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Maple Neck Refret

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by FenderAmpGas, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. FenderAmpGas

    FenderAmpGas Member

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    Is it necessary or better to remove the lacquer on a maple neck before you refret and then re-laquer the neck? What are the benefits?
     
  2. Jim Collins

    Jim Collins Member

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    Not too long ago, I had a NOS Nocaster neck refretted. The original neck on this guitar had frets that were installed in the traditional fashion -- lacquer applied AFTER the frets were installed.

    I had slightly larger frets installed on this guitar, and it would not have been very useful to install the new, fatter frets on top of the old lacquer -- there would have been gaps. The luthier removed the old frets, then removed the lacquer from the fretboard -- not the rest of the neck. He, then, applied a new, thin coat of lacquer. After that dried, he recut the slots, and installed the new frets on top of the lacquer.

    This had an unanticipated (by me, anyway), but completely welcome, side-effect. Prior to the refret, the guitar was not particularly bright -- somewhat unusual for a Telecaster. In fact, because it was lacking in brightness, I installed Barden pickups. Those familiar with Bardens know of their brightness. Once I got the guitar back, the Bardens were much too bright. I re-installed the original pickups, and the guitar came to life. Folks out there who actually build guitars for a living could tell you what really goes on, but what it seemed like, to me, was that the lacquer on top of the frets was choking off some of the sound. Perhaps it was that the original lacquer was on too thick, I don't know. What I do know is that, prior to the refret, the guitar sounded a bit dull and dark, with the stock pickups. After the refret, the Bardens were too bright, and the stock pickups were perfect.
     
  3. FenderAmpGas

    FenderAmpGas Member

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    I'm getting taller and wider frets on my '57 reissue Strat. The luthier really recommended removing the lacquer before refretting. I'm not sure if he was planning on re-lacquering before or after the frets are installed. He basically said what you did that in order for the frets to sit better, he would recommend removing the lacquer.

    Can't wait to see if there is any difference in sound similar to what you mentioned.
     
  4. FenderAmpGas

    FenderAmpGas Member

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    Also, since I hardly use the tremolo bar, he recommended placing the bridge flat onto the body of the guitar instead of the normal 3/32" Fender clearance when he sets it up.
     
  5. Neon

    Neon Member

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    I had nearly the same modifications done to my '57 reissue maple Strat (late 80s Fender reissue). It has taller and slightly wider frets than stock. Also, had the fret board radius changed to about 9 inches. The lacquer was applied after the frets were installed. The guitar plays and sounds really nice. Although, after 15 years, it's ready for new frets.

    Let us know how it works out.
     
  6. Norcal_GIT_r

    Norcal_GIT_r Member

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    Hey Neon,
    Where do you take your guitars for refretting in sac?

    Thanks,
    Bryan
     
  7. Neon

    Neon Member

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    Hello Bryan,
    I had the aforementioned refret work done by an excellent luthier in Salt Lake City many years ago. He moved, and I can no longer locate the guy. Unfortunately, I haven't yet found anyone in the Sacramento area who does this kind of work. I think the Bay Area might the place to look. I've been given some names for luthiers in Sonoma County, but haven't looked into it yet. Does anyone have suggestions?
     
  8. Norcal_GIT_r

    Norcal_GIT_r Member

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    Thanks Neon
    I know Skip's does fret work but I really don't know how good they are.
    I'd like to hear from someone who's used them or anyone else in the area does fret work for that matter.
     
  9. FenderAmpGas

    FenderAmpGas Member

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    Mine is also an 80's model (1986). I should be getting the guitar back at the end of this month. Pretty pricey for the work but I factored in that I'm getting a new bone nut and a set up with it for about $400. I'm sure I could have bought a new neck for that much but then I'm getting a professional customization on it. I'll post some pics when I get it back.

    I didn't think of a re-radius but I'm pretty happy with the standard radius of the guitar.

    Thanks!
     
  10. FenderAmpGas

    FenderAmpGas Member

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    Pictures of my Strat after the refret job. Looks and plays great. I can finally bend the strings!! I had larger and wider frets put on, a new nut ( I think it's bone but forgot to ask!). The tech recommended going with a different size fret than 6105. He said a lot of players don't like them that tall. The ones he put on are taller and wider than the previous vintage frets. He also stripped the neck and re-laquered it. I kind of liked the reliced look of the neck before but I also like the new look.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  11. FenderAmpGas

    FenderAmpGas Member

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    Another item of note. I have a Callaham tremolo system on the guitar and the tech said that part of my problem with the playability with the guitar was probably because the Callaham saddles were too wide for the guitar. He replaced them with the correct Fender saddles before he cut the nut and did the set-up.
     

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