Refretting a bound fingerboard


I walk the line
I don't have the money for an expensive refret, so of course I also don't have even more money to buy the tools.

Looks like I won't be playing that one for a while.


I walk the line
I wandered off into a refret of an old Tele that I played into speed bumps. I may be in over my head.
But that's not a bound board, unless it's a Deluxe, right?

But I guess if it'sl laquered, that would be a problem unto itself. You'd have to cut the laquer with a razor blade/exacto.

Well-known member
No. The Frets are undercut and cantilever over the binding
Unless it's a Gibson bound neck where the frets end right at the binding and there are actual bumps in the binding that finish the profile of the fret. USUALLY, the tech talks the customer into going with the "Martin style" binding (after filing off whatever remains of the binding nibs), which is what you describe. But, if the frets haven't been resurfaced to the point the little nibs have also been lowered too much, you can cut frets to fit exactly. Unfortunately, that's rare, unless you catch a guitar that's just been played to death in cowboy chords territory and never really been dressed. A partial would be a good choice.

It's a pretty tedious operation, but if you have all the right tools, in good shape, it's not horrible. (Patience is your friend.) It used to add a good bit to the refret cost, though some folks charge the same. (I just did my mandolin a month or so ago - very short frets down there at the "florida" and *that* is a pain, though mine is scooped at the very end so saved me that!)


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Well-known member
I have several guitars with nibs on the fret ends. If I were to have them refretted, I would have the nibs removed and let the fret ends overlay the binding, just to get a bit of extra usable fret for bends. However, it's important to make sure the ends are properly rounded and polished. You really don't want sharp edges on the end of a fret!