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How Many Of You Glue Your Frets In?


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I've not glued any of my frets in so far other than sealing the ends with CA. As long as the fret slots area bevelled, the surface and the radius consistent and the frets are hammered in well, it doesn't seem essential. CA may perhaps help prevent the ends popping up, but i've never noticed this happen.

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Erlewine did some kind of "sound transmission" test which showed that non-glued frets tended to have a poorer transmission than glued frets.

I always use glue. I spend way too much time going the extra mile to get the frets seated and leveled as perfectly as I can, and I'll be damned if I'm going to let humidity (or an increased lack of humidity) go into that end grain on both sides of the frets and change things.

I think you also get better seated frets if they remained clamped down for a while, instead of pressing them down and then releasing the clamp right away (as in a typical arbor press fretting). Those barbs on the fret tangs push/compress end grain wood and if given a little time, some if it will spring back, helping to keep those barbs from raising back up. But I still like super-glue added to really freeze everything up in there.

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Yes, impossible if you live where there's no electricity to plug a soldering iron into.

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you can use whatever glue you want, even epoxy or CA and they will still come out easily with a bit of heat.

i dont use glue whilst fretting but i do seal the ends with glue and since i tend to run CA down the end i am fairly sure the frets are effectively glued in

it depends on the wood as well, some woods hold a fret just fine without any help - some need a bit of clamping to stop it spinging back a little - they obviously benefit from glue

i dont believe there is any tonal difference between a well seated fret with or without glue :D

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I'd like to see some real evidence of this "tonal transmission" stuff. Sounds like hair splitting to me. Unless a fret is loose in the slot, all it serves to do is to reduce the vibrating string length.

Scientific method: Where's the evidence Dan requires to make this case? It's not up to the reader to prove that it's-not-so....it's up to the raising party to provide evidence to *prove* that it is in fact a real issue - then fair enough. It's not enough that Dan says that it-is-so.

Was he (almost) indirectly selling a set of Stewmac-modified mole-clamp with super-glasses and radius attachment caliper fret notch depth gauge hand warming Taylor fret buck binding router tune-o-matic wrenches at the time?

Edited by Prostheta
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Unless a fret is loose in the slot, all it serves to do is to reduce the vibrating string length.

If that's all the fret is doing, then there's sure a lot of nonsense going on about NS frets sounding different than SS frets and brass nuts sounding different than Corian nuts, etc.

I think his test were real basic. Probably some kind of device where one thing was placed on a fret and another placed on wood some distance away and measuring how vibration was transfering through.

I suppose you could do the same test, if you think it's something that needs to be investigated.

I've got other reason for gluing the frets, so not an issue for me.

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True, everything has an effect when it comes down to it but how much of an effect is infinitely debatable to no end, and most effects are never experienced in common service. You're perfectly correct in that yes, a fret does contribute more than defining the end of the vibrating string length. I went off a bit half-cocked there! I think that the contribution of the fret material (or nut material) is a different kettle of fish to the way that the fret is secured to the fingerboard which I think is where this was going. I think I am wandering a little OT, so apologies in advance.

Glue shouldn't have to hold frets in unless it's necessary for whatever reason - the tangs should be securing the fret in place as glue should at most stabilise the fret slot, fill any gaps left in the slot and protect the fret from unseating through moisture or gunking as opposed to holding it in place as it's primary function. Even then it's largely unnecessary compared to good fretting prep and technique. Pretty much the same as a set neck isn't held in place just by glue - just stabilised in a secure pocket, although this analogy isn't 100% direct of course as neck joints come under a lot more pressure than a fret slot in service! If you compared frets with no tangs being epoxied into loose slots to frets with tangs seated properly in well cut slots, then perhaps yes - there would perhaps be a measureable difference in sound and then the glue becomes useful in creating serviceable fretwork. Between those two extremes using glue is personal preference and I can't see why it would make any difference either way.

