In today's post I will be re-fretting a Yamaha 6 string bass guitar.
This bass has had a lot of play time and the frets are showing it!!
Frets that have been worn this much can cause all sorts of playing problems. You tend to get fret "buzzing" and most noticeable is out of tune notes.... Out of tune notes are caused by the string not contacting the direct center of the fret. It can drive some people crazy... You can tune your instrument over and over and still get that problem.... So the cure is to install new fret wire.
First step is to remove all the worn frets. I apply a little heat with my soldering iron... This helps to release the fret from it's slot. Sometimes fingerboards will chip as you remove the frets. By heating them, they tend to release easier with less chipping.
Here's the fingerboard once I have removed all the frets. You will also notice some "wet" looking spots... Those are all small chips in the fingerboard that are being re-glued. This fingerboard was very chippy, so quite a bit of the fret slots needed repair.
This is the fingerboard once I have sanded all the chipped areas.
Next step is to slightly bevel the fret slot edges. This is an important step. It will allow the fret to seat much better than it would otherwise.
Fingerboard is all prepped and ready to accept new fret wire. The "wet" look you are seeing on the fingerboard is from Naptha that I wiped on the fingerboard to clean up anything that was left from prepping the board. Good fingerboard prep is key to successful refrets.
Fretwire usually comes in rolls or lengths of raw wire that has to be cut down to the proper length.
Here's all the fretwire cut to length... 24 in total...
Once all the wire had been cut, next step was to install the fretwire. On this bass I decided it would be easiest to hammer the frets in. The alternative is to press the frets in...
At this point all of the fretwire has been installed. You will notice that the wire is sticking out from the edges of fingerboard.
In this step I take down all the overhanging wire with a file until they're flush with the fingerboard.
Here I have taped off the fingerboard in preparation to level all the frets.
Each fret is marked with a blue marker. When leveling the frets it will show me the progress as I go. It will allow me to see that each fret has been leveled in the same plane and assure that we won't get any fret "buzzing"..
Here I'm using a leveling beam with sand paper attached. It's ran along the length of the board to level out all the fretwire.
After the fret have been leveled they must then be crowned. During the leveling process, the frets are left with a flat area on the top of the wire. This flat area needs to be rounded to assure accurate intonation on eliminate fret "buzz". After they have been crowned, then they all get polished with progressively finer sandpaper, then the all get polish to a high shine.
The final result was amazing! This bass now has a new life and will give the customer many more years of enjoyment.