Manchester Guitar & Bass Building Academy

Fret Stone Day Course and Set up Course

The Fret Stone Course will be a new experience and expanded course delivering much more information with an expanded look at different techniques and tooling and equipment that you can use to complete this procedure.  

No experience is necessary/preferred we will take you through everything at a pace where you can take time to understand the task at hand, look in to the process and have things explained in great detail so the you feel confident moving forwards with the job at hand.

With this now being a two day course we can spend more time and go in to more detail and look more closely at the specialist tooling and equipment that can be used. However this course will still be based around using simple tooling that you should be able to pick up locally.

On day one we will complete all the work necessary to level and re crown the fret work, this course is combined with  the standard set up day and some elements of this course will be brought in to the fret stone day, the main one will be the checking and recording the instruments set up as it stands when brought in as once things are taken apart this will be impossible. 

Day two of the course will cover all of the information that is taught in the standard set up day.   Please check this page for more information on this.

Information About The Course

The Fret Stone and Set-up Course will teach you the skills that you will need to be able to complete your own Fret Stone and set up to your musical instruments. We will be using a range of tools, some that you should be able to source locally some will be specialist tooling designed specifically for the fret stone process. How to adapt off the shelf tool to make cheaper alternatives to specialist tools. 

Firstly we will asses the instrument look at its current set up and any potential issues that could arise that you will need to take care of before you can complete the fret stone. Together we will look at the instruments that have been brought in and solve any of the issues they have, we will also cover all of the common issues that you could find that will impede the fret stone process. How to solve these potential issues so that once the job is complete you have delivered the best results.  

This course has two primary goals to teach you the information you require to complete this work and also educate you on the best procedures so you can identify those who use good procedure and those who do not. 

We will look at the materials and construction of the neck, how the timber choices can effect the necks stability how the fret board radius it's self can cause issue and methods to alter the radius to get the best out of an instrument. What issues you can commonly find with necks when strung and unstrung that will effect the final action achievable. This can effect the way you can go about the process and we will look in to alternative process to account for these differences. 

Fret wire, we will look in to the different types of fret wire that are available on the market and how these different materials can effect the tone of the instrument and how these different materials have different levels of hardness and will suffer more or less from playing ware.

Every one and every instrument is different, you may prefer to work a certain way or it may be necessary to use certain techniques on certain types of instruments. Some people may get on better with different techniques than others, so this class is not about a set way to do things but allows you to look at a number of different techniques and lets you try them all to see what suites you and your instrument.

I will mainly be using a very basic method of working, one that I have used for such a long time it is the one I prefer. This will only require very basic tooling and you will only need a small amount of storage of materials. I believe this is an ideal way of starting this sort of work for yourself at home only using a free table and rudimentary tools.  

Some specialist tools are very useful, I will tell you about those that are indispensable and those that you can get by with out. We will look at all the different tools available that you can use to complete the process and weigh up the pro's and con's of each of them. You will learn all the skills necessary to be able to complete the work under experienced tuition to minimize the risks of making any mistake.

The course will give you the skills to be able to assess the frets, improve their condition, minimizing the removal of material so that the frets have as much life left in them as possible. 

The first day of the course will focus upon looking at the materials and makeup of the neck improving the play ability of your instrument. The second day we will study the set up of the instrument and cover all of the topics contained within the standard set up day so that you will come away with a good level of information that you will find useful in day to day life playing instrument, making future purchases and being able to help others with the issues they may encounter, or at the very least be able to talk on a level of understanding with those that you entrust to work upon your instruments.  

This will be a class based course where up to 4 individuals will be taken through the procedure of completing a fret stone, service and set up. 

Course requirements and restrictions

You will need your own instrument to work upon, preferably the frets will not be too badly pitted in the playing area, as instruments that are close to requiring a re-fret will be too much work for you to undertake, if you are unsure about the stability of your instrument for this course it can either be brought down before hand for appraisal or you may wish to bring an additional instrument with you just in case. 

If you wish to set up an electric instrument with a floyd rose tremolo's or anything complicated please get in touch and we will advise you when we will be able to accommodate you and your instrument.  

Below are some photographs from the first fret stone course held at my new workshop, we have made significant improvements to our new Manchester workshop since these photos were taken, to come in and experience the new work shop please feel free to book a place with us online. 

Kevin Pugh who attended one of the first fret stone and set up course said

"I thoroughly enjoyed your course mate, I found it very informative and a lot of fun!
Since I completed your course I have done fret jobs and set ups on, my main bass, an acoustic six string and an electric six string. It gives me enormous satisfaction to play these instruments knowing I improved these guitars myself, thanks to the knowledge I gained from you and your course. I would highly recommend these courses to anyone who loves musical instruments, the satisfaction you get from knowing you did it with your own hands is enormous and cheaper and something else I discovered which is an added bonus...I find it very therapeutic!"

"Brilliant. Completely brilliant. This is my experience of James' fret stone and refretting course which he guided me through over two days, and I have to say I couldn't have asked for a better experience. James is a wonderful teacher whose relaxed, informative and consummate approach makes learning guitar maintenance a real pleasure. The pace is set just right, and his vast experience and appreciation of many different repair methods to achieve the same ends enables you to leave feeling empowered, enriched and most importantly, ready to start applying the skills he has imparted to you.

I can highly recommend him as a tutor and guitar repairer (he kindly sorted several of mine at the same time I worked on refretting a neck he'd set me loose on) and I can particularly recommend his fret stone and refretting courses which have helped to set me up as a guitar repairer in my own right. Whether you're a guitar enthusiast, professional musician or budding luthier, I can honestly say you won't go wrong with James. This is genuinely one of the best things I've ever done, and I'm so glad I did it."

Thanks again for everything, James. I really appreciate the time you gave me and it was really nice hanging out. I'll be sure to keep in touch - let me know if you need anything else from me.

Best wishes,

Gary Mullins

Twitter: @garywmullins