Early Guitars and Vihuela

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I'm just practicing tying frets using B and E classical strings having sandpapered them down according to info found on the web. But when I tried the different knots, they didn't quite work the way the instruction said. Is there anyone here who can describe a functional knot that I can use, or point to a web site? On my 32 year old lute the nylon frets are still as tight as they were when I bought it, but the knot is difficult to make out. But the two ends run under the nylon fret on each side of the knot.



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I don't see it mentioned in this stream but I have had success "shrinking" loose gut frets by heating them up a bit. They seem to contract with heat. One has to be careful, however, not to overheat the gut to a point of burning and not to harm the finish on the instrument. I have placed a thin layer of foil between the fret and the neck to prevent damage.
Has anyone tried this and had success as well?

Hey Harry,

Here is a link that describes several ways to tie lute frets.  I am not sure if this is what you are looking for or if this applies to nylon frets.


I have always used this technique: http://john.redmood.com/lutefret.html
Here is a nice discussion about nylon frets with some advice: http://www.mail-archive.com/lute@cs.dartmouth.edu/msg24316.html
Steven, I have studied all these links as a part of my preparations while I was waiting for the fret gut to arrive! I found no. 2 quite helpful and I used a knot I got from Martin here. It was indeed easier than I thought, and I was amazed how tight I was able to get the frets. The problem was of course the first fret, but luckily there are many ways to skin a cat....

Interesting , and I will certainly at some point use these tips. Thanks.


How long on average would gut frets last? Say 1-2 hours a day playing

Let's wait for the Lord of the Frets to come forward and answer your question, Tonyyyy. I must say I have no idea whatsoever!


I'll take a guess at around 5 - 6 months. The lowest frets will wear first (obviously). Not always apparent at first but they begin to fray, which can affect the vibration of the strings. The mid and upper frets will last much longer, no real need to change those unless there is a problem.



Thanks Michael, that makes sense

The ren guitar I am hiring shows some signs of wear on frets 1-3 , so I guess it will affect its tone a little. My nylon fretted lute.... totally unscathed! (I dont play it enough )                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Can we declare you Lord of the Frets?


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