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Metallion

Fretwire Dunlop, Stewmac?

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There are some builders who prefers Stewmacs Fretwire to Dunlop's (6100 etc).

They claim it's a harder, more durable fretwire.

But why does Fender and Ibanez have Dunlop as standard fretwire on their originals?

Sound?

A subjective taste and not a "Better" model answer maybe.

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But why does Fender and Ibanez have Dunlop as standard fretwire on their originals?

Price I imagine...they are in the business of making money,not building great instruments.

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There are some builders who prefers Stewmacs Fretwire to Dunlop's (6100 etc).

They claim it's a harder, more durable fretwire.

But why does Fender and Ibanez have Dunlop as standard fretwire on their originals?

Sound?

A subjective taste and not a "Better" model answer maybe.

I would go with Wes. Price. Dunlop probably works out deals with the major suppliers so they get a the brand name fret wire and a lower price. For years Dunlop wire was what guys asked for when they came in my shop.

Dunlop comes in brass, 12% or 18% nickel content. The 18% I believe is available in harder, hard and soft. 12% is available in hard and soft. Obviously brass is soft. If you came across the 12% or 18% soft I could understand why some guys wouldn't like working with it. IMHO the hardness of the fretwire has an effect on tone. The harder the wire the brighter the sound...(could be voodoo though or even my old superstitions).

I used the last of my 18% harder Dunlop wire up a few years ago but I can tell you it is not really different than the stew mac stuff. I am not sure exactly were Stew Mac wire comes from (rumored to be made in Japan.?)

I bought a roll of Jescar fretwire and didn't care for it (even though a lot of guys swear by it). It was harder but had a bit of a roll to the fretboard edge making it look like it wasn't properly seated. Sounded fine. Wears fine. When I called Jescar they seemed puzzled that I was only buying a small coil. The guy I talked to made it seem like they usually sell by the pallet and to a lot of major manufacturers.

I am now using ALLPARTS wire... no clue were they get it from but it reminds me of my old Dunlop wire and is plenty hard.

Probably too much info ... Hope that helps.

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I also use the Jescar wire.I know what you mean about the rolled edges.Takes a bit of getting used to...you know how you tend to focus on every little thing about the frets.

But as you say,it plays fine and is very nice.On a finished maple board the rolled edges make no difference at all once finished...you really don't see that part of the frets.

I notice on most guitars I buy from the cheaper end of the spectrum I wear the frets down to "pain in the ass" levels in about a year,but with Gibson's flat topped frets or higher end japanese guitars I don't have that issue.

All of my SS wire still looks brand new.

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I also use the Jescar wire.I know what you mean about the rolled edges.Takes a bit of getting used to...you know how you tend to focus on every little thing about the frets.

But as you say,it plays fine and is very nice.On a finished maple board the rolled edges make no difference at all once finished...you really don't see that part of the frets.

I notice on most guitars I buy from the cheaper end of the spectrum I wear the frets down to "pain in the ass" levels in about a year,but with Gibson's flat topped frets or higher end japanese guitars I don't have that issue.

All of my SS wire still looks brand new.

It took me years to wear out the wire on my old RGs ... never did refret them. My Parkers (SS) still look Brand new 16 years later....

All of my SS wire still looks brand new.

And all the tools you used to fret the SS wire are laying in a pile... battered, beaten, and bruised.

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And all the tools you used to fret the SS wire are laying in a pile... battered, beaten, and bruised.

No.my tang nipper just got a new blade after 4 fret jobs with SS.my cutters and files are fine.

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I am now using ALLPARTS wire... no clue were they get it from but it reminds me of my old Dunlop wire and is plenty hard.

The 6100 available are 18% nickel/silver hard alloy.

Equal to the Allparts?

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I am now using ALLPARTS wire... no clue were they get it from but it reminds me of my old Dunlop wire and is plenty hard.

The 6100 available are 18% nickel/silver hard alloy.

Equal to the Allparts?

Pretty much. I mean... the package doesn't say Dunlop and it doesn't smell like Dunlop (kidding) but it is hard and shiny and the tangs grip. And it comes in various sizes.

From what I gather Polymetallurgical Corporation is the company that makes Stew Macs wire.

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We use All parts wire in my shop. Check out the 0877-000. I have no idea what it's for but it's nearly twice as tall as the next size so I had to try it. Biggest pain I've dealt with. Too big for the bender, too hard and thick even for my bolt cutters (almost anyway, busted my knuckles when they'd snap shut). Once I got them in I just took the neck to the belt sander to dress the fret ends. They're in my Indian Jackson 7 string. Needed a new nut to accommodate the extra height.

After all that hassle it feels great! Bends are smooth and effortless even with 11's. Instead of holding the note down towards the board and dragging the string across the fret you can really get under it and push without your fingers touching the board.

Edited by NoSaintNick

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