Bar frets

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Wayne Brown
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:46 pm
Location: Huntersville,NC

Bar frets

Post by Wayne Brown »

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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Charlie Schultz
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Re: Bar frets

Post by Charlie Schultz »

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

Wayne Brown
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:46 pm
Location: Huntersville,NC

Re: Bar frets

Post by Wayne Brown »

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!

John Hamlett
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Re: Bar frets

Post by John Hamlett »

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.

Wayne Brown
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Location: Huntersville,NC

Re: Bar frets

Post by Wayne Brown »

Thanks John! You've given me several options to consider.

Chris Reed
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Re: Bar frets

Post by Chris Reed »

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

Wayne Brown
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:46 pm
Location: Huntersville,NC

Re: Bar frets

Post by Wayne Brown »

Thanks Chris, I'll check that out.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: Bar frets

Post by Barry Daniels »

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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Michael Lewis
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Re: Bar frets

Post by Michael Lewis »

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.

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Bar frets

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

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.

Wayne Brown
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:46 pm
Location: Huntersville,NC

Re: Bar frets

Post by Wayne Brown »

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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