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Good glue for reseating frets?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by GretschWretch, Dec 13, 2018.

  1. I've got a few very old basses whose frets are unseating at both ends. I want to reseat them with a bit of glue to discourage them from popping free again. My understanding is that a super-glue type adhesive is recommended for this; but I will be using a 2x2 plus clamps to reseat eight or more frets at a time, and super-glue I fear will set up too fast before I can get all my clamps in place.

    Are there alternate glues which might be used, like the glues used by plastic modelers? I can reseat the frets one at a time, but that sure would be tedious. Radiusing is not an issue, as these basses do not have radiusing and in fact have no fretboards at all.
  2. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    The usual trick is to put a piece of metal bar stock across a group of the frets, at the edge of the fingerboard. Clamp it down, bringing the high ones down even with the good ones. Then, turn it up on edge and apply a small drop of CA glue on the ends of the loose frets, letting it wick down into the slots. Let it cure, then remove the clamps and bar. Don't flood it with glue, just a drop.
    Mordamir, JLS and Matt Liebenau like this.
  3. That's what i just did on a neck thru.
    applied radiused caul with clamps,
    tip bass on edge,
    apply ca thin glue to fret tang ends.
    leave clamped for couple hours.
    Bob's your uncle.
  4. Thanks to you both for your prompt and helpful replies. I do in fact have piece of metal bar stock that I use for reversing neck bow. It would be perfect or this application as well. I'll get right to it.
  5. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    no fretboards?

    the frets hover in empty air like on a sitar?
  6. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    As mentioned, using thin CA helps it wick in.
  7. No; the frets are set directly into the neck.
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    OK so no separate wood layer; i think we still think of the playing surface as the “fretboard”.
  9. Yeah, but on the DB side it's "fingerboard." Two such nuances are about all I can handle. Should i have said "playing surface"? "Boardless neck"? Maybe we need a collectively agreed-on descriptor for fretted neck with no fretboard.
  10. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    It's called a fretted neck.

    The fretted neck is the design Leo Fender used first. Truss rods are traditionally installed in the neck before the fingerboard is glued on. When you do not use a separate fingerboard there is no way to hide the filet that is over the truss rod. Therefore the truss rod is installed through the rear of the neck.

    That's why there is a skunk stripe.

    The skunk strip disappeared when Fender started using a separate fingerboard. For some inexplicable reason (marketing?!!!) they began installing the stripe in necks with separate fingerboards in the seventies. They still do it today.

    Nomenclature: Fingerboards that have frets installed in them are still fingerboards. Calling them a "fretboard" only confuses the issue. However, at this late date trying to change what people call it is like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube.

    The frets don't change the function of the part, either. The reason for the fingerboard is to add stiffness to the neck. However, fretted fingerboards are not as stiff as unfretted because of the kerfs sawn into the board. Proper tang sizing usually mitigates this.

    Glue, the original reason for this thread, fills in the gaps but doesn't really add much, if anything to the stiffness.

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