Phil Hartley Guitar Repairs - Refret

Services - Refret

A poor re-fret can ruin a guitar (or a bass). The extra work involved in repairing the damage done by poor refret work is considerable. My price for re-fret work reflects the time and care needed to do an exceptional job. You should take this in to consideration when comparing quotes.

The steps involved in a typical re-fret job are described below:

The guitar is assessed to ensure that it will benefit from a refret. It may only need a fret dress or a set-up. The type of fret wire required is then discussed. Fret wire is available in a variety of heights, thicknesses and profiles and should be chosen to match your playing style. The strings are then removed and where possible the neck will be removed from the guitar. If the neck cannot be removed, then the body of the guitar will be masked and protected before work commences.

Next the old frets are removed. This has to be done with great care to avoid damage to the fingerboard. It varies in difficulty from very hard to nearly impossible. The slots will then need to be cleaned and, depending on condition, they may need to repaired or rebuilt. The neck will be placed in a jig to hold it safely and firmly for the re-fretting work.

The fret wire is put into a machine designed to bend it to the correct radius after which it is cut into suitable lengths. The frets are then placed in the slots and pressed or hammered to a firm fit. At this stage the guitar is set aside for a few days to allow the frets to bed in. The frets are trimmed and the ends filed flush with the finger board. The fret ends are then sealed.

It is possible to change the radius on non-lacquered boards, before the frets are installed. A straight or compound radius can be achieved. This takes longer to do, so there is an extra charge for this...usually about £40.

Guitars with set (glued, not bolted) and/ or bound necks take longer to do, so there is an extra charge for this...from £20.


The final stage in the process is to perform a fret dress.

To book your guitar in or to discuss your problem, contact me on 01204 592373 / 07866 204434 or email