How To Make a Fret Bender

Brian Calvert

It's not often I have the pleasure of re-fretting a guitar and I'm not about to invest in a $80 fret bender from Stew Mac just so I can do the occasional neck so I came up with my own which can be made quickly and in any size radius.

Here's what you will need:
Pencil or Pen

A scale that's at least as long as the radius your after and a nail

  A jigsaw or table top skill saw
  1 piece of 1x6 wood over 2' long
  1 piece of 1x wood at least 3/4's the length of the scale you desire
  Sanding block or palm sander
  A Dremel with a router attachment and a pair of cutting disc's
Let's get started this particular example is for a 16" radius so your's may be shorter or you may even need a wider piece of wood if your going for a very tight radius.

Mark two spots on the side of your longer piece of wood about 2' apart then lay it flat on a large table top or on the floor and slide the other piece of wood up against it in the shape of a Big T with the second piece butted up against about the center of your 2' spacing mark.

Now take your scale and lay it down the middle of the second piece and find a pivot point between your two 2' ends using the length of scale you desire for your fret bender. Place a nail at this point so you can rotate your scale against it. Whip out your pencil or pen and place it on your scale and drag it across the larger piece of wood marking your radius from one end to the other of your two foot section. Take your time and if you mess up don't worry just back up and try again (pencils can be better for this since it is freehand for the most part).

Now that you have a line drawn down your board pick it up and using either a jig saw or table top saw take your time and make the most accurate cut you can along the line you just drew. Your wood should look like the piece's pictured below.

Whip out your sanding block or palm sander and smooth out the edge you just cut since your going to be running your hands up and down it and we all know what a fine splinter feels like =o) good to avoid.........

After you have done that take your Dremel and attach a pair of cutting disc's stacked on top of each other so you can make a wide slot down the middle of your edge as pictured below. The reason you need to use two is so your slot won't grab the tang but it will allow it to slide in and out without hassles.

Sand it smooth again just encase there are any burr's and your done!

Now You can use your new tool to help you bend that fret wire by hand to the proper radius! You'll still need to finesse it a bit but it will be closer than doing it by hand with a $26 pair of pliers and by eye or playing with a $80 can opener looking gimmick that you'll probably use how often?


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