Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Fret height

What height should frets be above the fingerboard? Is there an optimum height, or do they vary from banjo to banjo based on model? If frets are filed and dressed a few times (Obviously making them lower) when is it time to have new frets?

Generally when string buzzings starts. Worn frets can also be harder to play as it can take more effort to stop a string. You can visualize worn frets, too. Optimal height can vary but its roughly 0.94mm on the low side to 1.02mm on the higher side for fret heights when using narrow wire (width range ~1.4 to 2.0mm). Not everybody will stick to these sizes, either.

I’m not an expert, but I refret my instruments when the luthiers tell me they can’t dress them anymore :slight_smile:

I’ve often wondered why frets aren’t made out of a harder metal. Just seems weird to me that strings can eat away at them like they do.

I refretted my Fender with Stainless Steel Frets. Really hard metal to work with. Broke a few tools in the process. Ended up using a Dremel Tool to cut and file the fret wire.


I have 3 refrets I did with stainless. I haven’t had to touch them since doing that. There is a slight difference in tone, but for me, the lack of required maintenance makes it a no-brainer. My next refret, I might try EVO. It reportedly sounds more like traditional nickel silver, but wears longer. I wasn’t a fan of the color, but for the right guitar, a little golden hue might not be all bad,

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Oh, I didn’t even think about a change in tone. Something to consider. Thanks!