Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stewart MacDonald Fret Erasers Review

Buenos dias, amigos!

There is nothing better in life than shiny and new-looking frets. Well, maybe there are a few better things, but clean frets have to be up there. And doing fret polishing is usually neglected by guitarists, or left up to professional repair shops that are willing to do the painstaking work and deal with the mess for a hefty price (and rightly so). Ordinarily there is some steel wool involved in the process, which makes a terrific mess, and loves to stick to magnetic things. Like guitar pickups, for example…

So, I was happy to get a set of Stewart MacDonald’s new fret erasers. These are flexible rubber blocks that are impregnated with different grades of abrasive grits (five grits, from coarse to extra-fine – all of them color-coded). They are not a cure-all or a replacement for a top and crown, but are super for taking care of fine file marks, scratches, and tarnishing.

If I ever had freshly-crowned frets (something I don’t deal with too much), I would use them in sequence as a final polish, but mostly I use them on used guitars I pick up to make tarnished or corroded frets perk up a bit. As with other polishing methods, I make sure that I mask the fretboard so it does not show any wear or grunge as a result of the process.

And I have found that the fret erasers work pretty well as a shortcut. They will not remove most heavier scratches or wear, and do not get things quite a shiny as a traditional polishing with sandpaper and steel wool. But they get it pretty close, and in quite a bit less time and with easier clean-up too.

They seem a little spendy at $6.79 each, or $30.95 for a set of all five (a $3 savings), but after doing half a dozen sets of frets, there is still plenty of material left to work with even though they are not as big as I figured they would be, coming in at just 2-1/2" x 3/4" x 3/8". I think it is worth picking up a set just to have a set around to keep your frets cleaned up between major services.

Check out for fret erasers or for anything else you may crave for your guitar set-up and repair needs.


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