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Old 02-08-12, 02:05 AM   #1
njsteve
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Refret a 1992 Les Paul classic?

Hi,

I'm new to this forum and this is my first post here.

I have this LP Classic sunburst that is over 20 years old and has had heavy use. I use it for teaching guitar and it is in my hands every day and played for 4 or 5 hours every day give or take a few hours.

One day I noticed some fret buzz on the lower strings and I started noticing the guitar just wasn't playing as well as it had in the past. I brought it in to my guitar guy who is a Luthier and builds guitars and is very good. He gave it a fret dressing and told me he thought it had enought meat left on the frets but if it didn't to bring it in for a refret and he would discount the fret dressing.

So it's still not playing well and I have messed around with the truss rod quite a bit but I can't seem to get it to where the neck feels good and it doesn't buzz. Seems like I have to loosen the nut too much to get rid of the buzz and then the guitar plays very poorly.

My guitar guy said that with a Les Paul refret he gets rid of the binding that covers the outside of the frets. So I would lose that aspect of the guitar if I go with him for the refret.

I would appreciate any feedback on getting a refret done on this guitar. I've never had a guitar refretted and I am a little concerned that it won't solve the problem I am having and that I might just be better off taking the money and putting it towards a new LP.

Thanks in advance.

Steve from NJ
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Old 02-08-12, 03:10 AM   #2
winered82
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Re: Refret a 1992 Les Paul classic?

First, a little word on the introduction of the forum is most recommended, but welcome to the forum anyway

Second, make sure it is the frets that are culprit. But playing for 4/5 hours a day for 20 years, would personally leave me with almost no frets at all.

The binding that your Luthier is talking about, on the frets ends, is probably the 'nibs'. Skilled luthiers can save or at least 'rebuild' them. Even if he gets rid of the nibs, it is barely noticeable anyway. It is not (thank God) the whole binding that goes away... Besides, refretting is part of a 'normal' maintainence (sp?) of a guitar. It shouldn't cost you anything close to a new guitar, or even a substancial amount that you could put towards a new LP purchase. I've had my 82 standard refretted twice. It is still going strong... without nibs though
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Old 02-08-12, 04:06 AM   #3
njsteve
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Re: Refret a 1992 Les Paul classic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by winered82 View Post
First, a little word on the introduction of the forum is most recommended, but welcome to the forum anyway

Second, make sure it is the frets that are culprit. But playing for 4/5 hours a day for 20 years, would personally leave me with almost no frets at all.

The binding that your Luthier is talking about, on the frets ends, is probably the 'nibs'. Skilled luthiers can save or at least 'rebuild' them. Even if he gets rid of the nibs, it is barely noticeable anyway. It is not (thank God) the whole binding that goes away... Besides, refretting is part of a 'normal' maintainence (sp?) of a guitar. It shouldn't cost you anything close to a new guitar, or even a substancial amount that you could put towards a new LP purchase. I've had my 82 standard refretted twice. It is still going strong... without nibs though
OK. Sorry for not introducing myself...

I've played Les Paul's since my early days learning guitar after being a huge Jimmy Page fan. Ever since I saw that movie The Song Remains the Same I wanted a Sunburst Les Paul. So this Sun Burst Classic I have has a lot of sentimental value to me since I've played it for over 20 years and it really is a sweet guitar.

Here's a clip of one of my better recordings using said guitar:
http://www.stevezeik.com/media/Rain.mp3

And here's a photo of this guitar:
http://www.stevezeik.com/photo_album.html

I actually fell into guitar teaching after getting downsized from a high tech job and I started teaching a little guitar and noticed a huge demand for lessons and realized I could make a liviing at it and I've been teaching guitar for about 8 years now.

I know the cost of refret seems insignificant compared to the price of a new guitar but every dollar counts these days. I guess if I had a crystal ball and knew the refret would turn out great I would just go ahead and refret it. I did see this really nice dessert burst traditional plus at Guitar Center that caught my eye. Maybe I will end up getting a new LP and refretting this one. Another guitar never hurt anyone

Steve
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Old 02-08-12, 04:49 AM   #4
riffmeister
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Re: Refret a 1992 Les Paul classic?

Hi Steve,

My advice is to take the guitar to Phil Jacoby in Baltimore for a refret. It will come back 10x better than when new. Phil is a master luthier and he has a Plek machine, this is a potent combination. The Plek machine makes accurate measurements while the guitar is strung up and the neck is under tension, so there is no guess work about what will need to be done. Phil will level the fingerboard, if needed. The new frets which will go out to the edge of the fingerboard will add to the playability of the guitar. I just had one of my Les Pauls refretted by Phil and so I am telling you this based on my experience. The guitar plays so well now it's almost beyond words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by njsteve View Post
I would appreciate any feedback on getting a refret done on this guitar. I've never had a guitar refretted and I am a little concerned that it won't solve the problem I am having and that I might just be better off taking the money and putting it towards a new LP.

