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DIY refret on a 1976 Fender Jazz

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by narud, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. so main main bass for years has been a late 70's jazz thats stripped and beat to hell, but i never had the original neck. it came with a mim neck and i eventually replaced it with a mij squier bullet neck for its maple board and 7.25 radius. i was always on the lookout for an original neck though.

    not wanting to spend a ton of money i was on the hunt for something that needed work. earlier this year A-Step-Towards was parting out this bass
    i bought the neck for 275.

    he was reporting a a rod that wouldnt straighten the neck, super worn frets, first fret inlay crack, bulging inlay. i bought it with the intention to refret it. however im lazy....

    so when i got it i put some washers under the bullet nut, clamped it into back bow, did a fret level on the upper register and called it a day. i like a close to zero relief neck and strings slammed set up and this got me 90% there. it had been my daily player since. i ultimately put some 40-100's to get the relief where i wanted.

    earlier this month i finally decided to do the work and started on wednesday. just finished last night.

    this is the first fret

    heres the neck with the frets pulled. the finish on this thing was chipping off every where and the frets had so many levels that they were really low and a total pain in the ass to get out.

    heres the first fret with the block pulled. i flooded the crack with super glue and clamped it.

    next up-board leveling. you can see the relief getting sanded out.


    sanding marks chased out and radius cleaned up. time to fret this thing-



    time to level-

    time to play test. success!


    now for the part id never done before. finishing. i used reranch tinted clear to get the tint i wanted. once it was ballpark to the rest of the neck i finished up with deft clear. heres the final product after wet sanding the orange peel out.



    and strung up and ready to head back into the rotation!




    this was my 3rd refret so i dont do this a lot but i ended up super happy with the results. theres definitely things i learned that will help with my cosmetics for the next job. the whole time i was doing this i was saying to myself "holy **** i should have just paid the 275 bucks to get this done" but in the end im glad i did it!
  2. big ups to dan erlewine videos and jason workman at national resphonic for putting up with my questions on finishing!
  3. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Very nice work, and pics. Your nerves must be shot.

    I saw the StewMac tool in your pics, did you use one of their raduised sanding blocks as well?

    About how much time do you think you spent on each fret? (Just cutting, installing, and dressing the ends)
  4. audioglenn


    Jul 14, 2012
    Hey Narud...great job! I've never done a re-fret, but it's something I'm going to try on a "low value" neck when I do. Congrats on taking a big chance and having the skills to make it pay off!
  5. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    I'm always so impressed with you guys that have these skills. Looks awesome.
  6. Man that's sweet! I liked that neck and the headstock age and patina was great , but I knew I couldn't do that work myself. It turned out way better then I imagined and I am glad it found its way back into a useable piece.
  7. puff father

    puff father Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    Endicott, NY
    Man! Nice job. I'll send you mine.
  8. Sweet one blowseph looks nice
    Bring it in we'd
    And the TOOLS too! ;)
  9. Ill bring in the bass! Haha. Still gotta refret the ray and I actually asked to borrow them rather than pull a slop
  10. pedulla-2007

    pedulla-2007 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2008
    Thanks for the time spent taking all those detailed pictures. I only wish i had the patience and diligence you certainly have. The personal satisfaction of saving that neck, and not having to pay the man, to do the job exactly to your standards, make all your efforts worthwhile. Excellent work!
  11. cutting and hammering them in is the fast part. the tedious stuff was gluing down fret ends and truing the board. i used 180 this time because in the past id have to get the sanding marks out which was a pain and i didnt want to gouge the hell out of the blocks. it just took forever.

    pulling the frets left half the slots pretty loose which meant a lot of gluing down ends. i bought pre bent wire and may have had less of problem if i was overbending. the stuff i bought leaves you with just about enough for a single neck and when ive tried to bend wire by hand before id kink. its another skill i need to work on!

    i did use one of their radius blocks to clean up the radius once it was trued but it didnt need much.
  12. the first neck i ever did was a fernandes mij jazz i bought off of the used guitar center site. it came with a huge flip in the neck and was unplayable bast the 12 fret. i took it as a sign to learn how to refret!
  13. i was digging it even before! it still took a great setup with the washers under the truss rod nut.
  14. landau roof

    landau roof Reupholstered User

    Jul 29, 2010
    Downstate CA
    Great work!

    I'm gonna piggyback this question here. Hope it's not too much of an annoyance.

    Does anyone know of a way to prevent the nut-to-inlay split from happening on a bass that hasn't suffered this fate yet?

  15. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Where did you get pre-bent wire? I just checked Stew-Mac and Warmoth and didn't see it listed.

    Is the wire MIA? One thing that makes me hesitant is the slight size differences between "interchangeable" MIA and metric parts. Ime, a lot of stuff is almost close enough to work right.
  16. Glad to hear it all worked out.

    I ended up getting all my money back out of that bass but it taught me a lot on how to buy a vintage bass. I could tell the neck was a great one as I noodled for hours on it with action literally a 1/2 inch and i knew it had potential, just not in my hands but it appears to have found said potential.
  17. if you have more relief than you want and the nut has stopped turning, dont force it. that happens because the wood is compressing/crushing under the nut and your forcing the nut in farther than it should go. if its not straightening the neck, add washers and clamp into back bow. that a lot of times does the trick. if that doesnt work, you get to do what i did!;)
  18. theres a shop on ebay that sells pre cut, pre bent jescar wire. i picked it up there.
  19. That looks awesome, you did a great job.
    This is the kind of stuff that encourages me to slowly learn more and more about setups and repairs.

    One question: How did you get the fretboard so polished out without the frets inhibiting you?
  20. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Thanks, I'll check it out.

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