and what do most people charge to do it?My kalamazoo needs new frets soon Thanks
We are in a high-priced neighborhood so it is in the vicinity of $250-300 for a pro job. You can pay less for a hack job, I suppose. As Rick says, it is not as easy as it looks.
re. price, expect a premium of about 25% on bound fingerboards. Your Kalamazoo probably is unbound, right? The trickiest thing about refretting a mando is getting the frets to stay down. The tangs and slots are pretty narrow, and the barbs are pretty slight. Mando refrets take a level of finesse beyond guitars.
Hey I resemble that remark! but it wasn't that easy...Originally Posted by (Rick Turner @ Nov. 08 2006, 22:25)
I cut my losses and quit after the first five which I managed to get level and restore good playability- sure looked ugly at the ends though.
Be yourself, everyone else is taken.
Favorite Mandolin of the week: 1917 Gibson A4
Rick,Originally Posted by
Now you tell me! I just finished refretting my first mando - don't see a problem yet, but I'm worried about my frets staying down. I have the Stew Mac book, Fret Works, and they say that if the frets don't hold, use hide glue or Titebond. What about that? Is that a good idea?
I don't have a radiused fingerboard, do have binding, and used medium fret wire to replace the narrow I had on there. I got it level easily enough, but a few frets I had to hammer down a bit more.
See? Just as Rick said- easier said than done- properly and something that will last. Especially if the fingerboard is bound. Difficult? Done properly? Minimal chipout on the fingerboard? Fret ends not coming up later? Add that all together and you will understand why it's a job. I basically refuse to do it and think highly of those luthiers who will take it on and do a good job. It takes special talents to do it right.
It is pretty easy if you have done it a few hundred times and if nothing goes wrong. # #Expect to pay $10-15 per fret, and budget for a new nut and some setup time. #
Sometimes there is no substitute for experience, and this is one of those times. #Finish work is another.
I overlayed the binding. Is that going to be a problem with the frets lifting? Need to superglue???
I heated the frets with a tip used for wood burning - protected my fretboard with the metal fret protectors that stew mac sells. And then pulled the frets gently using fret pullers (again from Stew Mac). Minimum chipout - just minor on a couple of frets. The first few frets had slots from the strings worn into them, so I definitely needed to do the refretting. And since its my mandolin, my first one, if I screwed up, live and learn - gotta learn somehow.
I have a pearl nut on this one - might have to replace it too. But that's fine.
This was the first mando I built - I built it a couple of years ago, and the neck was a bit thick - couple people (good mandolin players) remarked on that, so I decided to thin down the neck too and refinish it (since I was putting a varnish finish on another mandolin).
If I screwed it up too badly, I'll just have to build another! Actually, that's already in the plans....
In my limited personal experience, I have gotten the best results with superglue by putting a drop on clean scrap wood and then using a single edge razor blade (dull box cutter blades work well) to transfer some down inside the fret slot. You get over a minute to set things up if you aren't using accellerant and that is longer than you think. Be careful - it is really difficult to get it completely off wood if you get some on the finger board.Originally Posted by (Rick Turner @ Nov. 09 2006, 20:00)
"First you master your instrument, then you master the music, then you forget about all that ... and just play"
Charlie "Bird" Parker
I started playing a $300 mandolin and I couldn't see $300 more for a fret job. I figured that if I was going to keep wearing them out, I may as well learn to change them. I got the book from stew mac and dove in. I have done a couple of refrets and a couple of partial refret and levels. Mine don't look as pretty on the ends as those that i've seen done by talented luthiers, but they seem to stay in and the ends don't stick up and cut my fingers. I will work on my stuff, but I don't see how you guys can dig into other peoples expensive vintage instruments. I would be terrified. Friends have asked me to work on their stuff and I always sent them to someone who is willing to take that kind of risk and liability.
Well, it looks to me like you guys are headed in the right direction here.
Work on vintage pieces can be nerve-wracking. I've refretted a guitar that sold for $125,000.00 (1941 D-45), and one that was bought for $250,000.00 (Buddy Holly's SJ-45). You just keep the coffee on the low caffein side the day you do it, and you lock the shop and turn off the phone. Then you just go in and do a good job.
You have brass ones Rick. I get nervous just changing strings!
And I would imagine that bar frets are even more difficult?
Yes, but that D-45 had "normal" frets.
Bar frets are interesting, to say the least. Martin is on-again, off-again with supplying them, and I don't know where they are at now. If I were to get into doing bar frets, I'd get nickel silver rod and then take it to a jeweler or metal fabricator who had a rolling mill and custom make the stuff to size. Yes, PITA, but what else to do? I suspect there's a nice little market for custom bar fret wire. Hmmm...
Embergher bowlbacks were only made with bar frets even into the late 1930s. Not sure why they preferred those. I can't imagine that it made all that much difference in sound.
I also had a friend who needed some refretting on his Vega cylinderback so I sent him some bars from a basket case I had. Not sure what ever happened or if his luthier was able to use them.
You start a thread entitled Replacing frets and your first question is "and what do most people charge to do it?My kalamazoo needs new frets soon" and then you say "I'm going to get the frets dressed,not replace.Just ta let ya know"
You sure know how to waste peoples' time.
I'm sorry if i WASTED anybodys time on here.I was justing asking about the frets.I had it looked at today and i dont need frets,just need them dressed.Thanks anyway.I'm new to all this and i know i ask alot.I just want to learn.Is that wrong?If so i'll quit bothering everybody.sorry paul
..dont worry about wasting peoples time...thats what this board is for...learning...learning is not time wasted...who knows maybe you will want to change your own frets someday then you can go back a remember what you learned from this post by "wasting peoples time". Paul we all know you are a professional in what you do and I for one appreciate your posts ..some of us are not professionals...including myself..I like to read and learn.
Easy, pay a good luthier to do it for you!
Right on, Scotti
is there nowhere an amateur can go to ask questions anymore. First Rick scared everybody away from the AG column and now paul is givig attitude on this board. come on guys, this is just somethingv to do, if your time was so valuable you wouldnt be here anyway. try to enjoy it.