Fretwork on a cheap guitar?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by meterman, Mar 22, 2020.

  1. meterman

    meterman Member

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    I'm more concerned about turning gold into garbage lol. I had a MIJ Strat I took to a "pro" once to reseat a couple of frets that were coming up. Somehow he gouged a chunk out of the maple fingerboard, had to sand it down and fill it and couldn't quite match the amber tint so it looked like $hit when he got done.
     
  2. PixMix

    PixMix Member

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    Possible, but not in my experience. I have two Warmoth necks, three by Allparts. Two Allparts needed some light leveling and all three needed fret ends filed, the Warmoths were spot on - no extra work needed. Of course, YMMV.
     
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  3. bigben55

    bigben55 Member

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    I had a stainless steel refret, bone nut, and re-radiusing(9" to 12") done on a G&L Tribute ASAT Classic. $300 on a guitar I paid $350 for. Why? I've owned 8 teles over the years. I got this one, liked it a lot. Put Fender locking tuners, new pickguard, Fralin Blues Specials, new electronics and a 4 way switch in it. Liked it even more, moreso than any tele I've owned(including a MIM, AmStd, and a USA ASAT Classic!). I played the frets off it! It's my workhorse, and the PERFECT tele for me.

    Regrets? Stupidity? No way! I could NEVER not lose money selling it. You gotta be 10O% SURE it's a keeper, or dont do it! But if you are, theres no reason not to.
     
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  4. poppunk

    poppunk Member

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    Warmoth doesn't do fretwork on their necks at all, and they're very up front about that on the website and the instructions they send. It seems like the fret setting they do is pretty consistent which is why people get away with just slapping them on there (especially if they don't mind higher action). I think a lot of people get the nuts installed with them and don't file them, either.

    I thought the last Warmoth neck I got was okay until I leveled it (probably helps that it is a compound radius). It didn't require much removal, but it was a huge difference.
     
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  5. RayBarbeeMusic

    RayBarbeeMusic Silver Supporting Member

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    Neither of which is a sufficient nor necessary condition for the best fretwork. Actually, guaranteed not to be.

    Good fretwork is not like tying your shoes. It takes many, many attempts and refinements. My word for bad fretwork, which I see more often then not, is mutilation. If you want to buy a beater and practice for a few years, leveling, effing up, pulling frets, rinse repeat, go for it. I do not recommend you try to learn fretwork on a guitar you really like and want playable any time soon, any more than you'd learn veterinary surgery on a beloved pet.
     
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  6. meterman

    meterman Member

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    Thanks man, that's what I ultimately decided too. He's doing it now, re-seating the sprouted ends, level & crown, and polish. He said he also does something during the leveling process on the upper frets where the trussrod doesn't really reach, to put the proper amount of "fall" in it or something. Don't quote me on that but my HR '62 plays better than ever and bent notes sustain for days. He said this guitar will play better than it's ever played, that there's enough metal left to dress them 2-3 more times and it should be years before I would need a refret. I told him with everything going on I might be burning my guitars for heat by then and we both had a laugh.

    I do wish I had taken a good look at the frets before I dropped it off so I can learn to recognize this stuff in the future. Maybe I'll take the suggestion to buy a beater, get the tools and practice. I'm sure I'll have plenty of time for it once the baby comes :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
  7. RayBarbeeMusic

    RayBarbeeMusic Silver Supporting Member

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    Right. The end of your fretboard should slope DOWN. That's called fall away. 99% of guitars I see slope UP, that's called sh*tty fretboard planing. That down slope is what keeps the guitar from buzzing badly and losing sustain. It should start in a subtle way around the 10th fret for best results, though most seem to start it later, resulting in unnecessary buzz from about 7th to 14th.
     
