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Fret Barber

Fret Barber

Fret Barber

Item # 4363
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$94.75

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Fret Barber

About This Item

"Take a little off the sides!" File away some (or all) of the fret tang barbs to control fret compression, relieve backbow, and make installing frets easier.

File several feet of fret tang quickly.
Fretting expert Dan Erlewine designed this ingenious tool. Simply pull the tang of the fretwire between the Fret Barber's adjustable file jaws as needed for the desired fit.

The Fret Barber lets you "take a little off the sides" to adjust the width of the fret tang by removing metal from the barbs. This way, you can control how much force is needed to press the frets into the slot.

Even when the fret tang matches the width of the slot, the barbs can add enough mass to create more compression than you want. The pressure from this added metal, multiplied by the number of frets, sometimes is enough to force the neck into a back-bow. More often, it simply makes it hard to install the frets — especially with the harder rosewood and ebony fretboards.

By sizing the fret tang, the Fret Barber can also help a back-bowed neck to "relax" into straightness or a controlled relief (slight upbow). The thinner tang allows each fret slot to close just enough to accomplish this.

This ingenious tool, designed by fretting expert Dan Erlewine, comes with a set of 8 gauged shims:
.018", .020", .022", .024", .026", .028", .030", .032" and instructions.

Most guitars have slots of about .018" to .023" — the most common is .022". Fret tangs usually range from .021" to .024", so the tang is already a tight fit even without barbs — add the barbs, and the fit can be too tight.

This tool is for preparing uncut fretwire.

The Fret Barber is included in our money-saving Fret Tang Tool Set along with the Fret Cutter, our specialized tool for resizing a fret's barbed tang for a custom fit.

Works on stainless frets, too!
All of our tools are suitable for use on stainless-steel fretwire*. Modern stainless-steel fretwire is known to be harder than the traditional nickel-silver blends, but our own shop experience indicates the wire does not cause premature wear of files or sandpapers.
*Excludes our original Fret Tang Nippers. We recommend our Deluxe Fret Tang Nippers for stainless-steel fretwire.



CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 65 WARNING
WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm - www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.


Video

Trade Secrets!

Trade Secrets!

When frets don't fit the slot, resize the fret tang

This week, Dan Erlewine's pumping iron (nickel steel, actually!) He's showing how to bulk up your skinny fretwire and slim down your fat fretwire.

Instructions

Product Instructions

Fret Barber Instructions

The Fret Barber lets you "take a little off the sides" to adjust the width of the fret tang by removing metal from the barbs.

Customer Reviews

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4.5
  • 4.40 average rating from 15 reviews
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4.0

Works well with some practice.

By

Verified Buyer


The fret barber works well, but takes some practice to get it right. The files rock a little when you pull the fret wire through, and the fret wire will jump out of the files if your'e controlling thumb is not exactly positioned to control it. After a little practice, the process goes smoothly.

5.0

Nice tool to have.

By

Verified Buyer


This tool lets you remove some of the fret tang to match your fret board slot. It does a nice job and is easy to setup and use. I found I needed a feeler gauge, (which can be obtained at any automotive store), to have a wider selections of thickness gauges.

5.0

Stew Mac Made it Right.

By

Verified Buyer


This review is a follow up to my previous recent review. While it was disappointing to receive the Fret Barber with dramatically mismatched files, StewMac corrected the problem very quickly. Two new correctly matched files were sent to me within days. Thank you Stewart MacDonald for treating your loyal customers with great respect. I’m very happy with this fantastic customer service.

1.0

Poor quality control

By

Verified Buyer


I purchased this item in April and finally got a chance to use it. After carefully reviewing the instructions, I set the "fret barber" up as described and immediately noticed the two insert files are cut to dramatically different heights. It's difficult (at best) to evenly file both sides of the fret if the two file inserts are not the same size. Very disappointed.

Response from StewMac


Hi William,

Thank you for sharing your honest feedback with us, we genuinely appreciate that. We are sorry to hear that the Fret Barber did not work for you as expected. We have sent you an email so that we can work on making this right. Just reply to that message when you get a chance and our customer service team will take care of everything. We look forward to hearing back from you and can't thank you enough for this helpful feedback.

5.0

Great tool for workbench!

By

Verified Buyer


This little barber is a ‘must have’.... glad I purchased it.

5.0

Should have bought it years ago.

By

Verified Buyer


This is a great tool. After seeing the video I finally got one and now I regard it as essential. Relieves the barbs but doesn't dull them. I'll be using it on almost every refret job now.

5.0

No more guess work

By

Verified Buyer


I really like how fast and accurately this works. If you need to do a complete refret on one instrument then you will save the cost of this tool.

5.0

Fine Quality Tool

By

Verified Buyer


I passed on buying this tool for a while because of the price. I'm glad I finally pulled the trigger. It isn't cheap, but in terms of time saved and stress minimized, it paid for itself the first time I used it. After getting by with self-made jigs and modified files I found it to be simple to use and very effective.

5.0

Awseome product

By

Verified Buyer


This fret barber is extremely helpful and very easy and quick to set up and use. I seldom write a positive review of anything. But, in fairness, this fret barber is a superb product and well worth the money.

3.0

Could be finer...

By

Verified Buyer


I needed this for use on mandolin fret wire. The barbs on this wire are very small, causing them to grab in the relatively course teeth in these files, making it very difficult to pull the wire through. Overall I like the tool but I wish there was an option for files with finer teeth, or even abrasive plates.

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