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Fender Musicmaster refret and set up Part 1

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Published on Jan 22, 2015

In this video I start the process of assessing João’s 1971 Fender Musicmaster with a view to correcting the misaligned strings, re-fretting and then setting up the guitar.

First issue is that the strings are misaligned on the fingerboard, suggesting that either the neck is misplaced in the neck pocket or the bridge is out of place. It turns out this is correctable with a well-placed and shaped shim.

Next I take apart the guitar and proceed with examining the neck. It’s pretty clear it’s going to need re-fretting so I start the process of removing the original frets. This has to be done sideways as all Fenders up until 1983 had the frets put in sideways. I turns out to be easy enough with a good centre punch and a bit of courage and persistence.

This video ends at the point where all the frets are out.

Part 2 will show me re-fretting the neck with pre-cut Vintage fret wire pre-radiuses to 7.25” which is the stated radius of this guitar’s neck. In fact what I discovered (off camera) was that it WASN’T in reality 7.25” - but more like 6.5 / 6.75”! This showed up with the first test fret I pressed in where the edges wouldn’t go down no matter what I did. At first I put this down to my technique (not for one minute thinking that a Fender 7.25” radius could have become a 6.75” one over the space of 40 years…!). Then I used a 7.25” radius block to check the old and new frets which confirmed that the old frets were clearly a tighter radius than the new ones (which matched the block perfectly).

Work featured in the next video will be the re-fret, the fret levelling etc, sorting the switch wiring, replacing the old black paper in the 2nd pickup slot with black plastic and then reassembly and set up.

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