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View Full Version : How To Tell When You Need New Frets?


dwk302
03-08-2013, 12:19 PM
I've bought a new LP Traditional Pro last April. I haven't been able to put of it down since. I play it about an hour or two per night. Lately I've noticed a little bit of "roughness" on bends and vibrato around the 12th free on the G string. That's probably the position I play the most. I wondering if I need new frets. What are the symptoms of fret wear?

Valus
03-08-2013, 12:35 PM
I've bought a new LP Traditional Pro last April. I haven't been able to put of it down since. I play it about an hour or two per night. Lately I've noticed a little bit of "roughness" on bends and vibrato around the 12th free on the G string. That's probably the position I play the most. I wondering if I need new frets. What are the symptoms of fret wear?

It probably just needs a recrown and polish. Maybe just a polish. Can you see divots in the frets under the strings?

TomDev
03-08-2013, 12:35 PM
That sounds more like you might need a fret dressing if it feels a little rough on the bends. That's a fairly new guitar, so I wouldn't expect the frets to need replacing yet, but you never know :rockin

Signs of needing frets replaced might include difficulty with bends due to fretting out, buzzing in certain areas of the fingerboard and poor playability but those things can happen for other reasons, too.

LPSlinger
03-08-2013, 12:36 PM
You just need to polish the frets. You can do this with steel wool. Be sure to mask off the wood of the neck/fretboard with painters or masking tape to protect it. Also, be sure you cover up the pickups! I like to take a trash bag and cover my guitar's entire body just to be safe. I tape the trash bag around the bottom of the neck. If metal shavings from the steel wool get into the pickups it can short them out. Just polish the frets up a little until they get a good shine going and this will take the grittiness out when the string slides on the fret for a bend.

Some guitars are worse than others. I have an Epiphone that I have to do this to ALL the time if I forget to wipe down the frets after I play. For some reason my sweat in conjunction with the coating on my Elixir strings and the fret material makes that guitar's frets corrode and grind badly...I suspect the frets are made of a cheaper material because I don't have the problem nearly as badly on any of my other guitars. A little steel wool fixes it right up. Just take your time and be careful.

Sconnie
03-08-2013, 01:22 PM
Its impossible to tell without pictures, and still hard to tell with them. I just had mine done on a 7 year old SG, the frets were flat on the upper register from bending and vibrato so the intonation was off. Divots and "kinks" are good indicators too. Just take it to your local lutherie and they will let you know if you need it or not. Mine ended up costing about $200 including the set up and bridge notching I had done since I was installing a Callaham ABR-1. Freshly crowned frets feel great though! You will play it more if you do get them done, word to the wise!...

scolfax
03-08-2013, 01:23 PM
Check these out. Easier than steel wool: http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Sanding_Tools_and_Supplies/3M_Flexible_Polishing_Papers.html?actn=100101&xst=3&xsr=94240&tab=Video

dwk302
03-08-2013, 02:10 PM
Great advice. That your all.

G Man
03-08-2013, 02:13 PM
gorgomyte is the answer

Selsaral
03-08-2013, 02:15 PM
Fret buzz at only 1 fret is a classic sign your frets are uneven.

I use to practice bends and vibrato with WAY too much pressure and I'd get that rough feeling you describe.

I since re-built my bending technique, and I use way less pressure and force, and I haven't experienced the roughness once in about two years of intense play.

It's true that a polish may help, but in my experience it's a technique issue.