How Much Does It Cost to Refret a Guitar: A Comprehensive Guide to Pricing and Factors

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Are you looking at your worn-out guitar frets, wondering about the cost of breathing new life into your instrument? A full refret typically ranges from $200 to $500, depending on various factors.

This comprehensive guide will break down those costs for you, highlighting what influences them and how to determine if a refret is necessary. Dive in and let’s demystify the pricing and process behind making your beloved guitar sound as good as new!

Key Takeaways

  • The cost of refretting a guitar can range from $200 to $500, depending on factors such as the number of frets and whether the neck is bound.
  • Vintage instruments may require specialized care during the refretting process, making it important to find an experienced professional for the job.
  • While DIY options are available, investing in a professional refretting service is recommended for optimal results and preserving the value of your instrument.
  • Signs that your guitar may need a refret include buzzing strings, uneven intonation, difficulty playing certain notes, and visible wear on the frets.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Refretting a Guitar

The cost of refretting a guitar can be influenced by factors such as the number of frets, whether the neck is bound, if it’s a vintage instrument, whether you choose to DIY or hire a professional service, and the type of wood used for the fretboard.

Number of frets

The number of frets on a guitar influences the cost of refretting. Guitars typically have between 21 and 24 frets. Naturally, guitars with more frets require additional work to replace all of them, raising the overall price.

A guitarist paying for replacements will shell out more for a 24-fret guitar compared to one with only 21 frets because it requires more materials and labor. You might see these costs reflected in your bill from the professional service you hire for this task.

Therefore, understanding your guitar’s design can help you predict the expenses associated with maintaining its playability over time.

Bound necks

Bound necks, which have decorative binding around the fretboard edges, can have an impact on the cost of refretting a guitar. The presence of binding adds an additional step to the refretting process, as the old frets must be carefully removed without damaging the binding.

This requires extra precision and time from a skilled technician, which may result in a higher cost for refretting. However, it’s important to note that not all guitars have bound necks, so this factor may not apply to every instrument.

Considering this aspect when calculating your budget for refretting is essential for ensuring an accurate estimate of costs involved in preserving your guitar’s playability and performance.

Vintage instruments

Vintage instruments can add a unique and nostalgic element to your guitar collection. However, when it comes to refretting vintage guitars, there are some important considerations.

The cost of refretting a vintage instrument can vary depending on its age, rarity, and overall condition. Additionally, the type of materials used for the frets may affect the price as well.

It’s essential to find an experienced professional who specializes in working with vintage instruments to ensure that your guitar receives proper care and attention during the refretting process.

DIY or professional service

If you’re looking to refret your guitar, you may be wondering whether to tackle the job yourself or hire a professional service. While DIY options are available and can save you money upfront, it’s important to consider the expertise required for this task.

Refretting a guitar involves precision work and specialized tools that professionals have at their disposal. Furthermore, a professional service will ensure that the new frets are installed properly, resulting in better playability and longevity for your instrument.

So while saving money is always appealing, investing in a professional refretting service is recommended for optimal results.

Fretboard wood

The type of wood used for the fretboard can also impact the cost of refretting a guitar. Different types of wood have different characteristics and may require specific tools or techniques to work on.

For example, rosewood and maple are commonly used for fretboards and tend to be more affordable in terms of maintenance and repair. On the other hand, exotic woods like ebony or birdseye maple may increase the overall cost due to their rarity and level of difficulty in working with them.

So, it’s important to consider the type of wood when determining the cost of refretting your guitar.

How to Determine if Your Guitar Needs a Refret

To determine if your guitar needs a refret, look out for signs of worn-out frets such as buzzing strings, uneven intonation, or difficulty playing certain notes. Common causes of fret wear include heavy playing and string pressure over time.

Refretting can improve playability and restore the original tone of your instrument.

Signs of worn-out frets

Worn-out frets can have a significant impact on the playability and sound of your guitar. There are several signs that indicate when your frets may need to be replaced. One common sign is visible wear, such as grooves or flat spots on the frets themselves.

You might also notice buzzing or muted notes when playing certain strings or in specific areas of the neck. Another indicator is if the strings frequently go out of tune, even after tuning them properly.

Additionally, if you experience difficulty bending strings or feel resistance when sliding your hand along the neck, it could be due to worn-out frets. These signs suggest that it may be time for a refret to restore optimal performance and tone to your instrument.

Common causes of fret wear

Fret wear can occur due to several factors, including:

  1. Regular use and playing of the guitar
  2. Excessive string bending or aggressive playing techniques
  3. Poor quality or worn – out strings
  4. Environmental conditions, such as high humidity or extreme temperature changes
  5. Lack of proper maintenance and cleaning of the fretboard
  6. Inconsistent or improper string height and action setup
  7. Fret material that is prone to wear, such as softer metals like nickel or brass.

