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Fret wear: When is it time for service?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by whacker, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. I'm looking for opinions and advice about fret wear, and when do some/most of you decide to do something about it, either a simple dressing, or a partial/full replacement job. I've just begun to reach a point on my EBMM SR5 ('95 model, purchased used) where I visually notice it, but the notes don't choke out or anything. Certainly we'd all like to have good-as-new looking frets (and their intonation and playability benefits), but that can only last so long. So what's the criteria for deciding on service?
  2. Rick Turner

    Rick Turner Commercial User

    Jul 14, 2004
    I design and build electric basses and pickups under the Turner, Renaissance, and Electroline brand names.
    That's a personal decision on your part. I used to work repairs at Westwood Music in LA. There was a session guitar player who had a couple of Floyd Rose equipped Ibanez guitars, and he had me do a light fret level and polish every time the guitars needed a string change! That kept those guitars playing like Formula 1 cars ready for a race every time. The guitars barely needed touching, but I leveled, crowned and polished each one about once a month... So it's a budgetary issue. If you can afford to keep a bass at tip-top playing condition, do so. Or learn to do it yourself. Or don't worry about it until you feel like your bass just isn't cutting it.
  3. Thanks, Rick, for the prompt and courteous reply. It's awesome and a bit unexpected that I can get a response to a question like this from someone of your caliber, so I do appreciate it.

    I don't expect that you'd remember running into me (just some guy passing through) at Make'n Music here in Chicago several years ago, but I certainly recall the time, and made the connection to a person whose column I'd been reading in you-know-what bass mag for a long time. Thanks again, and now I know the Internet is good for something!

    It really is a budgetary issue at this time, but I guess I haven't yet reached the point where I do feel the instrument isn't cutting it. I'm just anticipating what that might be like and checking my options, so your advice is quite on the mark for me.
  4. I guess I don't score any points if I say that I was going to say just what Rick said... :rollno:

    I've got a Jazz that has the "look" of perhaps needing some fretwork on the first 3 frets. But it's been that way since I bought it but it always sets up right and plays great so I haven't been chompin' to do anything to it.

    I'm more of a stock car kinda guy compared to the formula one types Mr. Turner described. :)