Silver Sky scratchy frets and bending concerns

Luke P

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Joined
Sep 1, 2021
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6
I’ve owned the SS for 6 months now and I really love it. However, it’s come with some issues. After about a month of owning it, the frets were starting to get scratchy and it was hard to bend smoothly. When you do a full step bend, certain frets would have this awful feel to them. This isn’t really unique to my silver sky either, my Ibanez has this issue and I’m not sure what causes it. The setup is fine and the guitar never chokes out or anything, it plays well, until I need to bend a fret that gets frequently used.

so far my solution was to take it to a luthier and he claimed it needed a crowning. The guitar sat in a store for 2 years and I’m sure a few people played it, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a little fret wear. I told him sure, and he charged me $120 for a crown and polish. Wait 3-4 weeks after that, and I’m having similar issues. Maybe the issue is me playing to too rough. How can I possibly put wear on a fret so fast. Then I took off my strings, used micro mesh pads to polish the frets again to a nice shine and make them smooth, and the guitar played amazingly for about a week or 2. Only fret 7/14 are giving me issues now when I bend or use vibrato. I can still play the guitar just fine but it’s uncomfortable when bending.

I don’t know what to do. Am I going to have to polish the frets every single time I change strings? Has anyone run into a similar issue with any of their other guitars? I’ve only owned two instruments so I don’t know if this is a common issue.
 

GADonis

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Feb 27, 2015
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I occasionally polish the frets on my guitars. No where near as often as every string change. Check the bottoms of your wound strings. Are you wearing through the windings? I do. I get about 2 gigs of playing time from a set of strings and then they are shot. Three gigs and I am running the risk of a wound string, usually the D, coming unwound. I have actually had strings start to unwind during a gig. That's how much of death grip I play with. I can usually feel some slight divots after the first set on a fresh set of strings. But even what I believe is an excessive amount of pressure on the strings doesn't result in having to polish my frets that often. It is possible that I'm not as sensitive to rough frets as you are.
 

Luke P

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Sep 1, 2021
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I occasionally polish the frets on my guitars. No where near as often as every string change. Check the bottoms of your wound strings. Are you wearing through the windings? I do. I get about 2 gigs of playing time from a set of strings and then they are shot. Three gigs and I am running the risk of a wound string, usually the D, coming unwound. I have actually had strings start to unwind during a gig. That's how much of death grip I play with. I can usually feel some slight divots after the first set on a fresh set of strings. But even what I believe is an excessive amount of pressure on the strings doesn't result in having to polish my frets that often. It is possible that I'm not as sensitive to rough frets as you are.
The frets themselves are giving me trouble. Scratchy might not be the best word to describe it. The string doesn’t bend well and glide across the fret. I change strings every 4 weeks, and I play about an hour a day, so that’s roughly 28 hours of use for each set of strings. I’ve been practicing a lot of gilmor solos and Hendrix solos, and Mayer, which means I’m bending a lot.

I don’t think the fret is dented at all since it’s a brand new crowning from the luthier. I see no apparent signs of fret wear yet my strings don’t want to smoothly bend. I just want to know how to prevent this because I really like the guitar
 

Uncle Bob

New Member for almost a year...
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Mar 2, 2021
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I’d be very surprised if it was the frets and not the strings causing this. Do you clean your strings after use? If not, perhaps try it, making sure to get the underside of the string. I just wipe them over with GHS Fast Fret. It seems to make them last a little longer under normal use.

Also what brand of strings are you using? Perhaps worth trying something else?
 

Ovibos

Naughty Wood Librarian
Joined
Jan 9, 2015
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Wilmette, IL
Maybe try some coated strings.

Or you may be one of the unlucky few with really acidic sweat - does the metal on your guitars tarnish faster than other peoples'?
 

Luke P

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Sep 1, 2021
Messages
6
I’d be very surprised if it was the frets and not the strings causing this. Do you clean your strings after use? If not, perhaps try it, making sure to get the underside of the string. I just wipe them over with GHS Fast Fret. It seems to make them last a little longer under normal use.

Also what brand of strings are you using? Perhaps worth trying something else?
I prefer to use Elixir custom 09-46 gauge but those have been out of stock for months. I’ve tried Daddario NXYL Custom 0946 in the mean time and get bad luck apparently, it’s been likely this for 5 months. Someone on YouTube said I should switch to elixir poly web and try that. I prefer using a heavier buttom (like a 10s would have) but I like the light feeling of 9s for bends. Maybe I’ll just switch to a standard 10 gauge for now and troubleshoot. Also, I’ve never once cleaned my guitar strings since I change them every 4 weeks. I play in a basement where it’s typically 68 degrees during summer, and humidity around 45-55.
 

