The ultimate guide on how to repair guitar neck binding

The fretboard of a guitar or any stringed or bowed instrument is a part, a wooden beam, hewn to the desired shape. It is for this that the musician holds on when playing and presses the strings to it to extract the desired note.

The neck binding can be fretted or fretless. The first type is most often found in guitars, balalaikas, lutes, and other similar instruments, and the second – on violins, cellos, and exotic instruments – most often bass.

The channel-bound necks have a compound radius fretboard that’s set right into the neck. This eliminates the side seam between the neck and fingerboard.

At the same time, the neck has an adjusted length and is also made of certain types of wood, each of which affects the sound in its way.

In this article, we will talk in detail about all the aspects that relate to this part of the guitar neck binding.

guitar neck binding

Guitar neck arrangement

Acoustic guitars (usually) have plastic bindings on either side of the fretboard to make it smooth, and they also have fret position markers to help novice and experienced players alike.

Despite its visual simplicity, it is the most difficult guitar part to manufacture. Conventionally, it is divided into three components.

The first is the head, to which the tuning pegs are attached, and which takes most of the tension on the strings. The second is the frets, which are inserted into the wooden structure and separate the sounding notes. Finally, the last part is the neck heel, which is attached to the body in a certain way, depending on the type of neck.

Types of fastening the neck of the guitar to the body

Bolted guitar neck

As the name suggests, this type of neck is bolted to the body. This is most common in electric guitars. It is very convenient to use – if you need to change the neck, it simply unscrews and a new one is put in its place.

However, such practicality costs the musician an extremely weak sustain – the duration of the note. At the same time, this type of neck has a powerful, readable tone.

Bonded guitar neck

This type of bound neck does not imply the presence of any bolts. A recess is cut out in the body of the instrument, into which the neck is placed, after which it is fixed with epoxy.

However, when the neck is bolted on, there is a thin strip of binding (this can be plastic, vinyl, or wood) that runs along either edge of the fingerboard.

This method of the bound neck is extremely popular and common among guitars of the middle and high-price segment. Set-neck instruments have a very long sustained and powerful tone, which is why all guitarists love them.

Neck-through guitar

This type of binding is common among bass guitars and is very rare on regular ones. Its main feature is that the bar is glued into the body itself and, as it were, passes through it.

This is the most expensive type of neck; however, it pays for itself significantly primarily with strong sustain and resonance, which runs literally through the entire body and remains for a long time. It is because of this feature that the neck is so popular on bass guitars.

Operating principle

To understand the principle of the neck, it is worthwhile to analyze in more detail such a thing as a scale. Menzura – the length of the sounding part of the string. The smaller it is, the higher the sound becomes. It needs to be tuned with a bridge so that the note sounds flat, and the guitar builds all over the fretboard. This greatly affects the location of the notes on the guitar fretboard.

The principle of operation of the fretboard is such that on it, with the help of modes, places are marked where a note at a certain scale should give a clean and correct tone.

To determine this, there are standard coefficients, which, when multiplied by the real scale, give an exact figure indicating the distance of the playing part of the string from the bridge.

Benefits of a guitar binding

Guitar binding does not affect the tone

Guitar binding does not appreciably change the tone of the guitar, as it is unstructured and is a very small fraction of the weight of a guitar.

Guitar binding protects your guitar

Guitar binding is a great option to protect your guitar from bumps, scratches, scrapes, or dents.

Instead of playing around, you enjoy playing without worrying about small dents or scratches on the fretboard edges.

When you first receive your guitar, you will want to take good care of it and protect it from small scratches. It will not take long. No matter how you protect, scratches and dents are always visible.

The frame of the guitar is a decorative element

The frame of the neck frames the guitar and gives it a more elegant character. This gives the guitar a cleaner look by smoothing out the protruding frets, adding a visual element.

This decorative layer comes in a variety of colors and materials, and its main purpose is to give the guitar a look to give an additional accent of contrast.

The binding of the guitar gives the guitar an aesthetic appearance and sets it apart from many other guitars.

The guitar binding is easily removable

If the guitar binding is damaged, it can be easily removed and replaced.

Thermal compatibility

The use of strings on the neck helps to maintain stability during temperature changes.

The fretboard binding on an unbound neck tends to shrink due to a lack of moisture, which can result in sharp edges on the fretboard. This is not good because it becomes difficult to play.

On the other hand, if you get a binding, the stays will replace the very last piece of fret sticking out, making it less of a problem.

Higher resale value

Guitar bindings have a higher resale value because they are expensive, protect the guitar, and give it a premium look. Quite often, a guitar’s price goes up simply because it has a binding.

Drawbacks of a guitar binding

Guitar binding is difficult to change

Assembling the guitar binding makes tools a bit more expensive and difficult, as the fret pin (the part that attaches to the wood) needs to be shortened slightly to adjust the binding.

This can cost up to $100 if you’re remodeling a string guitar. To tune a fretboard guitar, you have to be very careful and patient. This process involves removing each fret, placing a new one, and trimming off the excess while the ensures each fret is perfectly placed and there are no issues with the guitar’s tone.

