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Guitar Neck Refretting

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Guitar Neck Refretting 2024-01-22T06:26:18-05:00
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Guitar Neck Refretting

Haywire Custom Shop Guitar Neck Refretting Option

Most guitar players really don’t give a lot of thought about frets, though they can influence both tone and playability. Instead, most players will view the frets as an integral part of a guitar’s fingerboard. If a guitar has a smooth, playable neck that allows you to bend notes, do hammer-on and pull-offs and deliver clean articulations at all positions up and down the neck, it means that the frets have been perfectly matched and properly “dressed” to provide the best overall action. How do you know if guitar neck refretting is for you? If the following is beginning to occur the answer is yes:

1)-Some notes refuse to sound properly or sustain any more

2)-If you wear your frets too low and produce ruts

3)-Getting fret buzz and inaccurate intonation

4)-Bending strings? Do they scrape against the wood?

image Guitar Neck Guitar Neck Refretting and fret leveling.

Standard Nickel/Silver Guitar Fret Wire

In some cases where it is not reasonable to replace the whole neck it could be that a partial or a full refret of the entire neck is necessary.  If this is the case or if it is what you prefer, then our Haywire Custom Shop re-fret option is available for just $10 per fret.  You can decide or ask for our recommendation to determine if this option is required on your guitar neck. We offer only quality fret wire. 

All About Guitar Frets

When discussing frets at the Haywire Custom Shop, the discussion really needs to be divided up into two separate parts.  The first part to consider is whether or not the frets are properly installed, dressed, and maintained.  The second part to consider is if the frets that are on your neck are the right frets to match your style of playing and have the feel that you are looking for.

So let’s talk about the first part for a minute, whether or not your frets are properly installed, dressed, and maintained. This is easy enough to determine. First, check for any wear on the frets where the strings might have created grooves in certain places, any nicks or irregularities that might catch a string and so forth.  If you find any of those things, you might want to consider some maintenance to correct those problems.

If you have checked your frets and found them to be well maintained without any noticeable wear, but still think that your neck doesn’t feel just right for your style of playing, you might want to consider a different fret possibility. Frets come in a variety of heights and thicknesses, and each one will cause the neck to feel just a bit different under your fingers. The bottom line is that frets do matter. If a guitar plays well, it has the right frets. If it’s hard to bend a note, that instrument probably doesn’t have the right frets for challenging solo work.

Now let’s talk about the different types of frets that are available.

Standard Nickel/Silver Fret Wire

The composition of this fret wire, while called “nickel/silver”, contains no silver at all.  The ingredients are brass and nickel. Apparently, 18% nickel is sufficient to make brass look silver!  For general reference we use Dunlop’s fret numbers, however, actual fret dimensions vary somewhat from batch to batch.

Fret Model         Width x Height  Description

6100       .112″ x 0.55″       Huge! This is big stuff for the almost scalloped feel.

6105       .096″ x 0.47″      Narrow and tall. A very popular choice.

6130       .106″ x .036″      Often referred to as “medium jumbo”. This is the size found on many Gibson® necks.

6230       .080″ x 0.43″       This is the smallest fret wire. Used on older Fender® necks.

6150       .103 x .046″         A true “jumbo”. It is about the same width as the 6130 but a bit taller.

Stainless Steel Fret Wire

If you want an extra slick feel along with super smooth bending and playability, stainless steel fret wire might be just what you’re looking for. Stainless steel is harder than the standard nickel/silver fret wire, so it takes much longer for these frets to show wear from your strings, and typically last much longer than standard fret wire.

 Fret Model        Width x Height  Description

SS6105  .102″ x .049″        A true “jumbo”. It is about the same width as the 6130 but a bit taller. POPULAR!

SS6230  .080″ x 0.43″     Small vintage Fender® size. Needs frequent dressing and leveling

SS6115  .107″ x .052″     A true “jumbo” wire.

Fret size has a great deal to do with the action of your guitar.  Low frets put your fingertips right on the fingerboard with little room to squeeze the strings out of tune or to get under them for bending. Tall frets are the opposite.  The width of the fret determines the amount of wear that can be expected before leveling and re-crowning is necessary.  Wider frets wear longer.  Narrow frets wear faster.  Choosing a fret size is best done by experience.  Do you like the feel of your present neck? Would you like more height or less height ?  Which is best for you ? Send us your guitar neck or entire guitar so we can get it back in good shape for you:

Rick Mariner
Haywire Custom Guitars Inc.
Haywire Custom Shop
2007 Lees Landing Circle
Conway, SC 29526

image Guitar Neck Guitar Neck Refretting
Haywire Custom Guitars, Guitar Neck Refretting