Fret repair advice needed

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by lo_freq_geek, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. Scored a Yamaha BB2000 that needed a rack repaired in the back of the neck and got great advice here. I thought I'd try again regarding the frets. The wear is worst on the lowest 5, a bit on the next 5. The frets are typical of the era, on the low and wide side. You can only really feel the wear with vibrato. Would you try to level and crown this? or just ride it out? It's not my primary, more of a novelty backup.
  2. With a proper polish you'd probably never notice them.
  3. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    That's a bit like asking, "should I tie my shoes a little tighter?" In other words, I'm not sure we can answer - I think you have to answer yourself based on how much (if at all) the wear impacts your playing or bothers you visually. Some people will hate being able to feel wear or even see it, even if there is no real impact. Other people will happily play a neck until the frets are so worn that it buzzes everywhere.
    imabuddha likes this.
  4. vaesto


    Jun 21, 2010
    I'd level and re-crown these frets. If it feels on vibrato it will bug you sooner or later. Also, setup is compromised to certain level because some compensation needed for uneven frets.
  5. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    Lots of meat left, looks like a good candidate for a level & crown
    imabuddha, JLS and lo_freq_geek like this.
  6. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    I agree, level and crown. If you do it now rather than waiting for the problem to get worse it will be easier to do a good job.
    lo_freq_geek and JLS like this.
  7. It's difficult to tell from the pic, but the frets and fingerboard were treated with JJ Gorgomite twice, even the second treatment left the pad very black. The frets are about as polished as they get. I will look for someone local to do the fret work. Thanks for the advice!
  8. dtripoli


    Aug 15, 2010
    I've got the same issue with my primary bass, all my secondary basses have no appreciable fret wear.
    My G&L ASAT is an '89 and has never had any fret work done. That's 31 years old with the last 10 years played almost daily.
    Time to bite the bullet, pry open my wallet and get the fret dressing done. The longer I have been player the more acute
    my hearing is to pitch and being in tune. It's not noticeable to the average listener but it bugs me and that's all that matters.
    The G&L is my money maker so I should invest in the care and feeding of it.
    I'm going to budget $200 for the work and hope the final price is less.
    imabuddha likes this.
  9. In the long run you'll be happier with a good level & dress.

    That said I should have been more specific in my first post. If you look at those divots, the depth isn't that significant, but the way they protrude out and form a burr over the shoulders is.

    So when I say polish I mean the polishing steps as if you just leveled the frets. If you sanded the sides of the frets with 600 grit to knock the burrs off the shoulders and then progressively polished them back to mirror shine, the divots would seem trivial. It's easy if you have the tools & supplies, but a pain if you don't and probably better to put the money towards a fret leveling.

    And as much as I like Gorgomyte, it's a chemical polish, not an abrasive; meaning it's excellent for removing oxidation, but it doesn't remove scratches. (Pro tip: Gorgomyte is just re-packaged Miracle Cloth which you can get online and save a couple of bucks).
    lo_freq_geek and imabuddha like this.
  10. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    First rule of Fretwork: If you can see ruts it's time to dress the frets. There are no exceptions to this rule.

    Second rule of Fretwork: If the ruts are so deep that the frets cannot be dressed it is time to refret the fingerboard.
    lo_freq_geek likes this.
  11. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Agreed, plenty o' meat left there, doesn't need a refret. Just level and polish and Bob's Your Uncle.