Martin Guitar Repair

This Martin D28 has serious fret wear but only on the first few frets.

Fret wear, just on the lower frets, could be a result of either: (1) Over playing the “open chord” area of the fingerboard. (2) High action at the nut causing wear due to the high string tension at the fixed end of the string.
This is a very common problem on acoustic guitars and is generally remedied by honing and re-profiling all the frets (skimming down to the lowest point of the most severely worn fret).
If the fret wear is too acute a re-fret is the solution or in this case a partial re-fret.
Replacing the first five fret would remedy the problem with this particular D28.

Soundtrack: Frost On The Pumpkin
Compliments of Randy Dzielak

Read more about fret dressing here

Fender Strat refret here

Guitar setup: Acoustic Guitar Repair: Fret Dressing a Martin D 28

This Martin HD 28 is in the workshop for a full set up and fret dress. It dates back to 1987 and this is its first serious set up.

The frets are showing signs of wear and tear. Also the fingerboard has started to show signs of wear and has a few grooves worn into it around the lower end on the treble side.
The fingerboard wear is tackled first. It is skimmed between the frets and the worst of the grooves filled and smoothed.

Next comes the fret dress.

The truss rod is released to ensure that the fingerboard is flat and level. The neck is supported along its length. The body work is protected and masked off.

The fret tops are skimmed with a fine honing stone to remove all fret wear and grooves. Also to ensure all frets are a uniform height.

The fingerboard is masked off. Each fret is re-profiled.

Each fret is polished up to 2500 grade Silicon Carbide paper and then finely polished with burnishing cream.

The guitar is strung up and the truss-rod reset for Martin medium gauge strings.

And it plays like a dream.

Meet Colin the happy owner.