Best way to clean and polish frets?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by stratus, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. stratus

    stratus Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2005
    Hey guy's. I play a 56' Relic strat and am currently using 0000 steel wool to clean my frets. I'm big on bending and like my strings to bend easily and without any resistance. I have to change my strings every 2 gigs and also notice my wound G gets nicked up when I run my finger on the underside of the string. I'm figuring this has got to be digging in to my frets? Also, any lube type applications when I change strings. Anybody else having this problem/ Thanks.:eek:
  2. Sikor

    Sikor Member

    Oct 8, 2007
    Always when I change strings, I also polish frets with Planet Waves Fret Polishing System.
    Easy and clean to use, works like a charm :AOK

  3. Blind Rat

    Blind Rat Member

    Apr 16, 2008
    I use a metal polish called Auto-sol,it gives a mirror finish that makes bending strings a slippery job.
  4. Trebor Renkluaf

    Trebor Renkluaf I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse? Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2006
    0000 Steel Wool has always worked wonders for me.
  5. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

    Jul 28, 2005
    First of all,it must be tough bending with a wound "G" on a strat. Second,the reason 0000 steel wool works well is it will remove any oxidation on the frets,when polishing, where wipes and liquids will not. Third,the nicks in your string may be due to the overall set-up;the saddle or the nut is allowing the string to "rest" in an uneven angle against the frets. So there you have it. Pick 1,2 or 3. Oh,I forgot,there's a fouth explanation;you have a fret that's not level. So pick 1,2,3,or 4.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
  6. stevel

    stevel Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    I recently got stainless frets, which are supposed to be, and stay slippery. They are - my finger now catches on the wood of the fingerboard far more than the string "sticks" on the fret - in fact, it doesn't stick on the fret.

    But I play a wound G too and I noticed not only the nicks, but eventually, compressions all the way around the string.

    This is because as you bend, not only does the string slide across the fret, but it rolls a bit too. I've noticed this for years on classical guitars - the silk core wound with soft nickel wound strings really roll under the fingers (I know you typically don't bend on classical, but inevitably I end up playing a rock lick here and there) and you put "rings around the strings".

    So I'm not sure it's the frets so much tearing up the G as much as it is simply that the G is the smallest wound string, most likely to be bent, and it's made of material softer than the frets (even with your original fretwire).

    It seems to me that it's just a natural by-product of bending a wound 3rd. I change mine every two gigs too, but sometimes if I go more than a week between gigs, the G will have enough wear and tear that I have to put a new set on anyway. Last time I put it off so long that the windings were literally coming off the core wire :) !!!

    By the way, I've been using Gibson L-5 which are pure nickel - so that should be softer still than some nickel plated, etc. and might be part of the issue - tougher strings less likely to "dent". But if you're looking for relic tone, you may not want to go that route.

  7. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2002
    Santa Barbara, Marin, Chico, CA
    Also check your gig bag/ case - a tight fitting case can press the string into the fret which can cause lines the size of windings in the frets.

    Solution - use a fret protector of some kind - thin cardboard, and actual fret protector (plastic of some kind), a towel between strings and frets - something to keep the strings from contacting the frets while the guitar is in the case.

    Good Luck, Dana O.
  8. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2008
    Southern California
    +1 for a fret protector as it not only solves any problems your case is creating, but it keeps your frets from oxidizing as quickly. Micro mesh is my favorite fret polishing tool. Steel wool is just too messy and I hate to mask the entire fingerboard for 30 seconds of polishing on a buffing wheel.

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