Luke P

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Sep 1, 2021
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6
Maybe try some coated strings.

Or you may be one of the unlucky few with really acidic sweat - does the metal on your guitars tarnish faster than other peoples'?
I’ve never noticed. I never play with sweaty hands so I don’t see how that could be an issue really. I ensure my hands are clean before touching any guitar
 

cjlloyd

Modern seagull
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Mar 8, 2021
Messages
101
Try running your finger up and down the underside of your strings. I always play with clean hands and I'm not particularly sweaty but it doesn't take long for stuff to build up under there anyway. It's easy enough to get out on the high strings manually but not so much on the wound strings. This grime affects playability and that "slinky" feeling a lot. It also makes sense that it would build up more over frets your bend the most on.
 

Luke P

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Sep 1, 2021
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6
Try running your finger up and down the underside of your strings. I always play with clean hands and I'm not particularly sweaty but it doesn't take long for stuff to build up under there anyway. It's easy enough to get out on the high strings manually but not so much on the wound strings. This grime affects playability and that "slinky" feeling a lot. It also makes sense that it would build up more over frets your bend the most on.
I’ll try investigating tonight. If that doesn’t solve my issue, I’ll change strings and hope for better luck. I cannot imagine my frets have wear after less than a month ~28 hours of play.
 

Stevie C

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Apr 21, 2021
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I have this same problem with my electrics. I bend strings a lot, and have a tendency to dig in a bit too much. It's really not fret wear per se. I use Gorgomyte during every string change. Wipe the underside of your strings off after playing, that might help. Stainless steel frets might be a good option if you want to spend the money.
 

DreamTheaterRules

The guys in my car club call me The Cruiser
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Nov 20, 2013
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Leaving work now, but remind me later tonight when I get home, and I'll tell you a polishing trick that I've used for years and need to do a youtube video about. Makes strings last a LONG time too.
 

DreamTheaterRules

The guys in my car club call me The Cruiser
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Here you go. Polish your frets with this. Polish your guitar strings with this. Even brand new ones (and you'll be shocked what it does to most new strings) and then every few plays after that for the strings.

I have an un-named guitar that I bought used from Brian's that rhymes with Axis, that STILL has the strings on it from when he sold it too me, because I polished them as soon as I got it and many times since. And the key, they don't just PLAY good, they still sound good! Here is the magic wand fellas, and it's not my idea. Some guy at TGP told me. But this is the best $10 you'll ever spend on guitar gear, and you can get it at Walmart! Make sure to get the silver one, not gold. And just do exactly what it says.
silver_jewelry_polishing_cloth.jpg
 

aphantomvaper

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Sep 26, 2020
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Illinois
Yep! I've been using a wool silver polishing cloths for many years. It does work and the cloth lasts forever. Not damaging to wood either.

Spot on suggestion!
 

Luke P

New Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2021
Messages
6
To those still interested, I think I’ve had some luck. More testing is needed though. I wiped down the underside of the strings with a microfiber cloth and honestly that helped a lot. Granted, my frets aren’t in bad shape anymore since I polished them about 3 weeks ago or less when I changed strings. I’m also working on trying another string coating to see if that helps, which a youtube commenter mentioned might help.

I think it’ll take another 1 month at least to get a proper test. For now, the “scratchy” non slick bending is at a minimum
 

DreamTheaterRules

The guys in my car club call me The Cruiser
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Messages
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I should post up a pic of my cloth. You'd be amazed what comes off brand new strings out of a sealed package, when you use this. But do this good before you play them, (I do the first round before I put them on!) and every few plays afterwards, and you'll be amazed how long your strings last. Again, not just stay shiny, but how long they retain their tone!
 

Tom Bradovich

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Jul 24, 2021
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383
I should post up a pic of my cloth. You'd be amazed what comes off brand new strings out of a sealed package, when you use this. But do this good before you play them, (I do the first round before I put them on!) and every few plays afterwards, and you'll be amazed how long your strings last. Again, not just stay shiny, but how long they retain their tone!
Great tip, thanks - on my Walmart shopping list
 
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