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Apr 4, 2022 - 6:26:46 PM
1331 posts since 11/17/2005

I would like opinions on this. I took my beautiful old Frank Neat neck to a shop where $25,000+ mandolins are made.
They replaced 5 frets.
This is what my binding looks like now. Look closely at the pictures. It was hard to photograph. 
My nibs are gone and the fret ends don't look very good, in my opinion.
What do you think?




Edited by - jason999 on 04/04/2022 18:27:35

Apr 4, 2022 - 7:05:23 PM
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DSmoke

USA

1191 posts since 11/30/2015

That looks terrible! Almost like a rookie did it. Even when I was learning to file fret ends I never damaged a binding that bad.

Apr 4, 2022 - 7:34:06 PM
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csacwp

USA

3035 posts since 1/15/2014

Looks like a hack job.

Apr 4, 2022 - 7:40:18 PM
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9644 posts since 8/28/2013

That is one crappy job. Have you cut any of your fingers yet?

I don't know what to suggest, except I wouldn't take it back because they'd probably make it worse.I  would bad mouth that shop to every musical instrument owner I encountered, and I'd never buy a mandolin from them for fear that 'd get an instrument that would be worse than a piece of plywood with strings attached.

The only thing you can do would be to re-contour the fret ends yourself (even blindfolded any amateur could get a better profile with a coarse file). And live with the binding until you need the entire neck refretted, then take it someplace where they know how to do things properly.

Edited by - G Edward Porgie on 04/04/2022 19:41:49

Apr 4, 2022 - 7:43:45 PM

rcc56

USA

4233 posts since 2/20/2016

It's normal to lose the binding nibs when frets are replaced. If there's a good technique for restoring the nibs without re-binding the instrument, I am not aware of it, and am skeptical that any such technique would bear good results.

That said and done, those fret ends are awful. My occasional apprentice did better on his second fret job. [edit]: Now that I think about it, he did a better job on his first fret job.  A lot better.
 

Edited by - rcc56 on 04/04/2022 19:58:17

Apr 4, 2022 - 7:45:15 PM
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AJA

USA

329 posts since 1/29/2006

The fret ends "don't look very good"?

They're way past that. They actually look dangerous.

Apr 4, 2022 - 7:51:51 PM

Alex Z

USA

4861 posts since 12/7/2006

My sympathies!

From the marks, looks like a scraper was used on the binding.  What a hack job.

Nibs always go when the frets are replace.  But for the binding, the 5 frets could be pulled and done right -- by someone who know how to do them right.

But the binding!

This is a shop that makes mandolins?  Who was it?

Apr 4, 2022 - 8:02:40 PM
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Omeboy

USA

3167 posts since 6/27/2013

I think I would go to the shop and ask to see the manager (or shop owner) about a "an instrument repair problem." I wouldn't talk to anyone BUT the manager. And I would point out the shoddy workmanship, which is clearly amateurish at best and demand a full refund. If they balk, I would threaten to take them to small claims court. In a small claims court, you could also extract from them the sum to have the instrument properly repaired once you had a written estimate from Frank Neat or any reliable banjo builder. Stand your ground and be firm about it.

What ever you do don't leave your instrument with these clowns again. The obviously cannot fix it. They're butchers at best. Now you'll have the additional expense of getting the instrument restored by a real banjo luthier. Too bad you didn't send it back to Frank in the first place, but that's water under the bridge and a tough lesson for you.................................@jason999

Apr 4, 2022 - 8:06:14 PM
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39 posts since 12/6/2021

I have never seen fret ends shaped like that. The guy should be ashamed.

Apr 4, 2022 - 8:28:53 PM

416 posts since 6/15/2021

There may be a lesson in here for all of us. Take a lot of pictures of your instruments before you leave it with a shop to be worked on.


(I am reminded of a horror story about a young woman who took her three-month-old NEW car back to dealer for its first oil change. It apparently literally fell off the lift. The dealer's shop was alternating between trying to fix it before she saw the extent of the damage and claiming it looked like that when she dropped it off.)

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Apr 4, 2022 - 8:49:31 PM

5291 posts since 5/9/2007

surprise

Apr 4, 2022 - 9:17:17 PM
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1331 posts since 11/17/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Omeboy

Now you'll have the additional expense of getting the instrument restored by a real banjo luthier. Too bad you didn't send it back to Frank in the first place, but that's water under the bridge and a tough lesson for you.................................@jason999

So you think I should have anticipated this outcome.

Mandolins have as much or more binding than a banjo. They also have nearly as many frets. It's not like I took it to a violin workshop to have it refretted.

