Opinions on stainless steel frets

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by lscottk, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. lscottk

    lscottk Member

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    I'm having a guitar built and I'm considering having stainless steel frets installed. Has anyone here had any experience using stainless steel frest? If so, did you like the way the felt? How about tone? Did you notice any tonal differences between standard frets and stainless steel? Any comments or wisdom?

    All the best,
    Scott
     
  2. stratman89

    stratman89 Silver Supporting Member

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  3. TaronKeim

    TaronKeim Member

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    I have them on my Suhr Classic... and they definately add a certain level of extra playability in the bending department... they stay so smooth and shiny at all times, bending is NEVER an issue. They definately come off as being harder and longer lasting.

    I do however, hear a little extra "ping" on the high-end, its subtle, but its there compaired to all my nickle/silver fretted instruments.

    -TJK*
     
  4. royd

    royd Member

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    I have a guitar with SS frets... it is difficult to tell what difference they make to the sound as I've not heard that guitar without them :rolleyes: I don't really notice a difference in feel.

    They obviously are harder and will last a lot longer. They're also harder on strings. Bottom line is that I would rather replace strings than frets.
     
  5. koa

    koa Supporting Member

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    I've had a few guitars with them. I love the way they feel. Very smooth, easy to bend. I never noticed a change in tone like some have said. Personally, I say go for it.
     
  6. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    I had a couple with them. Great smooth/slinky feel. Re: tone, I've had people whose ears I respect (John Suhr, Stu at fatsound) give differing reports.

    imo, the difference between using a different percentage of one metal over another can be similar to one ash body vs another.

    I wonder if one found it offensive if it could be dialed out at the amp or effects.
     
  7. Kborg

    Kborg Silver Supporting Member

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    I love them and put them in all my guitars. I have heard people say they are brighter but the only way I think you could really tell would be on a guitar you had played for years and then swapped frets. Even then you would be comparing by memory. All my Suhrs sound great and have SS frets. They play like butter and I think will last forever. It's a no brainer to me:AOK .
     
  8. mep

    mep Silver Supporting Member

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    I have an Anderson with SS frets and they are wonderful. I wish that all my electrics had them. Should cut down on having to future fret jobs.
     
  9. gpro34

    gpro34 Member

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    I agree with Lou V, they impart a very smooth slinky feel which I really like. Another advantage is you won't need a refret for a very, very long time, if ever. The only negative and this is somewhat debatable is it might impart a slightly brighter tone? Personally, I don't feel like it does, atleast, on my Parker fly mojo. That guitar is warmer than many of my nickel fretted guitars. A lot is common sense, if I had a maple guitar with a maple fingerboard then I would probably say no; however, on a mahogany guitar with a rosewood fingerboard then why not.
     
  10. TaronKeim

    TaronKeim Member

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    I actually don't hear a "brighter" tone with the SS frets... they sound just like any other fret in the tone department, there is however an extra "zing" on the high-end, like a SUBTLE added frequency, that is really only noticable on drive tones... its almost like a sibilance sort of thing, close to what some people hear out of KT88 tubes.

    -TJK*
     
  11. Ritualee

    Ritualee Member

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    I agree. I think this was very well put. For me the "ping" is enough to keep me away. I don't want to hear a little something I don't like on every note I play (excepting the open ones, of course) even if it's just a little something. However, there have been certain guitars that I think have sounded good with SS frets because of the generally darker nature of their tone.
     
  12. scott

    scott Supporting Member

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    There is something there for sure. Ping I guess. i can hear it mostly acoustically. However, if I close my eyes and just play I dont notioce it as much. Bends are easy for sure.




    www.heatleyguitars.com
     
  13. Sean French

    Sean French Member

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    I've only had one guitar with SS frets.It was an Anderson Atom.The wraptail bridge and SS frets were a bit much in the overy bright department IMO.The attack is different as well as the decay.At least to me they sounded that way.I had two other Anderson's that did not have SS frets and I prefered them.The SS frets felt great and bending was very smooth.I also liked the idea of them virtually never wearing out.It would depend on the guitar and what your ears are used to IMO.They just did not do it for me.Maybe on a different guitar they would have yielded different results.I'm not completely dicounting them.
     
  14. Leucadian

    Leucadian Guest

    ...when SS frets are installed by Michael Tuttle, the results are astounding...no "ping." Could be other factors causing that sound...
     
  15. MightyGuru

    MightyGuru Member

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    I am a recent convert to SS frets. I am going to replace the frets on my #2 soon. There is a slight change in the attack but the tone difference is slight and, to my ears, not in a negative way. There is also more sustain.

    The playability, after Phil Jacoby got a hold of it, is off the charts.
     
  16. Mrgearguy

    Mrgearguy Member

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    If you think that the fret material doesn't affect the tone, try playing slides of different materials... Small but perceptable difference, and that doesn't even include the vibration that is transmitted to the fingerboard THROUGH that same material.

    Of course, if your guitar can use some additional high end, SS may be an improvement. I don't think that an endorsement of SS frets on a Parker is a good relative example for a Les Paul either.

    I like the sounds of the classic materials best, but I wish that they didn't wear as quickly as they do. This is why it's good to split your playing between a number of good guitars. Hey! justification for MORE guitars!
     
  17. T2tele

    T2tele Member

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    I agree... Michael Tuttle @ www.bestfrets.com is Le Dude when it comes to "perfect" fret work. Michael has redone two of my guitars and the results were indeed "astounding".. the frets are finished like jewelry! Tuttle has redone two of my guitars, one (a Strat) with regular 6100 wire and the other (a Tele) with SST 6105 wire. The SST frets "livened" up the Tele in a good way, no ping or brashness.. just lively, resonant and the playability is amazing!

    As Tuttle points out, doing SST frets "correctly" is extremely time consuming, one really has to know what they're doing and take no shortcuts... knowledge/time put in = quality/playability. Unfortunetely, I have played some SST fretted guitars from regarded builders out there, that seem to be missing the boat somewhere, the frets weren't seated properly, weren't finished to a high polish and there was an annoying "ping" or "plinky" acoustic thing going on??

    Fret work and final setup can make or break the full potential of what "could be" a great guitar, do your research? For the high quality work that Michael does, what he charges is a bargain!

    T2
     
  18. Leucadian

    Leucadian Guest

    ...here, here!:BEER
    ...even the Caveman is switching to SS frets!
     
  19. DiazDude

    DiazDude Member

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    I'm having SS frets on the McNaught VDC that is being built now.
    Those along with the Ebony fingerboard should be AWESOME!!:drool
     
  20. dotlikeimpact

    dotlikeimpact Member

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    I've got a Scott French arriving on saturday with SS frets. I'll report then.
     

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