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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:20 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Sun May 15, 2016 11:35 am
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First name: Bill
State: Oklahoma
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I have an all original 1955 Telecaster that I would like to have new frets installed on. Of course, I don't want any leveling of the fretboard or finish taken away or added as its important to keep everything original except for the frets. How hard is this to accomplish? What problems arise that you wouldn't have if it was leveling a rosewood board? What should it cost? Do you just install the frets and then dress the frets down to where it plays properly or do you hold some frets up in a problem area? Any and all info will be of great help to me. Thanks...


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:58 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:49 am
Posts: 10283
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
First name: Hesh
Last Name: Breakstone
Country: United States
Status: Professional
Take it to a pro these are valuable AND this is a difficult neck to refret.

The frets were originally installed sideways and as such should be removed that way too in the same direction as installation to not damage the fret slots. If it has been refretted already it needs to be determined if the last refret was done properly or if some yahoo who didn't have a freakin clue ripped the original frets out from the topside and already screwed it up.

Finish on the board needs to be evaluated by a pro to determine which techniques would be suitable to preserve what finish is left or if this is even possible based on it's condition.

Because of the finish over the original frets and sideways installation this is one of the most difficult jobs to do and not for anyone to learn on.

Anyway take it to a pro, no prices quotes from me because I won't be doing the job for you in that we do not accept shipped in work and are already booked for months. I can tell you that this is a difficult one and should be done by a very knowledgable Luthier who is well versed in early Leo fret removal. With some of the other shops that I know this is at least a $400 - $500 job and it should be, six hour minimum if done uber carefully with the preservation ethic... this instrument deserves.

PS: Maintaining an instruments playability and function such as refretting it correctly by a pro will not harm its value. OTOH poor work on a vintage instrument can dramatically reduce its value forever more.



These users thanked the author Hesh for the post: Clinchriver (Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:45 am)
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:16 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:06 pm
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Location: Magnolia DE
First name: Brian
Last Name: Howard
City: Magnolia
State: Delaware
Zip/Postal Code: 19962
Country: United States
Focus: Repair
Status: Professional
AS Hesh stated, this is job with a high level of difficulty and the instrument is high value. Here is a article on fret removal on these guitars.
https://howardguitars.blogspot.com/2018/01/vintage-pre-cbs-fender-fret-removal.html

While fret installation is then straight forward with new frets driven in from the top in normal fashion preserving th original finish gets to be an issue as does proper choice of fret wire. The original; wire was made to Fender specs and is a bit different than the rest of the fretwire used. The tang is typically shorter so fret slots must either be deepened or fret tangs killed down so as to allow proper seating.

Unless you have experience at this you should have it done professionally. And that doesn't mean just anyone..... Make sure whoever is doing the work has experience at these jobs because if it gets screwed up it will always be damaged from that point on in the eyes of the collecting community no matter how well repaired it may eventually be....

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:29 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

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First name: Bill
State: Oklahoma
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Thanks for the informative replies, guys. Working on these these old guitars is certainly something above my pay grade. I don't work on anything more technical than adjusting the action or maybe a little wiring. I like things as perfect and as right as they can be, so I let only the competent touch my guitars which sure lets me out. I haven't had any repairs done on my stuff in a good long time so I am trying to educate myself a little before I take the plunge and decide on how best to proceed. I have several old guitars that need attention and my backlog of getting all I want accomplished on them has been put off for several years. At some point, I have to make some decisions and get some of this stuff done. The article on fret removal was very helpful, Brian. Again, I much appreciate the informative replies.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:27 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
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First name: Freeman
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One consideration would be to screw another neck on it so you can keep playing and take your time having the refret done.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:33 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 10:44 am
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Location: Western VA, no not West VA
I've always thought it was pretty ingenious the way Fender used to fret these instruments. Interestingly one of my clients is an engineer and he actually built a machine to refret these in the same manor. Many an old Fender fretboard has been ruined becasue 'repairmen' pulled them straight out. Typically they are refretted with modern methods and it doesn't hurt it's value. But yeah, where a $25k dollar guitar is concerned - take it to a pro!



These users thanked the author jfmckenna for the post: CraigG (Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:08 pm)
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:45 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Sun May 15, 2016 11:35 am
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First name: Bill
State: Oklahoma
Zip/Postal Code: 74008
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When did Fender stop installing their frets from the side?


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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 5:47 am 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:46 pm
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First name: Mark
Last Name: McLean
City: Sydney
State: New South Wales
Zip/Postal Code: 2145
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1982, according to Dan Erlewine’s book. And I have seen posts from Dave Collins saying 1981-83. Those two guys are authoritative sources. It might be a bit like the end of Brazilian rosewood for Martin guitars - phased out over a while, not in a single day.


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 5:39 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Sun May 15, 2016 11:35 am
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First name: Bill
State: Oklahoma
Zip/Postal Code: 74008
Country: USA
Thanks Mark. I had no idea when it was.


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