Let’s talk about a fret buzz. Here are the tools you need:
Looking down close at it, it looks like it’s popping up out of the fret slot and sure enough, you shouldn’t be able to fit a piece of paper underneath your fret. It’s important that the frets are seated all the way down into the slot so there’s no gap between the fret and a fret board. It looks like this one’s become loose and popped up, so we’re going to need to get in there and reseat it. Let’s get the strings off this thing and get to work. When you’ve got a popped up fret that’s sitting up high, but it doesn’t press down when you push on it. You could take a file or leveling tool and level it down to be flush with the others. That’ll fix the buzzing, but you’re also shaving some height off the top of that fret that you really didn’t need to.
That means these frets will need to be replaced sooner and a refresh is not cheap. In this case where the Fred is loose, if you just try to file on it, that fret is going to press down under the weight of the leveling tool and pop right back up afterwards so it’s still going to shave height off the top, but it’s still going to be sitting high and causing a buzz. In either case, what you really want to do is seat that fred.
Sometimes all it takes to see to high is a couple of taps with a fretting hammer. Ideally you could knock it back down into the slot and it’ll stay there. When a fret stays down like that, you don’t have to glue it, but I usually like to just to make sure it won’t pop up later on. Aside from holding the frets down, there’s another benefit to gluing them.
Any small gaps between the fret tang and the slot are going to absorb vibrations from the strings. Having those filled with a hard glue like super glue will transfer that energy instead. The more you can transfer the energy from your strings to the guitar, the more sustain you’ll have and the better your tone in general will be. A little bit of paste wax on either side of the fret will help keep excess glue from sticking to the fret board. Number 10 super glue is the best choice for this job because it’s thin enough to wick down underneath the fret and into the slot so you don’t have to take out the fret to get the glue in. Once you’ve gotten the glue where you want it, you’ll need to hold it down while it cures clamping is the best way to do this because it gives you a consistent pressure.
Plus you don’t have to stand there holding the fridge just watching glue dry. A radius sanding block is perfect for this because it has a curve that matches the fingerboard. You’ve got to work quick when you’re working with super glue, so you want to have your supplies all set out. Maybe you do a couple of dry runs just to get the feel for doing it quick. You would put in your super glue, a thin bead on either side, quickly wipe away your excess with a paper towel, get your block in place and clamp it down. I’d let us set up like this. Sit for five or 10 minutes just to make sure the glue is really cured and you get a strong bond. This works great, but if you’re doing a lot of repair work, this could be kind of slow going.
The jaws press really speeds this up. You could press down a fret and clamp it all in one fell swoop.The little glue in there and you could see it suck right down and that’s, I’m on this side too and make sure there’s plenty of it.
Wipe that off before it dries. My jobs and position get just enough pressure to seat that fret. With this setup unlike the radius block, I can get right up to that fret, run a little accelerator on a Q-tip and that’ll make that super glue cure almost instantly. I’ll still let it sit clam for about a minute, just to be safe.
It might not seem like a big deal saving five or 10 minutes on that one fret with the jaws, but you figure there’s 20 something frets on a neck and that’s gonna add up to hours of safe time. Let’s see how it came out. The gap is gone. The paper won’t fit underneath anymore. That’s a good sign. And checking that fret for level doesn’t rock anymore. So it’s level two, these two that are around it and it’s really well seated. It doesn’t get much better than that. Usually a neck that’s got one loose fret, it’s going to have several others. I’ll check the rest of this neck and glue and see all these fresh, that same way. Then after they’re seated all to get a leveling tool and file them also, they’re perfectly flush with each other and then reshape them to a nice rounded crown shape. So this neck will come out, play in really nice with no buzzes. And since I didn’t take any more material off the top of the Freds than I absolutely needed to. I know these frets, I’ve got a lot of years of playing ahead of them.