Les Paul Refret

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by MrMo, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. MrMo

    MrMo Member

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    I'm about to refret my '70's Les Paul. I like to bend a lot and the flat, worn wire really needs to be replaced. I'm curious if anyone who plays rock has had a Les Paul refretted--what wire they went with--or any comments or suggestions as to what may be a good choice for new fretwire. My tech is suggesting 6100 wire, but I'm thinking that may be too big. What does Gibson use on their Customs? Thanks for any input.
    Mo
     
  2. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

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    Having recently had a Gibson V (similar neck; same scale length) refretted, I agree with you, Mo. 6100s are prohibitively wide in the upper registers, and render tight fret spacings too tight on a 24 3/4" scale. I much prefer 6105s...Same height, but not as fat. And go for stainless. They wear like, well, stainless, and are slicker for bends. I have some Gibbo Customs, and the original fret wire is more akin to (and could actually be) 6105s than 6100s. AC
     
  3. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    I had 6105 put on my '77 LPCustom when I had the refret done. I went with standard wire, the shop that did my work refused to do stainless.

    Where are you thinking about having the work done?

    --chiba
     
  4. MrMo

    MrMo Member

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    Thanks for the input, guys. I'll be having the work done by a local tech in the Detroit area. He's a good guy and a real pro. Are the 6105's more like a PRS fret? Those seem to work well for me and aren't really "prohibitively wide" enough to have an effect on the different scale length.
    Mo
     
  5. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

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    I believe that the PRS fret is a hair beefier than 6105s, but 6105s are a great size with plenty of height (allowing you to really dig in on those blues bends). BTW...My stainless 6105ish frets were installed using the fantastick 'Plek', by Philtone in Baltimore. Makes for a flawless job.
     
  6. MrMo

    MrMo Member

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    I don't think my tech--or many techs for that matter, have access to a Plek machine. That would be cool, but with shipping to & fro and the cost of pleking, that almost doubles the fretjob price--ouch!
    Mo
     
  7. Jim Collins

    Jim Collins Member

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    The PRS frets are closer to the Dunlop 6150, not the 6105. (This info is from PRS.)
     
  8. MrMo

    MrMo Member

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    Thanks Jim--That's helpful.
    Mo
     
  9. Soapbarstrat

    Soapbarstrat Senior Member

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    Dunlop 6150 is only .042" tall, the same height as their 6230 wire meant for vintage Fender and Martins, but it is wider, but extra width doesn't help you get more "grip" for bending.

    6000,6100, 6105 sizes will give you the most "grip" on the strings, but often more than you need.

    Some repairmen take off a lot when they level the frets, then the player might think they like 6105 size, but the repairman might actually have filed the height down from .055" to .047" . I know about this, because in the late 80's when I used 6105 wire for the first time, I put it on a friend's Guild, and filed them down to .047" because I wasn't that good at fret-work. He said the frets were the perfect size. Now, when he says he'll want 6105 if he gets another guitar, I have to tell him that the size he likes is actually .047" high (I still have it written in my notes).
    I don't take much off these days when I level the frets, maybe .002". So, in the case of that one friend, I would try to get him to go with a fret that's around .047" to .050" high.

    Also, I think that a fret height of around .045" high, will give you enough "grip", and at the same time, not make it feel like your fretting fingers are "walking on a tightrope".

    And on a 24 3/4" scale neck, I wouldn't like the frets to be any wider than .095", at least from the 15th to 22nds frets (you can have more than one width on a neck, as long as the heights are the same)
     
  10. MrMo

    MrMo Member

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    Thanks, Soap--Lots of good info.
    Mo
     
  11. jcshirke

    jcshirke Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm about to have my Gretsch 6120-1960 RI refretted. Based on your experience, would you go with 6105 or 6100 for that guitar? I just had a Strat refretted with 6100 wire. I like it, but I am wondering if maybe it'd be a bit too wide for a Gretsch. I'm not sure what the scale length of that guitar is ,though, so I'm going only on a vague "gut" feel at the moment.

    Any opinion one way or the other? I wish I could A/B guitars with 6105 wire and 6100 wire to see which one I preferred.

    Thanks,

    Jeff
     
  12. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    If your guy levels the fretboard and puts a proper radius on it then 6105's will only need a kiss to level out. You should be left with enough meat for several dressings provided you don't wait too long in between.
     
  13. karmadave

    karmadave Member

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    Go 6100's to the 12 fret and 6105's beyond. You'll be glad you did...

    -KD
     
  14. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    It's true that the 6105's can feel a little "speed bumpy" - the height to width ratio makes 'em ramp up steeply.

    If they're milled down a little as Soapbarstrat did, to say closer to .50 than to .47, they feel much smoother going up and down the neck, not as bumpy.

    I've got 6105's on several guitars. we left 'em a little higher on one of my Teles and a tiny bit lower on the LP Junior, and both work pretty well for me now. I'm a fan of 6105 wire, though I think somebody now is making a slightly wider, same height as 6105 wire, and that sounds good to me too.

    Hope this helps, Dana O.
     
  15. Bob V

    Bob V Member

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    If you're lucky enough to have accumulated a few guitars (luck comes into it where the spouse lets you keep them) then drop a straightedge across a couple of frets and measure underneath with a stack of automotive feeler gauges and you'll get an idea of the actual height of the frets on your guitars. You might be surprised to see that the ones that feel comfortable are all in the same range and that will help you decide what feels right. For me it's .040 to .042. After you figure out the height there's a whole other ballgame as to how wide they should be, or whether to go with a more pronounced hump like a narrow-tall fret, but so long as you get a height you're happy with, the rest kind of falls in line. Discuss it with your tech, he or she doesn't want to use wire that's not right for you.
     
  16. Soapbarstrat

    Soapbarstrat Senior Member

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    I could be wrong, but I think the Setzer Gretsch has "6105" frets. Any size will work. All up to the person who's going to be playing it, as to what kind of look and feel they want with the frets.
    As for affecting resale value, I think the 6105 would be better than 6100. You can always say the 6105's can be filed way lower without becoming stupidy wide and harder to re-crown.
     
  17. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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  18. planetal

    planetal Member

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    I have 4 les pauls with 6105's (and a whole bunch of other guitars)... If you bend alot and use much vibrato, you'll like them much.. 6100's are indeed too wide, especially above the 12th fret.
     

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