Here’s a cool 1960’s Fender Jazzmaster in for some work. We’ve got it in for new frets, lets take a look.
A glance at the frets shows that they’re low, flat, and have a good amount of wear. Not as bad as some old Fenders we see.. but still not good.
The owner recently acquired the guitar, and is intending to play it. Here are some shots of the new frets, notice the difference in height and shape. The new frets are round and have a healthy crown, as opposed to the low and flat originals.
Doesn’t that look more fun to play? Now I can, what is the term… bend?
So the real meat of this repair came as a surprise. The frets went in and I was ready to tune it up and play some surf licks. But as I tuned up the G string, the tuner fell apart.
These old Fenders come with Kluson tuners. The way these are put together goes like this:
The baseplate gets the cog installed. Then the worm goes in the cover plate, and is put into place with two tabs going through the baseplate.
These two tabs are then bent down to hold the cover on, which looks like this:
It is an extremely common issue for Klusons to break at these flimsy tabs. It is uncommon to repair these tuners as they are still made with the same styling. Replacing them is a more appropriate and cost effective route.
That being said, this is a beautiful and all original (other than the frets) vintage Fender, so Frank and I thought we’d try and fix it.
We’re going to try and use silver braze and a torch. So how shall we hold it?
Using a brush to apply flux will help the braze stick to the baseplate. Next up is a series of shots as the braze melts and bonds with the tuner, and quenching it after the bond is satisfactory.
After all that, we managed to not burn ourselves and fix the original gear. I setup the guitar with a Mastery bridge and it’s playing better than it did when it was a new guitar in 1963.