Some guitar repairmen say that neck binding must be removed before replacing frets. Fortunately, refretting does not require removing the binding. However, refretting a bound guitar neck requires more care than an unbound neck. The way the fret grooves are cleaned out changes and the binding must be masked for protection. A little extra preparation makes refretting a bound guitar neck possible without removing the binding.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Flush cutting end nippers
- Razor knife
- Fret wire
- Small, flat wood block
- Masking tape
- Fine file
Remove the strings and lay the guitar on a flat surface. Place a mat or towel under the guitar to protect the finish.
Remove the old frets. Clamp the frets with flush cutting end nippers and pull straight up from the to pull the frets free of their grooves.
Clean the fret groove with a razor knife. Be careful to work from the binding to the centre of the neck to avoid damage.
Measure the fret grooves and cut fret wire sections 1/2 inch longer than each groove. Cut the bottom of each fret, know as the tang, away from the edge of each fret at a 45-degree angle, slanting away from the fret ends. The tang will be shorter than the fret and fit in the grooves.
Place the frets in the grooves and tap them in with a hammer. Place a wood block on top of the frets to apply the pressure from the hammer across the frets and avoid damaging the fretboard.
Remove the overhang of the frets flush to the guitar binding with flush cutting end nippers.
Mask the binding with tape. The tape will protect the binding while filing the tops of the frets.
File the fret ends at a 45 degree angle with a fine file. Replace any tape that gets filed to protect the binding.
Tips and warnings
- Some guitars have binding with ridges that sit flush with the fret. Sand these ridges off to make refretting easier.
- Do not attempt a refret without the right tools. The guitar will be damaged. Take the guitar to a professional for any doubts.
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