The subject guitar is a 1966 Fender XII. Note the round laminated Rosewood fingerboard.

The frets are slightly worn but since the frets have been dressed pretty low to begin with, the neck is not very comfortable to fret. I still donít understand why Fender and Gibson dresses their frets so aggressively. Vintage Fenders also usually come with extensively beveled fret ends.

Before sanding the fingerboard level, the nut has to be removed. I usually make a replacement nut but in order to maintain the originality of the subject instrument, the owner and myself have decided to use the original nut, which will be shimmed with a piece of Maple later as the new frets are about .020Ē taller than the original frets. Care is taken to ensure that the original nut is removed cleanly from the nut slot.

The frets are removed and thank God there wasnít any major chips along the fret slots. It takes patience and experience to remove the frets cleanly without serious chipping. Most of the time, one does experience some chips along the fret slots, I just got lucky this time.

Check out the nice figure of the Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard. Is this the same fingerboard as above??? Yes it is. It looks brand spanking new doesnít it? Over the years, Iíve developed a special treatment thatís administered to the fingerboard immediately after the frets are removed to strengthen the integrity of the fret slots so theyíre good as new!

The fingerboard is then perfectly finish sanded, fret slots cleaned up and re-cut if necessary. Weíre now ready to fret. Thanks to the both intensive and extensive prep work, only a very light fret dress is usually required or in some cases, no dressing is needed.

I personally feel it defeats the purpose to re-fret a neck when the new frets are dressed too excessively. Most mass produced guitars have their frets dressed too much. Slightly more than 1/4 of the fret height is sanded away on most mass produced guitars. Youíre taking away at least a year of play when that happens. One of the reasons is due to inexperience and because the fingerboard was not perfectly leveled before fretting thus the frets are not level with one another.

The neck is fretted and the fret ends filed almost flush with the edge of the fingerboard.

Note how lightly the frets have been dressed thanks to an immaculate prep job prior to fretting. The frets are seated perfectly and level with one another. Iím very particular about fret dressing and pay a lot of attention so I donít remove more than necessary material.

The frets are slightly beveled in relation to the edge of the fingerboard and lightly rounded to remove any sharp edges. Note the perfectly rounded fret top and ends.

The neckís ready to be fitted back to the body.

The guitarís strung up and ready to go. The action is low and effortless and the guitar sounds incredible. Iím jonesing for a 12 string electric.

Hereíre some details of this very unique and one-of-a-kind instrument. We start off with the headstock and close up of the decal.

The electronic and pickup cavity. Note the copper shielding plate at the bottom of both cavities.

Close up of the bridge. Note the individual saddles for accurate intonation.

Hereís the customerís comment on the guitar.

Hello Malcolm

I've come to you again on my Fender Electric 12 because you certainly live up to your claims and treat all instruments like your own. My cousin bought this for me used, from Vancouver while she was doing mission work during the "12-string" phase of my life. After realizing it was a 1966 vintage relic, I was not about to let some ham-fisted "luthier" at Selegie Road or anywhere toy with it even though I was told that many people send their instruments there. Well, my sympathies to them because they donít know what first-rate workmanship truly is! The action is perfect and I'm able to barre it from the first to the very top position with little effort. You've thoughtfully dressed the fret ends in a way that has left me with much more playing area than the original. The intonation is even better than the original and it sounds sweeter too even in extreme positions. It's the best money I've ever spent on a re-fret and I'll not hesitate to recommend your services to anyone who is serious about their instruments. Thanks again for an excellent piece of work.

Ewen - June 2005