View Full Version : Refret Jobs
This has been hashed numerous times..but lets approach it differently. I'm fixing to refret my Loar for the first time in it's life. I've dressed the frets for years. It to me still plays fine. There is nothing buzzing or particularly out of whack with the frets..aside from the fact that there is nothing left and very little "fret feel". I'm sure I'll need to work with the nut height too.
What changes and/or improvements can I expect..Charlie..chime in
Darryl, I think you'll find you need less effort to get clean notes with the left hand, and tone will improve accordingly.
You might even have a little bit of intonation trouble 'til you get used to not pressing down so hard.
The better your technique the less difference you'll probably notice.
My "refret" gauge is when there is less than about 0.020" of fret height left. Any lower than that, and the pad of your fingertip is touching the board before you get a clean tone. Which means you are pushing harder than is absolutely necessary.
The "feel" should increase, intonation should be better, and tone should improve.
Go for it.
Does that mean .020 at the worst divot in a fret?
Hey Darryl, lots of folks notice an improvement in tone when they get new frets. Ask Brian about the time i refretted the fern for him. I think you can get a more solid connection between the string and the fret with a higher fret, thus giving a better tone. I've replaced frets where the crown was almost completely worn away. It'll feel a lot better too.
It will feel like sex to your fingers...uh maybe that aint a good analogy.... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif
I'm not Charlie, but I'll join in anyway. Your refret will play easier and you will have cleaner and more accurate intonation. You should notice an increase in volume and note clarity. I don't know if it will make your gasoline any cheaper, but it will make you so you don't want to go anywhere anyway. You'll want to stay home and play. Or, maybe go away and play. That shoots the ole gas theory. Oh welll! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif .
Joe, what do you guys charge there for a complete fret replacement?
A chance to get on my soap-box.
Seriously, I love refretting Loars! Most of them have a small hump at the 15th fret area and refret time is the perfect time to plane that area slightly. I have some original size fret-wire that you can have. Oh, isn't this just like a quilting party?
Also, you should notice an improvement to the clarity of the note afterwards (as Lynn said) and because I always tighten the rod slightly before I plane the neck, (boy ! those old Loar rods work great) the whole instrument just seems to "tighten" up (in a good way).
This is just marvelous!! When's the due date?
Thanks for all the info guys. It's not like I've never refretted anything...just not my Loar. I've also gotten so..so..used to playing in "like it is".
Lynn, do you recall how low they are and how it feels to you?
Charlie, I have some supposedly orig wire..maybe I'll send it (and mando) to you and let you pick the best wire and do it. (I'd rather hold someone else responsible for meeting up to my standards than myself in this case) http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
Darryl, measuring to the top of the fret, I've seen some as low as 0.015" or so. That's less than half the original height. The grooves in those frets from normal string wear were almost all the way into the tang! Perosnally, when they get below 0.025" (given an original height of about 0.035"-0.040"), I think you are past dressing them, and way past optimum set-up. Original fret height varies depending on the time period. Later fern frets are different (slightly) than Loar frets, and even within the Loar era, you'll find minor variations. So, if you are 0.025" or less, re-fret!
I haven't measured it, but I can assure you that it's 0.020 or less, but with no grooves
Hey Uncle Ken...
A complete plane and refret with set up is $350.00. You will be very happy when we are through with it. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif .
Darryl, yep, you have crossed the line into the "refret" zone. Now, the question is, how tall are the frets up the neck? If the frets from 12 and up are original and at least 0.035", and the neck is straight with no humps anywhere, contrary to what others may feel, a partial refret may be in order. I see no use in pulling good old frets and throwing them away unless there is another reason to do so. It's just additional wear and tear on the fret slots, and those old fingerboards can be a bit delicate and "chippy" at the edges of the fret slots. I just pulled the first 7 original frets from a '24 Loar and replaced them with same size wire, and you can't tell it at all. It can be done, with great success. You don't have the dentist pull all of your teeth and get dentures just becasue you need your wisdom teeth out! <G>
Agree..I never expected to do more than 6-8 frets
You have to make sure you replace enough to get into existing wire that is near full height, or you have to grind too much off the new ones and you signifcantly reduce the life on them. So, make sure you go far enough up to get into "full height" frets. Depending on how they've been dressed, it could be 7 or 8, or maybe even a dozen.
You can probably pay for the whole job by auctioning the ones you remove on ebay. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif