frets: how to know what kind?

adrianb

Member
Messages
567
Is there any way to tell what kind of frets are on my guitar? I'm pretty much hoping they're stainless, but then it could just be nickel alloy. This guitar has been through a number of refrets before it came to be mine.

How much difference in tone is there between nickel alloy and stainless? Given well-polished nickel alloy and stainless frets, would the stainless look different (be more shiny, etc.)?
 

Soapbarstrat

Senior Member
Messages
2,060
Slim chance it's stainless steel, since this kind of fret material hasn't been around very long and it's been even a shorter period of time, since small guys like me could even get it.

I've heard someone say that the stainless steel fret-wire they bought was magnetic !!! And I'm wondering where this magnetic ss wire comes from (perhaps this is ss wire from Asia ?)

The ss wire I have from Germany is *not* magnetic at all, and looks pretty much the same as nickel-silver fret-wire. I have to read the labels on the coils to know which is which, but also, the ss wire is lighter in weight.

How to tell the difference between the 2 wire types after they've been installed on necks would be a problem.

Here's a photo of some of my fret-wire. Some in the picture is nickel-silver and some is stainless steel (two coils are gold, so those don't count). Can you tell which is which ? I sure can't

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v398/soapbarstrat/german-frets2.jpg
 

adrianb

Member
Messages
567
I was hoping the pic you linked to was a close-up of the wire side-by-side, but if you say nickel-alloy and stainless look similar, i'll leave it at that.

Some people say that there's a difference in tone; others say there's not much difference. This is getting confusing. I guess i'll just have to wait until some wear appears on the wire.. then i'll know it's nickel-alloy.
 

Soapbarstrat

Senior Member
Messages
2,060
Yes, I should have a better picture, but the problem is that when they install either wire, they polish it real well, so both kinds are going to look about as shiney as the other.

I guess after some time, the ns wire will start to look dull, and supposedly ss wire doesn't do this.

be careful about fret-wear, because I've heard even stainless wire can get worn spots or damage, if the player is quite abusive.
 

adrianb

Member
Messages
567
Originally posted by Soapbarstrat
Yes, I should have a better picture, but the problem is that when they install either wire, they polish it real well, so both kinds are going to look about as shiney as the other.
Yeah, i just realized this too. No way to tell then..


I guess after some time, the ns wire will start to look dull, and supposedly ss wire doesn't do this.
I'll look out for that.

be careful about fret-wear, because I've heard even stainless wire can get worn spots or damage, if the player is quite abusive.
I don't know, many people seem to insist that stainless never wears out. I have a light touch and my vibrato is the classical-style vibrato.. guess i'm not an abusive player haha. :D
 

Lex Luthier

Member
Messages
1,767
The SS fretwire I have is more of a gray-ish/silver, the Dunlop wire I have has a bit of a gold-ish tint to it.
The SS wire I have is noticeably heavier than the Dunlop wire of equal size. The stuff I have is non-magnetic.
 
Messages
2,176
Originally posted by Soapbarstrat

I've heard someone say that the stainless steel fret-wire they bought was magnetic !!! And I'm wondering where this magnetic ss wire comes from (perhaps this is ss wire from Asia ?)

The ss wire I have from Germany is *not* magnetic at all, and looks pretty much the same as nickel-silver fret-wire. I have to read the labels on the coils to know which is which, but also, the ss wire is lighter in weight.

Stainless steel is impervious to magnetic fields--it can neither be magnetized nor can it be attracted to a magnet. ;)
 

Soapbarstrat

Senior Member
Messages
2,060
It was on another forum, and I replied asking where this "magnetic SS fret-wire" even came from, but got no reply back.
I knew if his wire was really magnetic, I would probably be some other kind of steel, as I've never seen a magnet stick to any SS.
It would have been funny if he would have replied with something like " no, I meant to say the SS wire is conductive", which would have made me ask " you mean you have other fret-wire that isn't ? " LOL
 

WayneM

Member
Messages
1,589
The 400 series Stainless Steel is also known as Ferritic Stainless Steel....has higher carbon in the composition and is magnetic. The 300 series is known as Austenitic Stainless Steel.....not magnetic.
 




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