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The Campy Forum

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Jim's '59... refret?
  • Hey Jim, just curious... how many times have you had your '59 refretted? I too have a beloved #1, it's been refretted once, curious how many I might be able to get out if it...
  • ruger - My '59 has been re-fretted twice. Once, right before I got it 25 years ago and again about 4 years ago by Flip Scipio. I put it off as long a could- until the frets were like lines sitting on the fingerboard and my guitar was never really in tune- for years!

    A re-fret is a very big deal, find someone you trust who has a long career as a luthier with references from similar repair experiences. With all due respect, there are some jokers out there. Find an experienced luthier with an esthetic you find similar to your own. We aren't talking about swapping out a pick up!

    Aside from being a master craftsman - My ideal luthier is someone who doesn't want to change your guitar - like a surgeon who suggests alternatives to avoid the last resort- surgery. Basically, I am suspicious of a luthier who wants to change ANYTHING, and if they do anything at all without my approval, I know they aren't the right person for me. When my pick guard was falling off, Flip understood that was the way I preferred it, he respected it and he didn't get a bee in his bonnet about gluing it, or adding adhesive. He's the MAN.

    I'd give you Flip's info, but I'm sorry- the last time we spoke he wasn't taking any new work. He did a great job- it was absolutely flawless workmanship and my guitar and I are very happy.

    Me? I would reach out to Duke Levine, Bill Finnegan (Klon) or Luca Benedetti if I needed a luthier re-fret referral - those guys have forgotten more about guitars then I know. Let me know if I can help.

    PS- I put on a new pick guard last month - I don't know why I waited so long!
  • OMG! A new pick guard on the 59'??? Heresy!!!! LOL

    Thanks for the detailed reply, Jim. I have already, unfortunately, experienced what you describe... my refret was done by an amateur I was friends with on TDPRI, and the guitar hasn't been the same since. I should have known something was amiss when he told me (after getting my guitar) that, when I requested FENDER medium jumbo frets (which is what was on there), he had "already purchased" "other fretwire" from a Luthier supply house that was "almost identical" to the Fender medium jumbo.... uh-oh....

    It's still my #1, and as I have played the guitar, it's getting better.... it's ironic.... I went with this guy NOT to save money, it was actually to save TIME, I didn't want to be without it for a long time, and most luthiers wanted my guitar in-shop, THEN gave me a 2-month estimate... meaning, they would get to it when they could get to it and work on it when they could work on it. I guess they have so much work, they can do this. I wanted to drop my guitar off the day before work started, and pick it up the day after work was completed, and no one was willing to accommodate this.

    Now that I have a #2 (another tele I have fallen in love with), I could bite the bullet and be without #1 for awhile.... and I'll go to a reputable (and recommended by people I trust) luthier. Thanks again for the detailed advice, as "no change" is the perfect way to describe what we are all after with our beloveds- frets HAVE to be changed eventually, but no change.
  • So much great advice in this post. I had my 87 Strat refretted a few years ago. I had references to a highly regarded luthier in central Houston. But out of laziness, I instead I took a chance with someone closer who had done a nice job in the past with fret levels. And I've never really been happy with it. Turns out there's a big difference between the skill and patience required to do fret levels vs. refrets.

    Part of that is my fault. I went with jumbo frets, and in retrospect should have stuck with medium jumbos. But the guy who installed them didn't do a very good job polishing and rounding the fret ends. I've done my best to clean them up with a Stew Mac fret file, but a pro could have done a much better job.

    I'll probably have it refretted again at some point, with medium jumbos and by a real pro. Lesson learned, I suppose.
  • I'd highly suggest Todd Glaser, or Glaser Instruments, in Nashville. They did a '68 Tele for me a few years ago. They were great to work with. A lot of guys want to replane the fretboard, I didn't want that at all on this guitar and they accommodated that no problem.
  • I know about Glaser, he's famous...I'm in New Jersey LOL.

    Interestingly, I grew up not an hour away from Stew-Mac, so the next time I go visit my family back home, I might be able to take it in to Dan Erlewine (and his team), if they still take work from non-famous people, LOL

    I did research on the procedure, because I do all my own work, and was thinking of trying it myself (I wisely declined), but I've seen those refrets where they plane and refinish the board- they're GORGEOUS! But, at that point, I could probably buy a new neck for the same price as the procedure... plus, the shiny new neck wouldn't match the older guitar as well... I like "relic-ing", as long as I'm the done doing it, by playing it. So I too would leave the neck as-is, only requesting "repair" where necessary (if chips of wood come out when they pull some frets, for example)

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