Carlton Guitars
Ray Carlton Custom Guitars
Boronia Victoria Aust. email
0404 094 150

Frets need to be perfect for a guitar to have a playable action

Every player likes the action to be just right.
To get it right a precision ground set of frets will ensure the action and intonation is perfect. The lower you like it the more critical it is that the frets are perfect..

Why aren't all frets perfect?
Guitars produced in large factories are built very quickly and frets are punched in by a machine. Often they don't sit quite right and it only takes one high or low fret and you've got problems. Cheaper guitars are not checked at all before shipping. On a well played guitar the frets may be pitted or worn flat which cause all sorts of issues..

Buzzing and dead spots.
If frets are badly worn or you have several or even just one fret high or low you will get buzzing, dead spots and off intonation. The lower the action the more these issues will become apparent. Light gauge strings like 009's or 008's can also exacerbate the problems. In the case of a single fret causing problems i.e., you have one or two dead notes in a certain position it is possible to machine the offending fret down. If you have problems in several areas a fret level will be required,

Solution one - Fret Levelling
To play well the frets need to be precision ground so the fret tops are all perfectly level from the first to the last. It only takes one fret to be higher or lower than the rest to throw the whole neck off. The process takes a nip off the top of the high frets until they are level with the low ones Once the frets are perfectly level many will be flat on top. They are ground back to their original rounded shape and polished until they gleam making the frets slick for fast playing and big string bends. The process will bring a rough set of frets to a state of perfection. The fret ends are detailed so the hand feels no sharpness or drag. This process will allow you to have the action you want and get all notes playing true. Included is a bridge setup and nut slot height adjustment to ensure everything is playing perfectly.

Solution two - partial or full Re-fret
In the case of a badly worn set of frets that have divots to the fingerboard or close will require either a partial or most likely a full re-fret. If you spend years playing in farmers corner the first three frets may be badly worn and the rest OK it will likely be a candidate for a partial re-fret. If you play all over the board there is no escaping a full re-fret. The frets are removed and the fingerboard planed and re-radiused. Fret slots are cleaned out and a new set of highest quality nickel silver frets are hand pressed into place. The frets are lightly machined level, crowned and then polished out. A full set up is included in the job.

Back to service.


Banjos, Ukes, Mandolins, Lutes welcome
Precision setups
Fret repairs - Refrets - Fret buzz fixed
Cracks and breaks repaired
Electronic repairs
Rewiring and modifications
Pickup replacements
Nitro Refinishing - Finish repairs
Agent for Brierley guitar and bass pickups
JC Vintage 50's reproduction pickups
Full range of Dimarzio and Duncan pickups
email or text - call - 0404 094 150 or

My work shop is in Melbourne’s outer east side. Contact me any time for a chat about how I can help get your instrument playing the way you need it to.

The workshop is in close proximity to the following suburbs
Bayswater, Belgrave, Boronia, Chirnside, Clematis, Croydon, Emerald, Ferntree Gully, Glen Waverley, Heathmont, Kallista, Kalorama, Kilsyth, Knoxfield, Liliydale, Lysterfield, Menzies Creek, Monbulk, Montrose, Mount Dandenong, Mt Evelyn, Olinda, Ringwood, Rowville, Scoresby, Selby, Tecoma, The Basin, The Patch, Upwey, Vermont, Wantirna, Wonga Park
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