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  1. #1

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    Some of you know that I recently acquired a 1935 Gibson L-12. I have been playing it for a while and it is pretty clear that it needs new frets. Should I replace the old frets with exactly the same type as the originals or are there other options that I should consider?

    I won't be doing the work, btw.

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  3. #2

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    Personally, I would have it redone in my favorite fret wire. In my case that is Jescar 51100, but a lot of people don’t care for that. If you have guitars with frets that you really like, you could have your luthier match the size.


  4. #3

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    It's up to you...but I would refret with something that feels good to me. Not what is historically correct. Makes for a more enjoyable playing experience. I am partial to medium jumbo frets.

  5. #4

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    Agree with the fellows above.

    I've had two guitars refretted with JESCAR Golds, the tallest available.

    Suits me, but sorry, I can't remember specifics.
    If I had the bread my 1935 L-50 would get them too,
    with new gold-plate tuners!

    Good luck.

  6. #5

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    I have to confess that I don't think I could tell most frets apart, so I don't have a favourite fret wire. I play a 1952 Les Paul and a 1961 ES-345, both with mostly original frets (I think) and they both seem fine to me. Same with Strat, which has an Eric Johnson neck (I don't know what frets are on it).

    I was just looking for some insight and suggestions. I will probably go with what is on the guitar already to be safe.

  7. #6

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    I'd choose Jescar FW47095 EVO when it comes time to refret my 1947 L12. Make it playable for yourself. Choose a luthier who respects vintage guitars and you should be safe.

  8. #7

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    I don't know much about fret replacement, but FYI I was watching the other thread here on 1929 L-5 Pro-refret YT video and I think he used the jescar 51100 frets. (at 15:50)

    1929 L-5 Pro Refret & FB /Inlay /Bridge Installation Vid.

  9. #8

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    I'd vote for the vintage correct spec, unless you have personal preferences to the contrary.
    I mean you bought a 1935 L-12 for a what it is right? I'd go with that unless there's something specific you're trying to address.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by campusfive
    I'd vote for the vintage correct spec, unless you have personal preferences to the contrary.
    I mean you bought a 1935 L-12 for a what it is right? I'd go with that unless there's something specific you're trying to address.
    Inded, I bought it as an L-12 and I am really happy with it as such. I was actually looking for an L-7, but this one popped up and I grabbed it. It is not pretty in terms of cosmetics and it has seen a lot of playing, but when I got it, all it needed was a bit of touch up, some neck adjustment and frets. It has no cracks anywhere and sounds great.

    However, not knowing much about one fret versus another, I wasn't sure what to do. Anyway, after posting this, I talked to the tech who usually works on my guitars and he said the same thing as you and a few others. He will use frets comparable to the original. Non-problem solved.

    I think that my excessive rumination over frets is the result of severe boredom due to Covid. I need to increase my scotch intake and play guitar rather than think about guitar.

    Thanks, guys.

  11. #10

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    Nah man, don't feel about bad about asking the question. I did a similar thing to some friends and my tech when I refretted my L-12. Having never thought about them quite so much, I didn't know if something else could/would be better. The "do no harm" approach won out for me. But as long as you're appropriately mindful about changing a vintage instrument for a good reason, it's valid.

  12. #11

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    1935 Gibson L-12 - what frets?-worthless-gif

  13. #12

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    Pics, you say? How about a 1934 L-12 with not just picture frame inlays, but the wreath pattern rarely seen on an archtop? (It’s available by the way.)



  14. #13

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    Pix, you say? How about a 1937 Advanced L-12, like the one that needs frets. This one doesn't need new frets - it was already refretted, and they are in as-new, perfect condition. It’s available, by the way, right here: https://www.jazzguitar.be/forum/sale/79357-gibson-l-12-1937-a.html