A Blonde Guitar - Making a Copy of Guitar FE 19 by Antonio Torres: Installing Frets

One of the main problems that confronts all makers is how to increase the volume, strength and sustain of the treble notes, so that they hold up well against the bass.

Roy Courtnall, Making Master Guitars, 1993

The winds have subsided, gusts of 84 mph were recorded yesterday near Nederland, Colorado, which is just down the road from me. When the winds pick up the humidity drops, was 30 percent in my studio yesterday and the humidifier quit working. Time to buy a new one.

Installing frets isn't bad, you just have to be careful that you don't set the fret tang into the slot crooked and make sure you set it deep enough.

The frets over the sound board need to be backed with a piece of metal as you hammer them home, my clinching block (left over from my horseshoeing days) was too tall to use on this guitar. Fortunately, I had a 1 inch diameter steel rod in the workshop, I cut a piece off of it and ground a flat spot on the piece with my angle grinder. Works like a charm.

All most done!

I didn't take any photos of leveling, crowning and polishing the frets, I show that elsewhere in another posting.

I'm carving the neck, will be posting those photos soon!

One of my favorite Manuel Ponce preludes for guitar. I play it on my guitar every night!


  1. wilson--happy new year! your title for this posting reminds me of an ad from fifty years ago or so, touting one of the big Harmony archtops with unstained maple sides and back: "At last! A reasonable blonde!" (I may have the text wrong, but the general idea was there)

    Yeah, it was a different world.

    Have found new reason to appreciate my little Martinez; the neck is small enough and action low enough so that even with my creeping arthritis, I can still play it "cold"--while my beloved D28S is pretty painful unless I dose up with Motrin first. Grr!


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