Hi all.

I was wondering if it's enough to reseat glued in frets that are lifted just by reheating them and then pressing and locking it in an arbour press? Does the melted glue cure back to some extent or just hardens and becomes brittle?

I can't move problematic frets by hand and they sound solid when struck with a steel bar, so my guess is that they are glued in. More so the board shows signs of a past refret with a very chunky modern wire and has major chips in lacquer alond the skirts of the frets.

The upper register has some problematic lifting on the treble side, while the area from 4th fret to 10th fret has random highs and dips in the middle down the center-line.

The problem is that it's a 70's Fender P-bass and has a maple board with polyester finish on it. I wouldn't be concerned about spilling CA glue on solid polyurethane or polyester and just use paste wax as a barrier (works wonderfully btw), but this one is so chippy I wouldn't go near it with CA.

I have experienced both CA and lacquer in the slots from the factory. I always felt as if the reheated glue or lacquer isn't affected at all when it sets back, learning that especially when you need to clean slots like these.

Any ideas gladly appreciated. Thanks!

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Just for clarification, frets are clearly lifted. As I cleaned them up, I could tell by irregular gaps under the frets which correspond exactly to the frets that are sticking up when you sight down the neck. :)

...think I'd go fretless ATW

 The only time i worked  on a maple fretboard, was a pita , .First it needed  to be cleaned thoroughly. I/m guessing that part of your problem is that the FB has shrunk and the frets in parts are sticking up. I would clean up the whole FB first, profile it  correctly , by  sanding out  all the anomalies , and then refretting , instead of trying to repair. Clean out all the slots thoroughly, and make sure ,  one has a perfect or close to it replacement fret.. I now use fish glue to set in frets , or a slower setting elmers white glue , especially if the frets go in to readily.

My experience suggests a kludge won't work. CA is a one-use product - it can't be remelted - and glue in the slot will keep it from seating.  I'm with Ernest...refret it. If the frets are original you might want to determine if they were originally inserted sideways and back them out with a nail set, otherwise you'll have terrible chipping. Anyone know when Fender stopped doing it this way?

HI Tad,

Sounds like this is the result of a bad refret, in which case I suggest, as has been the consensus, that you refret it after reconditioning the fret board surface and cleaning/reslotting the fret slots.  However, if the customer isn't up to it, heat (carefully - the lacquer/poly will go brown with too much heat) and remove the problem frets, clean out the slots and refret.  CA the new frets in and bind the chipped poly with additional thin CA.  It wont be pretty but it'll be serviceable. Basses get dead spots - using CA assists in not making dead spots more dead, Otherwize do a full recon and re-fret if it has to be good looking.

Given that the frets have popped up in the slot its unlikely the frets are still original side loaded as they generally do not move in the vertical when installed this way.   I have seen time frames for when Fender side loaded frets but, given my experience over the years I just don't trust a thing I read about manufacturing dates and specs - any poly neck from the seventies is a prime suspect and any old looking maple neck gets tested if it resists walking the frets out with pullers.  

One of the STEWMAC  Trade Secrets books examines this issue a bit and I've seen some other stuff somewhere but I'm sure my fellow forum members have this stuff nailed and will show and tell on the topic.


Hi all, thanks for all the information.

I guess there would be no shortcuts here. The fact is that it should stay preserved as much as is today. The guitar has toured extensively so the looks are part of its history too. Not that the owner wouldn't pay for it, but body is worn too and they need to match somehow :)

Rusty, I have a fair amount of maple refrets without refinish behind me, but chippy ones like these are always the hardest because whole plates on the face of the fretboard can come off. And working time with masking tape is fairly limited.

I can see there's a slight backbow in the neck still after completely loosening the truss rod. I can only hope it's because of the fret compression.

As for the sideways fretting - no one will ever know, because someone already did a refret. :) Tangs are undercut and slots are filled on the sides. I have seen similar CBS necks having the same kind of fretjob, so maybe the guy before me just pulled the frets and drove new ones straight in without any preparation.

Here are some pics for better representation. A couple of glue bubbles can be clearly seen in one of the pics.

CBS Fenders have polyester finishes, but headstocks were done with nitro to better seal the decal.



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