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Fret Wire Size


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I've only been playing guitars for about 2 years. I don't have a feel for different widths of fretwire. I've been playing an epiphone Les Paul almost exclusivly.

I'm building the neck for something similar to a 335. Semi-Hollobody.

I can buy narrow or wide frets, would someone please share with me the differences in how they play? Is one width better for string bending or sustain then the other? I will primarily be attempting to play blues. Lots of string bending.

I'm guessing that this is personal preference territory. What is your preference?

Thanks,

-John

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Wow! Another Rochesterian. How's it going, man?

The width of the frets has a lot to do with servicing-- a wider fret can go longer between re-crowns.

The other thing is that in really wide sizes, you can usually find slightly taller fretwire. Higher frets will make it easier to bend and play with vibrato... if you're into the blues, this is probably a good thing for you.

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Actually from Webster!

IWishICouldShred: send me an email and we'll chat. John_abbett@hotmail.com

Hmm, I think you might have mistaken the question. I'm asking about width, not height. The taller it is, the more fret dressing and service you can do - right?

The fret wire at Stu-Mac comes in narrow, medium and wide. it says that narrow is for dulcimers and mandolns - I probablly killed the spelling on that, sorry. And that medium and wide are for guitars. it's says that medium wide - tall is the most popular. I've nerver been one to jump in with the crowd without knowing why. If it's the most popular because it's best that's great, if it's most popular because no one knows that something else is better then not so great.

-John

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The first few guitars I built were basses, and I put those 'jumbo' wide fat frets on them. When I made a guitar, I used the same size because I still have the fretwire. But, since then, a friend of mine who is a guitar tech for some big hair band and knows a heck of a lot more than me, suggested that I try smaller fret wire for two reasons. See, I'm a piano technician so my ears are very sensitive to pitch. One of the first things I noticed as a bass player starting to learn guitar was, the strings are very loose and the littlest amount of finger pressure on the left hand drives the pitch up. Of course, I switched to heavier strings too, but I'm thinking of refretting my axe with smaller frets. Another thing my tech friend mentioned was that smaller frets are easier to crown exactly in the center, leading to better intonation. So, a lower fret may counter unwanted pitch bending under finger pressure, and a narrower fret may improve intonation.

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The bass player in me totally agrees that the smallest fret-wires are more ideal for a bass.

The Guitar player in me wants 'em taller so I can bend, and 'cause guitar strings are so much smaller than bass strings.

Put me in a situation where I'm nervous while playing (like in front of people or sometimes recording) and I'll like my guitar frets even higher to retain "grip" on 'em.

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