This Strat Obey Dissent in for a manicure!

Yeah! I finally took the plunge into electrics – in a manner of speaking!

This one came in with many divots on many fretwires – but most especially on every fretwire along where the ‘B’ string would hit them. The owner, a professional musician, all but cried relating his tales of woe, each time he would try and bend a note.

But like I’ve confessed many times before, I am not really ‘equipped’ to work on electrics. For starters, I don’t even have a neck rest for an electric. So, improvising became the name of the game. Hunting around the house for what I could use as a neck rest, I finally chose two washing sponges resting on a solid foam block – perfect height. 

As you notice from the picture above, the first step towards the fretwire job was to tape off the entire fretboard (I like to call it the Mummy-fication of the guitar) – we don’t want to damage beautiful rosewood by nicking it with files and rasps – as also the electronics on the body.

We also don’t want any of the filings and dust sticking to the electromagnets, or settling in places from where it would be hard to get out.

The process was very simple to put into words but very, very time-consuming. Go over each fret with a three-cornered file (to remove the divots); go over each fret with six grits of sandpaper. While the first grit removed whatever marks the three-cornered file had left behind, each finer grit removed marks left behind by the earlier grit of sandpaper.

After the three-cornered file
After the first grit of sandpaper

And then, finally, to give the fretwires an almighty shine and to make them slicker than butter: a rub-down with ‘0000’ steel wool. But what a royal mess steel wool makes!

Here’s how this bad boy went out looking, and was the owner thrilled with the results?


Amit Newton

An experienced guitar tech with over 10 years of experience working on acoustic Gibsons and Martins in the Gulf region. There is nothing that cannot be repaired; the only consideration is the price at which it comes. And yet, if there is sentiment attached, no price is too high! WhatsApp/Call me: 7080475556 email me:

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