How to Replace Acoustic Guitar Frets

Written by kochava r. greene
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How to Replace Acoustic Guitar Frets

Acoustic guitar frets should be replaced when they are worn down or causing a buzzing noise when you play. Most guitar makers and technicians recommend that frets be replaced all at once, rather than a few at a time. Replacing guitar frets is a delicate business and requires skill and concentration.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Soldering iron
  • Pliers
  • Fret wire
  • Fretting hammer
  • Fret crowning file
  • File
  • Fret crowning file
  • Wire cutter
  • Sandpaper
  • Scraper, very fine-tipped (dental tools can also be used)
  • White glue

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  1. 1

    Remove the strings from the guitar. Heat the old frets with the soldering iron. Be very careful not to burn the neck or any other part of the guitar. When you see the old glue melting beneath the frets, they are ready to pull out.

  2. 2

    Use pliers to remove the old frets. Frets have small metal teeth along their edges called tangs that are stuck into the guitar's neck. Pull the frets very gently, easing the tangs out one by one. If any wood chips away from the neck when you remove the frets, glue it back in after you have removed all of the frets. Then wait for it to dry before putting in new frets.

  3. 3

    Clean the fret slots out thoroughly. Scrape gently to remove any old glue and debris.

  4. 4

    Bend the fret wire to match the curvature of the guitar's neck. Measure the width and length of each fret opening and cut the wire to fit exactly.

  5. 5

    Apply a small amount of white glue to the fret opening and lay in the fret wire. Use the fret hammer to tap the wire into place. It should be flush with the top and edges of the fingerboard. If the frets hang off the sides of an unbound fingerboard a bit, trim them with wire cutters.

  6. 6

    Bevel the edges of the frets with the file. File the tops of the frets so that they are all level with one another.

  7. 7

    File the frets with the fret crowning file to remove any angles or edges left on the frets after levelling them.

  8. 8

    Polish the frets with sandpaper.

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