Two recent discussions have caused me some concern from a technician point of view. The reason I say this is that both issues if taken at face value are viable and presented as repair procedures. However, if all instrument types and finishes are taken into account (and they do not appear to have been) the use of these procedures will cause serious damage in some cases.   The discussions were centered around the use of hairdryers and heat guns and soldering up fret dings respectively.

Firstly, a hairdryer is not sufficiently hot enough to cause a sound aliphatic glue joint to separate. Hairdryers are maxed out at 160 degrees F (any hotter burns skin) at normal operating distances.  They are built like that on purpose.  The creep/separation temperature for yellow glue is around 210 degrees F. So, if a joint separates with a hairdryer and a spatula chances are it would separate regardless of the use of a hairdryer,  as it is faulty joint anyway.  

The other option displayed was to use a heat gun which will set fire to just about anything you care to name in the guitar repair world - you may get away with this option if you are super-skilled and attentive and have a a sixteenth of an inch of poly two pack on the guitar - but come the first whiff of nitro or varnish and you will be toast - and so will the instrument. I routinely use heat guns to strip instrument finishes and it has taken years to master the technique (yep, I've torched a few trainwrecks in learning the techniques and wouldn't recommend it as a 101 gig).

Secondly, As for using eutectic lead/tin or lead free solder (Rockwell hardness 13-15) to repair a nickel silver fret (Rockwell hardness 60 -75)  to repair a ding in a fret - this is simply unacceptable from a professional repair standard point of view and has no place in modern luthiery and repair as far as I am concerned. 

Hard brazing silver solder (which is considerably harder and would work) can be used if the fret is removed, the solder applied with a brazing torch or similar, and then replaced (a useful procedure if you are a collector or vintage sort of person and all that goes with that) after re-work hardening the annealed area on the fret.

Attempting to solder a fret in-situ on a maple board is similarly inviting disaster and I would not do it even if I thought I could.  To get the fret hot enough for the solder to bond will turn the surrounds brown.

Now, I'm not here to be contrary,  and I'm not here to thrash and trash newbies or ridicule left field stuff -  quite the opposite.   I'm sticking my neck out here to reinforce the notion that modern guitar repair both at the professional and amateur level has no place for dodgy, unproven or dangerous (to a customers instrument) practices.  

The boss and convener of this forum and his highly experienced peers have demonstrated the level of expertise and sound practices which exist to standardize and educate those who aspire to and those who practice the trade.

These fine hard working dudes set de-facto national and international standards which should be upheld and taken forwards. 

I am concerned with anything which takes our trade backwards.

Regards, Rusty.

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This ain't my first rodeo either!

I am quite amazed to be a partial catalyst for all this discussion. I tried to pose my topic as a question about an 'unsure fix' vs a bonafide repair. I think the idea had been shot down fairly in the 1st six replies as a "Gypsy Repair". However , the term has conotations of fixing well enough until selling off. That is something I would not do, without disclosure...if I was to sell!

Alas, another member weighs in that he has done the fix to HIS satisfaction....and there is a 'rumbling' amongst the tribe!

The fact is, all of the questions concerning repairs that I ask, have been for my guitars not a customers! I am not hiring out as a luthier. I realize that most of the long-time members here are in the trade. I am a  long-time vintage guitar enthusiast(Gibson primarily),player and collector! Yes, I am 'quirky' with all things that come with the territory! I manage to put my guitars into good repair and playing condition to suit my needs. I have acquired numerous specialised tools and products from Stew-Mac and the like. I have also learned much of what I know from this site as well as others and am very appreciative of that. I am very consciencious about what I do.

In the course of 25 years or so, I have had many old guitars come and go. I have seen a lot of previous repairs (the good,the bad and the ugly). Some came under the heading...."What were they thinking...???" I have seen 'piss-poor' fret jobs and dressings.

I know that most of you that have added to this post consider yourselves 'the best' at your trade (you can,t hide ego)...

I really don,t mean to disturb your 'collective' pecking order with my posts! I just assume that anyone with a modicum of brain that reads can decide for themselves what is good and what is bunk, by the replies....No?

I am genuinely not upset by any post! Just responding, genuinely!

