do stainless frets affect sustain?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by robertkoa, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. robertkoa

    robertkoa Member

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    Since stainless frets have less friction against strings,when you are sustaining a note using finger vibrato, do the notes die quicker or is the sustained note quieter due to the lack of friction? When you vibrato a note with finger you are essentially "bowing" the string by rubbing it against the fret-similar to but not limited to the"Foxy Lady " effect .This is for long sustained notes , violin type things as well. Will I get less of this bowed vibrato sustain effect with stainless due to less friction if I order stainless? People who have both stainless and nickel will be able to help here . Thanks.
     
  2. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

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    Any difference has to be minuscule. While stainless steel frets may offer less friction, they offer no less contact with the strings than nickel frets do, and contact with the fret is where frets contribute to sustain.

    What I have noticed about SS frets is no wear after a year of playing on them.
     
  3. gtrs

    gtrs Supporting Member

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    Very small difference.
    I think the ease of bending and next to no wear on them is worth any trade off, if there is one at all.
     
  4. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    if they're done right, you'll get little or no "bowing", which is the sound of the nickel/copper material being ground off of the top of the fret!

    you may arguably get a pinch more natural sustain due to the increased hardness of the wire, but it's hard to really tell the difference.
     
  5. shane88

    shane88 Member

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  6. goodwill559

    goodwill559 Member

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  7. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    Have and use both. Yes, you get far less of the bowed sustain effect with stainless. Even with nickel silver, how much you get depends on the shape and condition of the fret. Yes, less friction is the reason and it is noticeable.
     
  8. robertkoa

    robertkoa Member

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    Thanks Fullerplast- this is probably why on the Suhr Guitars Site the Scott Henderson signature guitar is NOT specified as stainless. While I appreciate the "bat" comments - what I'm talking about would NOT be subtle.Most professional blues players would probably not be able to use stainless because of this, as well as legato players and people who rely on vibrato-sustain like Larry Carlton ,David Gilmour,Eric Johnson etc. cause there will be a volume drop on sustained notes ESPECIALLY at lower volumes and lower gain settings and THEORY is ok but guys who PLAY stainless and Nickel will be able to help the most. Thanks Fullerplast. I noticed the volume drop on a stainless fretted guitar but haven't played stainless on enough guitars to be certain the frets were the cause and I only have nickel.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2009
  9. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    Yes.

    Frets affect sustain, tone, and playability, no matter what they are made out of. How well we detect that effect, though, is a different story.

    --chiba
     

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