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Fret buzz with a small hairline crack in binding at fret - HELP!!!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by cosmicevan, Nov 8, 2004.

  1. cosmicevan


    Feb 1, 2003
    New York
    I've got an old Hohner acoustic/electric bass that I was fixing up the other day, when I noticed a small, hairline crack in the binding along the treble side of the fingerboard near the 14th fret. This is giving me a buzz on my G between the 12th and 14th fret, but sounds fine on any lower or higher frets.

    I haven't taken out any feeler gauges or anything to confirm, but I appears that the fret may be slightly raised at the crack which would explain the buzz. Before I go banging it back into place (which is likely not the correct way to solve this), any recommendations on how to diagnose and fix this problem? I've done some work with instruments in the past and am not affraid to take a file or other tools to this instrument.

    Any and all help is more than appreciated.

    Thanks much and keep revolutionizing the bass guitar!!!
  2. Hmm, a crack in the binding and a raised fret at the same point at the same time is interesting. It might mean something is happening to the fretboard right there. Or maybe that point took a shot and the fret came up at the same time the binding cracked. Without seeing it, it's hard to diagnose. If there's plenty of material left in the fretslot, it might go back down and with a drop of CA glue, stay put. That's a pretty common repair. In fact, gluing the end of the fret is common when binding the neck. The tang of the fret has to be cut back to make room for the binding and that can require gluing the very ends down. The binding is most likely celluloid and I assume it's under a finish. If the finish is lacquer (I would guess it is) then it can be easily removed and replaced right at the crack. Celluloid can be "welded" with certain types of cement. One brand is perfectly named - Weld-On. It comes in a water thin type and a thicker version. It melts binding so that it will stick to wood. That melting can be helpful in softening up the area around the crack and working the crack back together where it will stay put. You can't do this with a crack that has come from shrinkage but if it came from a trauma and all the material is there, you can make a near perfectly hidden repair.

    If you are at all uncertain, leave it to a pro.

    Hope this helps
  3. cosmicevan


    Feb 1, 2003
    New York
    thanks for the advice. it actually appears to be just a crack in the binding. i assumed that the fret may have been slightly loose because of the buzz. the instrument isn't really worth paying for a professional repair and i've done enough that i'm not affraid to try and fix it myself. i'm really just looking for a quick and easy solution to make the buzz go away on the 12th, 13th, and 14th fret. do you think that my best route is to glue the crack and maybe bang the fret in place a bit and clamp the fret down? my only major concern at this point is gluing the crack and still having the buzz...