Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster Refret
This super cool Fender Custom Shop Strat came to us in need of a refret. We have to handle this job a little differently because the guitar has a maple fretboard.
We first remove the old frets like we would on any job. Unlike rosewood or ebony though, maple fretboards have a lacquer finish which prevents us from leveling the fretboard like we typically would. If we were to level the fretboard, we would then have to refinish the entire neck, significantly increasing the cost of the repair.
This means that we have to find a way to work out irregularities in the neck and fretboard, without really touching them. So, we start prepping for the refret first by using 1000-grit sand paper to even out the tops of the fret slots down. This does rough up the finish a little but, leaves it intact for us to buff later.
The owner of this guitar wanted to change from the original vintage style frets to more modern medium-jumbo frets, which are being pressed in here.
After the frets have been pressed in and cut to size, we use this special block to file the bevel into the sides of the frets.
To address any irregularities in the neck, we installed taller frets than usual which provides us more material that we can then file down to have optimum playability without having to refinish the neck. You can see here where there are varying accumulations of metal shavings on the fretboard. The difference in the amount of material removed is evidence of the inconsistencies in the neck.
After the frets have been completed, we buff the entire playing surface to get that great looking shine back!