FRETS.COM When Frets Go Wrong

If they fit to tightly
Filing Fret Tangs
© Frank Ford, 3/3/00; Photos by FF

If my frets appear to fit too tightly, or if I'm starting to produce a backbow as I tap in the frets, I'll look for a fret with a narrower tang. If I can't find the fret wire I need, I may have problems

Sometimes, I'm called on to use a particular fret wire that has a wide tang, replacing a more "standard" size fret. More problems.

Now, I could draw my saw through the slots to widen them, but that would modify an instrument more than I'd like. After all, I may later wish to go back to the standard size fret wire. Widening slots on a bound fingerboard is a lot of work, and I'd like to avoid that, too.

Section by section, I'll clamp the fret wire in my vise and run a file along it to remove the barbs and some of the tang from one side:

This technique usually works to get me what I need:

It's less work than it may seem to file fret wire this way, and it is a very effective way to make things fit.

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