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Thread: Fret Size

  1. #1
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    Default Fret Size

    http://http://www.stewmac.com/shop/F..._Fretwire.html
    OK I am going to order fretwire for a mandolin Im working on. The original fret wire was .060 wide .040 crown the tang was .055. which of these wires do you suggest. I want the frets to be larger than what was on it. I also figure they will be smaller after I dress them. Should I go for a longer tang??? My slots will accept the longer tang. I am Leaning toward the 0152.
    Last edited by budashoots; Jan-15-2013 at 5:42pm. Reason: Change the title

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    Robert Fear Folkmusician.com's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret Size

    To me, the 152 is larger than I like on a mandolin.

    The 764 pictured is .053, which is a pretty standard mandolin size, though I do like slightly larger wire myself. Looking at the two, there is a HUGE size difference! In your case, I would probably go with the 147.
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    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret Size

    Important....check the thickness of the tang....they vary!
    If the replacement wire is thicker than the original, a back curve in the neck could result.....

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    Default Re: Fret Size

    I agree with you Folkmusician after seeing the standard and comparing it to my first choice, 0147 it is. I have measured the tang and between the barbs it is .0195 and across the barbs are about .0265. Stewmac says theirs will fit .023 fret slots will this work in my slots based on the original fret wire size. Thanks for the heads up Soundfarmer I don't think I checked that until you mentioned it.

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    Resonate globally Pete Jenner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret Size

    I'm using the 147. It seems to be the one most people recommend.
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    Default Re: Fret Size

    Just about any size between .040" and .085" crown width is acceptable on a mandolin. Gibson uses .040" stainless wire on their Master Model series, and Weber often uses .080" frets and most folks like them just fine. They all work about the same but some folks like the tiny frets, while most folks prefer the larger ones as they are easier to round the ends and smooth out. Tiny frets require a bit more skill to make them feel nice. Larger frets usually wear longer than smaller ones, and then there are other materials to choose from, like stainless and EVO alloy for much longer wear.

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    Default Re: Fret Size

    Still curious the fret wire that came off of this mandolin was .0195 between the barbs and .026 across the barbs. Is Stew Macs 0147 fret wire this size.

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    Resonate globally Pete Jenner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret Size

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    This is 147
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    Default Re: Fret Size

    I am in need of the measurements across the tangs thickness between the barbs and the thickness of the barbs in order to know if i need to widen the fret slots. If the stew mac fret wire across the tang is near the size of what came off this mandolin I should be good to go. I hope I'm asking the right question. I'm sorry if Not.

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    Default Re: Fret Size

    This is the only piece of fret wire I have ever seen off an instrument. Maybe it is that Stew Mac has a different design. Hope this helps.
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    Default Re: Fret Size

    Well the recommended slot width for 147 is 0.023" or 0.58mm. Using my highly inaccurate analogue callipers, I measured the tang with from point of barb to point of barb at about 0.95 mm. The tang NOT including the barbs appears to be about 0.6mm. or 0.0236220472440944881 or thereabouts inches.
    Last edited by Pete Jenner; Jan-16-2013 at 6:32am.
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    Default Re: Fret Size

    LOL AND CAN"T STOP. Thank you for that. SO will I have to file the barbs down or are they suppose to be that wide.

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    Default Re: Fret Size

    Quote Originally Posted by budashoots View Post
    LOL AND CAN"T STOP. Thank you for that. SO will I have to file the barbs down or are they suppose to be that wide.
    No worries
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    Robert Fear Folkmusician.com's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret Size

    The key to a good fret job is prepping the fretboard and specifically the fret slots. It is pretty rare that a given fret will fit correctly in every slot without either working on the slot or the fret, or both. As Pete mentioned, too tight of a fit will cause backbow, too loose will allow the neck to up bow and the frets will not seat well. Don't assume that the slot is consistent across its length either. Loose on one side, tight on the other causes twists. The cool thing here is that you can actually use this same thing to correct issues in a neck (to some extent).

    You should be fine with the StewMac tang. It will give you some room to clean the slots up. You will want to take a piece of the fretwire you will be using and test all the slots, cleaning/sawing as needed until you get a good fit. File the tang off a piece (carefully as to not change the width otherwise). Use the piece as a width/depth gauge (I believe there is an example on frets.com somewhere). I also take a piece that is just a bit loose, so I can run it through all the slots and feel for areas that need additional work.
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    Default Re: Fret Size

    Robert, I've cut one of my slots too wide by about half a millimetre. Can I recover from this or do I need to make a new board?
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    Robert Fear Folkmusician.com's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret Size

    Peter?

    Are you making a fingerboard from scratch? For a nice mandolin, I would make a new board, but there is no reason you can't fill the slot and re-cut it. Get a piece of ebony and shave it down until it is a nice fit for the slot. Glue it in and re-cut the slot. If you do a clean job, you will not be able to tell.
    Robert Fear
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    Default Re: Fret Size

    Thanks Robert I have a clear understanding now. I'm not to look at the fret slots as a whole but fit each slot with a fret. That makes it so much easier to approach this project. Thank You Again.

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    Default Re: Fret Size

    Quote Originally Posted by Folkmusician.com View Post
    Peter?

    Are you making a fingerboard from scratch? For a nice mandolin, I would make a new board, but there is no reason you can't fill the slot and re-cut it. Get a piece of ebony and shave it down until it is a nice fit for the slot. Glue it in and re-cut the slot. If you do a clean job, you will not be able to tell.
    Yes Robert a new one. If my third attempt fails I'll fill it as you say.
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