The Workbench

String snagging under a fret


When rapidly pulling off on the high E string, I have managed to yank the string off the fretboard, where it gets snagged under the 3rd fret. Yes, I know my technique is at fault, but this should not be happening (it never used to) and I would like some advice on how best to effect a fix so that there's no gap for the string to snag on.

And hello, long time no post. The fun side of all this is doing it live.


Sounds like you need a fret dressing. Do you have a pic of the fret end in question? You might be able to do something about it easily with a fret dressing file. StewMac has a pretty good one for about $15.

@Twangmeisternyc: Are they putting wood filler under the edge of a fret instead of reshaping it? I've never heard of that as a fix before.


Thanks folks. I'd thought about filling the gap somehow, but I have a feeling it's a new gap, which means the fret has shifted, and may continue to do so. It's a pro model, so I'm happy to pay for a professional luthier to do a thorough job on it.


Changes in weather, shrink, etc.

Not knowing the guitar, or access to good Luthier, it's an easy, reversible fix.

I have one guitar that I considered doing this method.


Sounds like maybe the fret ends have lifted a bit? Is it because the fret ends are just rough (in which case the StewMac file is the bee's knees), or because the fret is lifting out of the board?


To fill it in with some gunk is to ignore the problem of why the fret end is lifting. If it's happened once, others might do the same thing. I'd advise having a competent luthier figure out why it happened and address that issue.


I’m guessing the guitar has got a bit dry. Get a guitar humidifier and leave it in the case for a week or so. If it doesn’t fix it immediately it might need a gentle tap with a small hammer.

No glue or gunk of any kind, that will ruin it.


You can test if the fret end is loose by pressing it and seeing if it moves, or, tapping the fret ends with a light steel object. Tight frets make a nice sharp clack while loose ones make a much duller sound. I've fixed this sort of thing myself with a tiny drop of CA at the fret end and pressure or a small clamp briefly. However if it's not something you do and you have the $$, take it to a luthier you trust. Single frets can lift by themselves due to a variety of normal reasons, Some stated above, weather, humidity etc. A properly dressed and seated fret should not catch your string end even if you're doing crazy pull-offs. Also check your string alignment on the fretboard and the nut and bridge.


Thanks everyone for your input. I'm leaving the work to a trusted expert.

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