SS frets vs Gold wires

Milspec

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I am getting ready to buy a neck for my latest build and I am a little disasppointed in the duration of nickel fret wire these days. I don't perform 5 days per week or something yet I still find the durability to be excessively short. So, I am upgrading this time around.

The next issue is which one? Stainless frets shouldn't wear much at all, but the sound clips do make them sound brighter which I do not like. The Gold (titanium?) seems like a good compromise on paper in durability without adding brightness, but I have never seen them nor know anyone who has tried them.

For those that have switched to either one, what have you learned about their pros / cons? The gold would likely look great on a rosewood fret board and with a guitar having gold hardware, but might look like crap on a maple board...I don't know. Feel, sound, and durability is my main concerns, but cosmetics do play a role to a much lesser extent.

Help me out here....
 

lammie200

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I have gone ss on my partscasters. Been there for a few years on a couple of them. I think the tone difference is negligible, but if the high frequency spike on attack bothers you you can use something like stringsaver saddles and a graphite nut or something similar.
 

Antmax

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I refretted my vintage Japanese les Paul with EVO gold wire. Its not AS gold colored as gold hardware. It's more like 30% more gold than nickel which is 5-10% warmer than chrome.

Have an old pic showing the Evo frets with chrome covered humbucker neck and nickel covered bridge, oh... And brass saddles.

J_LesPaul.jpg
 
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Ronkirn

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while I strongly encourage guys to make the move to Stainless... It may be a problem for you.. seems you have already adopted a cognitive bias against Stainless.. relative to their mis-reported sound.

fact is, NO one I have met, willing to try, has been able to identify Stainless frets when compared to Nickel, with anything resembling reliability.

Guys, despite all the bull.. the only difference between Nickel and Stainless frets is the color of the metal, and the length of time between re-frets..

r
 

Brokenpick

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NO one I have met, willing to try, has been able to identify Stainless frets when compared to Nickel, with anything resembling reliability.

There is a LOTTA stuff like this. Folks buy into a story and, WOW! I can hear the mellow sustain of brass, and the bright, crisp, punchy bite from the maple. Nearly all of these "known" facts face absolutely no blind tasted tests, or valid A/B comparisons.
After God invented electricity, he invented tone and volume knobs for your guitars and amps. Use 'em. Change your PICK- it'll likely affect your attack and therefore your "tone" more than most other mods.
Listen to Mr. Kirn.
 

Antmax

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With stainless, of there is a difference, it's miniscule. I do sense a slight difference in the feel, it feels harder in certain circumstances when you push the string against the fret really fast or slow, it's more of touch sensitive thing and doesn't really effect sound. If polished it stays slick so those violin sounds you get from vibrato with nickel frets that aren't polished regularly is less pronounced.

My evo frets don't feel any different to nickel at all. And I don't get the impression either really impact tone. If you like the violin sounds you can just scuff the frets with a super fine grit to get it back.
 
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RogerC

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The Gold (titanium?) seems like a good compromise on paper in durability without adding brightness, but I have never seen them nor know anyone who has tried them.

You're probably talking about EVO wire which certainly isn't titanium. It's a copper alloy. If you tried to put titanium frets in, you'd have to spend several thousand $$ for the tools to work it.

I've installed EVO in 1 build and didn't have any issues installing or working them.
 

stephent2

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I recently sat 30 feet away from one of my favorite old school guitar players, no names 'cos I don't want to dis his sound. He plays w/ a fairly clean tone,... but lordy, was his initial attack bright, hurtfully so. Thought maybe he had JBLs in the blackface Fender, but no. Spoke w/ him after the show for a minute, he'd mentioned he'd recently had a refret,.. to stainless steel.

Say what you will,.. SS frets have a sound I don't find pleasing. Gold EVOs for me.
 

tlp123

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while I strongly encourage guys to make the move to Stainless... It may be a problem for you.. seems you have already adopted a cognitive bias against Stainless.. relative to their mis-reported sound.

fact is, NO one I have met, willing to try, has been able to identify Stainless frets when compared to Nickel, with anything resembling reliability.

Guys, despite all the bull.. the only difference between Nickel and Stainless frets is the color of the metal, and the length of time between re-frets..

r

You're wasting your time trying to convince them. It's a circular perpetual debate.

But..........I'm with you all the way. Every one of my guitars refretted with Jescar 57110 SS. Converted 10 yrs ago and never looked back, for all the positive reasons ever mentioned anywhere.

For those that believe, no explanation needed.

For those that don't, no explanation will likely suffice.
 

Milspec

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Thanks for the responses, to be fair I don't buy into internet claims much, but there are a lot of videos out there of owners saying that the SS was brighter to their ears. Not having access to any personally, I am forced to accept what I can get for information. If the EVO Gold wire provides improved durability without any alteration in sound or feel, it seems like something I need to explore. The problem again is that I am forced to accept what I am told as I will not get to "test drive" anything.
 

Ronkirn

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here's the way I try.... even IF stainless DID have a subtly different feel and tone.... ya gotta ask... which do ya wanna put up with ... those "horrible" stainless frets that last forever...... or getting a neck refretted at 300 bux a pop at given intervals?

