Hi Guys,

  I have a mid-2000's MIM Fender Tele that has the fret tangs sticking out the side all the way up the neck on both sides. It has a maple neck with what I'm assuming is a polyurethane finish. I've done some fretting before so I know how to file down the tangs, but what I'm unsure of is how to fix the finish once the tangs are filed flush to the wood. Would a med or thick CA be the choice and then treat it as a long continuous "drop" fill? Or a brush on poly and try to blend it in as best I can? A little intro to my skill level: I've been a semi-regular touring musician for the past 20 years and while at home have worked mainly construction including working for a wood floor company (milling, installing, sanding and/or distressing, and finishing) so I'm familiar with wood and finishing in general. I've also been working non professionally on guitars for about 7 years while at home when time permits. I've been a long time lurker of this site and posted very infrequently, mainly because I can usually find an answer to problems that crop up in older posts. This time I couldn't and any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks for reading!


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Ooops included the pictures as zip files, here they are as jpegs.


Here's another....... sorry having problems uploading photos


This is a common symptom of drying out of the wood.  I don't know much about electrics, but if it were an acoustic, I would re-humidy the instrument by putting it in a plastic bag with a damp cloth in the bottom of it. 

Glen, thanks , that works for acoustics guitar boxes with lots of exposed bare wood inside the box and thin stuff at that.    However,  it won't make an iota of difference to a maple neck that has already permanently resized itself and is covered in lacquer and you will not, repeat, will not, ever put an electric guitar in a damp/wet environment for obvious reasons.   I know you meant just the neck. 


Good points, thanks Russell

Rusty, I put my Les Paul in a sealed aquarium with salt water, is that going to cause problems?

Cyrus, My usual approach is to mask with tape just below the tangs, one continuous strip, and then sand using a rigid flat block (aluminum channel is my go to) with 220 stickit paper attached. If done carefully you stop just as the paper starts to sand the finish and then use 600+ wet and dry to remove any scratches and hand buff with compound. If you take your time there will be no need to refinish. You're just trying to get the tang flush to the finish, that's it. Best of luck. Oh and my channel is about 6" long.

Your file will glide along the tips of those fret ends, and miss the finish completely until your are flush with the finish. I would then switch to a very fine file for a final touch, and then polish. You don't have to get the frets lower than the finish, just flush to it, and you shouldn't lose any finish to careful work.

Work in the plane of the fretboard, not vertically.

I have fixed similar necks by carefully filing the fret ends until the file just hits ths finish adjacent to the fret. Then switch to 320 grit w/d sandpaper on a stick or wraped around a large rectangular eraser, then 400, 600, 1500 grit and then polish.


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