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Time For Refret ?


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I have an old acoustic it needs a Fret Dress I will end up doing this myself in the not to distant future.

A Fret Dress will knock off quite a bit of material I might have something similar to a Fretless Wonder.

If I did Refret I want to go quite a bit taller a thin jumbo maybe.

What effect what that have on the tone of the guitar it's sounds phenomenal its over 30 years old I don't want to ruin a good thing.

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It's quite unpredictable. I mean have you ever put new strings on and it changes the tone ? Sometimes it's kind of like that. I think if you make a great change in the height, you're doing something to change tone in a little more than a subtle way. Finger tip not mashing against the fret-board wood anymore and now you have less "deadening" of the notes.

Maybe the current frets are on the soft side and you go to a harder fret. That'll be a factor too.

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I just refretted an old Norman B-30...looked like a previous owner had attacked the old frets with a rasp...they were basically flattened on top, and so short you could barely get the notes out in some places.

I used jumbo wire, since that's all I had available. I was a little hesitant, but in the end I'm glad I went for it. The jumbos really woke up the guitar, the notes are much fuller than before, better sustain, the guitar's a lot easier to play too.

The neck had other issues (warping) that I was able to correct as well.

I also took the opportunity to polish the fretboard up to 12000...I really like a shiny fretboard, and it's really smooth to the touch now.

Changed the bridge for a bone bridge, and changed the string pins too. Still have to cut a new bone nut for it, just haven't had time.

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I just have to ask, can you see much of a difference between a 2000 grit fretboard and a 12000?

Yes, you can.

Actually, the real shine starts to happen around 3600 or so. It's like you pass over a magic threshold and all of a sudden you're removed a veil that was over the finish (that you might not have noticed before).

Now, the difference between 4000 and 12000 is more difficult to detect. But since I use a set of Micro Mesh pads, and the set goes all the way to 12000, so do I . By the time you get to the upper grits, you're putting out very little effort with each pass. So going from 4000 to 12000 may require about 15 extra minutes for a full body.

And going to 12000 eliminates the need for polishes, buffing compounds, etc (when polishing the finish, not the fretboard, obviously).

On a fretboard, the result is really breathtaking. You've literally transformed the wood surface into a mirror.

Now, whether you can feel the difference between 2000 and 12000 is another story. With my callouses, I don't think I could.

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I've brought my last couple of fingerboards up to 12000 too, but after I oil the board, and especially after I start playing it, there seems to be little appreciable difference. But it sure looks good until then! Like Mick said, it doesn't take that much longer, so I go for it. It's nice. It depends on the board too - a more open-grained rosewood is going to be different than ebony or cocobolo or something more closed grained.

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You don't really need to oil a board that's been polished to 12000, assuming the grain is close. You have to see (and feel) a polished ebony board to believe it, it's like pure luxury.

Once the frets are in, it's more difficult to see the shine. But you catch glimpses of it while you're playing, and you remember the process of watching that shine come out of the wood, and it's all worth it.

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