C'mon, really? and like I said, I've never met anyone that could sit down, pickup a guitar and start playing without eyeballin' the frets for a half hour to figure out what they were.... and I've had some pretty loud mouthed jerks braggin' about how they can hear 'em every time.. go away with their tails between their legs... whimpering and whining like a scolded puppy.. :cry:

Try it.... I mean really.... permanent frets?? what's the argument about anyway.... :rolleyes:

rk
 

Sollipsist

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My advice is to go with SS. I love the feel when frets have just been polished, and stainless keeps that feel for months rather than weeks (or days).

However, I'd recommend nickel frets if you prefer to use nickel STRINGS. I put a nice set of Mangan 10.5s on my Tele with SS frets, and there were obvious wear spots on the strings in a matter of days.

FWIW that Tele actually sounds less bright and plinky than some of my other nickel fretted guitars. Whatever SS might do to the sound, it's not doing enough of it for my tastes :D
 

Milspec

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here's the way I try.... even IF stainless DID have a subtly different feel and tone.... ya gotta ask... which do ya wanna put up with ... those "horrible" stainless frets that last forever...... or getting a neck refretted at 300 bux a pop at given intervals?

C'mon, really? and like I said, I've never met anyone that could sit down, pickup a guitar and start playing without eyeballin' the frets for a half hour to figure out what they were.... and I've had some pretty loud mouthed jerks braggin' about how they can hear 'em every time.. go away with their tails between their legs... whimpering and whining like a scolded puppy.. :cry:

Try it.... I mean really.... permanent frets?? what's the argument about anyway.... :rolleyes:

rk

The argument would be ending up with frets that you don't like and having to spend the money to re-fret. Sort of like buying a neck with a different shape / size only to discover that it was not a good fit for your playing. In a world where you don't always have the chance to test drive, making a very real mistake is always a concern.....and why forums like these exist. I am comforted to hear your experience with SS frets, but there remains contrary experience reports as well which makes this whole thing very difficult for guys like me who can't afford to spend the money on a mistake.
 

jwp333

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Seems kind of crazy to me to complain that the SS frets are too bright through your rig when you've got tone knobs on your amp and your guitar. Adjust and enjoy. Maybe these complaints would have some relevance in the acoustic guitar world. I wouldn't make this decision between regular, evo or stainless based on my sound while picking on my Tele unplugged on the couch.
 

viking

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I can't hear the difference between maple or rosewood fretboards, or a maple or mahogany necked Les Paul so I doubt I could hear the difference between regular or ss frets.
Hey, I never noticed, one of my LPs have an ebony fretboard...... Guess I can't hear that either..... Lucky me.
 

Milspec

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Seems kind of crazy to me to complain that the SS frets are too bright through your rig when you've got tone knobs on your amp and your guitar. Adjust and enjoy. Maybe these complaints would have some relevance in the acoustic guitar world. I wouldn't make this decision between regular, evo or stainless based on my sound while picking on my Tele unplugged on the couch.

That is a fair point, but sometimes it is not so much being too bright as being ice picks. The early Blues Jr. amps had an ice pick to them that could not be tamed by any tone controls and I worry that the same could be true with SS.....again, if the claims have any validity which is what I am trying to establish. There will never be a full agreement on anything, but if most owners don't note an issue, then I would feel much safer at my direction.
 

Milspec

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I can't hear the difference between maple or rosewood fretboards, or a maple or mahogany necked Les Paul so I doubt I could hear the difference between regular or ss frets.
Hey, I never noticed, one of my LPs have an ebony fretboard...... Guess I can't hear that either..... Lucky me.

But I can hear a difference between a brass and steel saddle...I think metals in contact with strings matter more than a fretboard. Again, I am not picking a fight, I just need to hear what actual owners of SS or EVO frets have learned themselves which might fly into the face of expectations. I wouldn't expect a big change either, but there is often some truth to legends and there is a legend out there that they have an ice pick quality or harsh tin sound to them. I just want to find out how valid that really is before I spend the money....I can only afford to do this once these days.
 

tlp123

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Seems kind of crazy to me to complain that the SS frets are too bright through your rig when you've got tone knobs on your amp and your guitar. Adjust and enjoy. Maybe these complaints would have some relevance in the acoustic guitar world. I wouldn't make this decision between regular, evo or stainless based on my sound while picking on my Tele unplugged on the couch.

Agreed.

I had Phil Jacoby re-fret w/stainless, plek & re-nut this one back in May.

Also put a set a Bardens in there so I wont miss any of those SS fret pingy artifacts :p.

I love effortless bending and permanent frets. These frets will outlive me :confused:

Oh...I never forgot how to use my volume & tone controls............

Any limitations are in me...NOT the gear.

mbncI95l.jpg
 

3-Chord-Genius

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When EHV was talking about his line of guitars, and the stainless steel frets, he basically said that all the negative things you've heard about them are pure B.S. Of course, he's the same guy who told us to increase the voltage to our Marshalls....

But really, he said that he used to have his touring guitar re-fretted every few months, and with the stainless frets he hasn't needed re-frets.
 




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