FRETS.COM When Frets Go Wrong

Gluing down a
Loose Fret End
© Frank Ford, 3/3/00; Photos by FF

OK, here's one I really don't like. I've tapped the fret in place, and the end bounces back, like this:

If I hit it again, it bounces right back. No matter how I hit it, it won't stay down, because the fret is bent, and holding its end up. And/or the end just isn't grabbing the fret slot.

If this happens when I'm refretting, I'll almost always remove the fret and throw it away, replacing it with a new fret, properly curved to match the board. If that doesn't work, I'll try "fattening" up the fret ends, using my little
fret tang altering tool, as I have described in the section on frets that are loose in the middle.

If I have to confront a loose fret end or two on an instrument after I'm virtually finished with the refret process, I might resort to gluing down the offending part.

I can use a bit of cyanoacrylate to glue down the springy end:

The cyanoacrylate runs under the fret.

As soon as possible, I wipe the excess off:

Then I hold the fret end down with a little dowel, and dab on a bit of accelerator with a Q-tip applicator:

After a few seconds, the fret end is firmly nailed down, and I'll have a minimal cleanup job. A wipe or two with acetone on a towel usually does the job.

All in all, I'll go to some pretty extreme lengths to avoid gluing loose ends for fear that they might spring back up if the glue fails in the distant future. I don't count on the glue actually sticking to the metal fret. I'm assuming it simply acts as a mechanical barrier to keep the tang barbs from moving up.

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