Guitar binding is expensive

Guitar binding is expensive because of the labor cost: it takes a lot of hard work and a skilled craftsman to get it right. Typically, prices start at $300, not including materials.

A good binding will protect your guitar.

If you’re going to buy a cheap, unbranded guitar binding, it’s not worth it. You might as well buy a new one if your cheap guitar breaks.

How to restore a guitar with a neck binding?

There are 3 good ways to redo the binding:

  1. Cut the binding.
  2. Cut the frets and install them in place of the old fret.
  3. Remove the harness, reflash it, and install a new harness.

In many cases, it’s better to just cut the binding, especially if it’s thin. Then simply cut and finish as if they were an unbonded neck. This will give you maximum playing area and no hooks. This is the easiest way to turn a used guitar into a great playing guitar.

It is generally recommended to use large frets, regardless of what was originally used because they last longer, work better, and small frets are useless.

How to remove the frets at the ends?

This can be done in two ways:

Remove frets manually

This is the cheapest and easiest way to remove the shank. You will only have to cut it with your hand.

This can take quite a while, and you will have to be very careful as you can easily mess up the fret crown and have to start all over again.

Cut off the shank

Another way is to simply cut off the shank.

A sheet metal cutter or similar tool can handle this task.

Regrinding a bonded neck can take a lot of time and attention, but if you have the right tools, it can be quite easy and simple.

How to repair an acoustic guitar binding?

Evaluate the situation

First, you need to determine if the damage requires a full fastener replacement. If so, you might also want to consider removing the neck, so you can replace it without the risk of injury.

If this isn’t the case and the harness falls out, some suitable wood glue and some patience may help.

Sometimes it’s best to just replace the damaged parts, like on acoustic guitars you’ll probably need to remove the frets to replace the bindings. Before you start the repair, make sure how many frets have to be removed.

Buy replacement clasps

You can find all kinds of clasps in different widths, shapes, and colors online and at your local store. Not only can you repair bindings yourself, but you can also improve the look of your instrument by working on them.

Remove adjacent (or all) frets

Removing the frets from an acoustic guitar is not a difficult task, but it is tedious and requires patience and skill to keep the neck in good condition.

In general, to remove frets, you must first remove the fretboard binding from the instrument. Once tightened, you can use a hammer and a set of nails. Do this in the opposite direction that the threshold was placed. Do it carefully and with precautions not to damage your neck.

Removing frets (and frets in general) requires a great deal of skill and tools, but can be a prerequisite for successfully repairing neck bindings on acoustic guitars.

Disconnect old bindings and trim

Since the finish usually covers both the neck and the bindings, a sharp tool is needed to cut under the bindings.

This will protect the surface while removing fasteners that need to be replaced.

Removing old bindings

If they are loose or broken in a specific location, gently insert a flat object (like a knife or flathead screwdriver) underneath and pry them up until they start to loosen.

Remember that there is a layer of dried glue underneath the fretboard binding, and using too much force can damage the finish or the fretboard itself.

After you remove the mount(s), take the opportunity to remove any adhesive/debris that may be left in the slot to make room for the new mount and adhesive.

Not recommended to use cleaning products, a sharp blade or file is preferable. Gently scrape away the old glue until the wood is completely exposed and ready to apply new glue.

What glue is best for the job?

Since we are dealing with wood tools and wood reacts to temperature changes by shrinking or expanding, it is recommended to use a type of glue that has some elastic properties.

For example, superglue, when hardened, tends to crack if subjected to stretching.

On the other hand, wood glue is great for repairing guitar bindings.


What is the purpose of binding on a guitar?

A guitar binding is essential to protect your guitar from chips, scratches, moisture, and splitting as it ages.

Can you add binding to a neck?

This is a difficult job. But if you have enough experience, you can try. But the wood of the neck is important because it’s the main wood that the pickups are made of, so it’s best not to take chances.

Does guitar binding affect tone?

Fretboard binding the guitar does not affect the sound of the guitar in any way. The tone should be the same for both bound and unbound guitars, whether acoustic, electric, or bass. Theoretically, the areas near the guitar binding won’t vibrate as much (due to glue and sealing).

What does neck binding do on a guitar?

For those who don’t want to feel the fret ends moving up and down the guitar neck, a collar is an option that can allow for smoother movement up and down the fretboard. Binding is the practice of taking a strip of material, usually vinyl, to coat the outside surface of the fretboard.


The guitar neck binding adds charm to the guitar and provides extra protection.

The acoustic guitar neck binding may look simple at first glance, but it requires experience and knowledge to avoid costly mistakes.

Replacing neck bindings is not very expensive and most of the tools needed to fix it are fairly common, but given the amount of work, some cases require, not everyone will be able to do such a job.

Loose or broken bindings can affect the playability of the instrument as they can come into contact with the player’s hand, making the instrument uncomfortable.

Also Read About How To Bind A Fretboard, Gibson-Style

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James/ author of the article

If you got to my page, it means that you are fond of music and are trying to record songs on your own. In my blog, you will find out exactly which options for sound equipment will be appropriate, depending on the specific case.

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