Stainless Steel Frets - I think it's high time... - Jemsite
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-17-2001, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
 
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Stainless Steel Frets - I think it's high time...

Am I the only one that hates regular, "soft" frets? Sure, it makes it easy to just bang them in, but they're hardly durable at all. Parker uses them, and now Stick Enterprises equips new (and retrofits) sharp, stainless steel frets on their Chapman Sticks. Of course, it requires a special method for actually fastening them to the fretboard, and I think Parker uses a slot-in method...anyway, it'd rock IMHO if Ibanez started to make *durable* frets. :D
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-17-2001, 10:18 PM
 
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Stainless Steel Frets

I basically agree. *But using stainless steel is a very new accomplishment in guitar making. *Parker frets are bonded to a composite fretboard -- no tangs. *The thing with stainless steel is that it is difficult to work with. *The nickel silver that is currently used is a compromise between flexibility and stiffness to make it easy to work with but also allow it some life.

In my opinion, this material just doesn't work well enough. *Frets are the evil part of being a guitar player if they aren't perfect, and nickel silver frets rarely are after any decent amount of playing. *The stainless are stronger and also smoother to bend on. *They are also, however, brighter and more likely to cause a string to break. *All in all, if Ibanez used stainless steel frets on some of their higher end guitars, I would definately get one.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-18-2001, 12:34 AM
 
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Stainless Steel Frets

Since I have been playing a Parker recently, I have been admiring the steel frets too. As Josh said, they are very easy to bend on and seem to last forever. Then I got to thinking why other manufacturers don't use them. I imagine they are VERY hard to work with, especially at the critical leveling stage. As a wood neck ages it may also become less flat. A fret level will solve this. However I doubt you can do this with steel frets.

Parker has an advantage because they have a synthetic fingerboard, so they probably just install them and forget them. No level required. No aging worries either. Perhaps a synthetic fingerboard or carbon reinforced necks are the way to go for steel frets. I could live with that!

Rick
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2001, 04:13 PM
 
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Stainless Steel Frets

I think steel frets would be a major step in quality for any manufacturer who decided to employ them. As they would be harder, fret-levelling and dressing would be a less risky business as the material would not waste away so easily; i.e. no longer a case of one wrong stroke with the file...

As for how difficult it would be to file them in the first place, I think it would be worth it for many manufacturers to charge a little extra to cover the workmanship (read A LOT, most probably) costs. Still, as will probably be proved by this thread, I'm sure people would buy a guitar with 'everlasting' frets.

I would.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2001, 04:29 AM
 
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Stainless Steel Frets

I think the risky business with standard frets isn't not an issues. Most manufacturers have that process down with standard fretwire. *I am not about to take one of my fret files to my Parker Fly, but I imagine filing stainless steel must be a real b*tch to do. *I doubt Parkers levels them in the traditional sense. They probably rely on the synthetic fretboards being consistently flat in the first place.

It must cost more in labor. *The Parker only has steel frets in the models with composite fingerboards, the cheaper wood fingerboard P-38 has standard nickel-silver fretwire.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2001, 04:15 PM
 
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Stainless Steel Frets

I've seen a website for a guy who replaces banjo frets with stainless steel frets, so I know it is possible to do. *Also, new Chapman sticks have them although the tang is a lot different.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2001, 07:57 PM
 
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Stainless Steel Frets

I recently sold a Les Paul classic. It was a 2000 model and had the softest frets ever. The worst I've ever seen on a Gibson. I like the idea of durable frets and if stainless steel is the only consideration, I'd still buy it.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2001, 10:44 PM
 
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Stainless Steel Frets

Normal nickel silver frets can be heat-hardened but that still makes them more difficult to work with. *Get a Parker.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-30-2001, 12:00 PM
 
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Stainless Steel Frets

So far, from talking to guitar companies... the #1 reason I've heard about why companies don't use stainless steel frets is that they cost more. *I know there are issues with installing them... but the cost SEEMS to be the major gripe. *If that is the problem, why not just charge a few more $$$ for a guitar? *I'm sure people would be willing to pay a small price increase if it were justified by a significant increase in quality.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-30-2001, 12:23 PM
 
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Stainless Steel Frets

Quote:
Quote: from jay ratkowski on 4:00 pm on June 30, 2001
If that is the problem, why not just charge a few more $$$ for a guitar? *I'm sure people would be willing to pay a small price increase if it were justified by a significant increase in quality.
Unfortunately, many people who've counted on this principle have gone out of business, and others (PRS, Parker etc) have had to introduce cheaper versions of their instruments. At the end of the day, most guitarists are going to be of the "I've never had a problem with nickel/nickel frets sound better/it's just a gimmick" school which sinks so many innovators.

Personally, I've never had a problem with nickel frets.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-30-2001, 12:26 PM
 
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Stainless Steel Frets

Enough. *
I don't want this to get into business practices and 'how much-per-guitar', and all that crap.

Point well-taken. *Thank you everyone.
THREAD CLOSED.
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Tags
fret level , les paul , les paul classic , parker fly , stainless steel frets , steel frets

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