Full and Partial Refret

January 10, 2010

What is a Refret?

Of all the repair and restoration work we do here Back-Bow Levels and Back Bow Refrets would have to be one of the most common jobs.

We do a backbow partial refret if:

•    The first few frets are worn very low due to constant playing.
•    The angle of the neck to the body is too acute. So instead of resetting the neck, a back-bow partial refret is a cost   effective solution.
•     The neck is in a sharp up bow and it will take more than just a Backbow Level to fix the problem.
•    Necks warp and twist for a variety of reasons and if a backbow level is not enough then a backbow partial refret can be.

And a full refret only when there is not enough fret height to allow us to level the frets evenly flat.

So here is what we do and how it works

•    We take the neck and tighten the truss rod slightly putting it into a backbow. Now, if we were to level the frets flat so that the 1st fret was as high as the 12th fret we would be filing the 12th fret down to nothing

To counter this we re-fret the first seven frets so that they can be  level. (The above diagram is exaggerated for clarity).

The benefits of Backbow Partial Refret are:

  • A lower action without any fret buzz
  • The strings will now play and sit at the correct angle to the body, giving a nice even action
  • Longer fret life for those hard hitters
  • The frets will all be nice and level
  • A more even and accurate intonation

So there you have it, ancient luthiery secrets finally exposed! If you are experiencing

  • Buzzing frets
  • “dead spots” on your guitar where the guitar plays the note in front of the fretted note
  • Flat spots or flat, worn frets
  • Uneven intonation
  • Super high action
  • “choking out” of the frets in the upper register

Then a Backbow Level or Backbow Partial Refret could be just what you need. So bring on in your guitar and we’ll be happy to have a looksie at it.