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Different color frets

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by superbassman2000, May 11, 2006.

  1. just wondering if anyone ever tried this, but the red and blue DR strings got me thinking...has anyone here ever tried coloring their frets? like black or maybe bright blue or something?
  2. g00eY


    Sep 17, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    doesn't the coating on DR strings wear off? if this is the case i'd expect the coating on frets to wear off even faster.
  3. you've got a point...maybe there is some kind of protection you can put on top of the frets?
    i don't know...just thinking out loud :)
  4. g00eY


    Sep 17, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    maybe... it's an interesting idea. it'd definately add a bit of personality to the bass.
  5. Linas


    Jan 6, 2005
    In terms of colored frets, im not sure how you would go about making them colored, but on a fretless bass it looks pretty cool having some dyed veneer for lines.
  6. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    You could also try steel and brass alternating frets. But sound would almost suredly be affected.
  7. Triclops

    Triclops Guest

    Jan 14, 2006
    maybe epoxy the crown of the fret after it has been painted?
    o.k....I'm an idiot.
  8. RobertUI

    RobertUI Thumper Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Herndon, VA - NoVa
    OK, I know that aluminum is WAY to soft to be useful, but you COULD always anodize some aluminum and get some pretty crazy colors

  9. I work with and have tried just about every "tough" coating available. Knife blades are quite hard and will support the high tech coatings. Frets on the other hand are quite soft comparatively and will not support a coating like this. As an example, compare it to painting a baloon. The paint will be hard but whats behind it wont support it. A little bit of pressure and it will crack.

    Anodizing, epoxy, powder coating, etc. are not nearly wear resistant enough. They wouldn't last through the first jam session :(

    My answer would be colored ceramic frets if someone could produce them. They would probably have to make 24 separtate ones and build the neck around them but DAMN they would be smooth and last forever. :D
  10. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    something to consider would be a "bluing" type compound, such as that used for gun barrels, or possibly an acid based dye used in the aerospace industry for etch coloring metals. I really think it might be a color and touch up situation no matter what way you might go about it. You could also look into having a colored metal alloy produced for just such an idea.
  11. Please point me in the direction of a company offering this!! :eek:
  12. I created this initial design and really want to use black frets.

    Mind you, this is my first whack at a design, and I already don't like the short horn length, but I have not gotten around to redesigning it yet... so use your imagination and envision the short horn shorter, please.

    I really think black frets would look really great on this bass! So if anyone has info on durable, black fret materials, please speak up!

    (Click it for a larger, full instrument view...)
  13. Keith Guitars

    Keith Guitars Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2004
    Woodstock, NY
    Builder: Martin Keith Guitars, Veillette Guitars
    Hey all,

    Menzerna (in Germany) produces a gold-colored fretwire,
    which is used by Gibson (among others). The whole alloy
    is that color, so the frets can be filed, worn, etc. and retain
    their color.

    Right after the rep showed me the material, I asked if it was
    possible in black. He said "That's what everyone asks. No."

    I can't imagine any plating that would be suitable, and it would
    vanish when the frets were leveled/crowned, beveled at the
    edges, etc....

    If you used *only* flatwounds, you could try black Delrin
    frets, as per some of the Kasha-school classical builders...

  14. knife blades are usually made of steel right?

    what about steel frets?

    again, just thinking out loud...probably everything i say in this thread is thinking out loud :)
  15. Knife blades are MUCH MUCH harder than stainless frets. Knife steels are often used to make tools that cut softer steels. Frets must be soft enough to bend and be leveled/crowned as mentioned above.
  16. ok :)
    just a thought
  17. That would make my ceramic fret idea kind of tough to apply :rollno:
  18. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Some time ago I was thinking about combining the cool look of unlined ebony fbs while retaining the precision of frets.
    I then thought about painting the frets black; but paint wears of.
    I tried a bit of researching, to see if there are ways to make the metal black, but I found nothing.
    So I left it as it is. :meh:
  19. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    I'm guessing brass?
  20. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    All standard "nickel silver" fretwire is brass. It is a white brass. (As opposed to yellow brass or red brass.) (For more details, search on "nickel silver" and maybe "fretwire" and my username. We've covered this before. The alloys are listed.)

    Dunlop offers yellow brass fretwire, as well as nickel silver and stainless steel.

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