How to install stainless steel frets

Three types of frets

Do you want stainless steel frets?

Follow this tutorial to see how easy it is to install Stainless Steel Frets. They have a few advantages over normal alloy varieties. The main reason for upgrading them is durability followed by feel. They are at least twice as hard as normal frets and should last almost as long as the guitar does. Most dedicated players chew through a set of frets every 5 to 10 years. The cost of upgrading them is recovered the first time they would have been replaced anyway. Go to a luthier and have them installed and it’s going to cost at least half as much more than a normal set. The amount of work required to get them to their best is very time consuming. The benefit in feel is a slippery smooth fret that is really nice to play on. Bending strings is easier and more enjoyable. stainless steel frets on guitar neck stainless steel frets V nickel frets

Enough of the rhetoric, lets get the stainless steel frets done.

If you haven’t removed your old ones, you can check out the ‘Removal Video‘ for some good advice. It’s an easy way to get the old ones out without cause much, if any, damage.  Removing old guitar fretsMake sure your fretboard is nice and clean and that you have enough of the new stainless steel frets for each slot. Roughly trim them to the desired size with a pair of side cutters or file them down somehow. When they are all ready to insert, double check the slots are clean and get all your tools ready.

First lay out all the Stainless Steel frets left to right in the order that they go into the guitar. Drop a little super glue into the first fret slot at each end then insert the first stainless steel fret. Now tap it into place firmly with a soft mallet. Leather over a normal hammer is great if you haven’t got a rubber one. Don’t hit them too hard or you’ll mark them and make leveling harder than it needs to be. Continue with each one and make sure it is seated well before you move onto the next. If the they are not seated properly, you can try leaving weights on them until the super glue dries. Clean away any glue residue from the fingerboard as soon as you can.

Here is the video to install stainless steel frets.

Now the frets are in, they should be leveled and dressed. Dressing them makes the playing action nice and low for effortless playing. Stainless Steel is very hard and will usually take a lot longer to file and polish. One way to make it easier is to use power tools if they are available. Make sure you take your time, as the reward is well worth it and directly relevant to effort. Lastly, it’s a good idea to protect the fingerboard as much as possible. Because even a small mark in the fingerboard will ruin the overall look. Now start shredding those stainless steel frets !