Making The Red Special: the first fret wire?


 In reply to question about fret wire in the original construction of ‘The Old Lady… see LETTERS].

I bought the fret wire in a little shop in Cambridge Circus, called BMG – Banjo, Mandoline and Guitar … owned by Clifford Essex. I have forgotten so much in my life, but I can remember this small shop, packed with ancient goodies, as clear as if it were yesterday. Sadly, it’s long gone.

The wire was obviously made of good material, because it’s lasted all this time on my guitar, without the need to re-fret.

But the profile was not what I wanted – it would have made frets that projected up very high from the fingerboard, and I wanted low frets. So I made a metal jig to remodel the wire – allowing me to file it all down, and repolish it, making it low profile. Then it worked just fine. I made another jig to put a curve in it, so it would sit comfortably in the grooves I’d made in the cambered fingerboard. Then one more jig to secure them in place while the glue set.

I don’t know where you can get fret wire these days, but I’m sure it’s not too hard.

All the very best – good luck with the project.