More frets please
Category: Guitar building
My kid recently asked for a new guitar, as his current one didn't have enough frets. Apparently he needed one more fret to play a Metallica song.
Rather than spending dollars on a new guitar, I decided to try adding a few frets to his existing Fender Squier Strat.
I carved a small piece of scrap wood to fit on the end of the fret board. Seemed easy enough, so I glued it on to the end of the fret board, and used some double sided tape to also fix it to the pick guard.
Next I cut two new fret slots. The 23rd was easy, as I could cut straight across the new wood. The 22nd was painful. I only wanted to cut half way across the board, and the cut had to go over the join of the old and new wood pieces.
Frets went in next - I didn't have a special fret cutting tool, so the ends weren't anywhere near flush, and came out very pointy. Lots of filing next, which was the worst part of the job - I had to try to not file any of the surrounding wood, pick guard or pickups. The angles were hard to work with. If I had to do this sort of thing again, I would take the neck off the guitar and work on it that way, which would have made access a lot easier.
The end result works! Two new frets. The fret ends could still use a little bit of work, the finish is a bit shiny so doesn't quite match the rest of the fret board, but hey, it works. If the pick guard ever needs to be replaced, that will also mean removing the neck. That isn't wonderful, so here's hoping the pick guard never needs to come off.
About an hour after I finished, my kid mentioned that he'd like 24 frets now.