The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Guitars for sale     Latest  Trending
Frets - What do you use, when, and why?
Old 8th September 2019
  #31
Lives for gear
 
Hot Vibrato's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Oh. Would you give an example to make sure I understand?

Thanks,

audioforce
Sure. For instance, the bead of Jescar's 37080 wire measures .037" x .080". Check out the fret wire specification page on Jescar's website:

https://www.jescarguitar.com/fret-wire-specifications/
Old 8th September 2019
  #32
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Someone on another board said something like "stainless steel frets have to be PLEKed to each individual guitar". Does that make sense?
No. They're just frets, they always need to be leveled, crowned, and polished. You could use a PLEK I guess but it's no more needed with SS than any other frets.

Quote:
Others say they affect tone.
The general "wisdom" is that they give the guitar a brighter tone somehow. To be honest my hearing in the high frequencies isn't what it used to be, so I can't say for sure. I don't hear a difference. So, maybe to someone with better hearing than me, but I don't think they do.

And I call it "wisdom" not because I am certain it's wrong, but because I think it's one of those things a lot of people repeat because they heard someone else say it.

Quote:
Others say they wear out strings. Just wondering?
Even if this were true, it's better that if something wears in this equation (frets or strings) the thing that should wear out is the strings, since you can easily replace them yourself for not much money and time - not so, with the frets.

And further, if you're playing on the same set of strings long enough for this to be an issue... You need to change your strings more often.

I'm not a tribologist, so I can't really say for sure whether given the same level of abrasiveness, stainless steel vs. nickel friction on guitar strings results in faster wear on the strings one way or the other, and I'm not aware of any kind of real scientific study about it. But I don't think it matters, for the above reasons. Just change your strings when they start to get grungy and it won't matter which kind of frets you have, as long as they work for you.
Old 8th September 2019
  #33
Lives for gear
 
audioforce's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot Vibrato View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce;14188538h
Someone on another board said something like "stainless steel frets have to be PLEKed to each individual guitar". Does that make sense? Others say they affect tone. Others say they wear out strings. Just wondering?
Neither of these statements are true. I and my employees have done dozens of refrets with stainless wire. It takes more time and elbow grease to file and polish, but it polishes up smoother than nickel wire, so it wears strings less. Not more.
In fairness, I don’t think what I read actually said they had to be PLEKed. It was something like they have to be shaped especially for each individual guitar, or something to that effect. Whatever it was,it did kind of make sense. I’ll see if I can find the original post so I can quote it better.
Old 8th September 2019
  #34
Lives for gear
 
norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot Vibrato View Post
Happens all the time in my workshop. It's time consuming and requires proper training and skills. But "a horror to work with" is an overstatment.
Yes it was. Suffice to say that my fret tang nippers and my wrists don't like working with stainless frets!
Old 8th September 2019
  #35
Lives for gear
 
norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
What is the numbering system that vendors are using for frets? It seems like I need a secret decoder ring or something.

Does it follow a pattern?
Take a look at this page of the Stew-Mac catalog :

https://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tool..._Fretwire.html

This is for their "medium" fretwires Three numbers all in 1000/inch - width, height and tang depth.
Old 9th September 2019
  #36
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
There I was just wondering if there are any vendors or companies that are known to make or use good, or bad, fretwire.
I think when you see people talking about bad fretwire, they are referring to wires that wear rapidly or corrode excessively.

Stainless frets are not going to have the same wear problems and they should not have much corrosion.

If you go with wire from one of the “names” in fret wire, you should be good. Stay away from the cheap Asian fret wires on eBay. Don’t cut corners on the cost of your wire.
Old 9th September 2019
  #37
Lives for gear
 
Mikhael's Avatar
 

I will say this; my #1 , which is a Hamer, is starting to get some annoyingly deep divots around the cowboy chord area. I going to have to refret it soon, and when I do, It's going to be SS, no question. There's a luthier close by who specializes in refrets (I've played some of his instruments), and he's going to refret that one soon.

Had it been fretted originally with SS, I doubt this would be an issue right now. But no one was using SS in the 80s.
Old 9th September 2019
  #38
Lives for gear
 

I did a re-fret on one of my guitars last weekend. It was the second time and I had to sand the entire fret board and replace the lacquer this time.
The weather hasn't been cooperating in Houston and I wound up trying to apply lacquer with the humidity at 70%. It traps the humidity in the lacquer.

