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Low Fret - how best to remove and replace


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I have carefully set up my Tanglewood acoustic bass, dropping the bridge by another mm (I'd taken at least 2mm off it a year ago) and tweaking the truss rod to get the action really nice and low and surprisingly the fixed intonation has improved.

Annoyingly there is one buzzing fret - fret 8 on the D-string, and it is quite bad.

Careful inspection and I'm 100% sure that it's a low patch, not fret 9 being high, so scraping fret 9 down won't solve t - just move the problem up a fret.

Looking at fret 8 it has a tiny crack visible between it and the fingerboard under the E, A and G strings (which don't buzz) but not the D. I suspect that in its past it has fallen on something that has given a hefty knock to the D-string right on the fret, pushing it in.

I expect that removing the fret and very slightly reshaping it, or even just replacing it would cure the problem.

But I don't have any idea how to remove it without damaging the fretboard, can anyone advise.

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A careful approach is a must. Armed, ideally with the correct fret lifting pliers, you need to start at one end and gently manipulate the edge of the pliers under the fret, then work your way across. 

Sometimes the fret will lift out very easily, other times not so. If it seems stubborn, then it's probably safe to assume that it has been glued in. You will then need to use a soldering iron to heat up the fret and melt the glue. Things to be aware of: You need to not hold the iron on the fret for too long, as scorching of the fretboard can occur. Also if there is an edge binding, it can melt.

If the board is rosewood or similar, you are very likely to get some chipping out. There are fretboard protectors available to mitigate this issue. 

If you do get chip out, then rosewood dust and very thin super glue will be required for repairs. 

 

I doubt that the fret will be re usable, so have a measure up and order a replacement (or two) Northwest guitars stock fret wire in small quantities.

Unless you already have all the tools, it might be more cost effective to pay a tech to do it. 

Good luck with it. 

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I want to get into building more seriously, so I've ordered some inexpensive fret pliers.

I have some fret wire, when it comes out I will compare and if it's different I will order some to match.

Thanks

🙂

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