Steve from NJ
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Old 02-08-12, 07:33 AM   #5
winered82
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Re: Refret a 1992 Les Paul classic?

Nice clip! Get that guitar refretted!
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Old 02-08-12, 07:57 AM   #6
reverberocket2
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Re: Refret a 1992 Les Paul classic?

Hey NJSteve, welcome to the forum. I'm from North Jersey. My '84 Les Paul Std needs a refret too - still has the original low fat frets on it. Trying to decide which frets I want and who to go with
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Old 02-08-12, 08:56 AM   #7
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Re: Refret a 1992 Les Paul classic?

My very first refret that I did myself was my '76 Les Paul - it came out great and I KEPT the nibs. It's not that hard, you just need to bend and measure the replacements correctly - I made my own fret-bender jig out of an old homemade toilet-paper dispenser:


As proof, this is the refret before I filed the width of the nibs to match the new frets:


Saving the nibs slows down the refret which is why so many repair guys don't want to do it. I know they don't matter that much, but I like them.
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Old 02-08-12, 09:09 AM   #8
tonar8353
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Re: Refret a 1992 Les Paul classic?

Here is my 92 Classic Premium Plus after a re-fret and a bone nut. It was well worth the cost!
http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l2...3/IMG_7407.jpg
Here is a close up of the fretwork done by Glade Rasmussen. The frets are 6100's.
http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l2...3/IMG_8517.jpg
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Old 02-08-12, 10:10 AM   #9
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Re: Refret a 1992 Les Paul classic?

All I can say Steve is you need to take it to a guy who really knows how to do a refret. If you don't the guitar will not be the same. Research.
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Old 02-08-12, 10:20 AM   #10
riffmeister
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Re: Refret a 1992 Les Paul classic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat Boyack View Post
All I can say Steve is you need to take it to a guy who really knows how to do a refret. If you don't the guitar will not be the same. Research.
Agree. I had one guitar that came out f'ed up because I brought it to a jerk.

Phil Jacoby in Baltimore is your man: master luthier + Plek = Fab Results
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Old 02-08-12, 10:27 AM   #11
stock_hippie
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Re: Refret a 1992 Les Paul classic?

fret buzz is da WORSE!!
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Old 02-08-12, 01:30 PM   #12
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Re: Refret a 1992 Les Paul classic?

Welcome Steve! Although I'm a California guy, I lived in both Emerson and Mendham NJ during stretches of my formative teen years, so alot of NJ has certainly stuck. Still have family and friends there!

I have 4 PRS and 1 R7, and all of the guitars have been refretted. In my case it was mainly to go to a Stainless Steel composition, and in the case of the PRS, I went from "6150" type frets to "6100" type. In the case of the R7, I went to the closest equivalent to the stock wire that Gibson uses on it's Historics (Jescar FW45100) which is the Jescar FW47104SS.

The guy who did my guitars is pretty much "unobtainium" these days because his custom builds are in such high demand. For anyone who asks, I always suggest Phil Jacoby, although I've never had work done by Phil. His reputation is solid, he's on the East coast, and he impressed me with his knowledge when we spoke. http://www.philtone.com/index.html
There is quite a bit of info on his website, and he's well versed in the wire and construction methods used by Gibson. I would suggest that if you talk to Phil, find out how busy he is and what the wait times might be.

I full refret/new nut/set-up will likely transform your guitar, as long as you know exacly what you want in a playing surface. Only you can determine if this guitar is worthy of the effort an expense.

BTW, the difference in feel between the two frets below is fairly significant, even though their dimensions are nearly identical. It's about the shape of the crown...the wider fret actually feels narrower! If you contact Phil Jacoby, ask him about how Gibson installs their frets and how they use their plek. You will then understand why the difference might be so pronounced, and why one who is as obsessed about this stuff as I am might want a refret on a fairly new guitar.

Stock Historic Jescar FW45100: (note the dimensions are in the FW###):


Closest Jescar Equivalent offered in EVO and Stainless FW47104:


Jescar FW47104SS installed on my 2011 R7:






http://www.jescar.com/fretwire.html

Obviously, I did not hold the nibs sacred.
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Old 02-08-12, 09:04 PM   #13
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Re: Refret a 1992 Les Paul classic?

Get the refret done. A good refret will restore your guitar baco to top playing order. I just had to have mine re-crowned and had them install a bone nut. Huge improvement to the tone and playability.
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