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  8. meterman

    meterman Member

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    Yep that's exactly what he said, thanks. He also told me, "I charge a bit more than some for fretwork, b/c frankly I'm really fuc&ing good at it" :D But that's exactly the type of attention to fine detail I'd probably not have the patience for

    So I guess at the end of the day I'll have about $700 in this guitar total. Still not too bad. And I have all the old parts in case I ever wanted to put it back to stock and sell it. Now I've just gotta get that sticker off so people stop giving me $hit about playing a Squier lol. j/k

    This thing is great though. I carry it in a gig bag all over the place and almost never even have to tune it up. Rock solid guitar regardless what it says on the headstock.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
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  9. Route67

    Route67 Member

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    When the overall specs, in particular the neck and particular example stand out for feel & performance, there’s nothing cheap about it. Rather it’s a matter of quality and value. Still inexpensive with your personal upgrades, I would find a well experienced tech to do a SS refret job to make it last for a long time. I’ve noticed this model in the catalogue for a long time but never handled one - I like it.

     
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  10. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

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    If you truly love a guitar, what's the difference if it cost $300 vs. $5,000? Who even needs to know? It's what you make come out of the instrument that counts, along with how much you enjoy doing it.

    I'd be willing to bet my $$ that you sound better on that guitar than 80% of the guys paying $13K for D'Pergo Strat-style guitars do on those instruments.

    It'll be a better guitar for you after a good fret level and set-up. Go for it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
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  11. Oinkus

    Oinkus Member

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    Sand the headstock , I do it on everything I upgrade none of my guitars have any branding.
     
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  12. BMW-KTM

    BMW-KTM Member

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    I learned to do my own fret work.
    I bought some tools from Stew-Mac.
    Then I put an ad in the local classifieds asking for free broken guitars.
    I got two responses from people who had el-cheapo acoustic guitars and they gave them to me for free.
    I just had to go pick them up.
    One had been damaged to the point of being unplayable but the fret board was intact.
    I guess some kid had been playing El Kabong with it. (Quick Draw McGraw)
    The other was apparently already such a horrible guitar that the guy stripped it of all hardware to salvage parts.
    I practiced on them until I felt confident enough to work on my own axes.
     
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  13. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    If you really love the guitar, do whatever it takes. Especially if you’re a giggling musician and not one of these who predicates every decision on “resale”.

    Personally, I would also ignore the advice to replace the neck. That often sounds like good advice on paper. But the truth is, the guitar will then be a different instrument and a big gamble.
    Learning to do your own own fretwork works for some people, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve considered, then dismissed it. At the end of the day, I’m a musician with a show to do, and the more time I spend working on being a tech, the less time I’m spending on music. I leave that to a real expert who’s work I trust.
    A Strat is a pretty simple machine, doesn’t matter where it was made or how much it sold for if it works for you.
     
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  14. jwguitar

    jwguitar Supporting Member

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    I think that guitar is certainly worth doing fretwork on. Some of those squires are actually pretty nice. Personally I would practice on a junk guitar first. If you practice and learn to do the job correctly, in the end you this strat will actually really play quite nicely.
     
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  15. meterman

    meterman Member

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    I tend to agree. I spent years and years trying to learn the art of recording and mixing on my own, many thousands of dollars on gear and software, and ended up with an inferior final product. I'm about to pony up and go into a pro studio to get the job done right. I learned alot, had alot of fun, but it was not the best or wisest use of my time. In a perfect world I could become great at everything lol but in reality you have to pick and choose and some things are better left to the pros! That said, becoming proficient at recording is still a long-term goal, as is learning to do my own guitar repair. Whether or not either one actually happens remains to be seen...
     
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  16. deepcove17

    deepcove17 Supporting Member

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    I'm with this guy...if you really like the way the guitar plays and sounds then it is worth the fret job if you plan on playing it for many years to come regardless of what you paid for the instrument.
     
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  17. Route67

    Route67 Member

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    Agree. I’ve watched my guitar tech with 50+ years of experience do some work, and there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.

    Advice given to attempt a refret on a favoured instrument without considerable prior experience and professional quality results makes for some pretty silly reading.
     
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  18. Coiled

    Coiled Member

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    Worse case scenario, you just pay for someone to install new frets right? Is there much risk of damaging anything other than the frets?
     
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  19. meterman

    meterman Member

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    Yeah you can damage the fingerboard pretty easily too
     
  20. 3of5

    3of5 Member

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    Leave the sticker on! Be proud of your outstanding guitar.
     
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