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Thread: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

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  1. #1
    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    I started pulling frets from my Epi Dot last night to do a refret, and noticed something weird. All the frets were undercut. The tang stops about a quarter inch from the edge of the board . . . like the way they would be installed if there was binding. So all the fret slots are just sitting like holes in the middle of the board. Is there some secret benefit/reason that they would have been doing this? If not I'm planning to saw the fret slots to the edge of the board and install the new frets for simplicity sake.

    Also, what do people use for sawing fret slots on the cheap? I was going to just use a chunk of hacksaw blade screwed to a bit of wood.
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    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.

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    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    if there is no binding, i dont know. might be easier to setup the machines to do them all the same rather than have two configurations? i have a fret saw so...

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    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    After seeing that all MIM Strats get a maple veneer, I bet Jeremy’s right about doing them all the same way.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker ICTGoober's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    Also, what do people use for sawing fret slots on the cheap?
    Not a hacksaw. Too wide.

    Old school method is a back saw (look it up).
    Slots are usually .023 wide these days.

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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    Quote Originally Posted by ICTGoober View Post
    Not a hacksaw. Too wide.

    Old school method is a back saw (look it up).
    Slots are usually .023 wide these days.
    Yes, my frets are supposed to be installed in a .58 mm (.023 inch) fret slot. The hack saw blade I wanted to use is .63 mm (0.025). Is that not close enough?

    EDIT - Actually, now I'm getting misgivings about the whole thing. How hard is it to undercut fret wire?
    Last edited by GuitarStv; 11-11-2019 at 01:59 PM.
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    Quote 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.

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    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    If your saw does not match the tang almost exactly, then even if you glue then they are probably going to work their way loose/out. Especially with old fret slots where the tang barbs slots are already in the wood and not being made during installation.

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    Mojo's Minions Ayrton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    You really only need scrap/clean the old slots if they are of size. You will need to nip the tags to fit inside, of course.

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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    Like guitar specific tools? I've got a couple files and some flush cut nippers. I figure I could use the flush cut nippers to take a chunk off the tang and then file 'em. It would just take forever. Be much faster/easier to just saw the slots all the way through.
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    Quote 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.

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    Mojo's Minions Ayrton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    You will probably distort the wire doing it that way. Better off going old school and just filing them.
    -Chris


    Quote Originally Posted by John Suhr View Post
    Practice cures most tone issues

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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    Dots and Sheratons are the same guitars with different accoutrements. The Sheratons have very wide multi ply neck binding/purfling IIRC, so maybe Epi didn't bother cutting different frets for the different models.

    I wouldn't use a saw to clean the slots for a re-fret. Too much chance of screwups, even if you are experienced and careful. I would clean the slots with a blade, dental tools, and finish-safe solvents.
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    Did they fill the fret slots with finish/filler? I have had a number of import guitars where they undercut the frets and then filled the ends of the slots with....something. It makes the neck feel more like a bound neck, and looks neater.

    Larry

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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    No, not filled. If they were I could probably just scrape it out with a knife. They must have done the frets with a router bit or something. I assume Epiphone does enough of them that they have some sort of mechanized way of producing these.
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    Quote 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.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker ICTGoober's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    I assume Epiphone does enough of them that they have some sort of mechanized way of producing these.
    Yeah. It's called mass production so they can make them cheaper.

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    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    Donít widen the slots. Undercut your frets.

    You can buy fret tang nippers, or just use a small file or a Dremel tool to grind the tang off.

    Besides looking better, this prevents the fret ends from sticking out in the winter when the fret board shrinks.


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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    I actually think I can use the file on my toenail clippers to widen the fret slots all the way. :P
    Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

    Quote 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.

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    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    As far as I'm aware, fret slots are always cut all the way across a fretboard. Then there are 3 choices:
    1) cut the tangs short and install binding which will cover the tang ends
    2) cut the tangs short and fill in the slots (check your neck carefully under bright light. If your neck doesn't have binding the slots are probably filled-in). I've seen lots of necks like this (and done many myself) where it is filled and finished so well you can't see the slots, even though there is no binding.
    3) use full length frets and file down the ends (including tangs) smooth with the side of the neck. The fret tangs show doing it this way, but it is the most common way of doing it on inexpensive guitars.

    If you don't have fret tang nippers you'll be best off using a dremel tool to grind off the tangs. But you have to be very careful...it's easy to ruin a few frets in the process.
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  17. #17
    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarDoc View Post
    As far as I'm aware, fret slots are always cut all the way across a fretboard.
    On many CNC cut boards they donít run the slot off the edge of the board. Itís like having faux binding.


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  18. #18
    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    Well, I started poking around with the toenail clipper file and was able to extend the missing edge bit of about half of the slots with some careful filing last night.

    The back of the neck was super shiny and would grab my hand sometimes when playing, so I tried running some 400 grit sandpaper over it. It looks a little odd now (since it's matte on the neck and super glossy everywhere else) but feels great.

    I'll finish extending the fret slots tonight and roll the fretboard this weekend - then on to refretting. Thanks for the suggestions everyone!
    Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

    Quote 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.

  19. #19
    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    If youíre using a toenail clipper on the slots, what tools do you have for doing fretwork?


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  20. #20
    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Refretting question . . . cutting fret slots to edge of board?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    If you’re using a toenail clipper on the slots, what tools do you have for doing fretwork?
    Just the file (which is very thin), not the clipper.

    Flush cut clippers, a fret leveling file, a sharpie, various grits of sandpaper, carpenter's hammer, several assorted files, and a small metal straight edge (about the size of a credit card) that works as a fretrocker.
    Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

    Quote 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.

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