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Old April 13th, 2009, 06:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Argggg - how do I stop fret wear?

Last summer I bought a beautiful blond tele and an old Les Paul in immaculate condition.

After a few months both started showing fret wear - as a result the Les Paul's become a case queen that I only pull out for recording and the tele will likely go that way too.

I tried wiping strings as often as I can remember to do so - and using that fast fret stuff - but for me frets still wear. It's freaking annoying.

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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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fret wear is like car brake wear - both are inevitable, particularly if used daily.

wiping the frets ain't gonna help at all with where the wear comes from - metal-to-metal contact.

perhaps yer a candidate for s/s frets?
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Nothing will stop fret wear, but large flatwound strings will wear the frets out slower. They also sound great.

I hope that helps.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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far and away, flatwounds are s/s tape wound, which is harder than steel or nickel wound roundwounds, thus faster fret wear.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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thanks will check out both suggestions.

Funny thing is I played in a band for ten years with an amazing guitarist who had an old strat - despite all the sweaty clubs, hot lights, smoke, outdoor festivals, etc he never seemed to get fret wear.

Maybe he just had regular refrets and never mentioned it.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Stop fret wear = Stop playing

...and nobody wants to do that. Frets wear, so live with it and replace them when necessary.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Unless you use S/S frets, you can't stop it. Do you want the guitars to just look at or for playing also?
If it's for playing then play them, frets can take years of wear before refretting is required. No big deal when they need refretted either so I'd stop being worried and just play them.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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thanks will check out both suggestions.

despite all the sweaty clubs, hot lights, smoke, outdoor festivals, etc he never seemed to get fret wear.
None of the above wears down frets. String metal rubbing on fret metal, that is all it is.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Fret wear is inevitable but if both are showing excessive fret wear in less than a year then I suggest the cause is yourself - are you pressing down too hard? A lighter touch is quicker, don't fight the instruments. And don't stop playing them.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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My guitars suffer likewise...then again, they have a herd of elephants tramping up and down them on a daily basis!

Maybe your guitars suffer from the same syndrome. Do you have a heavy touch?
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:38 AM   #11 (permalink)
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... or the fretwire is too soft (i.e. 12% nickel-silver and not 18% hard nickel-silver). string gauge can matter as well - 11's wear frets faster than 9's. or, it's just you and the way you play. don't change yer playing, change yer worn frets.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:43 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Fret wire is directly related to your fingering style. The only way to stop it is to relearn, not at all an easy thing to do.

Stainless frets are made of a harder alloy, but are still softer than the strings; they have to be to allow for fret work. Were they the Stainless we are most familiar with, they would wear out the typical fret tools. Thus the Stainless fret’s hardness falls somewhere between that of the Nickel silver and the more commonly encountered Stainless Steel we use to cut out Steaks with.

The conventional frets are all made from about the same alloy, an 18% nickel silver. It has no Silver (Ag), but is an alloy of brass containing Nickel. There are a few cheepo frets available having less nickel, perhaps?? Thus all wear about the same. There are a few “off the mainstream” frets available, but who cares.

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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:45 AM   #13 (permalink)
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... or the fretwire is too soft (i.e. 12% nickel-silver and not 18% hard nickel-silver). string gauge can matter as well - 11's wear frets faster than 9's. or, it's just you and the way you play. don't change yer playing, change yer worn frets.
It's usually the first three frets that go from strumming open chords - although I solo a lot the upper frets are fine.

Maybe it's because my first guitars were really crappy things with high actions
so I've just gotten used to pressing chords down hard.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:54 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Are you talking about actual fret wear or just indents on the frets ?
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:56 AM   #15 (permalink)
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18% nickel steel hardness is about 170 HB (Brinell hardness), stainless steel frets have around 40 HRC (Rockwell hardness C scale), which falls around 375 on the Brinell scale. So stainless steel frets are more than twice as hard as the hardest nickel silver ones.

So I say, go for stainless steel frets and you'll be set.


Sources: http://www.sintoms.infonet.by/FretsProduction.htm

http://www.engineersedge.com/hardness_conversion.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brinell_hardness_test

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockwell_hardness


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Old April 13th, 2009, 08:06 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Are you talking about actual fret wear or just indents on the frets ?
It's indents that become fret buzz - I have an Ovation that's now unplayable because of it. Fortunately I know a tech who could probably sort it out - but the thought out handing something as precious as my Les Paul over for filing or refretting makes me a little queasy- not that the wear has got to that stage yet.

Fortunately with teles I much prefer classic players to expensive US standards - but they're still precious to me.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 08:10 AM   #17 (permalink)
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18% nickel steel hardness is about 170 HB (Brinell hardness), stainless steel frets have around 40 HRC (Rockwell hardness C scale), which falls around 375 on the Brinell scale. So stainless steel frets are more than twice as hard as the hardest nickel silver ones.

So I say, go for stainless steel frets and you'll be set.


Sources: http://www.sintoms.infonet.by/FretsProduction.htm

http://www.engineersedge.com/hardness_conversion.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brinell_hardness_test

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockwell_hardness


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Thanks Roli - for the very useful info.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 08:20 AM   #18 (permalink)
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You could stop playing, but then you'll suck on the guitar...that will make you one of those guys that owns nice guitars but can't play. Wear those frets down, replace as needed!
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:53 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I find Fender frets wear quicker than Warmoth. I have a Warmoth neck, with normal nickel-silver 6105s on it and after a few years, I see no fret wear. Fenders I have wear quicker. So, I had one of my Fenders refretted with SS frets. For just that reason. And, I like them a lot. A tad snappier in the tone department, but you can easily rolloff a little of the highs, which you probably do to some extent anyway.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 08:02 PM   #20 (permalink)
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is there some sort of catch with ss frets? i'm assuming they're much harder for a luthier to work with, but do they have any drawbacks from the player's perspective?
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