How accurate are current Fender vinatge frets?

GazzaBloom

Member
Messages
217
I grew up playing a 1981 Fender Black and Gold Deluxe Telecaster, which had a narrow neck and vintage frets. When I play a modern Fender with vintage frets they 'seem' lower than the frets I recall, is that the case?

Or, it may be that I have become used to the proliferation of medium jumbo frets and so lost that frame of reference.

Are modern Fender vintage frets the same size as frets of old or are they even smaller?
 

Mandrax

Member
Messages
1,602
I can't speak for all models, but the frets on my AV 64 telecaster are larger than those on the Classic Series 60's Tele. There is a degree of variation it seems.
 

=JL=

Member
Messages
984
I still have an 81 Tele neck which has never been refretted. The top half dozen or so on the bass side have zero wear. The frets are slightly higher and significantly wider than those on my 2015 60s reissue.

I had a 63 Strat in the 80s which had the same frets as my 81 Tele.

Modern Fender "vintage" frets are similar to what you'd expect to find on cheap no-name 50s archtops. I almost can't wait to wear them out so I can justify getting rid of them.
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,691
It's said Fender used any size frets they had around. Some guitars got jumbos and even the radius could vary. That'd be cool. They might as well just make 'em with beefier frets, since technically it's still historically accurate. But then no one would want these high dollar CS jobs.
 

GazzaBloom

Member
Messages
217
Funny how those that get to play or own vintage guitars get alll dewy eyed about them and rarely gripe about the radius or skinny fret size.
 

GazzaBloom

Member
Messages
217
what makes ya think all the vintage frets were the same exact size? :p

Ron Kirn
My only experience was the 81 tele and then a 1991 Ric 330, i recall both having higher frets than current vintage fender spec. and I'm sure that old Ric had taller frets than current production Rics

I take your point but if Fender go to Considerable length to recreate vintage guitars with the American Vintage series surely they have compared fret size to original vintage guitars?
 

Ron Kirn

Member
Messages
7,100
Production oriented manufacturing has always been about sourcing the components required to make whatever is being produced... thus, any manufacturer interested in keeping the assembly lines moving will have several sources for many of the parts, frets aren't exempt.

Further frets from the same manufacturer aren't all exactly the same size... as the die erodes during the process of drawing the "wire" through the die, the fret will slowly get larger, and larger, untill it exceded the "window" of acceptability. Then the die os replaced. . Yeah, this is very subtle, but there are those that obcess over such.

as an example.. many think Leo used Dupont Duco a Nitrocellulose lacquer... he did... but not exclusively, he used nitro from several sources as demand and availability dictated... frets are the same.... so.. it they're recreating a Vintage guitar... which lacquer should they be using?

if Fender go to Considerable length to . . .
Now that just brings out a chuckle....

Ron Kirn
 

GazzaBloom

Member
Messages
217
Production oriented manufacturing has always been about sourcing the components required to make whatever is being produced... thus, any manufacturer interested in keeping the assembly lines moving will have several sources for many of the parts, frets aren't exempt.

Further frets from the same manufacturer aren't all exactly the same size... as the die erodes during the process of drawing the "wire" through the die, the fret will slowly get larger, and larger, untill it exceded the "window" of acceptability. Then the die os replaced. . Yeah, this is very subtle, but there are those that obcess over such.

as an example.. many think Leo used Dupont Duco a Nitrocellulose lacquer... he did... but not exclusively, he used nitro from several sources as demand and availability dictated... frets are the same.... so.. it they're recreating a Vintage guitar... which lacquer should they be using?



Now that just brings out a chuckle....

Ron Kirn

Well consider me condescended.
 

Bluesful

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
39,585
The frets on my '57 AVRI are tiny. So much so that I'm still contemplating a refret.
 

GazzaBloom

Member
Messages
217
The frets on my '57 AVRI are tiny. So much so that I'm still contemplating a refret.
I have been considering getting a American Vintage Tele but the fret size really bothers me. I have no way of trying one out before buying. I wish there was a regular production American Tele, outside the custom shop with a fatter neck and bigger frets! I love the specs and idea of the AV 52 Twle but just not sure I will take to the frets
 
Last edited:

Polynitro

Member
Messages
23,618
is it a maple neck? Fender likes to goop nitro so thick it pools up against the frets.
once removed it will feel like the frets got taller...thats why I prefer Nitro body/poly neck

before




after I did this:




 

Polynitro

Member
Messages
23,618
I used to wonder why the vintage frets on my CIJ52 felt taller than the vintage frets on my 52RI
I thought Japan probably used slightly taller wire, but no it was the finish.

52RI

CIJ52
 

Bluesful

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
39,585
I have been considering getting a American Vintage Tele but the fret size really bothers me. I have no way of trying one out before buying. I wish there was a regular production American Tele, outside the custom shop with a fatter neck and bigger frets! I love the specs and idea of the AV 52 Twle but just not sure I will take to the frets
It's not unplayable. Just prefer something a little larger.
 




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