I took it to a shop that produces $30,000 mandolins and was highly recommended! They also produce very expensive guitars.

It's not my fault and I didn't need a "lesson". I didn't take it to a random guy on Craigslist.

What was my lesson? Frank Neat is the only person in the world that can refret his neck?

Edited by - jason999 on 04/04/2022 21:22:19

Apr 4, 2022 - 9:20:20 PM
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1331 posts since 11/17/2005

quote:
Originally posted by pianojuggler

There may be a lesson in here for all of us. Take a lot of pictures of your instruments before you leave it with a shop to be worked on.


(I am reminded of a horror story about a young woman who took her three-month-old NEW car back to dealer for its first oil change. It apparently literally fell off the lift. The dealer's shop was alternating between trying to fix it before she saw the extent of the damage and claiming it looked like that when she dropped it off.)


That really is a good practice.  Even if they come recommended!

I won't need to take pictures, though. I'll be learning about refretting.

It's just a shame to have to learn to DIY. Ill have to buy tools and I pretty much never need frets.

Apr 4, 2022 - 9:23:42 PM
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1331 posts since 11/17/2005

I'm curious, how would my binding get messed up like that? What was he trying to scrape or cut?

I notice my auto correct turned "refret" job into "regret" job. Either works...

Edited by - jason999 on 04/04/2022 21:28:27

Apr 4, 2022 - 10:15:55 PM

rcc56

USA

4233 posts since 2/20/2016

Maybe he farmed the work out. If he was training an assistant, he needs to find a different assistant.
Or perhaps the worker had a little drinky-poo before he started the job.

That is not the work of a high-end builder. Nor is it the work of anyone with an experienced hand. It's the work of an untrained novice.

So I really don't understand what happened here-- I'm trying unsuccessfully to think of a high-end mandolin maker who does lousy fret work.

It looks like the binding was chewed up by using a fairly large flat file to "profile" [??? that's not how we do it] the fret ends. Which is a no-no. 45 degree angles on fret ends are another no-no. Most of us use a triangle file or cant-saw file with the edges ground safe.

And no, you don't have to send it to Frank to get a decent job, nor a "banjo luthier." The procedure for replacing frets is pretty much the same for guitars, mandolins, and banjos.

Although the bindings look pretty rough, there still might be enough material left to reprofile them and make them look good. It would be necessary to pull the new frets and start over to get it to look decent, though.

Edited by - rcc56 on 04/04/2022 22:23:09

Apr 5, 2022 - 12:42:28 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15603 posts since 8/30/2006

Notice the indignity and rightfully so.

A customer cost me a whole year. I dress each fret end by hand, all 44 and 50 for my first hand cut fret slots for a longneck with the saw and the jig. Then I bought the slot cutting blade from StewMac.

So the guy said he found some fret ends sticking out. How Many? "Too many to count." So he had bought a diamond file that is U-shaped from Amazon, it's not a fret file, and he left me two big right-handed gouges when the file slipped.  I'm left handed. 
"I may have inadvertently scratched the banjo."

So I failed to screen this poor man as a viable banjo player and respected customer. He monkey-wrenched me into a refund. 

So what I see without jaundice is lack of attention to detail, meaning amateur or too busy to admit they don't know what happened here with binding and frets being the same.  It looks to me like a Dremel slipped, or they just failed to keep the scraper at a right angle.  

I really enjoy scraping and sharpening those things.

I'm really sorry this happened to you, I take full responsibility, and the helix league supports your efforts to get the heck going.

These are real Arizona parrots, not love birds, they were reintroduced from Mexico because they were made extinct by being shot by the whiskey miners in the old days, same days when we shot all the Buffalo. Now they are drinking in droves out at the Links in Sun City Grand, it's a local joke, see how they can't quite figure the bird feeder out?
They are like Popeye and Barnacle Bill, they won't tolerate the slower Grackles.
And Sargeant Major Redwing Blackbird is back in town with his yearly troupe of immature males. The Geese are gone South.

Write a song about this.

Fighter Escort, everything OK here?


Edited by - Helix on 04/05/2022 00:57:58

Apr 5, 2022 - 1:20:08 AM
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banjo roo

Australia

106 posts since 5/12/2010

Wow :( The binding!! Frets can be replaced easily to fix that botch, but replacing the binding botch is much more difficult.
Calling it an amateur job is a compliment.
Feel for you bro.

Apr 5, 2022 - 1:47:44 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15603 posts since 8/30/2006

I once made binding dust from the right hand side of the perfect old vintaged strips of binding. I made a little tidy pile of it.

