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A new idea to improve motivation and spread fretwear between instruments.

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  • A new idea to improve motivation and spread fretwear between instruments.

    Every time I buy a new guitar, I use it almost exclusively. Part of the reason is because it is shiny and new, but the real reason is because the fretwork is better than my other guitars.

    So I buy a new guitar, play it exclusively for 5 years, level/crown it 1-3 times, then buy another guitar. At the 5 year mark, it might need frets or something else, and its a whole lot easier to just buy a new guitar.

    I'm sentimental and don't sell instruments that I've spent alot of time with, so I have a handful of instruments in playable but sub-optimal condition.

    Since I've been on a buying spree lately, I have an idea that will keep me from developing "oneitis" with a shiny new guitar. The idea is to pick a guitar based on the kind of playing I'm doing.

    1) Noodling/experimenting - Any old guitar.

    2) Learning and developing skills - Second best guitar.

    3) Performing/recording - Best guitar.

    The idea is to enforce some discipline on my playing and not burn up the frets on new guitars late at night when I'm brain dead.

  • #2
    In 30+ years of playing guitar I have never needed to do a refret. I have needed a crown and level maybe 2-3 times. And Iím not a gentle player. I do play them regularly too. Some more than others and not as often as when I was a kid just learning when I would spend hours upon hours playing.
    You must be manhandling the crap out of your guitars if they need a refret after 5 years!!

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    • #3
      Just get stainless steel frets and this won't happen. I just tend to use what ever guitar is closest to me at the time. I have instruments in pretty much every room, so the playing gets spread out between them.
      Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

      Comment


      • #4
        I just keep each guitar in a different tuning and keep them in that tuning which keeps me from over using any one of them since I play each tuning equally. Plus that prevents wear on hardware from constantly changing tuning on any one guitar. I just need to buy 1 more to keep in D standard (got rid of the one I had) so I just don't use D standard until I get another one. It helps tremendously with fast wear on any one guitar. After over a decade of playing the 2 I still have there is no noticeable fret wear anywhere on the neck, but I do play with a very light touch and vibrato, bends which I do a lot.
        Last edited by Mr. 80's; 08-12-2020, 06:44 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Gtrjunior View Post
          In 30+ years of playing guitar I have never needed to do a refret. I have needed a crown and level maybe 2-3 times. And Iím not a gentle player. I do play them regularly too. Some more than others and not as often as when I was a kid just learning when I would spend hours upon hours playing.
          You must be manhandling the crap out of your guitars if they need a refret after 5 years!!
          No, not only a refret every 5 years, but up to 3 fret levels in those 5 years.

          I've been playing for over 60 years and never needed a refret (but I've also not just played one guitar in that time).
          Originally Posted by IanBallard
          Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by GuitarDoc View Post

            No, not only a refret every 5 years, but up to 3 fret levels in those 5 years.

            I've been playing for over 60 years and never needed a refret (but I've also not just played one guitar in that time).
            Different play styles.

            Different quality frets.

            Different expectations of playability.

            All of my guitars are asian, probably not the highest quality fret material. In the last 30 minutes of practice, I probably played more notes than most people do in a week. And because I shred, I have pretty high expectations for low action. So when a section in one area (between 7-17) gets worn down, it will start to impact tone, so I level it.

            Because I can level/crown myself, I have learned that the majority of the work is in the crowning of the frets. Leveling, all you have to do is take off the floyd, straighten the neck, mark the frets, and use the leveling beam. Takes 10 minutes. Crowning is where all the labor is, especially on jumbos. So I have a preference to do more frequent crown/level because the overall work per job is less.

            When the frets get to about 1.1 mm or less (yes they are still playable), I am starting to think about a refret. Wide and low frets dont have a very accurate feel and they dont have that scalloped feel anymore. Its harder to crown them to a point. Jumbos last a few years longer than medium jumbo.

            And of course, another infrequently discussed issue is that the neck wood and profile changes over time. So sometimes a guitar needs a deeper level. Some of my guitars are ebay specials.

            Think of it like skiiing. A competitive slalom skier will constantly be sharpening his edges. (Not only because he needs the sharp edges for performance, but because the demanding style puts much more wear on the edges.) A rec skiier that does intermediate trails really won't care.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Gtrjunior View Post
              In 30+ years of playing guitar I have never needed to do a refret. I have needed a crown and level maybe 2-3 times. And Iím not a gentle player. I do play them regularly too. Some more than others and not as often as when I was a kid just learning when I would spend hours upon hours playing.
              You must be manhandling the crap out of your guitars if they need a refret after 5 years!!
              You know what’s funny, I bought my 1996 Deluxe Strat Plus Used in 1999. The frets had decent wear. That neck was a main neck for me for a decade and when I sold it last year there was hardly any more wear than when I got it. I think it lived a tough honky tonk life before I owned it, must have been someone that played 12s with a heavy hand.
              Oh no.....


