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Couple Quick Questions: Fret Removal


Westsailor

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I'm about to tackle removing the frets from a Fender P clone. I've never done this before and I'm really wanting to avoid chipping/splintering/fracturing the rosewood fretboard (I plan to first give it a good oiling to 'moisturize' the wood)

 

Anyway, Do I wiggle/pull them straight out/up?

 

If I don't have a special fret pulling pliers, what would be the 'next best' tool to use? Needle nose pliers? Sidecutters? HD nail clipper? crowbar & sledge?

 

Instead of putty I'm going to fill the fret slots with thin wood (appropriately thick veneer, actually). Would mahogany work or do I need to use a harder wood?

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Instead of putty I'm going to fill the fret slots with thin wood (appropriately thick veneer, actually). Would mahogany work or do I need to use a harder wood?

 

 

Mahogany will work just fine. There will be such little of the filler wood exposed to wear from the strings that it shouldn't matter too much how hard the wood is. The brunt of the contact/wear resistance is going to be focused on the board, not the lines.

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OK thanks. Really... That helps my confidence to give it a go a lot.

 

I don't have any fret pulling pliers and being down here in Guatemala I doubt I'd come across any anytime soon. The idea of using a razor blade to wedge under the fret first, get em started coming out, sounds like a good idea (maybe following with successive thicknesses of feeler gauge).

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use fret pullers and a heat gun. heat the fret you are going to pull. this will loosen the glue, get under the fret with the fret removal pliers and pull strait up while gently wiggling side to side while working your way down one end of the fret to the other.

try not to pry with the pliers because it can leave indentations in the fret board

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"End nipper" pliers will work. You can easily turn them in to fret pullers if you have a bench grinder or know anyone who does - just grind the ends flat to the cutting edge itself so you can get under. Even without a bench grinder, you can do it yourself by hand with a regular metal file if you're patient.

 

If you don't know what "end nippers" are, they look like this:

 

1893-12.jpg

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use fret pullers and a heat gun. heat the fret you are going to pull. this will loosen the glue, get under the fret with the fret removal pliers and pull strait up while gently wiggling side to side while working your way down one end of the fret to the other.

try not to pry with the pliers because it can leave indentations in the fret board

 

 

A soldering iron applied to the fret will also work.

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Got em out, no damage at all to fretboard (whew!).

 

Tried the Razor blade thing first.. no dice. Went to something a little bigger, no bueno.

 

Ended up using some big ol vise grips. Nice, flat jaws and I could clamp down and hold. Wiggled it up a bit, then re-set the vise grips. Voila! Popped them puppies right out.

 

Got some problems tho.. The bass has been stored in my forward cabin for a year+. Last time I used it was in Honduras, shuttling back & forth over salt water, in the rain, etc. in my dinghy. Thought I'd cleaned it up nice but the pots are frozen, all the screws, jack & knobs are corroded, etc. Little bit of rust on a couple poles. Ugh... Fortunately the tuners are still smooth, nice & shiny.

 

No biggy... Got someone bringing me back some flats from the states so I'll get some parts from Warmoth sent to them.

 

Gonna replace the bridge too (was always a cheap POS anyway). Either a Gotoh 201 or 206. Leaning toward the 206 thinking adjustable string width might be handy on a fretless.

 

I'll wait to see how 'phase 1' turns out, how much of a silks purse I can drag outta this pig before upgrading pickups.

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"End nipper" pliers will work. You can easily turn them in to fret pullers if you have a bench grinder or know anyone who does - just grind the ends flat to the cutting edge itself so you can get under. Even without a bench grinder, you can do it yourself by hand with a regular metal file if you're patient.


If you don't know what "end nippers" are, they look like this:


1893-12.jpg

 

Absolutely, but don't forget to quench as you grind!

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