Fret Slot Depth Gauge

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Before you try to put frets in, make sure the slots are deep enough!

Video Transcription

[on-screen text reads: Dan Erlewine - Stewart-MacDonald]

Dan Erlewine: This neck is ready for frets, at least I think it is. Before I hammer or press frets into these slots, I need to be sure that they're deep enough for the tang and clean, that there's no junk, hardened glue or any other debris down in there that would keep the fret from seating. And that's what this little Fret Slot Depth Gauge is for. It shows you if the fret slot will accept the fret wire that you're about to use. What you do is put the fret tang up to these two mark lines. The lower line is about 60 thousandths. The upper line is about 75. When those lines disappear into the slot, you know it's deep enough to accept the tang. I'm deep enough there, but I'm really not deep enough here. The six-inch pocket rule isn't the best way to measure a slot depth because they're too thick.

They're about 23 or 24 thousandths thick, and they can't get down into a tight slot. And when they do fit the slot, they teeter and they're sort of hard to read or they get stuck down in the slot and they can easily miss one small irregularity in the fret slot's depth. At 18 thousandths, the gauge is thin enough to drop into the tightest slot. And when you slide the gauge, you can see if the slot is deep enough all the way across, and you can feel it drop off the edge of hard binding that melted into the slot during production. When you know there's something stuck down in the slot, you have a chance to clean it up before it's too late. Like all of our stainless measuring tools, the etch surface is non-glare, so it's easy to read. It's a little tool with a big job.



Dan Erlewine

Guitar Repairman and Builder

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