Re-frets & fret Levelling

Fret levelling is a service that is beneficial to well-used, older or second-hand guitars and is normally needed for one of two reasons:

One: One or two frets have become raised causing fret buzz and preventing a low playing action being achieved. Work needed to rectify this will include:

  • Identify and level raised frets (and glue down as necessary)
  • Re-crown those frets.
  • Any sharp fret ends smoothed off.
  • Clean and polish fret-board and frets.
  • Apply lemon oil to fret-board.  (not lacquered maple fret-boards)
  • Refit strings.



Two: Frets have become worn due to general playing leading to fret buzz and poor intonation. Work needed:

  • Level all frets
  • Re-crown frets
  • Smooth off any sharp fret ends
  • Clean and polish fret-board and frets
  • Apply lemon oil to fret board (not lacquered maple fret-boards)
  • Refit strings.



At some point a well played guitar will need a re-fret. Guitars with low and worn frets often suffer from poor intonation, fret buzz and string bending is not so easy. A re-fret is therefore an opportunity to breathe life into a much loved guitar.  At the Flame Guitars South London workshop I offer fret-wire in a choice of widths and heights. If you are unsure whether your fret needs replacing, or whether worn frets is the cause of poor sound quality from your guitar, please feel free to contact me for advice.

Refrets on unbound fret boards:



Re-frets on bound fingerboards:



Lacquered fingerboards

Where a maple fingerboard has been lacquered it is very difficult to remove the frets without small parts of the lacquer adjascent to the frets chipping away. Once the new frets are installed the lacquer has to be repaired. This can be quite time consuming and so adds to the cost of refretting a lacquered fingerboard. So expect to pay £200-220 for the refret of such a neck.

All servicing is by appointment, please contact me to book your appointment.

Example of fret levelling

Click on the first of the photographs below and you will see a sequence of photographs which show how I level frets.


Firstly the fingerboard is masked off
I then check for frets that are too high. A rocking motion on the straight edge indicates a high fret
High frets are levelled and crowned
The guitar is fitted into the neck jig. The truss rod is then adjusted so that the neck is perfectly straight
All the frets are given a light levelling
The frets are polished with progressively finer polishing pads
These are some of the tools I use to level, crown and polish frets