I am down with 'the concensus".....'Whatever'  that is......


 I don't think the issue is that you brought up the question. If anything, it is probably better that it was mentioned since it's obviously something others may find on the Internet and wonder about. 

 I think the issue is that we sometime seem to be more interested in keeping the peace then we are in offering up straight forward responses if we think an idea is a bad one. I believe you are correct that most readers can see from the first several posts that the idea might not be very good but none of us, in those first few posts clearly and directly said it a "bad" idea.

In my experience for forums on the Internet, I've seen lots of erroneous posts or even threads that I passed by without comment. It's not possible to post a response to every bad bit of advice that you find on the Internet. That said, we, professional and amateur alike, have become part of a community that is founded on the idea of exchanging ideas and, hopefully, weeding out that which isn't good while forwarding the better ones. There is never anything wrong with posting a "bad question". That's how we learn, the issue is in how we respond. It's one thing for a person that has little or no experience to respond inaccurately but it is another for me to know an idea is a bad one and not insure that any response I make clearly reflect that belief. 

In the case of your question, I've worked with solder enough to know that any solder that would be nearly as hard as fret wire will require much too much heat to get it melted and bonded to a fret set in a fretboard but I did not say that. Instead, I suggested that replacing the fret seem a faster and more sure method and left it at that. Well for some of us that's enough but by not directly stating what I really though of the idea I left things open to the idea that I, at least, didn't actually think the idea was bad, just not as good as a new fret.  As amateur's engaged in this "hobby" for decades, you and I mayl recognize the value in what I said but if this answer was available 25 or 35 years ago, neither of us may have recognized what I did not say and tried this "repair", thinking it would do while making a bigger mess of things in the interest of saving some money.  

I think the point is that we owe it to one another and the community at large to be more honest about ideas that we feel may not be so good.  We are all quick enough to jump on a thread with a good idea and say it is such and so we should probably be more careful to, tactfully, voice our opinions clearly if we think an idea is not good too.

That's my spin on this topic, anyway. Please correct me if you feel I have missed the mark.

Right on!

John's post on the previous page brought up a good point. I talk with him quite frequently, and know his frustration with not recieving answers to questions asked in all honesty, and sharing great ideas, and no one posting a responce. John, I am guilty of this too. I expect too much sometimes from Forums like these, in the way of encouragement sometimes. I can't say that 'for' John, but I can tell you 'about' John. He is a quite qualified  and super comptent repair person in his own right, and has literally thousands of instrument repairs under his belt. His quality of work is up with the Big Boys,, and he is a genuine nice guy too.

All this to say, he is no different from you or I, and deserves our respect too. The same with Retrorod. There is not a single person here, who has not had a super bad day, and done something that they regretted. There have been a handful of times I have posted something on some Forum's thread, and known I was out of line, but hit the POST button anyway. There has not been a single time I have done that that I did not regret it.  Apologies have been made publically and sometimes privately too.  We all have bad days.

 That said ,I enjoy the  friendships online here.  One of the things that I always try and encorage on Online Forums such as this one is transparency AND politness.  There is virtually no reason to be rude online. If someone IS being rude, that is the time to contact the MODERATOR, and let them know that a fire may be starting. MODs have lots to do too, and hopefully can get the fire out without feelings being hurt. It becomes harder and harder as the Forum grows to a huge numbers (Mandocafe is a good example)


 I try to be as transparent online as I possibly can be with mt dealings, and when I kick off, I REALLY want someone to stand up at my funeral and say   "hewas an honest man"


Lets hope and work for a Forum that will be open to new ideas. Hesh is right that this should not become an 'old boy's club' at the expence of new members trying to learn.

Kerry and John,

 I've made post that didn't get much of a response too. I understand that frustration but early on someone (can't remember who) pointed  out that no responses probably means that everyone that read the thread didn't have anything to add or didn't have an opinion to voice.  I've realized that I often read a post and don't respond for exact those reasons.  I really don't think it's anything personal. The threads I start are important to me but that fact doesn't make them important to others. 

