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Replacing frets on a Caparison Angelus Guitar

Caparison Angelus

This guitar is a long-term test guitar for a UK magazine. It was dropped on its face, suffering some damage from the plain strings to frets 17 and 18. A couple of higher frets were also lightly marked but this was damage which would dress out easily. As you can see below, the damage wasn’t bad but it made bending problematic as the strings caught in the notches.

Damaged frets

The custodian of the guitar sourced some fret wire from Caparison which came cut to size, undercut and neatly taped in order which made my job easier as all I had to do was select the appropriate frets.

Fretwire as supplied

First job was to remove the old frets. With some gentle encouragement they came out cleanly, with no chipping of the ebony board beyond the extent of the fret.

No chipping

I tidied the slots, made sure they were deep enough and tried the frets in for size.

Testing for size

Happy that they would fit I tapped them home with fretting hammer, each end first then the middle to seat the frets good and tight against the fretboard.

Frets pressed into slots

I trimmed the slight overhang and masked the fret board ready for dressing the frets.

Ends bevelled 30 degrees

I beveled frets ends to 30° from vertical and leveled them all using a steel beam and abrasive followed by a diamond file. I then re-crowned the flat tops to the correct profile using a series of files. Then I dressed the sharp ends round using a diamond fret file.

Ends dressed using diamond file

One the frets were the correct shape I began to polish them. I started with P400 carborundum, progressively finer up to 12 000 grit Micromesh.

Polishing the Frets

Once finished, it is impossible to tell that any frets have been replaced!

Finished repair

 

 

 

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