Tom Bukovac: people who want original frets on their vintage guitars aren’t thinking about it correctly.

middy

Member
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873
Haha, you get dirty looks from everyone in the control room wondering why your guitar is out of tune. (Nuts, fret location...) That nut and first feet will make or break you. PRS says that’s why his guitars became so popular in the auto tune age ;)

Keyboards are “absolute“, pitch correction is absolute...old guitars have to be finessed. I’m being very general, a great player can make anything work, as we know...
Some of us don’t have to be in position 1 to play in F. ;)
 

deytookerjaabs

Supporting Member
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1,975
The big problems with guitar intonation after it's intonated at the 12th fret (and in perfect tune)..

1. If you prefer a high cut on the nut because you attack extra hard, that high nut means more string pull to fret the first note which is why some guitars can sound bad there.

2. The Player.

3. Weird magnetic ****.

That's the main 3.



The rest is BS, or as in BS I mean there's zero solutions.

Buk is wrong when he says Gibson frets were improperly spaced, it's just factually incorrect and likely a tech from Gruhns told him that. There is no way to space a straight fret without a few cents sharp or flat on opposing strings. Any move of the fret will make one note worse while making another better, you fix one octave another will be worse.
 

Pyritez

Member
Messages
150
Whatever. Its a free country, man. Lol. I have an absolute beater...think of the worst relic job that you have ever seen, then magnify it by 100x, complete with period mismatched tuner, poorly stripped paint, rusty parts, etc...but an all original timecapsule from 50+ odd years ago, and I am hesitant to touch anything, as that originality will then be lost. I *like* that I can look at a dent in the body and see the different coats of paint that were applied by the factory, and admire what is left of the vintage headstock label markings, feel the heavily scalloped fretboard etc., etc., etc. That all would be lost by restoring the guitar to a like new, playable condition. I have other guitars for that, lol.
YMMV
 

Highnumbers

Member
Messages
631
Vintage guitars are much like antique furniture, i.e. anything non-original or added to them later will significantly lower the collector value to those collectors who desire the original pristine item.
Ever watch Antique's Roadshow where the person owning the rare, super-valuable piece of furniture is told that if the alteration had not been done, the piece would be worth bucket-loads more money? Same thing here. I doubt anyone owning an all original, highly collectible vintage guitar would be called 'smart' changing anything about the guitar, let alone yanking and changing frets, (particularly to a non original style, of all things). Not if you want your $$$$$ back on resale or want to retain the guitar's collectable value.
Want a 'player'? Buy a new custom shop relic, not yank the frets on an original 62 strat, lol. That's insane.
Thankfully not all of us focus on "collectible value" in making every gear decision. Focusing on money is completely losing the point of this hobby, in my humble opinion. Perhaps "value" means something different to certain folks... I certainly value when something works correctly and brings me joy.

People that wouldn't change worn frets on an old guitar because of "the value" are the same kind of nerds who would leave a toy in the package to maximize its collector value. Life is too short....
 

ethomas1013

Supporting Member
Messages
4,737
So here’s my question:

I have a ‘67 SG Special.
Should I get it refretted?
Even if I’m not selling it now I will eventually.
How does it play? Does it need frets? Some people take that approach that they will let the next owner refret it so they have the option to choose their favorite fret size.
 

bobcs71

Member
Messages
4,359
I was barely a teen & had no idea what he was selling. In '83 I was using a boom box with a mic input as my amp! My friends & I dreamed of a guitar with a Kahler or Floyd and a SS amp with 2 channels. None of us even wanted old stuff then. A few years later I learned who EJ was & what he played and then I started lusting for older/traditional gear. How I wish my dad would have kept his vintage gear so I could have used it! Of course, I wish I would have kept some gear I had in the past.
 

bluejaybill

Supporting Member
Messages
860
I don’t think so? Read the stories about how Billy Gibbons and Rick Nielsen and others were scrounging hard for the older stuff by the early 70’s.
By '68, we already knew that old LP's and Martins were great, I got my first vintage Martin in around 1972. I was offered a burst in around 1975- $2000, a lot of dough then.
 

bluejaybill

Supporting Member
Messages
860
Vintage guitars are much like antique furniture, i.e. anything non-original or added to them later will significantly lower the collector value to those collectors who desire the original pristine item.
Ever watch Antique's Roadshow where the person owning the rare, super-valuable piece of furniture is told that if the alteration had not been done, the piece would be worth bucket-loads more money? Same thing here. I doubt anyone owning an all original, highly collectible vintage guitar would be called 'smart' changing anything about the guitar, let alone yanking and changing frets, (particularly to a non original style, of all things). Not if you want your $$$$$ back on resale or want to retain the guitar's collectable value.
Want a 'player'? Buy a new custom shop relic, not yank the frets on an original 62 strat, lol. That's insane.
I yanked the ones on my '63 when they were done, and I don't feel insane. In fact I feel really sane. Guitar sounds and plays great.

