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Thread: 'V' neck Gibson refret advice

  1. #1

    Question 'V' neck Gibson refret advice

    My late 20s A0 is almost ready for another refret. Can this be achieved by hammering the frets in with a nylon hammer and a rice bag to support the neck? Or do I need to invest in a fret press which I can maybe use in a drill press?
    I have worked on my Ashbury octave and also regretted my 1996 Doug Eaton mandolin, but have been hesitant to work on my Gibson until I have all the facts.
    I eagerly await your expert guidance.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 'V' neck Gibson refret advice

    I have always used a hammer and a padded neck rest. You might want to put a soft cloth between the neck and the neck rest.
    I've never heard of using a rice bag. If you want to use a bag, sand might work better. Some people use bird shot.
    Make sure your slots are correctly sized. If you knock the square corners off of the back of the tang with a file, the wire wire go in easier.

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'V' neck Gibson refret advice

    I use a bag of #7 shot for a fretting neck rest and tap the frets in with a hammer. The inert mass of lead shot really helps. I've tried pressing frets and it works fine, some people prefer it, but I've hammered frets successfully for so long that I'm just sort of sticking with what works.

  4. #4

    Default Re: 'V' neck Gibson refret advice

    Thanks guys, that was a quick response. I don't know about my chances being able to buy a bag of shot without a firearms licence here in Oz
    I don't have a 'dead blow' hammer, just one of the double headed black / yellow nylon ones. Should I invest in the proper hammer? Knock the square corners off the tang? Is that the tang corner on each end of the fret or flattening the barbs slightly?

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    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'V' neck Gibson refret advice

    I use a partial bag of cat litter (I will state here that it is clean and unused, so the is no misconception). It's the cheap stuff, Paws and Claw brand from Tractor Supply. Why not? It is always there in the barn both for the cats and in case I spill oil while working on the tractors. I can shape the litter in the bag to fit the shape of the neck, and it provides great support.
    Purr more, hiss less.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'V' neck Gibson refret advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Clark View Post
    I use a partial bag of cat litter (I will state here that it is clean and unused, so the is no misconception)....
    Thanks for the clarification Bob
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'V' neck Gibson refret advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil O'Dendron View Post
    ...Should I invest in the proper hammer? Knock the square corners off the tang? Is that the tang corner on each end of the fret or flattening the barbs slightly?
    I've been using a hammer with "replaceable" plastic face for years. It's really not that good as a fretting hammer but it's what I'm used to. It is actually easier to use a metal hammer and I've done that also, but we have to be a little more careful to avoid denting the frets or the fingerboard. The face of the hammer must be smooth, polished and only slightly crowned 'for best results'.
    The tangs can be left and filed flush after fretting if there is no fingerboard binding, they can be clipped with fret nippers of other tool so that the ends of the slots can be filled (or left open), it can be angled back, whatever look you want.
    If the fret is too tight in the slot the barbs can be filed a little for a better fit. If the frets fit the slot well just install them as they are.

  10. #8

    Default Re: 'V' neck Gibson refret advice

    Is it necessary to use glue (e.g.PVA)?

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    Default Re: 'V' neck Gibson refret advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil O'Dendron View Post
    Is it necessary to use glue (e.g.PVA)?
    No. Some people like to glue in frets where the fretboard is over the body to stop from having to hammer over the body but in that case the fret slots are made bigger so the frets can be pressed in by hand.

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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: 'V' neck Gibson refret advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Nevin View Post
    No. Some people like to glue in frets where the fretboard is over the body to stop from having to hammer over the body but in that case the fret slots are made bigger so the frets can be pressed in by hand.
    I wouldn't make fret slots bigger. Whenever I plan to glue frets I file down the sides of tang a bit for looser fit. I prefer drop of CA at each end of fret and wipe away immediately with acetone on cloth (don't touch finish with that).
    Adrian

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  14. #11
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    Default Re: 'V' neck Gibson refret advice

    I've been using liquid hide glue for frets for 20 years or more. Since I started using it, I've had only a half dozen or so frets that loosened up later and had to be attended to on instruments that I had refretted. That's a pretty acceptable rate of return for the 3 or 4 thousand frets I have driven.

    The slots on the old oval hole Gibsons are very narrow indeed, too narrow for modern wire, and I prefer to open them up to about .020" or so before installing new frets.

    I don't like CA for fret work, except for tacking down an occasional loose fret end on someone else's old fret job. It can disrupt the finish, it's increases the labor for cleaning out the fret slots when frets have to be replaced later, and I don't like the fumes generated when you heat and pull any frets that have to be replaced.

    Knocking the sharp corner off the back of new fret wire has made driving new frets a lot easier. Thank you, Frank Ford.

    Anyone interest in learning fret work will benefit greatly from studying the excellent articles on Frank Ford's frets.com website.

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