Stainless steel frets? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-16-2012, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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Stainless steel frets?

A quesition...

I noticed that on my teacher's guitar the frets isn't worn down at all, which is remarkable since he got the guitar (a Parker Fly) 10 years ago. He told me that he hadn't even shared a thought about it until a guitar tech noticed it. On my Ibanez which I got about 1Ĺ year ago, I can clearly see that the frets have been marked by the strings. Not really worn down but you know, it's visual. According to me (and probably most guitarists...) minimal fret wear would be awesome, so I'm definitely gonna keep an eye open for this in my next guitar.

So my question is, are these what you call stainless steel-frets? Well, to be honest I know they are. Looked it up at Parker's website... But I'd like to get some more info about these frets. Pros & cons? I get the advantage of having hard frets but are there any bad things about it?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-16-2012, 02:33 PM
 
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Re: Stainless steel frets?

Some people say they're brighter than normal frets.

To my knowledge, no respectable tech has ever stated this to be true, it all comes from unreliable ****s like Ed Roman.

Only other disadvantage is some techs will charge more to work on them because SS frets destory cheap tools. Good techs should have no issue though since they'll have good tools.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-16-2012, 02:48 PM
 
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Re: Stainless steel frets?

Have SS on many of my Guitars, Parkers, EVH, Carvin. Nothing negative to say.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-16-2012, 07:50 PM
 
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Re: Stainless steel frets?

As a luthier let me chime in.

1. SS frets ARE brighter sounding than nickle, it is a measurable difference. They also wear strings down just a little faster.

2. We charge more for a few reasons. First being no matter how nice your tools, SS will mess them up. At an average price of $75 per fret file (the ones I use most are $100 each, not a cheap tool at all) I do not use cheap tools, but you can bet I have a few dedicated files for SS that I have to replace every five to ten guitars.
Another reason we charge more, is time. SS is hard to work with, a PITA really, and I will spend twice as long doing a SS guitar so I should charge more money for my time.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-16-2012, 08:27 PM
 
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Re: Stainless steel frets?

I have SS fret on 3 of my guitars - 2 Warmoth necks and an EVH Wolfgang Special. I would not order another guitar without them for the ease in bending and vibrato.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 12:16 AM
 
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Re: Stainless steel frets?

A friend of mine has a Parker with SS frets. They do sound fairly bright to me compared to nickel, and he says when he's playing out a lot on the occasions that he's used his Parker as his main ax, he was changing strings much more often.

Typically, on his Fenders (he's a Fender nut) he'd stretch them to three or four nights before he needed to change, the Parkers he was changing either every day, or every other day depending on how long the gigs were running.

The softer metal of the strings on the hard metal of SS creates flat spots faster, making the strings sound dead quicker, while the nickel frets have a little 'give' to them and don't seem to tear up the strings nearly as fast.

Personally: I'll stick with standard frets. I like the sound better and even playing the same guitar every day your frets will withstand several dressings before they need replacing.

The money you'll most likely save on strings is going to be far and above the money you'll save on refrets over the life of the guitar.

I have a 20+ year old RG550 that, while I'm considering a refret, I'm leaning towards a dressing, and this guitar has been played to death, even with the worn frets, it still plays, and sounds, just fine.
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 07:48 PM
 
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Re: Stainless steel frets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MicJustMic View Post
A friend of mine has a Parker with SS frets. They do sound fairly bright to me compared to nickel, and he says when he's playing out a lot on the occasions that he's used his Parker as his main ax, he was changing strings much more often.

Typically, on his Fenders (he's a Fender nut) he'd stretch them to three or four nights before he needed to change, the Parkers he was changing either every day, or every other day depending on how long the gigs were running.

The softer metal of the strings on the hard metal of SS creates flat spots faster, making the strings sound dead quicker, while the nickel frets have a little 'give' to them and don't seem to tear up the strings nearly as fast.

Personally: I'll stick with standard frets. I like the sound better and even playing the same guitar every day your frets will withstand several dressings before they need replacing.

The money you'll most likely save on strings is going to be far and above the money you'll save on refrets over the life of the guitar.

I have a 20+ year old RG550 that, while I'm considering a refret, I'm leaning towards a dressing, and this guitar has been played to death, even with the worn frets, it still plays, and sounds, just fine.
I have to disagree with most of this - I play my SS fret guitars constantly (both practicing and gigging) and I am not breaking strings anymore than on my RG's. I don't find them brighter either.
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 08:13 PM
 
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Re: Stainless steel frets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitvai1 View Post
I have to disagree with most of this - I play my SS fret guitars constantly (both practicing and gigging) and I am not breaking strings anymore than on my RG's. I don't find them brighter either.
Never said he was breaking them, he says they sound dead faster.

