What would you do with this messed up fretboard ? I think I will have to re-bind it and overhang the frets , then possibly refill with epoxy ? I cant take much off the board because it has parallelogram inlays .

Views: 1326


Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Thanks Paul , I totally agree with this idea , but I dont think I can easily achieve the routing , guess I would have the guitar upside down and run the neck along the fence ?

Hi Len, I would stay away from the router table and use hand tools for this job. Possibly a gramil and a sharp chisel to widen the channel and then a custom sanding block to clean things up.

Bad things can happen quickly on a router table. Just my take on it.


Look at the second photo again, the fret seat appears to be a small plateau that doesn't roll off as the rest of the fretboard does. These frets look original which likely means that plateau was created when a factory worker filed/scraped away the binding to create the nibs.

Before you embark upon surgery, pull the frets and you will hopefully find that the radius is much better under the frets.

Nathan I will have a close look at the guitar , I hope you're right .

If the board has not been previously refretted and leveled, the frets themselves often do rest on slight plateaus at the ends as Nate suggested. There are a few pics in this old discussion from the OLF which show this with the frets removed.

The reason (as best as I've been able to reverse engineer) is that Gibson used a wire wheel to polish their frets after leveling, and often scalloped out the edges of the fretboard between the frets In the process.

The solution I prefer is to be minimally invasive, and level the board only so far as to affect the peaks of these plateaus, not going after the wood in between. Sometimes I will even compromise a true leveling of the board to preserve the original surface, and just make sure the wire I install is tall enough to level the playing surface in the end.

As to the fret ends where they extend over the binding where the nibs have been worn off, that's a bit more tricky. If you want to bevel the ends down to be flush at the point where the binding meets the bead, this can require a bevel angle so extreme that it compromises the real estate at the peak of the frets. In these cases I will stop short with the bevel before the bead overhang is truly flush, and then finish off the fret ends individually as I round the ends enough to bring the base back to inside the binding edge. A little bit more work, bit in the scope of a refret on a vintage guitar, not really that bad.

I'm with the change as little as possible crowd. Years ago I did some work for a prominent Toronto studio musician. It was a fairly ordinary looking p bass with a maple fingerboard. It had a very particular sound and  he got some of his work based on this sound. I made the mistake of cleaning up the unfinished very dirty looking finger board with a bit of steel wool. It changed the sound and the feel of the instrument, it took him a week of playing to get it back. We're still good friends. 

My point is that the neck on this guitar will feel much different with edges on it, you might want to keep as much of the "way it is" there as possible. It doesn't matter how technically right you do the refret, if it changes the way the player feels about their guitar in a bad way and they have to pay for it. They won't be very happy. 

It seems that someone didnt like nibs , and filed away the ends of frets and binding until nibs were gone , but this really put an angle on the edge of the fretboard and binding . John , the current owner wants it fixed as well as possible within reason , he doesnt like it this way . There is a slight plateau of r/w under frets Im too busy to get to it right now . When I do I will post new pics .


© 2023   Created by Frank Ford.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service