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Thread: Well .... it's time ...

  1. #1
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Default Well .... it's time ...

    I have worn the frets off my mandolin and have to get them replaced. I realize that this is a " routine" repair. But I would like some user feedback on fret wire material and size and on a ballpark expected cost. So friends and neighbors let me hear your advice and stories..... Thanks.. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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    Default Re: Well .... it's time ...

    If you follow some of the threads on frets you will find considerable interest in stainless steel which tends to last forever as I understand. However it is, by comparison expensive to have installed. Takes more time and skill and "time is money".

    I think if you are interested and are at all handy you can install standard frets yourself. There are several sites on the Youtube which give adequate instructions if I recall... Frets.com also has information on installation of frets. I have done it myself lately but the last time I had it done professionally it ran roughly $100. That was maybe 7 years ago.
    Bart McNeil

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Well .... it's time ...

    You don't give much information. What kind of mandolin do you play and what kind of frets are on it? If you like those, I would go with that? Otherwise, I would consult with the luthier who is doing your work.

    I know some folks are fond of larger, guitar-size frets but I have always preferred mandolin frets on all my instruments.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Well .... it's time ...

    I can't make any comments on the cost of re-fretting in the USA, but I had Evo Gold 37080 fretwire put in my refurbished no-name F5, and I love it. As well as looking great, it plays beautifully and is seemingly everlasting.

    ron

  5. #5
    Registered User Perry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Well .... it's time ...

    $100 for a refret would be dirt cheap around these parts. I have stainless steel on my Mix Carbon Fiber and to me that's a good match...truly makes the instrument a war horse.

    Fret wire size is important; I tend towards traditional size rather then fat myself. So that's your first decision. Stainless steel is expensive and would not be a good match on a less expensive instrument IMHO.

  6. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Well .... it's time ...

    I agree with Perry that $100 is a real bargain, but we live in the northeast US. I would say $250-300 is probably closer in our area. I know that guitars may be even more.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Well .... it's time ...

    I live in the Pacific Northwest and I charge $250 for an unbound fret job assuming there's no fingerboard resurfacing. Add $50 for a bound fingerboard. If one wants a SS fret job, add $150. There are variables such as a new nut or shimming the old one, resurfacing the saddle of the bridge, etc. I can't imagine a $100 fret job. If it was a good job, I'd send all mine out to this person.
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    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Well .... it's time ...

    I just had my (unbound neck) Daley refretted. I had budgetted $300 and was pleased to have spent about 2/3 of that amount. I used a local lutherie whose work I was familiar with. I didn't have to send it off so that saved shipping and insurance (plus anxiety).

    I have refretted several instruments and really didn't want to do this one so the money was well spent.
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    Default Re: Well .... it's time ...

    I guess I did get a pretty good bargain at $100 unbound fingerboard, standard fret wire. Since that time though I have installed frets on a couple of my own old and not very valuable istruments... That is what is nice about having a few cheap old mandolins or banjos around... Great for practice things like re-fretting or basic repairs.
    Bart McNeil

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    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Well .... it's time ...

    A guitar-making classmate of mine told me a few weeks ago that he used stainless steel for frets and it was a miserable experience to install. I think the reason was that it's so hard--and therefore hard to "dress." But I have no personal experience.

  11. #11
    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Well .... it's time ...

    I'm guessing you're talking about refretting one of those Gibsons listed under your name and that it has the small mandolin frets, that you're talking about replacing all the frets rather than the first 5 or 7, and that it has a flat fingerboard. If you bought it new, you might look into whether the warranty would be voided by having someone other than an authorized repairman do the work. I recommend playing a few other mandolins to try the larger frets. I have replaced all of mine with the Stew Mac modern banjo frets that some have recommended because I really like the way they play and really don't like the standard mandolin frets. A builder friend replaced the frets on his personal mandolin with jumbo banjo frets. He really likes them, but I don't. Another friend who teaches mandolin had the frets on his Gibson F9 replaced with the same size that I used and had the fretboard radiused. It made a vast improvement in sound and playability. Cost him $225 in the Atlanta area four years ago. I know good players who prefer the feel of the flat Gibson fingerboard and small frets. I haven't used stainless steel, but I have been playing the stew out of the Stew Mac frets for about 6 months and don't see any wear on them. I'm pretty heavy handed.
    Tom

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  12. #12
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Default Re: Well .... it's time ...

    Thanks for the feedback folks .... lt looks like a full fret job is in the neighborhood of four hundered dollars........ I'll have to play some more large fret mandolins before I decide on that. Thanks again people.... Play On!....R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Well .... it's time ...

    7 to 9 dollars a fret around here. Non stainless.

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