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Stainless Steel Vs. Copper Frets


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i know SS frets are supposed to have "longer life" but is that the only advantage?

and what kind of life are we talking about in comparisson?

cuz i was thinking about putting gold frets on my new guitar, but they are regular copper....

so what i'm really askin is if i get regular frets, will they wear down and give me fret buzz soon? cuz in all honestly every guitar ive ever had has had some fret buzz and i just want to avoid that completely, so i just want the low-down on the two fret materials

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The basic idea is that SS frets are harder and hence don't wear down as quickly as ur normal nickel fretwire. But, they do have their haters. Some people reckon that they sound too 'tinny' and harsh, whilst others love their sound. And they blunt tools quickly due to the extra hardness.

Go try something like a tom anderson or a parker and see what you think.

As for fretbuzz, if you install them properly and dress them nicely so they are all the same height, and then set the guitar up nicely you shouldn't have any problems with either material for a good few years.

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The company that makes it, calls the alloy "nickel free". And even though I have only installed it on one guitar so far, I'm pretty sure it's a little harder than standard "nickel-silver" wire. It's even more expensive than the best stainless steel fret-wire you can buy. If you are buying it, it is mainly for the gold look.

I think they made up for the absense of nickel, by "work-hardening" it more when they make it. Perhaps using more material and making the wire more dense as it goes through the "dies" or however they extrude the wire.

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I think they made up for the absense of nickel, by "work-hardening" it more when they make it. Perhaps using more material and making the wire more dense as it goes through the "dies" or however they extrude the wire.

I read somewhere about burnishing fretwire after it's installed to give it a work hardened outer layer. It was supposed to give it a much longer life. I'm not sure if that is more fantasy than science but it makes some sense.

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It is definitely harder than standard fretwire. I could tell when I was cutting it with the fret cutters and fret tang nippers, as it was quite a bit harder to work with. I would guess that they would last longer than standard fretwire also. It's not as hard as stainless, but somewhere inbetween the two. Soapbar(Robert) knows all about them since he was kind enough to hook me up with some of it for my last guitar. I really like them a lot, and I will let you guys know in the future if they turn green.. lol

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I've got an old suzuki classical with copper frets, they have huge rounded gouges in them from just plain nylon strings, from seeing that, I wouldn't touch the stuff for anything but proper restoration.

That guitar was used by a pro jazz guitarist, but even then it was only played a year at the most and has been in storage ever since(under an apartment building with water dripping on it :D )

edit: For that burnishing thing, you can use an intaglio burnisher(get em from art supply stores or online) apparently if you do it everytime you change strings your frets will last ages. Only tried it once so no idea if its true, and I wasn't good at it either.

Edited by Mr Alex
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