Mick’s 1961 Fender Stratocaster Gets A Refret [During A Fascinating Chat With Matt From Monty’s]

Published 19 Aug 2022

Welcome to the show – Mick here, hello! I wanted to document the fascinating process of a professional guitar neck refret on my 1961 Fender Stratocaster.
Two warnings: First, there are no pedals nor any guitar playing in this video at all; second, it is a very long video containing graphic real-life depictions of guitar repair! Please excuse the diversion from our usual content.

This lovely old Strat (body refin) has lived with me for most of the last three years but just recently I was able to actually buy it, meaning I can get it to exactly where I want it in terms of playability. To whit, the nut had worn down to basically unplayable and the frets – replaced at least once before – were in need of some TLC after some years of playing.
Armed with a couple of cameras I set off to Monty’s Guitars in Cheltenham, UK to see our good friend Matt Gleeson. Matt has two decades of experience in professional guitar repair and setup under his belt and, to my great surprise, he was totally happy to let me film the whole thing as it happened. This video is what happened next - you might want to tackle it in a few sittings!

Massive thanks to Matt, George and the whole team at Monty’s for making us so welcome. Check out Monty’s stuff here:

I just want to add a personal thanks for – and acknowledgement of – Matt and team’s dedication to the art, craft, ethos, working practices and environment that surrounds everything their company does. It is truly inspiring.

Please enjoy the video!

And please visit That Pedal Shop

Interesting Bits & Go-To Sections
0:00 Good morning!
0:50 Hello Matt…
1:35 Initial assessment
3:58 Common issues on an old guitar
5:30 How much rosewood left?
8:00 What about the vibrato?
10:20 Strings off, old guitar chat
14:25 Woo – neck date!
14:55 Tuners off
18:00 Problem of worn frets
19:00 Removing the old frets
20:58 Matt’s first customer job!
23:35 What fretwire?
25:47 Matt’s gran got him started
27:40 Cleaning the fret slots
31:10 Jescar Evo Gold?
32:45 Setup affects sound?
35:10 Radiusing the fretwire
38:35 How many refrets has Matt done?
40:30 The hardest refrets?
44:00 Putting the new frets in
47:47 Removing the excess fret
51:15 Filing the fret ends
54:00 Matt’s fave file
56:40 Fret dress begins
58:35 Removing the old nut
1:03:15 Marking up before dressing
1:06:00 First sandpaper pass
1:09:38 Fallaway at the top of the neck
1:11:15 Crowning the frets
1:14:55 Shaping the fret ends
1:21:30 Fret polish begins
1:32:50 Clean and condition the board
1:37:35 Look at that fingerboard!
1:38:20 Making the new nut
1:44:25 Shim under the old nut
1:48:00 Glueing the new nut in
1:49:45 Nut material?
1:51:30 Nut slot starting point
1:53:35 Which nut files?
1:55:35 Strings winds on the tuners?
1:58:00 Cutting the nut
2:00:00 Nut slot depth?
2:03:00 Final nut shape and polish
2:07:00 Setting action height
2:10:10 Mick’s initial reaction

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