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John's guitar with the frets out awaiting it's
turn at the leveling bench.
This guitar primarily needed a refret. In addition,
John had the pickups replaced & he wanted me to put the original pickups back in.
Here's a shot before the fingerboard prep...
... and after, the board is leveled - the fret
slots are prepped - & chamfered.
A better shot of the board.
As far as I'm concerned, the most critical part of any re-fret is the prep work that goes
into the board. It's now ready for the frets.
The first half of the frets go in (every
other) and the board is examined to see how it's reacting to the fret compression.
The rest of the frets follow. The ends are
clipped and we check to make sure each fret is seated properly.
Back to the leveling bench - the fret ends are
beveled & the fret tops get a quick leveling. If the prep work on the board is done
well, there should only be a minimal of leveling required.
new frets measured .047" high before they were put in, and .045 after insertion &
leveling. Once again - the key was in the prep work of the board.
That's how we like to see them. Perfectly
round - perfectly level.
you get fret work done & the board isn't touched - your only getting half the job done
to your guitar. Always ask your tech how he's going to do the job. A good luthier won't
mind explaining his procedures
John's guitars we do some unique "precision fret work". Here's what I mean - he
plays with such a low action (Normal is anywhere from 3/64" to 5/64" for the
average guitar. John's likes his guitars set from 1.5/64ths to 2/64ths (absurdly low for
the average guitar player - but then again, John's not the average guitar player). What we
did on this McCurdy Archtop , as on some of John's other guitars, is set the fret height
to gradually decrease as you climbed up the fingerboard - in other words his frets would
lose about one thousandth of an inch for every four or five frets as you go up the board -
not an easy task - but for John - It was worth the effort to see him smile when playing
Here's a shot of me doing some precision fret
work to John's McCurdy Archtop (a beautiful guitar).