I'm wondering if anyone has had the same problem I'm having. I'm working on my second batch of bulk fret wire from CB Gitty. The first wire was the medium/high wire. I used it all up and I decided to try the medium/medium. I wanted something a little smaller. I had no trouble with the medium/high. They went right into the slots and fit tight enough that I needed no glue. I've used the medium/medium on 4 guitars so far. After I install them, I'm noticing they are loose so I have to pull them out and use some super glue in the slots. I measured the tang thickness of each wire, including the triangle shaped barbs. The medium/high measures .036" thick and the medium/medium measures .030" thick. The extra .006" seems to be the difference between using glue or not. Is the thicknesses supposed to be the same on all wire sizes? Im also wondering if I do not pull them out and glue them, will they tighten up once the strings have tension on them. I'm guessing they will tighten towards the center of the neck, but not so much on the ends.

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  • Hi ARG, something I and many other builders and repairers do is to put a slight radius in the fret, or if fretting a radiused board apply a slight over radius.What this does is as you drive the fret down the radius flattens and pushes the ends of the fret sideways, this causes the barb to go in at a sideways angle at the ends, giving better grip.

    It can't pop up as it may if driven straight in. But of course the barbs have to bite into the side of the slot to start with.


    • I can see how that would work to hold the ends down tighter, but the center may not be tighter.....but it may not matter if the ends are tight. I've seen a similar method before. The frets were cut to length. When they are installed, the are offset and extend off of the edge of the fretboard by roughly 1/16". Then you tap them in from the side to make them flush with the fretboard edge. Basically the barbs create a downward slot and then to the left or right to create an "L" shape slot. In theory, there will be no missing wood above the barbs and they should hold the wire down tightly.

    • I use a block of hardwood and the nearest hammer to drive frets. If the outside edges are started straight the center goes down easily. Just keep hammering (within reason) . Keep going until the fret is seated.

    • Good piece of information. The wire I buy comes in about a 12" diameter roll. This gives it  a radius although it is being driven into a flat fretboard. Works well.

  • I just measured the tang thickness of each size fret wire, not including the barbs, and they both measure .023". Maybe the extra .006" on the barbs and tang length make the difference
    • 023" should be the perfect fit into a well cut slot. The barbs bite into the sides of the slot to hold them in place. It is also very critical that the frets be driven absolutely straight into the slots. They must be totally seated for best results.

    • Yes, I use the same circular fretting blade. The slot is for the tang size and the barbs are forced into the side of the slot for grip.

      Are you using the same hardwood fretboard material? 

      On my first blade I bent it just a fraction (so that it wobbled) and caused a wider slot, I had to buy a new blade.


    • Yes. Same woods I've been using since I bought the blade. Like I said, the larger fret wire will fit tight in the same slots the smaller wire fits loosely in.

  • A proper fret wire saw cuts a slot of.023". The fretwire you mention would not be loose in these slots, so I assume you used a different type of saw to cut them. Every kind of saw in the world has been used to cut fret slots, but only one works well. I paid $50 for mine from Lee Valley. It has saved me hundreds of dollars in aggravation.

    • I have a stewmac fret blade for my table saw and it is aligned with the miter slots within .001" to .002". The larger frets fit perfect. Keep in mind, the .030" measurement includes the barbs. I'll have to measure the actual tang thicknesses to see how they compare.
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