I did this because I was making adaptive dots for a blinded war veteran with only some color recognition in the other eye.

I made him bigger dot patterns, not bigger dots which he couldn't see.

I used little blue abalone diamonds added to the existing dots, so the third fret dot now showed Blue/White/Black/White/Blue and the 12th got busy but readable because the little blue diamonds light right up when you orient them to the light. Don't You? I now do all of my 5mm dots the same.  The 5's come with their own optical illusions, here they look sunken, but they're flat.  I now make my own hardwood binding.

This probably doesn't help at all, but we know Doc Watson also played banjo pretty good. 

Edited by - Helix on 04/05/2022 02:01:28

Apr 5, 2022 - 6:50:20 AM

101 posts since 8/31/2015

I'm sorry they butchered your banjo neck... that's horrible work. It can be 'undone' but will take significantly more effort than it would have to simply do it right the first time. What a headache.
If it's not too much to ask, how much did they charge for a 5 fret partial refret, and how long did they have it? We used to have a saying in the repair business- "good, fast, cheap" pick two. The unfortunate truth with the state of the repair world these days is that now we are only able to 'pick one' of these three things.

Edited by - TreyDBanjoKS on 04/05/2022 06:51:15

Apr 5, 2022 - 9:11:37 AM

1331 posts since 11/17/2005

quote:
Originally posted by TreyDBanjoKS

I'm sorry they butchered your banjo neck... that's horrible work. It can be 'undone' but will take significantly more effort than it would have to simply do it right the first time. What a headache.
If it's not too much to ask, how much did they charge for a 5 fret partial refret, and how long did they have it? We used to have a saying in the repair business- "good, fast, cheap" pick two. The unfortunate truth with the state of the repair world these days is that now we are only able to 'pick one' of these three things.


$100 and they had it for a out a week.

I guess I didn't get to pick 2, did I? LOL

Apr 5, 2022 - 9:17:05 AM
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1331 posts since 11/17/2005

Well, anyone that knows me, which isn't many on here, knows that I love CA.

A few months ago, I looked on Stewmac and found a package of various CA's.

Amount them was white and amber.

This morning I filled in the missing spots with white. I smoothed it and then mixed amber and clear to coat it.

It looks great! This was the worst damaged section. I could see the side of the fretboard, because some of the binding had been completely shaved away.

Im going to blend it a little better, but this is my progress so far. This is a close up photo. It's really not easily noticeable now.

I may even fill a tiny bit more. I think I can make it perfectly unnoticeable, honestly.

Before, after and after:




 

Edited by - jason999 on 04/05/2022 09:26:01

Apr 5, 2022 - 10:10:17 AM
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1331 posts since 11/17/2005

The 3rd fret area is coming along well too.

When I finish, I guess I'll need to watch some videos on finishing fret ends

Before, after and after.




 

Edited by - jason999 on 04/05/2022 10:12:37

Apr 5, 2022 - 10:41:03 AM
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Alex Z

USA

4861 posts since 12/7/2006

Looks really good.

With the proper file, and reviewing the technique, you shouldn't have any difficulty with the fret ends.  Since they are sticking out, there is plenty of material there to round them off.

Apr 5, 2022 - 11:46:27 AM
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13316 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by jason999

When I finish, I guess I'll need to watch some videos on finishing fret ends


Your repairs are looking really good. It's a shame you have to do that, since there was no reason for the binding to have been gouged and lost in the first place.

Check out the videos at Stew-Mac. They post plenty, since they sell the tools of course. 

Here's a particularly apt one on fret end dressing. Shows the use of a special file with two different toothless "safe" edges. Quick reference near the end on dressing the ends of frets that overhang the binding.

Apr 5, 2022 - 12:02:07 PM
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rcc56

USA

4233 posts since 2/20/2016

A small triangle file with the corners ground safe will work fine, if you've got some way to grind it.
I bought one at Sears for 2 or 3 bucks 35 years ago, back when Sears was a go-to for tools. It has been all I have ever needed, has gotten me through a couple of hundred fret jobs, and still has some life left in it.

A belt sander [just pull it over the roller a few times] or a Dremel with a sanding drum will work to grind the corners.
Back then, I didn't have any power tools, so I might have just used coarse sandpaper and elbow grease.

Edited by - rcc56 on 04/05/2022 12:05:10

Apr 5, 2022 - 12:20:14 PM

13316 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by rcc56

I bought one at Sears for 2 or 3 bucks 35 years ago, back when Sears was a go-to for tools. It has been all I have ever needed


Cheaper than $18.25. That's for sure.

One on eBay from China for under $8 shipped. Triangular file that description says has smooth corners.

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