Recommendations for a refret

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by piloto117, Feb 22, 2019.

  1. piloto117

    piloto117 Member

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    Hey guys, I have a tele 52 AVRI that's seeing a refret in the not so far future. I've always struggled playing that guitar mostly because of the radius, but I think it's my best sounding axe. So now that it will need a refret, my question is if I can/should change the radius on the frets and how will this affect the playability considering the original shape/radius of the fingerboard? Or is it more advisable to change the radius on the fingerboard to match the fret radius? I'd like to avoid it because I like the lacquer on the fingerboard.
    Original fret radius is 7.25 and I'd like at least going to a 10.
     
  2. bullfrogblues

    bullfrogblues Supporting Member

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    If it were mine, I would get a new neck with the radius and size frets you want and put the old neck in the closet in case you want to sell it in the future as perfectly stock.
    IMO changing the radius of the frets and not the fretboard is not a good idea.
     
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  3. Jack Daniels

    Jack Daniels Member

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    OP. While I have had some minor success with radiusing the frets to a radius slightly larger than the fingerboard, ultimately it will not get you where you want to go. In fact maybe just the opposite as the frets will be higher on the ends then the middle causing strange touch/feel.

    Either change the radius of the fingerboard or buy a new neck. Thta is your best options.
     
  4. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

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    Changing a fingerboard radius that much would remove quite a bit of material from the center of the fingerboard and possibly result in sanding through the dot inlays, so proceed with caution. That said, perhaps consider that your struggles with this guitar could be related more to the fingerboard not being true and the frets not being level or tall enough. Those issues get amplified with the vintage radius. Plus the lacquer on the AVRI fingerboards feels grabby especially because its all over the sides of the frets*.

    I think with a proper refret & routine fingerboard leveling your fight with this guitar would be over. I would even suggest stainless steel frets since they have a slick feel and last practically forever.

    I prefer and recommend Jescar fretwire over anything else. 47095 if you like the 6105 narrow/tall feel and 47104 if you want something wider like a medium-jumbo so you feel more of the fret and less of the fingerboard when bending.

    *I've worked on a number of 52 AVRI's that weren't re-fret candidates and it almost always involved removing lacquer from the sides of the frets, obsessively polishing the frets and then buffing out and waxing the fingerboard (or sanding it to satin).
     
  5. Ayrton

    Ayrton Member

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    Going from 7.25 to say 9.5-10 is not that radical of a change. I have flattened a few without issues, but going too far beyond 10” will probably require fret marker replacement.

    You can leave the original neck radius and just have the frets radiused to 10. This is a common trick for vintage guitars and is what Eric Johnson does with his vintage Fenders.
     
  6. RLD

    RLD Member

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    Get yourself a Warmoth roasted maple neck w/SS frets...they don't need a finish, feel/smell incredible and can be had for just over $200.
     
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  7. piloto117

    piloto117 Member

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    Thank you all for your responses and suggestions! I think I'm going to have a talk with my luthier and see if we can come to a reasonable compromise. I wouldn't mind actually to have it refret at 7.25. But I do prefer a flatter radius.
     
  8. galibier_un

    galibier_un Supporting Member

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    If you swap necks, be prepared for a tonal change. You may like it even better... or not.

    I'm sure you've seen the numerous debates on tone woods. We don't neen to re-litigate it here.

    ... Thom
     
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  9. piloto117

    piloto117 Member

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    Buying a new neck is not in my plans for different reasons, but I agree that it may have a significant tonal change.
     
  10. macatt

    macatt Supporting Member

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  11. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    then why spend a bunch of money and have the result not fix the problem?

    find somebody who can flatten the board a bit and properly respray the lacquer afterwards.

    if you want to remove as little wood as possible but still improve the playability then do a compound radius that keeps the 7 1/4” at the nut and progresses to say 10” at the last fret.

    that’s about as round as you can keep it and still get wide bends with low action.
     
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  12. adrianb

    adrianb Member

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    I'd be interested in reading more about this. Any references or interviews where EJ talks about it?
     
  13. piloto117

    piloto117 Member

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    I guess I should have placed a different title, but this is my query...what are the cons of having a mismatched fret/fingerboard radius where the frets are flatter than the fingerboard. What happens when there's a mismatch? Is it just too uncomfortable or awkward to play? Intonation problems? etc...??
    I spoke with a local luthier and he said that it shouldn't be mismatched so the guitar can be setup to be played well. I asked him if he had done this kind of work in the past and he said no and that he wasn't going to start doing it now or anytime soon.
    About EJ having done this to his guitars...I think there's a rig rundown where he briefly mentions it but doesn't go any deeper than that.
     
  14. Stockta

    Stockta Member

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    Going to a 9.5-10” radius with good fret work will make that a player. Go for it!

    Had LaysGuitars in Akron Ohio radius, refret, refinish my original 1974 Stratocaster maple neck.

    Went to a 9.5” radius as this is my preference and Jescar 6100 size wire. He also installed a bone nut and full action setup. Had him refinish the back of neck and fret board in satin nitro finish. This Strat plays better than anything I own and couple of my friends with Suhrs complimented that it’s as good as there setups.
    I basically wanted it to play as close to my Malmsteen as possible but with a real vintage setup. Absolutely blown away by the guitar after Dan Smith worked this over.

    Before 100% original
    [​IMG]

    After the refresh, I installed RS Guitar works wire harness and Dimarzio HS3 bridge pickup.
    [​IMG]
     
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  15. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    you get frets that are low right where you need them to be high, in the middle of the board where you're trying to hold the string at the top of a wide bend.

    no thanks
     
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  16. adrianb

    adrianb Member

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    Even if the differences were really small? Is 2.75" small? (10 - 7.25). Haha. Genuinely wondering. Not that i'd be interesting in trying that.
     
  17. piloto117

    piloto117 Member

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    Ah, I see now. I went back and read a little bit more slowly all the previous comments and it was already mentioned. So I guess there's not too many options than to do it right or take a chance and do a mismatch and not do any huge bends, haha!
    Thank you all for your comments!
     

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