Refret for D46 questions

Boneman

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I’m thinking about a Refret for my D46, and may or may not do it myself. I’ve got enough Jescar EVO gold wire in a 16” radius from another project that is sized 37080 to use for it, but was the original fret wire size that was installed at the factory a 37080? Will this be a useable option?

Next, I’ve also read the D46 has a 20” radius, and pretty sure the 16“ wire should be fine. Makes me want to ask a related question, would anyone ever consider sanding the fretboard from 20” to 16” or any other radius if they felt it more comfortable? Or leave as is and buy a different guitar?
 

fronobulax

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I'm a klutz when it comes to handwork. So if the choice is "modify" or "replace" I almost certainly pay someone else to make modifications or I will buy a replacement. On several occasions I was talked out of making some modifications so the "second opinion" was helpful. Since those options cost money which is not always in plentiful supply I have also discovered not all modifications are as necessary as I initially thought. So with my bias and inclination out of the way...

I can't comment with any authority about the right size for fret wire or whether the radius makes a difference. But I will ask that if 16" radius wire was the best option for a 20" radius fretboard then why are both sizes of wire offered?

I would not change the radius of the instrument. I would get one with the preferred radius. If necessary I would learn to live with the compromise that the guitar I loved was almost perfect rather than rework the radius.

Now we wait for someone with an informed opinion :)
 

The Guilds of Grot

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I would think attempting to change the radius of the fretboard with the neck attached to a flat-top guitar might be a challenge. Of course I am not a luthier and am un-aware of what tools for this job might be available. I do know when they sand the fretboads to the radius they are not attached to the neck yet.
 

Boneman

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Thanks Frono, that is why I reach out for second opinions. I am with you, I don’t want to modify for the sake of modifying. My D46 radius if fine, I like the profile and nut width, it’s just that I feel the frets have nothing left they are so small and I just feel like new ones will make this come to life even more. I am not sure I would even sand the radius down, as then I’d have to redo the nut and saddle, but playability wise between 20 and 16 it’d be barely noticeable.

As for the radius of the wire, a slightly shorter radius will help the ends stay in the fretboard. As you tap the wire in, the center goes down in and the ends flare out if you will, and then you clamp it down with a bit of glue in there. If it were the exact same radius, the ends might pop up as you tap it in and become harder to tamp down and stay put is all. Not to mention, the precut pieces I have don’t even come in a 20” option. As for wire size, I suppose I could go larger, so long as the tang isn’t way off, but thinking 37080 will be alright and certainly better than the current worn down ones.
 

Boneman

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I would think attempting to change the radius of the fretboard with the neck attached to a flat-top guitar might be a challenge. Of course I am not a luthier and am un-aware of what tools for this job might be available. I do know when they sand the fretboads to the radius they are not attached to the neck yet.
Nah, not really, been done for centuries before high tech tools :). And taking the neck off most any acoustic guitar is a process, wouldn’t recommend unless a reset is needed. So long as you straighten neck first with truss rod, mask everything off you don’t want dust getting into, have a good long radiused sanding beam, then just for it. Here’s an example of a Refret and he leaves the neck on of course. He prepares the neck at 4 minutes in:
 

wileypickett

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Replacing frets can be tricky to do cleanly if you've had little experience at it. (I do some guiitar repair, but I save refretting and neck resets for the experts.)

If you're certain you're ready to give it a shot, this might come in handy:


For the price (even with it being on sale this week!) it may not be practical if you only plan to use it once. But, as with most things, there's also a cheapskate version:


Good luck -- and let us see the before-and-after pics!
 

Muckman

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I’m thinking about a Refret for my D46, and may or may not do it myself. I’ve got enough Jescar EVO gold wire in a 16” radius from another project that is sized 37080 to use for it, but was the original fret wire size that was installed at the factory a 37080? Will this be a useable option?

Next, I’ve also read the D46 has a 20” radius, and pretty sure the 16“ wire should be fine. Makes me want to ask a related question, would anyone ever consider sanding the fretboard from 20” to 16” or any other radius if they felt it more comfortable? Or leave as is and buy a different guitar?
As far as matching your fret wire, Stew Mac has a very affordable caliper I would recommend. Does the guitar need ALL of the frets replaced? I've done frets on three acoustics lately, one was a 74' Guild G37, and they all three took the same size wire. I just replaced the first seven frets on each one, the rest had no visible wear to speak of. The caliper will help you identify the wire you need and help you get your height pretty close to matching the old frets before a final leveling, if you are matching new wire with old. One thing to consider, as far as a complete refret, is pressing/hammering frets in on top of the body......I'm in no hurry to do so myself LOL. Good luck!!
 

wileypickett

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Yes, what Muckman says.

You won't be able to use fret clamps above the 11th or so fret, you'll have to resort to a hammer beyond that point.
 

