lower than say Austin, TX, LA or Paris, France (not Texas). I'm planning on doing a SS re-fret job on one of my cheap Tele clones in the near future just for the practice.
     
  15. Telefan65

    Telefan65 Tele-Meister

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    At my preferred shop in Portland Oregon “eastside guitar repair” I was quoted 400.00 to 450.00 and that’s for a bound neck on one of my mid 70’s guitars.knowing me I would be suspicious of 150.00 but dang if it ends up legit, go for it!
     
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  16. djhblues

    djhblues TDPRI Member

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  17. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Standard frets on a rosewood, or similar board with no binding should be in the $200 to $250 range.

    Stainless costs a bit more because it's harder to work and rougher on tools.

    Maple fingerboards with a finish are considerably more, and Rickenbackers with a fingerboard finish are even more expensive still.
     
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  18. Hatfield92

    Hatfield92 Tele-Holic

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    The guy I use charges $250. 350 if it’s bound.
     
  19. PhoenixBill

    PhoenixBill Tele-Meister

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    Pre-radiused Jescar stainless, pre-cut to 2” lengths, is $13 for FW43080-S from Philadelphia Luthier Tools (plus a few bucks for shipping) and that’s a full neck’s worth of frets. For a rosewood neck, $150 total sounds too low to include a new nut—but maybe he can do the baking soda and superglue trick to raise the slots, or perhaps the slots were still way too high at the first fret anyways. If he checked the neck to see if it’s flat then perhaps he figures it won’t need much to level them.

    I cut the frets to length with a Dremel before installing This works good for a bound fingerboard too, I hold them up to the slot to judge them and tweak the length appropriately before pressing them in. This would work for stainless as well. Leveling and dressing and crowning would take longer than nickel but nothing too extraordinary (assuming the neck is reasonably flat).

    I’ve done a maple fingerboard that had to be sanded level after pulling the old frets. I used water-based poly to refinish just the fretboard, applied with a quality paintbrush, and several coats. So for a non-vintage (expensive lol) guitar it doesn’t have to be the nightmare some folks make it out to be (although I reckon sometimes even a simple chore can turn ugly).

    $150 is a bargain but maybe the guy needs work.
     
  20. crafty

    crafty TDPRI Member

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    Honestly, I think many luthiers are used to charging guitarists out the a$$$ for a lot of stuff because most of us are stupid and expect guitar work to be expensive. $400 to install frets of any kind on a Strat of all things is absurd. A violin shop is used to working with students and professionals with low to modest income, and they aren't going to have the resources to pay for work that guitarists have. They're keeping 200 year old instruments alive on a shoestring. Bring only a pre-war Martin to anyone else and you better have at least $1000 in your pocket. The LA and Nashville guys know the market and they probably get a lot of vintage stuff bought by hired guns or people who don't know any better. Dan Erlewine can charge $850 for a fret job because he is Dan Erlewine. I might send him a vintage instrument, but I'm not sending him a Strat made after 1969.

    I refretted my old Strat last year, went from vintage to medium jumbo, bought about $30 worth of tools and fretwire. Plays decent, but I'm going to have it PLEK'd for $200 in a couple months. $400 for the same work on stainless is just absurd.
     
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