Stainless steel frets

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by gioforce76, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. gioforce76

    gioforce76 Bartender to the stars

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    What is it with stainless steel frets , it seems like so many more companies are putting them on more of their models. EBMM seems to put them on more guitars then they used to and I believe Suhr puts them on most of theirs. It just seems like its been the buzz word for the last few years and everyone wants them. I personally didn't care for them when I had the Suhr classic pro , there was just something about them I didn't like , I get that they last forever. I need up trading that guitar for a custom 22 which I like way better.
    So you stainless steel fret lovers what is it about them?
     
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  2. GADonis

    GADonis New Member

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    I don't have any guitars with stainless steel frets but I've thought about getting a roasted maple neck with them for my Tele. Can you describe what you didn't like? I'm not sure I've played a guitar with stainless steel frets. Maybe I should track one down before shelling out a couple hundred bucks for a neck. I like the fact that they should wear significantly less than standard frets.
     
  3. gioforce76

    gioforce76 Bartender to the stars

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    there was just something about it didn't like , the neck and frets didn't feel right to me. I also have a Steve Morse y2d with stainless frets and im not a fan of that neck either.
     
  4. Tone-y

    Tone-y New Member

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    I only have one guitar with SS frets - an American EVH Wolfgang. It did sound a little strange the first time I played it (unplugged). I could hear myself fretting more, or maybe it just sounded different so it drew my ear. Anyway, it didn't seem to take long before I got used to it. They are only small frets on that guitar so maybe that makes a difference?
     
  5. gioforce76

    gioforce76 Bartender to the stars

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    its possible that could make a difference I guess.
     
  6. Huggy B

    Huggy B Whiizzz

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    My experience, YMMV.

    Tonewise the difference is negligible, slightly different but barely noticeable, and I'm a tone fanatic. Feel is the biggest thing IMO, nickel frets on bends are like syrup compared to the fast, slick feel of SS. I've A/B'd my guitars extensively over this, and when it comes to bending notes it's night & day. If you don't do a lot of that it may not be an issue for you.

    As for wear, they do hold up much better than nickel but they're not the fountain of youth, I can tell I'm going to have some wear issues in one area of the fretboard. I play hard and in certain areas of the neck more than others so that's my curse, but to avoid fretwork and the slick feel I'm liking any future refrets on any of my guitars will be SS.

    Surprised you didn't gel with them, I think those Suhr SS strats are nice, if I wasn't such a PRS guy ...
     
  7. gioforce76

    gioforce76 Bartender to the stars

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    Yeah I didn’t like the Suhr at all , I wanted to but basically it just felt like another strat. The custom 22 i got in trade was way better. I’m a big PRS guy also.
     
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  8. mookyshoots

    mookyshoots Mom always told me I was special

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    I've had about 5-6 necks with stainless frets and really like that they don't really wear at all. They feel smoother and I've personally never heard the supposed high end "ping" that some claim stainless frets have, but that's just my opinion. That's one of the things I really like about PRS is that they use a harder fret than most builders do, so I get why you don't hear about them on PRS guitars. Now, if the day came that I needed to refret one of mine, I would go with stainless in a heartbeat as it would likely be the only refret that guitar will ever need in its lifetime.
     
  9. garrett

    garrett knows just enough to be dangerous

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    They're super smooth and they don't really wear. Less cost and maintenance in the long run.

    I hear a little bit more snap or zing in the unplugged tone, but it doesn't translate to anything for me plugged in.
     
  10. Boogie

    Boogie Zombie Two, DFZ

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    To me, it’s just another ingredient in the sonic soup. 6100 stainless frets in a roasted maple neck made my catalpa Cabronita play spectacularly. A lot of thing is he feel, but there’s undoubtedly a sonic contribution. Just not sure what it is.
     
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  11. alantig

    alantig Zombie Four, DFZ

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    I have enough trouble squeezing my fingers in the gaps with 24 frets.
     
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  12. Alnus Rubra

    Alnus Rubra Loving nature’s wonders

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    “Oh you are awful.....but I like you”
     
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  13. DK1984

    DK1984 New Member

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    Jescar EVO are the best middle ground option for long life, traditional fret tone
     
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  14. Going Modal

    Going Modal I should be practicing right now.

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    I've got 2 of the aforementioned Suhr guitars with SS frets. I was unsure myself about the whole SS-frets thing before trying them out, but I will say this--I detect zero audible or tactile downsides to having the SS frets. On the plus side, the string contact on the frets while bending & sliding is silky-smooth, and there's zero wear. (Does not seem to result in string breakage either, if you're wondering.) I cannot find a downside, except perhaps for the technician who might have to work-on/install/file them if or whenever that time might ever come(?).
     
  15. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    +1 on this. I had two necks done with this stuff.
     
  16. Brad737

    Brad737 This space for rent...

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    I love SS frets. I don’t notice a difference in tone, but they’re very slick when bending. I think the technical term is galling. SS frets don’t do it like traditional frets. I had PRS install SS on my Private Stock. I also had SS frets put on my 1956 Les Paul Custom, along with several Warmoth necks. If I have the option, I’ll always choose SS.
     
  17. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    My luthier buddy (former PRS employee) only does stainless. He just believes they’re superior, even though they trash his tools.
     
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  18. garrett

    garrett knows just enough to be dangerous

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    Ron Kirn is a very well respected builder who has done a ton of stainless and I've seen him post that it's not very difficult compared to nickel-silver as long as you use high quality tools. Cheaper tools wear out faster. Excuses from luthiers about tools are just that. Fortunately, it looks like stainless keeps growing in popularity so it's not too difficult to find someone to do it.

    I have my SE One with Greg Hails (Aperio Guitar) right now for a stainless refret. He only does stainless and charges a very reasonable fee. He did a Strat neck for me and his work is excellent.

    I've decided that when any of my keepers show a need for fretwork, I'm not even going to bother getting the nickel frets worked on. In the long run, I'm better off just making the jump to stainless.
     
  19. mookyshoots

    mookyshoots Mom always told me I was special

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    There's a shop near me that tends to really look down on stainless frets and has gone as far as banning them from their Plek machine. It's kind of silly as they aren't going away but it's their shop, so it's their call.
     

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