Do steel strings really cause as much fret wear as people say?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by paf77, Feb 1, 2010.


  1. paf77

    paf77

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    A lot of people say steel roundwounds cause a lot of fret wear, but then I see a lot of people say they don't cause any more than nickel or any other strings. Just curious about this because I really want to try out some steel strings already. Either way I'm going to because they seem to have that sound I crave. Thanks for the input! :)
  2. Drunk Heffalump

    Drunk Heffalump Tone that I have. Skill? Oh, that? Well....

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Location:
    Great White North
    My tech took one look at the S/S strings on my Fender Geddy model and said unless you want to wear out your frets I'd suggest a change of string type. He was flat out right. I could already see faint wear showing up. Now that he was pointing it out to me...LOL. However that said the Fender never sounded so good and as a compromise he said that if I were to take it into a studio then by all means go S/S just for the sound alone. Just be sure to remove them soonest after I was done.

    Hope this helps
  3. paf77

    paf77

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    That definitely helps. What's interesting is the frets on my new p bass are already showing wear after just about a month and I've just been using nickel roundwounds.
  4. Mrdak

    Mrdak Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Location:
    Middle GA
    Absolutely .................
    Try some Labella flats on that P.... or TI flats.. you may be pleasantly surprised.
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  6. cliffbass1

    cliffbass1

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Honestly if they do its minimal i've been using steel strings for about 5 years, mainly Ken Smith Strings which are are awesome, I'm really Digging my DR Hi Beams at the moment. but i havent noticed any wear that would be alarming, i guess it also depends if you might have a crappy batch of fret wire on you bass, unlikely but it happens.
  7. paf77

    paf77

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    I really wish I liked flats. I've given them a shot many times and I LOVE how they feel, but I gotta have that growly, bright roundwound sound.
  8. Mrdak

    Mrdak Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Location:
    Middle GA
    In the words of W. Shatner..........
    I....do... know the feeling. :D in udder words...... I like the SS sound also, but flats just fit in the mix so well, it's something you need to experience to know what I mean. But it does depend on what music you're doing too.
  9. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Location:
    Southern Maryland
    Disclosures:
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Do steel strings really cause as much fret wear as people say?...............

    Do asphalt streets really cause as much tire wear as people say?

    How about dirt roads, or concrete?


    j/k ;) ................

    But you see what I'm saying right? I have a bass I bought new in 1995, I've used DR high beams on it most of the time i've had it and It got alot of play (practice and gigs, 50 gigs per year minimum, about 130 one year)
    Not even ready for a fret level. YMMV..... Playing strength, etc......all things wear eventually though.
  10. paf77

    paf77

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Thanks for the input everyone! It seems like fret wear from steel strings isn't really as big of a deal as some people say it is. Also, I heard once that steel strings will lose some of their edge way quick, but even when they are worn in, they are still much brighter than nickel strings. Do you guys find this to be true?
  11. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Depends on the brand of strings too, IIRC.
  12. cliffbass1

    cliffbass1

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    My DR's were way but after they "settled in" (a few days) but it could have been because i was use to the sound of Ken Smith Strings, I Love my DR's they sound amazing, but my Ken Smiths Always sounded as if they were pretty new. Steel strings there are Birghter that nickel but they keep there "out of the package" sound longer than nickel by far :) If you look for brands, DR and Ken smith are my top 2, Ernie Ball would be 3rd and i had d'addario strings once and they felt rough, like sand paper.
  13. Solarmist

    Solarmist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Location:
    15 miles from Mt. Rainier
  14. michael_atw

    michael_atw Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Location:
    Jamestown, NY
    I'd say it's more the level of action or the player than it is the string. Someone who bends or pops is gonna wear their strings out more than someone who doesn't...and someone with low action will wear them out much faster than someone with high action.
  15. stoolpigeon

    stoolpigeon

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Location:
    Greenville SC
    Nope...they don't...at least not anymore than other strings....eventually you will need frets leveled and dressed...but it takes years to wear that much.
  16. Meatrus

    Meatrus

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    Location:
    England
    Do they wear your frets more than Nickel...most probably by a slight margin, does this need to concern you....no! Unless you have a vintage bass, I would never be bothered.

    Fret wear happens slowly, likely over 10 years+, and who knows where they will be in 10 years time? A lot of people dont keep basses that long, some uninentionally die in that time too :p.
  17. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    Upstate, South Carolina
    True. I know I was. I was surprised I wasted $50 on strings with zero tone. I couldn't get rid of those flats fast enough!
  18. Blues Bass Man

    Blues Bass Man

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    I think La Bella Flats have a great tone,if that is the tone your after. I have found using SS roundwounds do cause more fret wear,some brands more than others. I would recomend DR Highbeams,they seem to be the least abrasive on the frets out of all the SS strings I have used.
  19. darkstorm

    darkstorm

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2009
    You have to have rather soft frets or really aggressive style of fretting that rubs strings around on frets for it to make a real diff imo. This would also result in more fretboard wear then average too.

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