Bar frets

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Bar frets

Postby Wayne Brown » Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:26 pm

I'm repairing a mandolinetto (a ukulele size instrument played like a mandolin)for a friend. It's maybe a hundred years old and made by Bruno of NY. It has some badly worn frets that should be replaced to make it playable. Does anyone know of a source for these bar frets ( they measure about .038"wide)
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Re: Bar frets

Postby Charlie Schultz » Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:31 pm

LMI has bar fretwire, but it is 0.059" thick (0.157" tall).
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Re: Bar frets

Postby Wayne Brown » Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:51 pm

I saw that in LMI's catalog but I was hoping to find some a bit thinner, but it may be my only source.
Thanks!
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Re: Bar frets

Postby John Hamlett » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:09 pm

You could check with T. J. Thompson, he has and sells bar fret stock... however, you'll probably have to hand file each fret to fit the slot, so you might as well start out with frets that are too thick. Also, you can often "lift" the frets; pull them out and then put them back in but not as deep, or flip them over so the worn side is down. Some people put wooden shims under them, but when they fit just right, they don't really have to go all the way to the bottom of the slots, and for good measure, may of us glue them in the slots to help them stay put anyway.
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Re: Bar frets

Postby Wayne Brown » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:25 am

Thanks John! You've given me several options to consider.
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Re: Bar frets

Postby Chris Reed » Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:30 am

I believe modelmaking shops sell brass bar in a range of thicknesses - used for model railways, etc.
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Re: Bar frets

Postby Wayne Brown » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:14 pm

Thanks Chris, I'll check that out.
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Re: Bar frets

Postby Barry Daniels » Tue May 01, 2012 9:01 am

I think brass would be too soft. It is softer than most other metals so the strings would wear on the frets.
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Re: Bar frets

Postby Michael Lewis » Wed May 02, 2012 12:49 am

Depends on the brass, of which there are many alloys. Industry standard frets are mostly brass with some nickel added for the silver coloration. Brass frets have been used for many years mostly on inexpensive instruments like the lower grade Harmony instruments.
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Re: Bar frets

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Wed May 02, 2012 7:27 am

You could buy nickel silver sheet and cut your own bar frets. The sheet comes in various thicknesses and is sold in small quantities for the hobby trade. It cuts easily with a metal cutting blade on a bandsaw. A hacksaw would also cut it fairly well.
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Re: Bar frets

Postby Wayne Brown » Wed May 02, 2012 8:50 am

The frets that are in this instrument are the color of brass. Looks like I'll be making a trip to my local hobby shop. Thanks all!
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