Changing Frets on an Acoustic Guitar

Changing Frets on an Acoustic Guitar

Changing Frets on an Acoustic Guitar

Fingers scratch, strings rattle, the sound has changed, it has become uncomfortable to play – signs that it’s time to change the frets on the guitar.

Learn more about changing frets

When to change

Changing frets on an acoustic guitar is necessary when:

  1. The frets move strongly in different directions or come out of the fingerboard.
  2. The frets are too low, so the string is pressed close to the fret .
  3. The wear of the frets or the appearance of a notch, as a result of which the string touches the adjacent fret , located above, and rattles unpleasantly. A defect occurs when the oval shape of the fret a has worn out or its correctness has been violated from the very beginning. Notches appear on acoustic guitars where the frets are made of soft metal.
  4. The frets have a flat platform, and it seems that the string is understretched, which causes its unpleasant rattling. A flat fret causes the string to cut off incorrectly – not in the center, as it should be, but along the edge.
  5. Frets go to the edge of the fretboard and prevent the fingers from playing. This is due to the moisture on the wood fretboard . Temperature fluctuations cause it to dry out, so the metal frets stick out .

Changing Frets on an Acoustic Guitar

How to change frets

Replacing frets on an electric guitar

  1. Dismantling the old frets : the fret is heated over the entire area with a soldering iron. With the help of wire cutters, they hook it up and, swinging it, slowly pull it out of the nut.
  2. Sanding: lightly go over with sandpaper with a grit of 1200, and slightly grind the place where the nut is mounted with a needle file so that it becomes even.
  3. Installing new frets: it is necessary to drive in the foot of the fret with a mallet . To fit a new nut, it is enough to use superglue. The edges of the new frets are slightly filed down with a needle file at the right angle.

Changing Frets on an Acoustic Guitar

Changing Frets on an Acoustic Guitar

Changing Frets on an Acoustic GuitarThe steps for installing new elements are as follows:

  1. Removing old frets .
  2. Alignment of the lining, its grinding if necessary.
  3. Installation of frets , their grinding with a special bar.
  4. Rolling the frets with a special file that gives a semicircular shape so that the fingers do not scratch.
  5. Grinding the frets with medium to fine grit sandpaper.

How to choose frets

There are a few simple rules:

  1. Don’t go after brands. All companies that make frets do it the same way, using similar materials .
  2. The most common frets are made of nickel silver alloy, which is why the guitar element is painted in light colors. The more nickel added to the alloy, the more strength the fret gets . According to the standard, this element is 18% of the composition of the entire alloy.
  3. In order for the new frets to serve for a long time, they should be placed with a larger section than the previous ones.
  4. It is undesirable to install brass frets , as they wear out quickly.
  5. Bronze frets , in which copper is present, are recognized as the most durable . This is an option for professional tools.

Possible problems and difficulties

When replacing frets , the following rules must be observed:

  1. Install only on a neck with the correct geometry – it must be straight.
  2. Before replacement, the scale is calculated. The fret should be positioned so that the cutoff point of the strings is at its top. Therefore, it is important to process the vertex correctly so that the point does not move, remaining in the same place.
  3. The width that the fret is sawn through must strictly correspond to the width of its leg. Before creating the fingerboard , you need to measure the dimensions of the new frets . A prerequisite is that the fret must hold tightly, so the cut should not be narrow so that it does not wedged in the future, but also not wide in order to avoid movement. It is important to know what material the fingerboard is made of . Maple belongs to soft varieties, rosewood or ebony belongs to hard ones.
  4. If the width of the cut does not match the existing fret , you need to purchase a special fret wire, which is used to repair guitars. The width of its legs exceeds this parameter for a conventional leg.

Answers on questions

Can old frets be pried open with a screwdriver?You can not, otherwise you can damage the lining.
Do I need to glue the grooves?You can use glue or epoxy, or just hammer it in with a mallet.
Can a radius stone be used to grind frets ?Yes.


In order to successfully change frets on an electric guitar or acoustic instrument, it is necessary to handle the instrument and the elements to be replaced correctly and carefully. If the musician is not confident in his abilities, you need to trust the master.

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