Hello All,

I was watching a Stew Mac video the other day, and the fellow that was demonstrating---not Dan Earlywine---said to run some thin CA along the edges of the frets for "better tone quality".

I make classicals, and am wondering if this might apply to my builds. I'm quite fussy about getting the fret slots right at .023", and use Jescar fret wire---no problems with frets coming loose.

My first thought is that the CA would help in doing a fret job, with slots a bit too wide, but I thought that I would ask.



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How does one measure "better" tone? Personally, I think this is mumbo-jumbo. I will clamp and wick CA at the ends of a fret that won't seat solidly, usually on an Indian rosewood board. As a general procedure to affect "tone" with tight frets it's a waste of effort. Just my opinion as a curmudgeonly old repairer, of course.

I use CA when fretting. It's an extra security and will keep the frets seated. Don't know if the tone is better, but ideally the fret should be firmly seated and that it will be. The good thing about CA is that when heated the frets can be removed as easy as without the glue.

I use the medium 20 Superglue from Stewmac, I squeeze it deep into the cut and put some water on the fret before hammering down as an accelerator for the glue.

If you wick in the CA exactly at midnight using only the light of a full moon, you will get the very best tone quality.

Tone glue....

Hi All, 

If one accepts that the fret to fingerboard junction plays a significant part in the transfer of string energy to the fingerboard and neck wood directly (as opposed to string energy being transferred to the bridge /nut and pickups directly and then indirectly through air coupling) then one could say that locking in frets with CA contributes to a more consistent tone from fret to fret.

Whether peeps want to accept that "a more consistent tone"  equals "better tone" is up to the individual.   I think that it does qualify.

My own approach as a builder of instruments that operate in high SPLs and harsh string dynamic environments is to make sure the the drive train is locked down as tight as possible.    To assist in achieving that end the use of CA to normalize fret to fret installation and to lock the frets into the diamonds and slots is mandatory on all our instruments.    

I believe that attention to every detail ultimately has a cumulative effect on the overall performance along with improving  consistency from instrument to instrument..    Individual contributions by quality components and build process and execution may not be easily discernible by themselves but a combination of these things ultimately will be.  




Hello Rusty,

I agree about the little things, and that's why I asked about CA in the fret slots. 

I have what I call my "one percent" list, which is things that I think contribute somewhat to the quality of my instruments, but would have a hard time proving. I figure that getting them working for me is worth the effort. 



Then I would rather use a glue like fish glue. That would be better at filling all the tiny air pockets in the fret slot, making it one solid unit.

Any glue that sticks on metal and wood will do the job. Fish glue takes 12 hours to set, CA glue sets in seconds. Doing a lot of fret work, fish glue is not an option.

I also do a lot of fret jobs. I just let it set over night, so it is not an issue that it takes longer.

Clean up is just sooo much easier with fish glue :-)

Just two ways of doing the same thing, non is better than the other. I use paste wax on the fretboard and the top of the frets, the thicker 20 Stewmac glue and as little as possible and deep enough in the groove to prevent major squeeze outs. I wipe off any squeeze outs before it sets, the leftover is on top of the wax and very thin. After doing the whole cycle of sanding and polishing the frets there is still sometimes a few little glue patches left to scrape away. But most of the time I don't have to do anything more to clean up.

The fretwork is just one step in my old guitar renovations, I prefer to get it done right away to be able go on with the next step on the same instrument and not wait over night. Suits my modus operandi :-)

HI Palle, 

One of the reasons for using CA is its ability to wick in/capillary from the end of the fret slot which is how we apply it for unbound boards.  Bound boards get either wicked in after insertion or medium inserted directly into the slot prior to insertion.  It a also cures immediately holding the fret at the moment of application.  Also, in our modern market environment we avoid the use of animal based products. 


So, we should all stop using hide glue and shellac, to protect the animals ;-)  :-)


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