Fretwork Scars and Integrity

Badly fitted and finished fret

Protect your fretboard when doing refrets, levels, polishing, etc.

The Problem

I worked on these guitars in order to put right the work that someone* had attempted and done a less-than-stellar job on. One had a lot of poorly seated frets that caused buzzing all over the place and the second problem is more 'visible'.

The first required a full refret and the second needed a fret level and some fret-glueing (although I'd dearly have liked to be able to refret again so I could do more with the scarring/scrapes). 

The Tip

As you can see, one of the problems is that the fingerboard has been scarred. This happened when the previous guy failed to protect the wood before working on the frets (with files or sandpaper). This stuff's not rocket science—you can buy fretboard-guards all over the place online but even a bit of masking tape will do the trick in a pinch. 

If you're ever using anything abrasive on your frets, protect the wood they live in. It's not as tough as the metal frets so spare it a thought. 

The Rant

*The person who did these jobs wasn't the owner having a go at some DIY. That'd be just fine. Nope. Someone charged for this work. 

This is something that gets me really, really riled up.

Weird, right? I mean, since it means more business for me, other repairers making a mess of things should make me happy.

It really, really doesn't, though.

Seriously—someone took a guy's guitar, mucked up a refret, and then charged for it. I can't get on board with that. Forget about running a business, life isn't about what you can get away with while hoping nobody notices. 

Integrity, dammit! Have some damned integrity. 

Turns out, there are tons of 'integrity' quotes on the web but I decided to go with mine. 

The middle word wasn't 'damned' in the first version.  ;-)

Integrity is what you do when nobody's watching. Or something. 

My hand-lettering needs some more practice. Letterers among my readers should feel free to run with this one. Let's call it 13% royalties for me. ;-)

Rant: A Little Pride

Fair warning: Ranting follows.

The other day, someone brought me a guitar with a problem—some fret buzz in places. He told me they'd seen two other repair guys who had done various things without actually solving the problem. The last guy dismissed his failure and told my customer that he'd "bought a copy and that's why it buzzed".

What a crock!

Now, even if this particular guitar were a 'copy', that's a pitiful excuse.

Look. Nobody's perfect. People make mistakes, people sometimes come across things that they can't do or don't know how to handle. This happens me, this happens everyone. What's annoying is the fobbing-off and the meaningless excuses.

Stop hiding your inability to do a particular job behind excuses. Stop pretending that the problem is outside of you. If you don't know something, don't blame the inanimate object you're working on—find out how to proceed or 'fess up.

Take a bit of bloody pride in your work. It doesn't matter what you're doing. Find a way to do the best job you possibly can.

To illustrate: Based on the evidence, much of my house was put together by tradesmen and builders who had given up on the 'pride in your work' ideal. There isn't a right-angle, plumb vertical, or level surface in the place and every single time I have to do a job in the house, I curse their laziness and careless attitudes.

I don't want someone in the future cursing my lack of care. I can see why some people might be ok with that, but I think that's a pretty selfish view.

Don't coast. Don't settle. Just bloody do it. If you fail, try again. Or, if it's truly something you feel you can't do, at least apologise without blaming things other than you.


Sorry… Was I shouting?

P.S. Rant over. I realise that what I'm railing against is actually bringing more business to me. This will either give you an idea of how strongly I feel about it, or confirm that I'm an idiot.