Refretting Guitars and Basses is one of our specialties here at Port Mac Guitars. ( You can view some examples of our work HERE) A good refret can drastically transform the playability and tone of your instrument. Especially one that may have progressively gotten worse over the years without you noticing until it became unplayable. There are a few reasons you may consider getting your guitar or bass refretted. Let’s have a look:

Heavily Divotted Frets

Frets with deep string wear or divots can result in fret buzz. Whilst these can sometimes be dressed out with a fret dress, often they are too deep and would result in too much fret being removed to get a good result. In this instance removing the affected frets and replacing them is a far better solution. Whilst a partial refret is possible in some cases, we recommend refretting the whole guitar at once for the best result.

Worn Flat Frets

Frets can wear flat over many years of hard playing causing buzzing and intonation issues. Again, depending on the amount of wear, a fret dress and recrown may solve the issue. But if the wear is significant, a full refret is a better option. This allows the instrument a fresh start when it comes to fret life and brings back the original feel of a newly made guitar.

Changing Fret Size

We quite often refret a guitar due to the owner requesting a different fret size than what was originally installed at factory. More often than not it is to install a Jumbo-size fret. We have many different fret sizes to choose from and can assist you in finding the right wire for you.

Changing Fret Material

Traditionally, many guitars have come installed with Nickel Fret Wire. Nickel offers a great overall tone and accounts for about half of the refrets we do. The other half is changing over to Stainless Steel Frets. Stainless Steel Frets are very hard-wearing and have a much longer playing life compared to Nickel Frets. They maintain a glossy luster and when highly polished, have a very slick playing feel. This can take a little time to adjust too. Tone-wise they can be bright with a strong note attack. 

Changing the Fingerboard Radius

This is a very frequent request we get and one that the PLEK Machine is very well equipt to assist with. As a general rule, the smaller the fingerboard radius is (7.25 Inches), the higher the action needs to be to avoid bent notes on the high strings from choking. Flat radiuses (9.5-20 Inches) allow for lower actions which is why many players prefer to have their guitars altered to a flatter radius when they are being refretted. 

Severe Humps and Dips in the Fingerboard

Quite often when a guitar is brought in for a PLEK Setup, we’ll discover some bad underlying fingerboard issues that prevent the frets from being leveled successfully. In these sorts of cases, we recommend a refret so the board can be corrected and replaned in the PLEK before the new frets are installed. That way we have a perfectly level fingerboard as a solid foundation for the new frets.

In addition to offering refrets, we can also install a brand new Bone Nut on applicable instruments. We highly recommend this and it is essential in getting the very best result from having your guitar refretted. After careful sizing and gluing in a fresh bone nut blank, we put the guitar in one of our PLEK Machines where it will shape and cut the strings slots perfectly as we have programmed it to do. Taking into account things like the individual string slot widths, slot depth relative to the height and radius of the newly installed frets, and even the break angle over the nut and string splay of the headstock. Once the guitar is out of the PLEK, we spend a great deal of time finalizing the shape by hand and polishing it to a high gloss. The end result is not only beautiful but highly functional.

How Much Does a Refret Cost?

Whilst the cost of refretting can seem considerable at the outset, the extended life and playability it brings to your guitar or bass is immeasurable. This relatively small outlay now means your favorite instrument will in most cases, be better than new and be a joy to play again. Another thing to remember is that all our refrets include our GEniuS™ Guitar Enhancement System with PLEK valued at $329. That means you are getting perfectly leveled frets thanks to our PLEK Machine and a fully customized-to-your-specs, professional setup included. Please see our current pricing below. Whilst many options are included here, please note that there may be additional charges for unforeseen configurations. Either way, we will always be upfront about these before we proceed.

Base Cost - $700

This includes instruments with Rosewood or “Dark” timbre with unbound fingerboards with Nickel Fret Wire. The Fingerboard will be replaned on the PLEK as need.

Maple Fingerboards with Finish to Remain Intact. - Extra $100

This includes Maple board guitars that have a gloss finish that the player wants to keep without refinishing. A good example would be a 70s Strat that has some cool wear. In these cases, we do not replan the board but extra care and time is required to remove the original frets and install the new ones whilst affecting the original finish as little as possible.

Maple Fingerboards with Nitrocellulose Lacquer Refinish - Extra $200

This is when a board has underlying issues that can only be resolved by replaning the fingerboard. Once the frets are installed we spray Nitro over the fretboard like Fender and other brands have done for years. However, we meticulously clean the lacquer overspray off for a beautiful finish. We tint the lacquer to match the existing finish to the best of our ability. You can request the finish be aged to match the look of your guitar with wear and lacquer checking for an extra cost. Contact us for details.

Bound Fingerboards - Extra $100

These take longer to prepare the frets slots for the new frets. The new frets will go over the binding like most modern guitars.

Bound Fingerboards with Nibs - Extra $300

This is generally for Gibson guitars where the owner wants to keep the original look of the instruments. It is time-consuming and in most cases, doesn’t deliver as good of a playing result as fretting over the binding but we are happy to offer it to customers. Please note that this process does not allow for the board to be planed and the refret will be dependent on the underlying quality of the board.

Stainless Steel and EVO (Gold) Style Frets - Extra $200

We are more than happy to install these frets in your guitar and they are becoming an increasingly popular option. They are hard-wearing and feel great under the fingers. However, they are considerably harder to work with and add wear and tear to our tools and PLEK Machines hence the added cost.

Changing to a Different Radius - No Extra Charge

We are happy to alter a radius for you at no extra charge where the instrument allows. Such an example would be going from 9.5 Inch to a 12 Inch radius. This process takes place when we are replaning the board in the PLEK so it is not an option on necks not being planed.

Changing to a Compound Radius - Extra $100

Extra fee to cover the extra time involved in preparing and installing the new frets.

Bone Nut cut on the PLEK Machine - Extra $100

Highly recommended and in most cases, essential.


We include a set of regular D’Addario Strings with our refrets at no charge. Should you require a different brand, you are welcome to include them yourself or buy them from our store.

Pricing Examples

Fender Stratocaster with Rosewood Fingerboard

Nickel Frets $700

Bone Nut $100

Total $800

Ibanez RG with Maple Board and Locking Trem

Maple Board No Refinish $800

Stainless Steel Frets $200

Total $1000

Gibson SG with Bound Rosewood Fingerboard

Nickel Frets $700

Binding $100

Bone Nut $100

Total $900

Fender Telecaster with Maple Fingerboard

Nickel Frets $700

Maple Board with Refinish $200

Bone Nut $100

Total $1000


Gibson Les Paul with Bound Ebony Fingerboard

Nickel Frets $700

Keep Binding Nibs $300

Bone Nut $100

Total $1100

Maton Acoustic

Nickel Frets $700

Bone Nut $100

Total $800