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Stainless steel frets - worthwhile?

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  • Stainless steel frets - worthwhile?

    What are some thoughts on stainless steel frets? Are they worth the hassle and money? Those of you that have them, did you get them via re-fret or did you the buy the neck/guitar as-is? Are there some common makes/models that use them that I could find in a local shop or a Guitar Center?

    I'm casually looking at options for my Tele. No ambitions to attempt a refret myself.

    It seems as though they're heralded as "the best thing you can do for your guitar" but I'm always a little skeptical of such claims.
    Last edited by alex1fly; 05-24-2021, 01:39 PM.
    Originally posted by crusty philtrum
    Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
    http://www.youtube.com/alexiansounds

  • #2
    I'm a fan.

    They sound the same, and last much longer than regular frets. They always stay smooth for bending. There really are no negatives. The only possible reasons I can think of to avoid them is price - or if you plan on playing a guitar for a year or two and then trading it. Personally, I'll never buy another guitar without SS frets . . . and I've been refretting all my guitars that I love with stainless steel.
    Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

    Originally posted by Douglas Adams
    This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by GuitarStv View Post
      I'm a fan.

      They sound the same, and last much longer than regular frets. They always stay smooth for bending. There really are no negatives. The only possible reasons I can think of to avoid them is price - or if you plan on playing a guitar for a year or two and then trading it. Personally, I'll never buy another guitar without SS frets . . . and I've been refretting all my guitars that I love with stainless steel.
      Do you do this work yourself? Or work with someone to do it?

      I'd think too, that you'd maybe want to consider the weather/humidity when doing a refret to avoid filing super-hard fret sprout later. Is this a fair assumption?
      Last edited by alex1fly; 05-24-2021, 02:05 PM.
      Originally posted by crusty philtrum
      Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
      http://www.youtube.com/alexiansounds

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      • #4
        Originally posted by alex1fly View Post

        Do you do this work yourself? Or work with someone to do it?

        I'd think too, that you'd maybe want to consider the weather/humidity when doing a refret to avoid filing super-hard fret sprout later. Is this a fair assumption?
        Myself. I've done four refrets now. The first one was playable, but there were some ugly mistakes. By number three things were going a lot better. Did two over the winter and two over the summer, fret sprout didn't seem better or worse with any of them, and I'm doing them all in the basement of my air conditined house which ranges from 40 - 70% humidity according to my little d'addario hygrometer. Pulling/pounding in the frets is relatively quick and easy. The real PITA and biggest time suck is in the levelling, polishing, and rounding of fret ends.

        If you can, just buy a neck with SS frets already installed and levelled. Way less work.
        Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

        Originally posted by Douglas Adams
        This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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        • #5
          Why would you be skeptical? They don't wear at all vs trenches in ur nickel frets after 2 weeks. No brainer.
          Last edited by Clint 55; 05-24-2021, 02:48 PM.
          The things that you wanted
          I bought them for you

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          • #6
            There are several brands that now offer them as standard on their model-lines that are starting around $1000.
            Schecter and Solar are a couple like that. Their budget models are standard but once you jump to about a grand they are all stainless.

            Ibanez made a good move IMO by creating some in-between models in the $1000 zone that have very high-quality standard frets that will last a long time.
            If you step up to the Prestige line near $2000 they are stainless frets now. I really like that, because if I want shell-out big bucks for quality it would have to be stainless.

            Kiesel Guitars are now stainless at no upcharge, but of course their prices have went up in recent years,,,,,,,just the cost of doing a manufacturing business in Cali USA.
            Seymour Duncan has done well to limit their increases over the last few years.

            Any material can host a bad fret-job, so even with stainless it comes down to the craftsman doing the work well.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Clint 55 View Post
              Why would you be skeptical? They don't wear at all vs trenches in ur nickel frets after 2 weeks. No brainer.
              Some standard frets are actually very tough. My older MIJ prestiges are standards but are very hard (maybe they cryo treated them).
              I also have guitars with Dunlops standard wire that are very hard. No instant divots and/or trenches with those unless you use an iron-claw grip or something.

              On the other hand, most of the budget models I've had over the years had frets made of warm butter.
              My Ibanez RGT has some of the worst frets ever on a model over $500. You could blow on them and they would gouge.
              It really deserves stainless and a better real edge tremolo, because the rest of the guitar is as solid as an anvil.

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              • #8
                Some Harley Bentons come with SS frets standard

                https://www.thomannmusic.com/harley_...lame_burst.htm

                https://www.thomannmusic.com/harley_benton_fusion_ii_hh_fr_eb_fbb.htm
                Last edited by ehdwuld; 05-24-2021, 03:32 PM.
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                • #9
                  I am a huge fan. I see no downsides from a playing perspective- they feel great. They might be harder on tools and harder to install, but I don't do that work myself. I have 2 Warmoths with them, and about to get them installed on my 1982 Strat.
                  Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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                  • #10
                    Every regretted guitar I own has them and if I can buy the guitar new with them I always do. No downside at all, great upside. They are a bit harder on tools and I am told slightly tougher to work with. Maybe that point is being milked for cash flow for tools and time? Who knows, I send my stuff out to get refretted. I hope all the guitars I like eventually come with stainless frets. People say there is a sound difference...I think if there is it is minimal at most. If you have a les paul and put stainless frets on it they won't make it not sound like a les paul. I am a BIG FAN of stainless frets! Can't recommend them enough.
                    The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mincer View Post
                      They might be harder on tools and harder to install
                      Parker glues them on no tangs. They can be bright but you can EQ to compensate like with any other aspect of a guitar


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bogner View Post
                        Every regretted guitar I own has them
                        I thought you said that you liked them. (?)

                        j/k I know that it was a typo lol

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                        • #13
                          Will never buy a new guitar without them if I have a choice. Own 4 with them they bend so smooth I actually like the attack now that I am used to them and the biggest thing is they don't wear out. I'm sick of dressing frets and rotating guitars to keep wear down.
                          Guitars
                          Kiesel DC 135, Carvin AE 185, DC 400, DC 127 KOA, DC 127 Quilt Purple, X220C, PRS Custom 24, Washburn USA MG 122 proto , MG 102, MG 120.
                          Amps PRS Archon 50 head, MT 15, Mesa Subway Rocket, DC-5, Carvin X50B Hot Rod Mod head, Zinky 25watt Blue Velvet combo.

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                          • #14
                            Stainless steel jumbo frets are the best frets I've ever played. Bending notes is smooth and each note has better sustain and feel.

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                            • #15
                              The ones I like are on my Warmoth- one of their sizes. It is a jumbo but almost comes to a point at the top- feels great to play on.
                              Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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