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I have this 20year old Warmoth with a maple/ebony neck with some hump and twist to it. It was still playable up to this winter so I postponed it. This winter was very dry so it pulled into a backbow the truss rod won't release out of any more. It could use new frets anyways and the SS frets on my other strat please me a lot so I'm building up to the job. The board has shrunk some, I had to file the ends recently.

Couple of years ago there was a Warmoth guy on the Line6 Variax boards when modding them was all the rage. I asked him about pulling the frets and he said to always to pull them sideways.

What's your take on this?

Of course sideways would destroy the finish on the treble side, so that needs to be cut.
Now I never done sideways extraction before and I don't know if its more effort or more difficult or even worth it. If the frets weren't inserted sideways there aren't any channels to guide the barbs. They may even come out the top and totally destroy it?

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Hmmm, it seems that the last statement was correct. If the frets were inserted in the standard (from-the-top) manner, there'd be no benefit to be gained in removing them from the side... and a risk of inflicting even more damage as the barbs attempted to chart their course through the solid wood.  

If they were originally inserted from the top, the barbs have already made their entryways, so it would make sense (well, to me) to remove them from the top as the barbs would already have a path to follow.  

I'd probably take them from the top, but that's just my two-cents.

Remember that I don't know much about electrics but how about trying one at the base of the neck to see how it comes out. You might try the second to the last so you don't risk pulling a sliver from the fret to the end of the fret board. See how it comes up using all the usually techniques for fret removal. 

Hi Gert :)

Unless anyone has different evidence, I believe that Fender was the only builder (manufacturer OR independent builder) that used the sideways insertion of frets (standard, not bar frets), and they only did it until 1982. Unless contrary information exists to counter that claim, I think that answer will cover all similar future inquiries

I think the "Warmoth guy" is either full of it or himself. The fact of the matter is that there's way more bogus info on those 'product user' sites than valid information. In 40 years of repairing, this is the first time I've heard of this 'claim'.

For the ONLY definitive answer to your question though, I urge you to contact Warmoth. I'm interested as to what they have to say. Hey, I could be wrong and if I am, I'll need to change my way of thinking in order to disseminate correct information.

But, to give you an additional 2 cents worth of opinion, pull them the standard way. Before we all got hip to the Fender anomaly, we all pulled frets the conventional way. Even on vintage Fender FB's, it never caused too much of a problem. Perhaps, just a bit more FB chipping, but that's only my theory based upon empirical observation.

Best of luck with the rest of your project :)

Since I posted this, I found this info on the Warmoth site.:

"pop up caption":

"Frets are pressed in one at a time with this Arbor press"

Case closed?

It would appear so. Huge thankful confirming what I thought.

I was concerned about chipping. It was rumored to be a danger with ebony board and I read somewhere that sideways would be a way to circumvent that.

So I asked him about it. He was a very nice and helpful guy on the forum, so let's just chalk this one up to a misunderstanding. On the forum it was mostly about bodies, so maybe he wasn't as knowledgeable about necks. Of course he shouldn't have Answered if he didn't know...
I meant huge thanks for... B)

You're very welcome, Gert.

When it comes to internet guitar forums, misinformation, 'guesses as facts' and lots of phrases that begin with, "I thought", "I heard", "Somebody said" are all too common and do a disservice to their readers.

As you read this forum, you'll see that we often must contend with customers who come in with completely wrong information from internet forums and demand that we perform work in accordance with that bum info. It needlessly causes adversarial situations, which is one of the things traditionally good-natured luthiers dread. I included that info in case you ever see a disrespectful comment made about those boards (most likely from me).

It's not a rumor that ebony chips more easily that other FB woods, but ALL FB woods will chip given the right conditions.

BTW: We don't deal in rumors. We either debunk them or validate the information as useful. That's the beauty of this forum and all of its talented contributors. It's a fact based, no B.S. place to get the straight scoop from experts who happily go balls to the wall to get the poster the best answer to their question.

I remember that, in another post, you called yourself an 'amateur". Well, you're asking the right questions and that's a pretty good indication that you're on your way to becoming a good tech. Keep up the good work :)

Again, Gert...best of luck with your project and don't forget to true the FB before you refret. Oh ya, and have fun with it :)

Exactly why I came here. What a nice post...

And it's awesome that you guys take the time for these long posts! It really makes a difference. And y'all aren't even getting paid for it.

I do enjoy working on my guitars. It does scare the willies out of me, but its exciting at the same time.

And I am gaining experience fast. B)

Plain horse sense and lots of researching and answers by you guys do help a lot!

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