How Long Does a Refret Last?

well-loved frets (image courtsey: The Renaissance Cittern

well-loved frets (image courtesy: The Renaissance Cittern Site

We get asked a lot of relevant questions here and many of them are about guitars.  One of the more common inquiries occurs when discussing refrets.  A guitar owner has a lot of questions and justifiably so, it’s a big job and inevitably a necessary one.  So: how long will a refret last?  You saw this answer coming, we bet.

It depends.

What does it depend upon?  Mostly how much you play.  We know one hard working performer who grinds through a stainless steel refret in one year.  That person plays hard, pressing down on the fretboard and bending widely, scraping the strings across the fret tops.  Another player might perform six to seven days a week.  When not performing maybe they’re warming up to perform.  Or, like a rider on public transit staring into their smartphone as neighborhoods slide by, a guitarist may play their guitar because it’s more comfortable than relating to people.  I have a bass I’ve owned since 1980 that’s on its third refret.  But I play unnecessarily hard.  The amount of time you play your guitar directly affects fret life.

Some folks may never need a refret.  But, since guitars (hopefully) outlive us, it’s not uncommon for a refret to happen to you.  You aren’t the first owner, and, if you want to play the damn thing, well…it’s like changing tires.  If you keep your bicycle long enough it’s something you just gotta do!


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