I remember John's post. My reason for not responding is that I recognize that John is much more experienced than I and that the chances of my having anything to add that he hasn't already though of are pretty small. In other words, I have faith in John's ability to make this repair better than I ever could.  That's unsatisfying to John since he wanted feed back but I just didn't have anything worth while to give.  Sometimes the response is; "I got nothing." 

Well i think first i did not have any problems with Rustys post and I can't see why anyone else should ether.And second Retrorods post had nothing wrong with it also and I did not see any thing personal in any of the replys that he recived and he  did'nt think so ether.And I did reply to Johns post and my first part of the answer should tell him that I think he is on the right track the rest of my answer is just pointing out some of the things he should check out befor he closes the repair up. As a rule I will only chip in if i think I can add something to a post so my guess is that every one else thought he had the repair well in hand. Anyway I was of the opinion that this forum was created so that each one of use could learn form each other.There will always be times that someone mite think that they are being slighted but in most cases it is only them that thinks so. As it has already been pointed out every idea is not a good one.P.S maybe we are getting a little to thin in the skin.As always good luck with your repairs and don't be afraid to ask questions.  Bill...................

Bill I appreciated your input and I was really just making a point. Having very little response to a post may be a good thing although I was hoping for something I might have missed.

Thank you 


Rusty, to be honest, I can't take this lightly. You're not doing the repair business any favour by giving amateurs some hard lessons. Separate discussions like these reflect some level of narcisism, I'm sorry. Everybody should express their opinion in the threads we discussed this 'newbie' stuff, but now you see a lot of seasoned users giving us some of their ego. That just separates our worlds even more.

I for one came to this community because I saw straight discussions about guitar business, no off-topic stuff, just pure devotion to guitars. And I'd guess a grown men with some level of passion for guitar repair and building should decide on their own, not bash other people's experience in a separate gathering just to reassure themselves their thoughts are still on a higher level than ours.

I soldered my fret. I never had any damage. I'm not gonna go into details with this again, the OP had an identical problem. I found a solution to this unique problem, I explained how it worked for me. I never encouraged anyone to do what I did.
Let's be frank, it's kind of a nonsense to braze any NS fret. Brass rod melts at 900°, zinc in NS will evaporate above 500. Soldering was worth a try and it worked. It worked because of the surface area. No one ever said I repaired a ding. I repaired a CUT from the B string, the string was burried inside the fret. I only shared my experience.

And guys, don't go deep with all the self-flattering. Guitar repair is a type of art, not science. I can see no internationally approved standards. If there were, then any tech should pull off a perfect neck reset each and every time. And by the way, since you mentioned standards, a finish touchup is something all of you consider normal and do on a regular basis. It's a sub-standard thing for me, it's either a full respray or a complete butchery. Industry doesn't approve that. But your customer's money does because it leaves all that beautiful crud and cold-war toxic polymers intact so they can be labeled vintage. So you charge for a drop of acetone, but I should feel bad because I soldered a fret on my own guitar?

Let's stop here.

I joined to contribute and mostly learn. I guess it was a bad decision to participate. This place now looks more like a fetishist's place and it kinda makes my stomach turn. Sorry to say, but I'd guess it's the grey hair issue with you guys. I have rebuild engines in my life, I have tons of engineering experience, but now I should feel bad because I filled .013'' gap with solder?

Thank you very much for expressing yourself, better now than never.

The amount of open mindedness, patience, understanding and decorum demonstrated by the "grey hairs" at is remarkable. That they would share their knowledge at all is a bonus. I've seen some of their work they have proven themselves and deserve respect. If you and another guy think you know better than the collective wisdom of this entire forum then perhaps you should reacquaint yourself with the definition of narcissism and ego.


imho refilling a fret ding with solder is laziness and refinishing a guitar with a scratch is moronic. Disrespecting the members of this forum that have spent years repairing guitars with integrity and pride is unforgivable.

Wow, lots of passion here. Interesting to see everyone's take on this. My approach is to be as responsible for my own education as possible. I would expect that from anyone. Especially with internet info. In other words: Everyone has to do their own research, consider the sources, then execute their plan. This goes for both the repair guy, his/her clients, and anyone who reads these posts.

Rusty's post is fine by me. Along with all the responses. I hope there is no fall out of participation here over a difference of opinions.


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