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Getting my '69 CS strat refretted with jumbos

Mr. Blue

Member
Messages
112
It needs to be done basically. After playing my new SG, and noticing such a dramatic improvement in my bend/vibrato technique, I've realized that those tiny little vintage style frets on my strat have been holding back my playing.

Just have a few questions.
1. Has anybody with the same strat had a refret with 6100 fretwire. Was the result positive?
2. Will such a modification alter the tone significantly? And is this generally for the better for blues style playing?
3. Would I be better off going for stainless steel jumbos (or other alternative) to extend the fret's lifespan?

Thanks for any help.
 

Blix

Wannabe Shredder
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,340
Go for it. I had a 72' I had refretted with jumbos and I loved it. The tone will not change.
If I were to do it again, I would have chosen SS frets.
 

Mr. Blue

Member
Messages
112
Thanks for sharing your experience. I've already contacted a reputable guitar tech in my area asking for a price estimate and hopefully I'll be able to drop it in sometime soon.
 

analogsystem

Member
Messages
1,097
I bet the radius is pretty different on your Fender and Gibson too. Something to consider.
You could always try another neck on your Strat - might be cheaper than a refret.

I know they put larger frets on the "American Special" strat of the last few years, and that one had the big 70s headstock too.
 

Mr. Blue

Member
Messages
112
Yes, I believe you're right. The SG has a 12'' radius I'm guessing, while my strat has the vintage 7.25'' radius. However, I couldn't imagine having another neck on this strat. It cost me a fortune when I bought it new a few years back, and the main reason I got it was due to it's true to spec '69 appearance. That headstock makes this strat. A fret change is the most drastic thing I'm willing to do to it I think, at this point.

I was actually seriously considering buying that American Special strat, but bought the SG instead as it was a great deal. Glad I did though.

Also, does anyone know if guitar luthiers generally charge more for fitting stainless steel jumbos as opposed to regular jumbos?
 

fumbler

Member
Messages
1,471
Also, does anyone know if guitar luthiers generally charge more for fitting stainless steel jumbos as opposed to regular jumbos?
Yes, expect an upcharge for stainless. They are harder on the tools AND on the luthier so most will charge extra (some guys won't even do stainless at all but that's getting rare these days.) But you'll likely never need another refret.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
39,358
+2 on the radius difference, but -1 on swapping the neck.

you could of course do that, but you'd likely pay more when it was all over and you basically wouldn't have the same guitar anymore.
 

Jon C

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,881
Go for it, I had my '62 Strat refretted w/ Gibson jumbos in '75 by William Cumpiano (fretboard was badly pitted from the original owner and required re-planing, so it was also re-radiused to 9.5"), and again in ~'86 by Tom Doyle (T.W. Doyle) and IMO this is a key element in turning a good or great Strat into a world class one. YMMV but for me it's the only way to go.

Jon
 

Blix

Wannabe Shredder
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,340
To me it is. Less accurate intonation.
No. Not with a good fretjob. It's all personal taste. And Dunlop 6100 isn't a very wide wire so there's no intonation issues whatsoever.
 

Mr. Blue

Member
Messages
112
Well I asked the luthier if stainless steel frets were an option and he said they are but there would be an additional fee for them, citing the reasons which I expected (wear down tools and more work involved). And he also warned me that I may not like the resulting brighter tone. I've no problem with the extra cost (which is miniscule actually) so I got back to him promptly and said I've decided on the stainless.

I asked when he can start work, and I have yet to receive a reply. I'm really hoping that he hasn't written me off as a customer because I want stainless steel frets.. I can't imagine this will happen though and hopefully I will hear back. After all, if that was the case, he could easily have told me that he doesn't offer stainless frets.
 

JimmyB

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,942
why handicap a decent neck with giant railroad track clown frets? ;)
Fixed that for you! :rotflmao

To each his or her own, of course! I'm very firmly in the vintage style camp: 6230s for a Fender-ish neck and 6130s for a Gibson-ish neck. I can live with 6150s, but 6105s are already way too tall...

If I pick up a guitar with the kind of frets you prefer, I can play... sort of... But it feels awful, and when I switch back to decent sized frets, it's like "Ahhhhhh... that's more like it!" and I play better as a result. :aok

Again, figure out what works best for you, learn what to ask for when you need repairs or replacement and go for it! :D
 

RvChevron

Member
Messages
2,464
Well I asked the luthier if stainless steel frets were an option and he said they are but there would be an additional fee for them, citing the reasons which I expected (wear down tools and more work involved). And he also warned me that I may not like the resulting brighter tone. I've no problem with the extra cost (which is miniscule actually) so I got back to him promptly and said I've decided on the stainless.

I asked when he can start work, and I have yet to receive a reply. I'm really hoping that he hasn't written me off as a customer because I want stainless steel frets.. I can't imagine this will happen though and hopefully I will hear back. After all, if that was the case, he could easily have told me that he doesn't offer stainless frets.
The luthier is the most important aspect of this whole fret job thing as far as end result is concerned.

I personally would hesitate to proceed with any luthier/tech who has reservation regarding going with stainless. I'd be afraid if they have enough experience with stainless and if they could/would do a job that meets my expectation (as good as their normal work with regular frets).

David Collin, IIRC, or at least one of the luthier/tech members here once did an experiment on stainless steel frets. He put stainless then regular frets, alternating between one another for each fret position, on an "acoustic" guitar. He reported that everyone who tried that guitar didn't notice ANY tonal difference between each fret material.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
39,358
yeah, david collins and i think john suhr did similar tests. (for some real knowledge, search some of david's posts on, well, anything :bow)

+1 to maybe looking for a different guy, one who actually likes SS frets and isn't afraid to do them.
 

sfguitarworks

Member
Messages
257
Hi Mr Blue,

Lots of good info here. I'd say go with the jumbos and do the SS. We do 90% of our re-frets with stainless and find the playability and durability to be far superior to 18% nickel. When the frets are properly crowned and polished, the fell when bending strings is so silky! There isn't any gritty drag like on nickel frets. I think this is one of the most overlooked advantages of stainless - the feel. Properly crowned, you will have no intonation issues, and I agree with the poster who recommended working with a luthier who is comfortable with stainless, especially with jumbos. Why? Typically when refrettting, the board will be radiused and then fret wire will be bent to a radius slightly tighter than the board. This over bending helps the ends stay down when the frets are pressed into the board. If you use a stiff jumbo stainless wire and over bend it too much, the middle of the fret can pop up due to the stiffness of the wire. The jumbo stainless only needs to be very slightly over bent to stay down. I always use glue, but I'm getting a bit off track! Good luck with your fret job!

Take care,

Geoff
 






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