Filling fret furrows with solder

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Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by hoax on Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:44 pm

Hi

Just got a Westbury Deluxe last night and it had obviously been used for some heavy chords over its life. The first 4 frets had some pretty deep furrows, and action could not be adjusted acceptably.

I was toying with the idea of a partial refret when I thought about using solder to fill the furrows before doing a minor redressing and crowning job.

Anyway, I tried it and it seems to work. Frets are level, action is now fully adjusted and the guitar now plays like a dream.

I do not know whether this will do as a medium/long term solution, but I am optimistic as I do not think that the solder is any softer than the nickel alloy of the original frets.

Graham

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by Racing on Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:42 pm

As much as i appreciate the effort,no offense,this is not the way to do it.It is downright wrong.
Solder is way way way way softer than the nickle alloy of the frets and will wear at a rate it isn´t even funny.
In fact so much softer that is HAS to affect tone at those frets.

I´m sorry,but there´s only one correct way of doing this and that is a refret.
As such i normaly don´t believe in partial refretting as you´ll keep old frets that are lower in height than they need to be.

On the other hand Graham...pulling a refret is easier than most would believe.
I absolutely promise.

Look up the thread i wrote a while back,and if there´s any question marks i´d be happy to assist.

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by corsair on Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:42 pm

Interesting; I'd've thought that a lead/tin solder would've been much softer than fretwire, so there you go: I've learned something today!!

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by Racing on Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:48 pm

John.
That fretwire is pliable is not the same as it is soft.

In fact the only solder i could imagine even getting on the same page as the steel of the frets(cause that´s what it is) would be various kinds of for instance Castolin so called silver solders.

In fact back in the good old days many race chassis of single seaters were soldered together with the stuff,it´s just that it takes so much heat to melt that if you´d give it a try chances are that you´d created a wooden fire more then anything else.

Again.
Solder of the normal kind doesn´t even get close to the material of the frets as far as hardness.

Think about it...there´s even fretwire made from stainless..

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by hoax on Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:35 pm

Tell you what - Time will be the decider. I am not too bothered whether or not is works as it only took me about an hour. I was anxious to get the guitar up and running! If I don't have to refret within a year I will be happy.

I once tried to remove pick up covers from a les paul. They were soldered at the base plate and it was not easy to cut through with a dremel tool.

Racing - I have read your fret replacement thread and thanks for that. I will use it if or when my repair proves temporary.

Graham

(More cheap solutions coming as I dream them up!! - they might work, they might not but hell I'll try!!)

PS modern solders are lead free and contain a fair bit of nickel

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by Barry on Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:13 pm

hoax wrote:...(More cheap solutions coming as I dream them up!! - they might work, they might not but hell I'll try!!
Geez, I don't think even I am that cheap! Way to go, you deluded guitar playin' fool you! rabbit

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by hoax on Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:21 pm

Just thought of a new one Barry.

Ever lost a pick mid solo?

Stick a piece of clear tape on the end of your nose and attach a spare to the end. The brand of tape is not important but I use Scotch (available in most stationers).

When you drop your pick, just reach up as if to stifle a cough and Hey Presto! pick number 2 is in your hands allowing you to continue seamlessly.

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by umpdv5000 on Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:27 pm

Would that sort of like having a Pick of your nose?

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by hoax on Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:32 pm

umpdv5000 wrote:Would that sort of like having a Pick of your nose?

Now that's just rude!!

javascript:emoticonp('lol!')

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by umpdv5000 on Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:41 pm

Well I suppose I could have said that with a pick from the nose you could do a great run up and down the fretboard. Razz

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by corsair on Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:51 pm

Nope... too easy.... Very Happy

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by Barry on Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:23 pm

When all is said and done, if ya pick it, it'll never get well! clown

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:28 pm

Hoax.....how is the solder holding up on the Westbury?

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by hoax on Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:45 pm

You know what Sarge. I now have 6 Westbury's and have refretted 2 of them.

I'm buggered if I remember which one it was, but I think it might have been a Westbury Deluxe.

I will have look and let you know, but I can say that I have not had to repair it again.

Hoax

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:46 pm

hehe maybe because you have so many you never played it?

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by hoax on Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:56 pm

Just checked. It was the Deluxe and I haven't played it much so it is still OK.

I'll be honest and say that in the future I would rather do a partial refret as you end up dressing off a lot of metal from good frets to try to match the crap at the bottom of the neck where the cowboys play.

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by Westbone on Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:50 pm

I learnt to play at the twiddly end.

lol!

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by The Chad on Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:34 pm

Keep the home grown suggestions coming Graham!

About the pick idea... how about attaching one to your butt? Everyone scratches their butt now and again. Laughing

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by grogg on Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:26 pm

Hoax, you call me mad..

You must have put a lot of heat into the metal to make the solder stick, how secure are the frets now, how much darker is the fretboard?

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by Barry on Sun Aug 19, 2012 8:03 pm

The Honourable Member from Cardiff does make a good point...

Heat murders adhesive, so anything that may have been used in helping to secure the fret should be totally buggered now. Frets are hanging by their little tangs.

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by hoax on Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:58 am

Frets are fine Dudes. Fingerboard is rosewood and is fine. It was just a lazy quick fix to get the guitar up and running.

I will revist and do a partial refret if and when I can be arsed.

Hoax

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by Westbone on Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:00 am

Solder is useless on a fret. It doesn't last 2 mins.

It's just too soft. Tried it, been there, got the t shirt and then a new fret.

A guy brought a guitar in, he'ed been tapping a fret down and whacked a string into it causing a thin E groove.

Solder just did not work after a few hours of playing. The fret was replaced.

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by IanO on Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:35 pm

I've got the "tapped fret groove" on my Ibanez....I just use it to "self pick " for endless bends!!

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by colt933 on Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:26 pm

The luthier at my store says that the fret crown files actually move some material from the sides up to the top as it levels - meaning that it doesn't completely lower the fret to the lowest point of the furrow.

I'm not sure I believe him. But those files were expensive. So maybe they are magic.

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:38 pm

no, the crowning files remove material from the sides only, after the fret levelling process takes the top of the fret down to the level of the deepest furrow.

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

Post by Barry on Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:18 pm

What Sarge said.

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Re: Filling fret furrows with solder

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