Muckman

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I’m thinking about a Refret for my D46, and may or may not do it myself. I’ve got enough Jescar EVO gold wire in a 16” radius from another project that is sized 37080 to use for it, but was the original fret wire size that was installed at the factory a 37080? Will this be a useable option?

Next, I’ve also read the D46 has a 20” radius, and pretty sure the 16“ wire should be fine. Makes me want to ask a related question, would anyone ever consider sanding the fretboard from 20” to 16” or any other radius if they felt it more comfortable? Or leave as is and buy a different guitar?
I bend my fretwire a little past the radius I need - like 9.5" for a 12" fret board. It makes pressing them in easier IMO, helps the ends to seat well as it flattens a little bit.
 

Muckman

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I bend my fretwire a little past the radius I need - like 9.5" for a 12" fret board. It makes pressing them in easier IMO, helps the ends to seat well as it flattens a little bit.
You said that already, Boneman.....sorry, reading is fundamental:censored:
 

Boneman

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As far as matching your fret wire, Stew Mac has a very affordable caliper I would recommend. Does the guitar need ALL of the frets replaced? I've done frets on three acoustics lately, one was a 74' Guild G37, and they all three took the same size wire. I just replaced the first seven frets on each one, the rest had no visible wear to speak of. The caliper will help you identify the wire you need and help you get your height pretty close to matching the old frets before a final leveling, if you are matching new wire with old. One thing to consider, as far as a complete refret, is pressing/hammering frets in on top of the body......I'm in no hurry to do so myself LOL. Good luck!!
Yes, and I like the video above where he uses a sack full of beans to deaden the blow from underneath.
 

Muckman

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Fretting on top of the sound board is a bit intimidating to me LOL. I've done plenty of fret work on electrics, I'm new to doing acoustics....still a bit gun shy. I've seen/read absorbing the blow from underneath with the sack of beans or chunk of steel with a rag or rubber on top as DIY solutions. You are braver than I, sir. I'd be nervous using anything less than one of the jack support systems underneath.
 

Boneman

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I hear you, but all these other people do it and no offense, but it ain't rocket science right!? Of course, good thing is my old Fender is a good guinea pig ;)
 

Muckman

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No doubt, mere mortals do it. It has been an easily avoided risk, so far. Full refrets haven’t been necessary on any acoustics I’ve done fretwork on….yet
 

PreacherBob

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How deep are the divots in your original frets? Every guitar is at least good for one re crown. I’ve done a whole lot of re-crowns for folks in my guitar shop, where they thought they needed a re-fret. Takes a little patience and the right fret files and tools to get the all the fret heights right. I’ve done a number of vintage guitars that worked great. Average $90-$125 reworking usually first 5 to the 7th fret then polishing the rest. Here’s a 1973 Ovation I just recently worked, a guy brought it in for a re-fret. I talked him into letting me try a crown first, no charge if it didn’t workout. Worked out just fine. Then I did a total restoration with a re-crown on a vintage Gibson Humminbird.
AD291033-BAB7-4A1F-AC88-1EC649D61952.png6AC579B5-6AE1-436B-9AEA-67F07C6E501F.png4B6AFA67-4F65-4473-826E-E26103A79639.pngB05383C8-A00A-448E-8351-E668FAAE3B4A.jpeg

Here’s the hummingbird, it’s it was rough, but finished out well.

D88CA465-95E6-4B1D-A892-505C1C110277.png1EF1D918-9537-4FA2-8822-9CC231CF66A1.pngE9448137-B1FA-430B-BB38-FD478599B9B6.pngE039787F-148D-4EBF-9660-1EF92E6622C7.pngCB360F30-8BB4-4116-B2DE-85EEBF83F2A5.png1D153C04-D183-4675-B8DC-23CDDA0A2434.pngF869A25F-442C-427D-A244-A57AC568D94B.png
 
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Boneman

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That is outstanding work, and decided I’ve got too much other important things going on right now, and really to your point, it doesn’t really need a Refret,( is more of a wish list). it’s not so much they have divots, it’s they seem so short, like maybe they were recrowned and leveled already a time or two. But I don’t have the spare time for now, and it plays fine so I’m leaving things be :)
 

Boneman

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Ok well rather than start a new thread, I decided to provide an update on this thread. I did end up taking a stab at a refret, although not on my D46, but it gave me great experience to tackle it. I just did a full refret on my Martin DM, so now I’m going to get after the D46 and throw the gold wire on it. As for hammering on the frets above the body, I just stuffed a towel in there, held my hand underneath for support, held my breath and whacked em in, then realized it went easy 👍I’m finding the trickiest part is dressing the ends. Currently it’s tolerable, but I’d like them smoother, and not sure how to get there without filing the fretboard too and chasing the problem. So perfect example of experience gained, thinking next time I need to take a little off the tang first. Also carved a new nut out of a bone blank, something requiring great patience. Anyway, here’s some photos:
 

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