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Choices when refretting...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by secretdonkey, Nov 18, 2002.


  1. secretdonkey

    secretdonkey

    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    After nearly 20 years, my old Fender Jazz (actually a Squire - one of the very first Fenders from Japan, I believe) looks to be due for some new frets in the not-so-distant future.

    Being not terribly savvy about such things, I'm wondering what my options are. I have some notion that I could opt for rounder or flatter frets, of various heights, but I don't really know what differences these choices make. Some insight on this would be much appreciated.

    In case anyone might go even further and venture a recommendation, some specifics: Although it's a lowly Squire, this instrument has retained it's position as my main axe even as others have come and gone. It's been fairly well customized and I would spare no reasonable expense in refretting. Maple neck with rosewood fingerboard. I prefer a 'medium' action because I start out playing with a lighter touch but when things get revved up in a rock band, I start playing fairly hard. I play fingerstyle and some slap, through an SWR rig set to achieve the SWR 'signature sound'. I am now using nickle strings and plan to continue. The frets currently have some abuse due to some stainless-string indescretions back before I knew better, but no more stainless strings for me, in any case. I'd like to enhance 'playability' of this instrument but don't know how frets would influence that.

    Thanks in advance for any advice on this issue.
     
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Unless you are going for low-rider action, I would just put the original sized fret wire back on it. If you have loved it for 20 years, it must be OK.

    Chas
     
  3. secretdonkey

    secretdonkey

    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Hmmm... not a whole lot of response (thank you, Chasarms) so maybe I ought to start with a simpler question... like, what differences do round v. flat fret wire make?
     
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    IME,

    Higher fret (round fret) basses tend to be easier to play in that it is easier to get a clean witness point on the string. If your finger hits the space between the frets, it happens. Your finger pressure can be pretty inconsistant and not cause a ton of problems. The trade off is the action has to stay higher and fret clatter is more prominant.


    Lower (flat) frets allow for slicker action and an overall faster neck, but you have to be a better player. Your finger pressure has to be more even, and you have to be much more careful about fretting right behind the fret to prevent buzzes and to get a clean witness of the string on the fret.


    Chas