I think Dan can perhaps be too much of a perfectionist in his methods and theories, and great as having a high bar is, sometimes that extra mile makes no real difference in the real world. Especially as simple solution doesn't necessarily mean second best compared to overkill or fear of voodoo. Glueing frets for security is however useful for refrets if the slots are poor or have chipped out, although i'm sure Dan would want us to buy mashers and crimpers in that instance. I'm probably wrong, but I don't see the use in straying from pragmatic method, at least at the level that I and majority of people work with in building/playing guitars.

Back to the original question however, I think that glueing frets in across the entire width is largely unnecessary if the board has been freshly slotted and bevelled to accommodate the wire being used. If the board is for some reason unable to hold frets in easily then perhaps glue may be more useful. Beyond that, I believe it comes down to whether you feel you need that extra security. I personally hate cleaning up gunk from fretboards, excess glue being the granddaddy of all gunks :-\

Rant over, donning flame-proof asbestos trousers now.

<edit: just reviewed the thread, and realised that you wrote Dan as saying *glued* frets couple better than unglued....that's even more controversial....!!>

Edited by Prostheta
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hahaha i was wondering CA? wth is thiss? anyways superglue yea

so when i fret, i just bevel the slots slightly tape off, apply a little CA :D (1 or 2 drops at each end and 1 or 2 in the middle so it has some room to spread out and i dont get mad seepage) and ive never had any problems :D

i wouldnt trust the wood alone to hold the frets in...

Kenny

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i wouldnt trust the wood alone to hold the frets in...

Kenny

wouldnt ever need to be a problem with a decent fretboard. sure, glue is extra insurance and i have nothing against its use - but the frets will hold themselves in just fine without it.... at least they should with a decent fret job in an appropriate wood choice

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Good or bad time to bring up bar frets again? :D

Not trusting unglued frets?

I've yet to see videos on youtube of people rocking out and all of a sudden the frets dropping off :D

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bar frets work fine if installed properly, takes a lot more skill to get a good fret job though - not sure if i would use glue for those, doesnt seem authentic... maybe some hide glue :D

I used Hide glue once problem was after I applied it I put it down and now I can't find it! :D

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I've yet to see videos on youtube of people rocking out and all of a sudden the frets dropping off :D

Not dropping out, but on the factory frets on one of my Fenders, the 21st fret just popped up one day, without me doing anything to cause it, and the neck was at least 10 years old at the time.

I did a fret level on a customers guitar, everything seemed solid (no glue used on factory frets). He gets the neck back and the 14th fret pops up on the bass side. I had to eat the shipping for him sending it back, fixing it, then returning it.

So yeah..... I LIKE THE FREAKIN' GLUE !

I think super-glue makes the wood in the slots stronger, so there's usually less chipping when frets are pulled with heat. I think once those slots have been strengthened with super-glue, and frets always taken out correctly, there should be no end to how many fret jobs that board can handle (I've read old repair books where they were against gluing frets, and at the same time said a fret-board can only take so many refrets before the slots are too chewed up, etc)

But I always coat the wood with accelerator first, so the glue doesn't seep so far into the wood. I like to keep things right where they're needed (at least stuff that tends to go soaking as far as it can)

I do think a quick cure epoxy or any glue that doesn't dry brittle hard could cause a loss of good tone.

I do like to crimp the tangs if the frets are fitting loose. * I don't like solely relying on glue to hold down a fret *. Glue to me is partly added insurance and a air-space filler and seems to help eliminate "dead spots". I've had many people say their neck "came to life" after I refretted it, and I just assume the brittle super-glue might be part of it ( I don't care a whole lot if that's the case or not)

Actually I think Frank Ford came up with the fret tang crimping pliers. Dan made his own mod to that tool, and also Stew-Mac came up with another version.

I like to surpass things when I can, so I came up with my own tang crimpers. I just had to have an adjustable stop so I would get a consistent crimp all along a fret (If that's what I want).

And I also thought, why not have interchangeable carbide punches, so sometimes I can punch a small dot in the middle of the tang, and other times crimp the whole tang from top to bottom, or whatever.

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I didn't mean to suggest that you shouldn't use glue just that there are thousands of guitars that don't and have no problems. I'm pretty sure If you took the same number of glue and non glued frets you'd find a fairly even number of fret issues!

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