Benefits of refretting

Refretting a guitar offers several benefits. First and foremost, it improves the playability of your instrument. Worn-out frets can cause buzzing, intonation issues, and difficulty in achieving clean notes.

By replacing the frets, you will have a smoother playing experience with better tone and sustain. Additionally, refretting extends the lifespan of your guitar by preventing further damage to the fretboard caused by worn-down metal or sharp edges on old frets.

It also allows for greater versatility in terms of string gauge selection, as fresh frets provide optimal support for different string tensions. Finally, if you plan on selling your guitar in the future, refretting can significantly enhance its resale value by restoring its overall condition and making it more appealing to potential buyers.

The Cost of Refretting a Guitar: Pricing Breakdown

The average cost range for refretting a guitar can vary depending on factors such as the number of frets, whether the neck is bound or not, and if it is a vintage instrument. Additionally, choosing to DIY or hire a professional service and the type of wood used for the fretboard can also impact the overall cost.

Average cost range

The average cost to refret a guitar can range significantly due to various factors, such as the type of fret material used, complexity of the guitar design, and whether you choose a professional service or a DIY approach.

| Service | Average Cost Range ($) |


| Full Refret with Nickel Frets | 200 – 330|

| Full Refret with Steel Frets| 330 – 550|

| Fret Dressing | 60 – 100 |

| DIY Refretting| Depends on the cost of materials and tools |

| Professional Refret (Acoustic)| Up to 400|

These figures are estimates and the actual cost can vary depending on the condition of your guitar and the specifics of the service offered by the professional. It’s also important to consider the added value of a professional service, which not only includes the installation of new frets but also a new nut and setup. While DIY refretting may seem cost-effective, results may not be optimal without the right skills and tools.

Remember, while the cost of refretting a guitar can seem high, it’s an investment in the longevity and playability of your instrument. Particularly for more expensive guitars, regular maintenance and care are essential to maintain their value and performance.

Additional costs to consider

In addition to the cost of refretting a guitar, there are some additional expenses to keep in mind. One important aspect is the replacement nut, which may need to be installed along with the new frets.

This can range from around $10 for a plastic nut to $60 or more for a bone or synthetic material nut. Another factor to consider is the setup of your guitar after the refret, which ensures that everything is properly adjusted and intonated.

This typically costs between $50 and $100. It’s also worth noting that if your guitar has any other issues or needs repairs, such as a damaged truss rod or worn-out tuners, these will likely come with their own separate costs.

Value of professional service

Professional service is highly valuable when it comes to refretting a guitar. While there are options for DIY refretting, choosing a professional ensures optimal results and saves you from potential mistakes.

Professional refretting services include the installation of new frets, as well as a new nut and setup. They have the expertise and experience to handle complex guitar designs and can advise on materials such as stainless steel frets that may incur additional costs compared to nickel ones.

Therefore, if you want your guitar to be refretted with precision and accuracy, investing in professional service is definitely worth it.

Conclusion: Is Refretting a Guitar Worth the Expense?

Refretting a guitar can be a significant expense, with costs ranging from $200 to $500 depending on the factors involved. However, it is worth the investment if you have a higher-end instrument or plan on playing regularly.

Factors such as the complexity of the design and materials used for the frets can affect the final cost, so it’s important to consider these factors when determining whether refretting is right for you.


1. What is the average cost of refretting a guitar?

The average cost of refretting a guitar can vary depending on factors such as the type and condition of your instrument, but typically it’s within a range for both acoustic and electric guitars.

2. How much does it cost for professional guitar fret repair?

The cost of professional guitar fret repair can depend on several variables including the extent of damage, material used in replacement, and labor charges incurred during the service process.

3. Can you tell me about the price range for replacing my guitar’s frets?

Sure! The price range for replacing your guitar’s frets could be set differently due to various reasons such as regional pricing practices or varied complexity levels in particular types of repairs.

4. Does the type of Guitar affect refretting costs?

Yes, indeed! The type of your guitar significantly influences refretting costs since materials like those used in an acoustic or electric one might bring differences to overall expense calculations.

5. Could I estimate my possible expenses before getting a full-fledged Guitar refret service?

Absolutely! By considering pricing guides provided by professionals, understanding unique pricing considerations associated with different repair services and some additional factors that may influence expenses will help you calculate potential costs effortlessly!

6. Are there other aspects beside material type affecting my expected Guitar refrettng expenses?

Other than material types; magnitude and nature (complex/simple)of needed repairs also are key components influencing maintenance expense structure; which makes understanding these useful while trying to figure out estimated total prices prior receiving any refurbishment/ restoration services.

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