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Frets Dunlop vs Stew Mac

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by skylabfilmpop, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. skylabfilmpop

    skylabfilmpop Member

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    A tech told me recently he likes stew mac fret wire as it tarnishes less than Dunlop. This tells me that theres less nickle in the stew mac. I really like Dunlops "soft" higher nickle content wire in terms of tone and guitars I have had with regular dunlop 6100 sound fine, but Stew mac makes a fret wire shorter and narrower than a 6100 and wider than a 6105 that looks interesting to me. Has anyone used any stew mac wire and found it to be brighter than Dunlop? Thanks!
     
  2. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    Most of the Dunlop wire ranks pretty near the bottom on my list of quality in every way from hardness to consistency and clean lines. StewMac's wire is very good. I would rank it as a very close second only to Jescar wire, which is pretty much all I use anymore.

    As to tonal effects, big can-o-worms of a conversation. While there may be slight but still real differences with wider hardness spreads like nickel/silver compared to stainless, I'd have a hard time believing you would hear a difference between Dunlop and StewMac wire. You may feel a difference, and see a difference in how quickly it wears, but don't worry about hearing a difference that could be traced back to the tempering of the wire. The simple act of refretting - pulling, installing, seating, anchoring - will have at least ten-fold the impact on tone that the 40ish point difference on the Vickers hardness scale would have between the two wires.

    Go with the better wire. Jescar is my first choice, but I'm more than happy to use StewMac wire if Jescar doesn't offer the size I'm after.
     
  3. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    I don't much like the Dunlop wire either and use StewMac for all my refrets. It works well, takes a great polish and keeps its shine. I'm not familiar with the Jescar wire, but I'm definately going to look into it - thanks for that tip Dave.
     
  4. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    Another vote for Stew-Mac wire, has held up good so far.
     
  5. aoguitars

    aoguitars Member

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    yup....I use StewMac wire on all of my guitars and all refrets and repairs that come in. Machines and polishes real well and does not wear quickly at all, as Dunlop seems to. I also am not familiar with the Jescar wire...I should check it out.

    And I also have to agree with David in that it is very doubtful that anyone would ever hear the difference between the wires.
     
  6. skylabfilmpop

    skylabfilmpop Member

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    I have both on several different guiatrs, two nearly identical es 335's have Stew Mac wide?tall and Dunlop "soft" 6155. I like both. The stew mac equipped guitar was brighter to begin with so its hard to tell, and the wide/tall is a larger wire too. The 6155 is interesting in that the fretted notes sound identical to the tone at the (bone) nut wheras the stew mac seems to brighten on the fret. Idon't have a sinilar guitar with a 6105 or 6100 to compare but I think I am hearing the difference bewteen the fret size and the extra nickel in the 6155, and some difference in the guitars. The stew mac is a great size though. shorter than a 6100 and wider than a 6105, a good jumbo feel without railroad tie feel
     
  7. levelfrets

    levelfrets Member

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    Hello,

    Just FYI, http://www.polymet.com/fret.htm these guys make all of Stew Macs fretwire. Stew Mac doesn't make fretwire. I used to do a lot of refrets and bought a couple of common sizes in bulk directly from here. It saved me a lot in the long run but you do have to buy quite a bit. :) Oh yeah, and Collins is right, a good refret with proper seating and dressing will have the most impact of all on your tone. I don't know how many times I saw factory installed frets that were never seated or fit properly and after a good refret, the guitar sounded 100% better. A bad refret on the other hand can have the oppisite affect. Anyway enough of my babble here.
     
  8. Bluzboy66

    Bluzboy66 Member

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    I use Stew Mac wire exclusively, unless a customer just HAS to have Dunlop. I've never exactly A/B'd the wire, but I find that Stew Mac wire is hard, and holds its crown and its bright polished finish for a loooooong time.

    Mike
     
  9. Cthross

    Cthross Member

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    Don't mean to hijack, but does anyone know what kind of wire Allparts necks come with?

    I have a Carvin bolt on neck on a warmoth body and they use the Jescar. It has definitely seemed to outlast many of my other guitars in terms of wear which I am definitely happy about. As compared to Fender Am. Strat and LP Studio.
     
  10. Bluzboy66

    Bluzboy66 Member

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    Thanks for the Jescar recommendation.....I've bookmarked the website. Now, if only someone would offer fretwire large enough for zero fret replacement on the old Gretsch guitars! Anyone? For now, I'm using a jumbo stainless wire, but it's still not as tall as I need it for some of my customers who prefer larger frets on their Gretschs.

    Mike
     

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