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Product Reviews: Dan Erlewine’s Don’t Fret video

Product Reviews: Dan Erlewine's Don't Fret video

by Harry Fleishman

Originally published in American Lutherie #34, 1993 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Three, 2004

Dan Erlewine’s Don’t Fret video and specialized tools

I will never forget my first fret job. It was a balmy spring evening; the jasmine were blooming. The year was 1964. We were alone in my bedroom, just me and my Strat. I was an anxious sixteen year old. She was a blonde, born in ’62.

This was nine years before I saw a copy of Irving Sloane’s groundbreaking book on repair, so when I decided to fix a few badly worn frets I was on my own. The worst wear was on the 2nd string, 1st fret and the 1st string, 3rd fret; the rest were still pretty good. Out came the soldering gun! No, I wasn’t planning to carefully remove the offending frets for replacement; I was going to fill the grooves with solder! I heated up the frets and flowed a bit of solder on. After they cooled, I smoothed them over with the file on my nail clipper. They looked great and I felt heroic. That is the proper technique, isn’t it? Nearly thirty years later, I know better. I should have used a soldering iron, not a gun. The gun could have demagnetized the pickups!

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