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Where Do You Buy Your Fret Wire?

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I just received my order from StewMac. I usually order enough fretwire for the project I am currently working on, just a couple feet at a time. This time I decided to "stock up" for future guitars. Its not only valuable for new projects but also for re-fret work on used guitars. I got 70 feet, they mention that amount at the website as a roll of fretwire, but I received 35 straight lengths in a plastic tube. I can't imagine them selling it pre-radiused, I assume you are referring to the radius related to fretboard radius and not the radiused crown on the fretwire. Its all crowned ie. rounded fret tops but I doubt you would get a length of fretwire in a circle that is say...24" across for a fretboard of 12" radius in the mail. It just doesn't make good shipping sense. :D

You have to bend them yourself. I usually bend with my fingers for the longer fret lengths up the neck and use a tiny bench vise for the shorter lengths. It helps to "overbend" them slightly so the fret ends anchor well. A few folks here have used fret bending machines. Here is a tutorial courtesy of BC on how to build one.


Edited by Southpa
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i buy mine from stewmac by the tube and i also purchased one of their radiusing pliers..it only takes 2-3 seconds to bend so i've never bothered with pre-radiused wire or a radius machine.

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I cant remember, it's the Stewmac Fret slotting saw or pre slotted fingerboards. I only have trouble with Ebony boards slots because the wood doesn't like to compress like maple and rosewood so I have to mash the barbs when fretting ebony boards

So the extra size doesn't cause any kind of extreme warping in the neck? Because the StewMac saw cuts a .023" kerf, and the tang on the Dunlop wire looks like it's at least a hundredth bigger on most wires. Thanks

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I just got a load from Warmoth. I wouldn't have used them, but they had a special fretwire I wanted to try. It's the wire Tom Anderson used before switching to stainless. It's slightly triangular in shape, but not too much. I am in love with it. The feel is right between a Dunlop 6000 and a 6105. The fret peaks feel like 6105 but the triangular shape makes if feel less harsh, and the extra mass makes for a more solid sound, vs. the snappier sound of the thin 6105. I mean, I have no favorite wire, I love all different sizes for different guitars, but this wire is a very good size and shape if you want a big modern rock jumbo without feeling like you have speedbumps.

It comes pre-radiused (although I couldn't care less, but you were asking) and still requires the extra hand radiusing to match the fretboard. Not to match the radius of the board, but rather to match the situation. Sometimes you need the whole fret over-radiused, and sometimes just the ends.

BTW, Dunlop makes many different sizes of wire, but you have to watch out, because the tang and barbs are also very different between wire sizes. If you choose a Dunlop wire based on crown size alone, you could end up with a weakened neck, or a backbow.

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