He likes that 'new' sound to his strings and they start to sound dull faster with the SS frets.

If your experience is different, it may simply be different styles.

He plays with high action and fairly thick strings, mostly clean and when he does overdrive his amp, it's barely.

He's also a very aggressive player, really digs in, so any differences will be exaggerated.

He likes the sound of the SS (I'm the one that they sound brighter to, not him) but he doesn't like how quickly his strings start to die, and buzz, using the SS.

As with anything, YMMV. I'm only repeating what he's told me, I don't have any SS frets, and since I don't particularly see a need for them, I don't think I'll ever have any.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 10:43 PM
 
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Re: Stainless steel frets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MicJustMic View Post
He likes that 'new' sound to his strings and they start to sound dull faster with the SS frets.

He likes the sound of the SS (I'm the one that they sound brighter to, not him) but he doesn't like how quickly his strings start to die, and buzz, using the SS.
To my ear new strings sound brighter. His observations make complete sense if you believe that SS fret guitars sound brighter.
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 11:00 PM
 
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Re: Stainless steel frets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Takin' a Ride View Post
To my ear new strings sound brighter. His observations make complete sense if you believe that SS fret guitars sound brighter.
Yes, new strings do sound brighter but the SS frets sound brighter to me even compared to new strings on nickel.

We'll just have to agree to disagree.

This is going to turn into the same argument that people have about maple fretboards sounding brighter than rosewood... to me; they don't... to many others; they do.

It's all in the ear of the beholder.

Even if there is no sonic difference, and it's all an illusion, it's still perception regardless of the physics of the situation.

I hate liver, my ex-wife loves it.
Does liver taste bad or good?

Not quantifiable.
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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 11:41 PM
 
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Re: Stainless steel frets?

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. I'm never played a guitar with stainless frets so I have no frame of reference. I have a neck I want to get refretted and was planning on doing stainless on that.
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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-19-2012, 12:05 AM
 
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Re: Stainless steel frets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Takin' a Ride View Post
I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. I'm never played a guitar with stainless frets so I have no frame of reference. I have a neck I want to get refretted and was planning on doing stainless on that.
Sorry, I was in the middle of that back and forth with guitvai1 and wasn't paying attention. D'oh!

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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-19-2012, 01:12 AM
 
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Re: Stainless steel frets?

This is an interesting topic. I remember that Magnus had SS on one or both of his MO sigs....... He didn't end up being a big fan of them in the end.......I can't remember why though.

Maybe he'll poke his head in here and give us his feedback on them???
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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-19-2012, 01:26 AM
 
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Re: Stainless steel frets?

This is one of the posts where Magnus gave his thoughts on his stainless frets.........

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibanez-Mag View Post
Yes, it is a very noticeable difference, but depending on how small differences you notice.
I feel a big difference, especially when rapidly switching from one guitar without it to one with it (that direction is the most noticeable). But I know guys how say they don't feel any difference at all (and that also says all humbuckers sounds the same).

It is all down to friction between the string and the fret.
Stainless has very little friction and a normal frets have a lot.
Bending, and even more, vibrato (and the control of it) are using a lot of muscle memory to be accurate (and with vibrato, the way you want it).
If the friction against the fret are change then your muscle memory will be messed up.
Your bends gets to high and your vibrato bigger (less controlled).
The bending goes pretty fast to fix if you think about it, but the vibrato takes a bit more time (and most of all, you have to think about it).

But like I said, it is something to get used too. But switching between the two can be a bit tricky (not if your sitting at home, but when you are on stage and break a string and have to go from one to the other with no "getting use to it" time).

For me to start using it do I want guitars enough so I don't have to be in that situation live.
But I have girly hand, sensitive little ones :-)

For the sound.
The frets are harder and that gives a little brighter and harder treble.
Guthrie speaks about it a bit in the Guitar Player where I was on the cover this year, he believes that "ping thing" only can be heard when you play unplugged.
I feel sure I can hear it when I plug in too.
Scott Henderson think it can be heard too.

I think everyone should try for themselves and if they don't feel it, or don't care, then stainless are many times better than normal frets.
They last longer, will intonate better for a longer time for the same reason and so on.

Stainless do get worn too, by the way. But it takes a lot more playing.

I will start using it as soon as 3-4 of my main guitars has it.
And for the only reason to save refret money, it gets very expensive to refret 3-4 guitars a year (also saving band fixing money). Knowing that they will last a 100+ gigjob without big holes in them are a bonus too.


/Magnus

You can read all of the conversation (and others) here:

http://www.jemsite.com/forums/f16/31...-114600-2.html
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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-22-2012, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Stainless steel frets?

Thanks for the replies guys, very interesting reading!
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