My vintage telecaster came with bigger frets, I still don't feel insane. I feel great.

I did sell an excellent ++ telecaster once, because it was too clean and I worried about it. Plus the frets were not my favorite, though in good shape. I thought it was a sane decision. I felt great about it.
 

bluejaybill

Supporting Member
Messages
860
Some of us don’t have to be in position 1 to play in F. ;)
And some of us rarely use Gibsons at recording sessions. The tuning issues are really noticeable. I almost always track rhythm parts on Fenders. Leads it doesn't matter so much. I've gone so far as to punch in individual chords that are tuned for them a few times when I have used a Gibson.

I have a Feiten nut on my R8 now, but it's still not perfect. Of course no guitar is, but Fenders are better.
 

Pyritez

Member
Messages
150
I yanked the ones on my '63 ...I feel great.
Good for you, man.

I made a custom cocobolo nut (held in place by string tension), that slides in and snugs up behind the old, chipped, yellowed-ivory-looking original one on the headstock side, which raises the action allowing the guitar to be played as a vintage slide beast... and it sounds fantastic.
And it is *still* all original, lol. And I feel even "greater". Hahahahaha!

The guitar is worth little really in its current condition, and would be worth more restored. Its the principle of the thing...the destruction of the history of that instrument, that which makes it a unique vintage piece that is, to me, what makes owning a vintage guitar the priviledge that it is. I just happen to be the current caretaker of it, lol.

Again, each person is free to do with their own possessions as they like. The less all original vintage guitars there are out there by people making them into daily 'players', the better for the remaining ones in original condition. They're not making any more of them*.

* Well, other than the sh*t-ton of forgeries currently on the market, which are relatively easy to spot if you're looking at an original.
 
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Tone_Terrific

Supporting Member
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31,481
Buk is wrong when he says Gibson frets were improperly spaced, it's just factually incorrect and likely a tech from Gruhns told him that.
Here's some info on Gibson's and others scale changes.
It seems that G does indeed use different scale lengths and, more importantly, fret spacing that affects tuning and intonation issues.
 

deytookerjaabs

Supporting Member
Messages
1,975
Here's some info on Gibson's and others scale changes.
It seems that G does indeed use different scale lengths and, more importantly, fret spacing that affects tuning and intonation issues.


The 2-d layout of what scale length divided by your spacing equation is only a part of how intonation works, most math predicting note frequency is incorrect when compared to real world conditions and this is what guitar builders & techs fail to realize.

It's not finite, in fact many "corrections" will make intonation worse if you're not careful.


Intonation is not a 2 dimensional process. I advise you to download sonic visualizer and record/track the pitches on the fretboard yourself like I posted a link to above. My background in this is having to write code for C-Sound and Max/MSP in pitch tracking algorithms used for composers in universities, heavy stuff and far more exacting than sitting around guessing with strobe tuners and spacing formulas.

Cut your nut at a modest height, get your 12th fret dead on, tune to a great ear (or sonic visualizer) and you will be far ahead of the game on any factory guitar new or old.
 

smiert spionam

Supporting Member
Messages
9,369
Thankfully not all of us focus on "collectible value" in making every gear decision. Focusing on money is completely losing the point of this hobby, in my humble opinion. Perhaps "value" means something different to certain folks... I certainly value when something works correctly and brings me joy.

People that wouldn't change worn frets on an old guitar because of "the value" are the same kind of nerds who would leave a toy in the package to maximize its collector value. Life is too short....
There are a lot of people who seem to know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.
 

56Tweed

Ge Fuzz-o-holic
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,960
With regards to refrets, the only thing I have ever regretted is waiting to have it done. I no longer let that bother me, if it needs it, I get it done. I have four guitars from '68 or earlier and they have all been refretted. I really held off for a while with my '65 ES-330 for fear that it would hurt the value. It never got played because of it. Once I had the work done, it was like magic and that guitar plays like a dream and sounds great.
 

Dexter.Sinister

Still breathing
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,611
Riffing off the most recent 335 thread. I like different guitars to be different.

I don't (fully) refret older, well played, guitars if the play well. The lower height frets let's me play the wood, too. "But what about big bends?!" Etc. I have guitars that do that perfectly well. Having different textures, different modalities, makes different music self-generate. It is an ego removal agent. IME.

But if a fret or two are gone, I'll replace them and level/dress to the rest of the neck. Did that with the aforementioned 335 for two frets. That thing is so great.
 




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