I've done other maple fret boards and the best method for me seems to be applying a light coating of lacquer to seal the wood and keep dirt out of the wood grain before installing the frets, then buffing it a bit more before over-spraying the lacquer over the frets. I did fine installing the frets but getting those last coats of lacquer on was a bitch. it kept wicking under the frets or maybe there was some kind of oil/silicone/wax that got on the fretboard. I suppose it could have been the Crazy Glue used to glue the frets in that was preventing the lacquer from sealing the frets to the board. I eventually got it but I had to do allot of buffing to smooth things out.

I do use the super jumbo frets #150 . Large frets are an acquired taste. I'm a huge fret bender and the high frets give the neck a the feel of scalloped fretboard without actually damaging the fretboard.

Here's some pics before I invested a good deal of elbow grease on the fretboard. The pics show some bumps and scuffs in the lacquer which is gone now. I can deal with the vintage look so long as the frets are top notch.

Prior to changing them I thought I was loosing my edge playing, being unable to bend frets or keep consistent contact with the frets. I was pleasantly reminded how much a difference tall frets have when strings. Its smooth as butter and completely effortless now. I still have to do one final polishing using the Dremil too but that can wait for the next set of strings in about a weeks time.
Attached Thumbnails
Frets - What do you use, when, and why?-thumbnail_img_0033.jpg   Frets - What do you use, when, and why?-thumbnail_img_0034.jpg  
Old 10th September 2019
  #39
Lives for gear
 
Yuri Kogan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikhael View Post
I will say this; my #1 , which is a Hamer, is starting to get some annoyingly deep divots around the cowboy chord area. I going to have to refret it soon, and when I do, It's going to be SS, no question. There's a luthier close by who specializes in refrets (I've played some of his instruments), and he's going to refret that one soon.

Had it been fretted originally with SS, I doubt this would be an issue right now. But no one was using SS in the 80s.
You going to take this amazing instrument and go away from the authentic, vintage time proven formula? Philistine!!! You are not a true guitarist!! Turncoat!!!

No, I think SS is a good idea. Will pay for itself easily in a short time.
Old 10th September 2019
  #40
Lives for gear
 
Mikhael's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri Kogan View Post
You going to take this amazing instrument and go away from the authentic, vintage time proven formula? Philistine!!! You are not a true guitarist!! Turncoat!!!

No, I think SS is a good idea. Will pay for itself easily in a short time.
I'm looking forward to the smooth bending, better action, and less buzzing from a good refret.

And as far as the first paragraph goes, you have no idea how right you are...

The only thing left on that guitar that's still Hamer is the wood and frets...
Old 10th September 2019
  #41
Lives for gear
 
Yuri Kogan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikhael View Post
I'm looking forward to the smooth bending, better action, and less buzzing from a good refret.

And as far as the first paragraph goes, you have no idea how right you are...

The only thing left on that guitar that's still Hamer is the wood and frets...
Sounds like what i do to all mine. I get , say an R9, strip it to wood and frets, then put on all new nut, bridge, tailpiece, pickups, pickup surrounds, change all wiring, pots and caps. I may reuse the knobs
Old 12th September 2019
  #42
Lives for gear
 
audioforce's Avatar
 

I checked some of my guitars and it seems to me that the frets are pretty much the same on my Les Paul Junior and on my SG Special. I think they are just standard Gibson frets. Whatever they were using in the '90s - early / mid 2000s. I use the guitars mostly for slide now, so its moot, but when I was using them otherwise I thought the frets were fine. They are wider, but not huge or super tall, and I think they play good.

My Les Paul Custom is old and it came as a 'Fretless Wonder", which I didn't mind either. I played it for quite a while like that, and it was in my earlier playing years when I was developing technique. I was able to bend fine, and I think it might have even built my chops. I dunno. At some point I had some work done on it, and I remember the repairman disliking the "Fretless Wonder" frets, and he put some other ones on it. And I liked those, too. All that happened way before I went to music school, so by the time I started playing really difficult stuff on it, it was not a "Fretless Wonder". I think its probably been re-fretted again since. It has kind of thinner, regular height frets on it. They are very nice, so I guess I should measure them and figure out exactly what they are.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump