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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / refret or fret dress

floridaboy

United States of America

Jan 28th, 2019 10:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have a 96 mint condition 62 RI Japanese Foto Flame. The frets are low and I'm starting to get some buzz from the strings. I brought it to the repairman at the Guitar Center in Sarasota and he said a fret dress would take care of the buzz. I'm concerned there isn't enough fret left for a dress. If I take some of my Fender thin guitar picks and lay them next to the lowest fret it is about 2 1/2 picks high. The frets are flat on top and don't have any grooves worn into them. Do you think that's enough fret or should I look for a refret? Can you recommend a good repair shop in the Tampa Bay Sarasota area? Thanks.

Pinetree
Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

NW Pennsylvania

Jan 28th, 2019 11:28 PM   Edit   Profile  

I would set it up to Fender specs first.



Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Jan 29th, 2019 12:27 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yep.

If there are no visible wear marks (divots") in the frets, get the neck, action, and nut dialed in.

If that doesn't solve the buzz issues, then go over the frets with a fret rocker to evaluate the condition of the frets. It may need only a few small tweaks. It may have a few lifting frets. It may need a complete level, profile, and polish.

What gets done depends on your preferences. If you like tall frets, it may need refretting. If you like low frets, it may be a simple fix.

Hard to diagnose an issue like this via the innerwebz, because measurements and observations need to be made in order to render an objective evaluation.

Ultimately--if you trust your tech--take their advice and roll with it.

ejm

usa

Jan 29th, 2019 08:32 AM   Edit   Profile  

I agree with the above posters.

Too many variables to give definitive advice without seeing and playing it in person.

Fret dressing/filing is irreversible. Do this as a last resort. Set it up first. Maybe the neck has developed a back bow, which is a simple truss rod tweak.

*If* you need a new nut, you can probably do that yourself with a Graphtech TUSQ pre-slotted nut. Go to Youtube and look for the 3-4 minute StewMac video.

If the frets don't have any divots, and someone hasn't previously dressed or filed them, that tells me that they may be right where they're supposed to be and may not be "low" at all. And if you dress/file them, they'll be even lower.

It's possible one or more has lifted slightly. You may be able to see that yourself. You didn't say what area of the neck the buzz is happening.

As far as Tampa area shops, I'd look around for another alternative.


wrnchbndr
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New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Jan 29th, 2019 09:14 AM   Edit   Profile  

A good tech will be able to show you the reason it needs a fret dressing or a leveling. Erlewine suggests that somewhere around .022 is the minumum fret height and I generally agree. Fret "dressing" and "leveling" are terms used loosely that can convey different goals and outcomes. I tend to do a little bit of leveling on the majority of my setups but I focus on only removing fret meat from frets that are elevated. I also always recrown, dress the ends, and polish. Frets lower than .022 are more difficult to recrown conventionally. Make sure that you and your tech are on the same track and not discussing apples and oranges.

However... At best, prior to breaking out all of the tools on the bench and going through the motions of about ten minutes of observations, declaring the need for fret work to address a specific problem is a scientific wild ass guess. I run about an 75% awesome result success rate with using my learned criteria. I have seen stratocasters that play like a gift from the guitar gods with frets that look like the guitar was dragged through the streets behind a truck with divots so deep they echo. Your average Guitar Center tech would certainly claim the need for a refret. I know of a specific '65 strat belonging to a semi professional. Its way beyond any hope of having the fret crowns restored yet it plays as deliciously any strat I've encountered. For five years I've seen this guitar come into the shop for a minor tweek and its being played on stage probably once a week. Perfect geometry and tidy mirror finished crowns aren't everything.

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Jan 29th, 2019 10:12 AM   Edit   Profile  

Well said, Mark.

floridaboy

United States of America

Jan 29th, 2019 10:33 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for the suggestions. I think I'll start by setting everything to the Fender specs and go from there.

littleuch
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Ocala, Florida

pwn me like it's 1999
Jan 29th, 2019 01:03 PM   Edit   Profile  

As far as techs go, I found a woeful absence of either techs or suggestions in my immediate area. I've heard good things about one guy, Birddog Bobby in Chuluota, which I believe is a haul for either one of us.

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Jan 29th, 2019 05:03 PM   Edit   Profile  

Bobby is a really good vintage amp tech.

As close as Chuluota is to Orlando, it is one of the most "in the middle of nowhere" towns in the US. Sounds weird, but go there and you'll believe me. Just take 520 to 419 north and don't blink or you'll miss it.

It's been almost 40 years since I've been there; it's probably way different. Bet they've got a Wal Mart and a Sheetz there now.

Pinetree
Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

NW Pennsylvania

Jan 29th, 2019 07:18 PM   Edit   Profile  

And probably an 8-lane highway, too.



littleuch
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Ocala, Florida

pwn me like it's 1999
Jan 30th, 2019 05:52 AM   Edit   Profile  

I emailed Bobby a couple years back about refretting a vintage spec Allparts neck. Not something I would normally pursue if it wasn't for the fact that I think it's the best Strat neck I've ever had. He said yes, he could/would do it, bring it in. I just haven't got around to making the trip and keep thinking about having it done by a guy I trust up in Detroit. His work on this particular neck is what probably breathed the magic into it.

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Jan 30th, 2019 07:32 AM   Edit   Profile  

You can mail a neck :0)

wrnchbndr
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New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Jan 30th, 2019 08:41 AM   Edit   Profile  

Back to the original post for a minute... How does someone find a good tech in their local area? I think it comes down to just asking a lot of questions from local musicians. Go to the venues where they play. You could get some friends together and make a night out of going from one place to the next talking to the local semi-pro talent. It could be conducted as a military style exercise. Buy some walkie-talkies, have a designated driver.


Guitar Fool
Contributing Member
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Sunshine State

What is wrong with men being men?
Jan 30th, 2019 09:18 AM   Edit   Profile  

I live about 30 minutes from Bird Dog..quite a character.....I've had a couple of amps serviced by him...no complaints..but no guitar work...
I send that out to Kenny Marshall in Va....damn the guy is good

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / refret or fret dress




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