Soldering Fret Divits? Yes, It 100% Works And Here's Proof

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by toomanycats, Dec 11, 2017.

  1. jtcnj

    jtcnj Well-Known Member

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    stuck in the mud somewhere in the swamps of jersey
    I used to be that guy death gripping his way through ACDC Malcolm rhythms.

    I never divoted no frets what wasn't divoted already.
    I am strongly devoted to non divoted frets.

    yes, I too am curious as to how this held up.

    I would just level them and be done with it as the benefits of a good fret level would be more than just the divot purge.

    but in a pinch, good life hack.
     
  2. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    I thank you for raising this one from the dead because this is a necrothread that serves a legitimate purpose, namely, posing the question of how well this mod has held up after ten months.

    First, I have not had a tremendous amount of playing time on this Strat since the OP. At most, I'd say half a dozen hours. I've got sixty or so other guitars.

    That being said, the solder appears to have not worn to any noticeable degree in that time. There is no doubt that had I been gigging with this guitar as my main instrument over the course of this same time frame, my observation would be quite different.

    Bottom line, I stand by my earlier statements that this is a legitimate stopgap fix that definitely works in the short term. I absolve myself from responsibility for anyone who uses this technique for purposes of deception and/or trickery.
     
  3. Mikesr1963

    Mikesr1963 Well-Known Member

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    Got an old worn neck I’m going give this a try on.
     

  4. Jaymo

    Jaymo Well-Known Member

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    While it isn't a long term fix, You could do this repair many times for the amount of time it would take to level, crown, and polish the frets.
     
  5. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Well-Known Member

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  6. ArtisanLuthiers

    ArtisanLuthiers New Member

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    I would never recommend doing this type of thing. If you have frets in poor condition your choices are:

    1. Fret level, crown, polish
    2. Total refret
    3. Live with it

    No offense intended but, if this was a legit repair method luthiers everywhere would offer the service.
     
  7. ArtisanLuthiers

    ArtisanLuthiers New Member

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    Is that paper available at StewMac?
     
  8. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    Man, you'd think I recommended this or something.

    Warm-Engine-Up-Faster.jpg

    I can see I'm going to have to prove a point here. Just wait for a moment. It's time for a "24 months after fret divit repair test."
     
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  9. voodoorat

    voodoorat Well-Known Member

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    yeah, but it's $80 plus $12 shipping.
     
  10. Jaymo

    Jaymo Well-Known Member

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    I'd presume nickel silver/German silver (same alloy) is harder than soft silver solder, since nickel silver contains zero silver. it's a glorified brass/bronze alloy. It's just a copper/nickel alloy. No silver.
    Now, if you use silver braze, THAT may be harder. Or not. Moot point, since the oxy-acetylene torch required would ruin your fret board.

    I'm glad to hear it's holding up. I may try this on my Jay Turser Pbass copy that is getting divots in the frets. I'm starting to think the frets on it are made of recycled beer can aluminum. It's not worth putting over $300 into a refret.
    Or, maybe I'll use it to learn how to do a fret level/crown, or a refret job at home.
     
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  11. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    This is the guitar played just moments ago, two years after my original post. I could post pics of the frets themselves, and you would see that the areas where the divits were soldered do indeed have slight wear, though nothing like what it was before the solder was applied. I could also measure the wear with a micrometer or a feeler gauge, but the real test is the sound, isn't it? Are there dead notes? Is there fret buzz when playing in the area of the repair? Use your ears and listen.



    Some further points about this guitar: Remember, I paid $39 for this Taiwanese made Squier at a pawn shop. I never intended to sink a lot of money into it, which I haven't.

    The paint job was rattle canned:

    https://www.aguitarforum.com/threads/guitar-chandelier.97701/

    It has brass kitchen drawer knobs as a block:

    https://www.aguitarforum.com/thread...obs-as-a-block-on-a-strat.93278/#post-1497084

    The pickups are the cheap imports with the ceramic magnet removed and ALNiCo III rods put in place of the steel poles:

    https://www.aguitarforum.com/thread...ceramic-single-coil-pups-mod-has-begun.94904/

    So I've done a lot of modifications to this guitar while spending hardly any money. It looks cool, plays well, and has a pretty good tone. It's there in my guitar rack when I feel like grabbing it and hearing the soft attack of those A3 magnets.

    Is the solder thing a permanent fix? Well no, but I have fully acknowledged that. It's like a temporary tooth. Should people be forbidden from getting a temporary tooth to hold them over? Of course not. Hell, I had a dentist back in NYC, great guy named Dr. Mitchell Sabagh, who made me a temporary tooth that lasted a decade (YMMV).

    Would it be wrong for a luthier to do the solder fix to a guitar and then charge somebody for a refret? Of course it would be totally wrong. This is ethics 101. But if a luthier or an unscrupulous guitar seller did do this, it wouldn't be my fault because I showed how it was done. If that's the case then we might as well talk about suing the heirs of Alfred Nobel for his inventing dynamite.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
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  12. Jaymo

    Jaymo Well-Known Member

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    Sounds good to me. Would I build up the worn frets on an expensive instrument with this method?
    No.
    Will I use this method to fill in the divots in some of the frets on my Jay Turser Pbass copy?
    Probably. I'll probably also switch to flats or coated or tape wound strings on it, after.
    some instruments just aren't worth the cost of a refret or a fret level at a luthier's shop.
     
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  13. Jaymo

    Jaymo Well-Known Member

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    Totally stealing that idea. Will start selling tennis balls as engine warm up devices on ebay.
    Should be highly profitable and at least as effective as any of those electric "superchargers" and fuel saving devices sold there.
    I can hear the money just rolling in.
     
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  14. jtees4

    jtees4 Member

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    Good thinking! And good job!
     
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  15. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    Bingo.

    Sure, there are luthiers who would argue otherwise, just like there are mechanics who will gladly take your money to completely rebuild the engine of a 2001 Toyota Corolla . . . if you're stupid enough to give it to them.
     
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  16. jam

    jam Well-Known Member

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    Hey! I find that offensive! I collect 2001 Toyota Corollas. I keep guitars in the trunk.
     
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  17. Mikesr1963

    Mikesr1963 Well-Known Member

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    Somebody has to be first before the service can be provided. I would never ask a luthier to do this because the cost would be outrageous. No offense.
     
  18. uglyvw

    uglyvw Well-Known Member

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    I have an early chinese affinity strat of the same era, full thinckness alder body, same headstock, and a great neck profile. It had a couple of frets lifting and some fret wear, so I used it to learn how to refret. It turned out great and is still my fav strat some 10 years later. Those a3 magnets do sound very nice.
     
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  19. MichaelR

    MichaelR Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I think this is a good idea for small local divot's rather than a taking your frets down with a file. My question is did you brush the fret with rosin first so it would stick? In my experience solder wont stick without it. I would lightly sand the area then the rosin then the solder. for all my soldering jobs I use rosin core but also have a small container of pure rosin I brush on, it sure seem to help solder stick.
     
  20. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    I love A3 single coils, in both Strat and Tele pickups. This is another example of the blue 97 Squier Affinity.



    I cleaned the frets with rubbing alcohol straight out of my medicine cabinet. In my OP I don't specifically say that I scuffed them for good adhesion, though it seems like I most certainly would have. In any case, I didn't use rosin. I do remember that the solder adhered extremely well using just that procedure.
     

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