              Oh Yeah!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by GuitarDoc View Post

                No, not only a refret every 5 years, but up to 3 fret levels in those 5 years.

                I've been playing for over 60 years and never needed a refret (but I've also not just played one guitar in that time).
                I misread it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  This is what fretwear looks like on my guitar. I bought this new about 5 years ago and it has medium jumbos. I have played it 90% of the time over the past five years. Usually a couple hours a day.

                  I also did two level/crown over that time and this is the current state. (Needs anothe level.) Right under each string, the wear is the greatest (a mild divot), but because of bending and vibrato, the tops are also flat adjacent, although not quite as low. This wear pattern shows mostly between frets 9-20, with the most between 12-17.

                  I could level and crown this guitar again, but the frets are at the point where they will be lower than I like. If they started life as jumbos, I would be able to get a few more years from them.

                  I use 9-42 D'Addario. These are cheap nickle/silver frets. I dont think I am heavy handed, its just alot of notes played.

                  I have ordered a new cheap neck for this particular guitar. If that neck is any good, I will use it, otherwise I will either refret it myself (first refret) or get one from Warmoth.

                  Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20200812_125934.jpg Views:	0 Size:	98.5 KB ID:	6009048

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I got em hanging all over the house . The acoustics like the living room as they like to cheer at the ballgames with me
                    EHD
                    Just here surfing Guitar Pron
                    RG2EX1 w/ SD hot-rodded pickups / RG4EXFM1 w/ Carvin S22j/b + FVN middle
                    SR500 / Martin 000CE-1/Epiphone Hummingbird
                    Epiphone Florentine with OEM Probuckers
                    Ehdwuld branded Blue semi hollow custom with JB/Jazz
                    Reptile Green Gibson Custom Studio / Aqua Dean Shire semi hollow with piezo
                    Carvin Belair / Laney GC80A Acoustic Amp (a gift from Guitar Player Mag)
                    GNX3000 (yea I'm a modeler)

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                    • #11
                      Some of that wear (divots right under the strings) looks the same you would get from storing and transporting in a hard case without a fretboard protector. Just from the pressure the case puts on the strings and then the guitar slightly moving and vibrating around can cause fret wear pretty quickly depending how much it's in there and moved around. Even just moving it around in the house can cause it. I make my own protectors out of doubled up poster board.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Play the guitar you like the best all the time, and then get it refretted with the biggest stainless steel frets you can. Keep one backup guitar with stainless steel frets as well.
                        Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

                        Originally posted by Douglas Adams
                        This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I really sympathize with you as I have the same problem.

                          After careful consideration and being respectful of my mental state, also noting that I am OCD and have ADHD, I must make a decree.
                          This behavior is bizarre.

                          In general, I'm keeping most of my guitars for life and have not gotten in flipping equipment. Also I have more guitars than days of the week.

                          So far, I've only had one guitar refretted and this guitar was purchased in 1973.


                          Solution:

                          Go to SS frets

                          Get a guitar for each day of the week. With this system, you can rotate equipment and more effectively spread out the wear.

                          This way you can declare every Tuesday Tele day.
                          Or if you have a mood that requires a specific instrument, you can make allowances in your rotation.
                          That is not dead which can eternal lie,
                          And with strange aeons even death may die.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Top-L View Post

                            Different play styles.

                            Different quality frets.

                            Different expectations of playability.

                            All of my guitars are asian, probably not the highest quality fret material. In the last 30 minutes of practice, I probably played more notes than most people do in a week. And because I shred, I have pretty high expectations for low action. So when a section in one area (between 7-17) gets worn down, it will start to impact tone, so I level it.

                            Because I can level/crown myself, I have learned that the majority of the work is in the crowning of the frets. Leveling, all you have to do is take off the floyd, straighten the neck, mark the frets, and use the leveling beam. Takes 10 minutes. Crowning is where all the labor is, especially on jumbos. So I have a preference to do more frequent crown/level because the overall work per job is less.

                            When the frets get to about 1.1 mm or less (yes they are still playable), I am starting to think about a refret. Wide and low frets dont have a very accurate feel and they dont have that scalloped feel anymore. Its harder to crown them to a point. Jumbos last a few years longer than medium jumbo.

                            And of course, another infrequently discussed issue is that the neck wood and profile changes over time. So sometimes a guitar needs a deeper level. Some of my guitars are ebay specials.

                            Think of it like skiiing. A competitive slalom skier will constantly be sharpening his edges. (Not only because he needs the sharp edges for performance, but because the demanding style puts much more wear on the edges.) A rec skiier that does intermediate trails really won't care.
                            I get it. You made some good points.
                            Originally Posted by IanBallard
                            Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

                            Comment

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