FRETS.COM Illustrated Glossary
Obsolete, but still among us
© Frank Ford, 9/11/98 Photos by FF
The Martin Guitar Company is the only factory old enough to remember installing "bar frets" as standard equipment. In fact, bar frets were about 40 years obsolete when Martin finally discontinued them in 1934!
Bar frets are simple bars of nickel alloy that are tapped into precisely milled slots in the fingerboard. From the end they have a rectangular cross section:
Once the frets are installed they must be leveled and individually rounded to form the nice smooth fret tops we need for good playability.
That's a hell of a lot more work than installing "standard or T-frets."
Here's a photo from my article on refretting with bar frets:
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