Fretwork & refrets

Fret dressing, fret levelling and refrets. The importance of well dressed frets.

I could write so much about this topic but I will try and be brief. Regular customers of mine will know the importance I place on level and nicely dressed frets. So high-quality fretwork is important to me. You can have a guitar with the best pickups and hard-ware and it can be the most beautiful looking guitar, but if the frets are not properly set and level the guitar will not sing and sustain as it should. And for guitarist who like a low action it is essential that the frets are right.

In my experience it is rare to come across a guitar that would not benefit from some fretwork. You would think that new guitars would need no fretwork to be done but this is rarely the case, even on expensive guitars.


So does my guitar need a fret level or a full refret?

I’m afraid that is not an easy question to address as it depends on the depth of the indentations made in the frets by the strings and the height of the original frets. So it is probably best to bring the guitar to me so that I can assess it and suggest the best way forward to get your guitar to optimum playing condition.

Stainless steel and Evo Gold fretwire

I can install both stainless steel and Evo Gold fretwire. As you may be aware stainless steel fretwire is nearly twice as hard as nickel fretwire. Evo Gold is not as hard as stainless steel, but not far off it.

Because of the hardness of the material specialist fretwork tools are needed to work with stainless steel. The installation process also takes a lot longer. As a consequence the cost of a refret with either stainless steel or Evo Gold compared with nickel, is quite a bit more.

You may be interested to read my post on stainless steel frets.

I have also produced a video entitled “Installing stainless steel frets: tools & techniques


Fretwork costs:


  • Unbound fretboard                   £200
  • Bound fretboard                        £240
  • Lacquered maple fretboard     £240-260 (refret time can be increased by thick or brittle lacquer)
  • Stainless steel or Evo Gold fretwire; plus £50-70 to the costs above (depending size of fretwire)

Fret levelling

  • Level, re-profile and polish frets
  • Dress any sharp fret ends
  • Clean and oil fret-board (not lacquered fret-boards)

£40-80 depending on condition of frets and how much of the fretboard needs to be dressed.

I have made a number of videos related to fretwork. You can find these on my videos page.

If you would like to discuss having fretwork done on your guitar please contact me