Fret re-dressing

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Fret re-dressing

Postby Matthew Atkinson » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:21 pm

I was asked to re-dress a Washburn acoustic. Anyone have an idea what that should take for time? I realize I may go over but I don't know what to charge.
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Re: Fret re-dressing

Postby Thomas W. Felty » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:48 pm

I wouldn't think that should take more the hour, two at the most. Whats you shop time worth? I have my shop time is around [removed by staff - please see section 1R of our policy]. Hope this helps.

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Re: Fret re-dressing

Postby Greg Robinson » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm

Matthew, I think the question really comes down to this:
If you're not experienced enough to know how long it will take you to do a fret-dressing, I don't think you have any business charging anyone. You may think that's harsh, but I think it's fair.

If I've misunderstood you, and you are in fact experienced, and simply have not charged for your work before, and so are unsure what the going rate is, I would recommend checking out local prices (probably undercut somewhat for amateur status), and deciding how much your time is worth to you.
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Re: Fret re-dressing

Postby Matthew Atkinson » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:22 pm

Well, I have not done it for money. I have built 4 guitars. It's something I want to start doing for extra cash.
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Re: Fret re-dressing

Postby Ron Belanger » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:01 pm

If this is your first set-up / repair job perhaps you should consider doing it pro bono or for a small reasonable fee to get you some experience. I did my first few jobs for relatives and friends for the practice until I was confident enough to charge the going rate.
Remember it is always, always preferable to practice on your own instrument or a yard sale special before you do work for someone else.
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Re: Fret re-dressing

Postby Mark Wybierala » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:17 pm

Someone please define "redressing frets". There is leveling -- self explanatory. Crowning (included in leveling) -- self explanatory. Removing sharp fret ends and making the neck comfy -- is that dressing? Or, is dressing the removal of fret wear, divits, damage...? I don't do that without leveling, recrowning, polishing and addressing the frets ends which takes me about two and maybe a bit more hours from start to a properly and fully set up guitar. More time if there is a trem involved and I don't do it unless its the full process. Too many other things can cause a problem that could be blamed on fretwork.

What are you offering the client when you say you are going to dress the frets? -- everyone?
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Re: Fret re-dressing

Postby Tim Douglass » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:56 pm

Mark, I'm not a repairman, but I've done a few "fret dressing" jobs for friends to gain experience. If I were to offer to dress the frets on someone's guitar it would involve all of the above. I sort of view it as trying to make the fretwork as close to perfect in all respects as I can. I'm slow, so it normally takes me about 3-4 hours.
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Re: Fret re-dressing

Postby Mark Wybierala » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:05 pm

The two and a bit hours are with what are probably the best of tools, all at hand, and staying on task 100%. I can't think of any tool or resource that could make things better or faster -- if there was something, I'd buy it. This can extend up to four hours if there are complications such as dips or depressions mid neck, loose frets, defective frets, or all around difficult guitars. I wish there was a way to do less than the full process I go through but I sort of look at the process and a foundation where everything else can fall in place. After the process of fretwork, there is about 30 to 45 minutes or everything else and I hesitate to do everything else if I'll find that I need to go back.
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Re: Fret re-dressing

Postby Greg Robinson » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:51 am

When I do a fret dress, say on a Fender bolt-on with rosewood fretboard and no binding, I remove the neck, clean the fretboard, adjust the truss rod to achieve a level neck, tape off the fretboard, level the frets, touch up the bevel and file down any protruding fret ends, re-profile the crowns, polish the frets, remove the tape, clean the fretboard again and then oil it, replace the neck, re-string, adjust neck relief, check action at the nut and adjust if needed, adjust bridge action, adjust intonation, have a play, and we're done! All up, this takes me two hours. This is on a neck that was well fretted to begin with (no loose frets, has been properly dressed before), and hasn't been too badly abused. Necks in different condition will take longer.
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