Fern's Guitars logo


Fern's Guitars logo


With every played guitar or bass sooner or later the fretwire needs to be replaced (refret). This can be a complicated job that needs experience. Every guitar has it own specific points to take care of during the refret job.

To do the fret job, I have almost all sizes of fretwire in stock. By order I can even supply more wire, from several brands, so there is always a solution available for your instrument.

Gibson ES130 1965 refret

The owner of this instrument complained about buzzes on the frets at the center of the neck. The frets were worn a bit already. The neck seemed to be not straight when adjusted, wich could cause the fretbuzz in the center of the neck. We decided to do a refret and and a fretboard correction. On this picture, the frets are removed carefully with a plier. The frets are pre heated with a soldering iron. When doing so, the frets are being removed with as less s possible damage on the fretboard.

removing old frets with plier and soldering iron

After the old frets are removed, the fretboard is cleaned with sandpaper. Now the curve of the fretboard can be corrected. Blocks with a suitable radius are used (shown on the picture) as wel as long straightedges with sandpaper, to get the fretboard straigth.

sanding the fretboard with a radius block

The fretboard has been sanded, until a fine grit. It is clearly visible, that the fretboardd is corrected, but also is clean and free from damage and dirt build up by years of playing.

the fretboard is clean and ready to be fretted

The new frets are hammered in the fretboard with the use of a special hammer.

installing new frets in the fretboard with a hammer

The ends of the frets are beveled with a special block. By having the right bevel, the neck playes comfortable, and the high and low E string don't slip quickly from the fretboard while playing.

the fret ends are beveled

Just like the fretboard, the frets are also leveled after installing. The tops of the frets are sanded of with a special straight edge with sandpaper.

the frets are leveld with sandpaper

The frets are recrowned. This is done with a diamond file with a suitable radius profile for the right type of fretwire. The crowning is very important. The guitar wil play comfortable, you don't hear much fret buzz, and the notes will be clear in pitch. A non crowned, flat fret will produce a bad tone, with a slightly higher pitch.

frets are crowned with a diamond file

Sharp edges are cleaned with a special prepared file, to not damage the fretboard wood.

sharp fret edges are removed

The frets are finished with sandpaper, fine steelwool and polish paste. The fretboard is finished with oil. The frets are now ready to use.

the new frets in the fretboard

close up detail of the new installed frets

The 1965 Gibson ES130 with new frets and a happy owner.

1965 Gibson ES130 with new frets installed