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Stainless steel frets

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Peter McFerrin, Mar 18, 2006.

  1. Do any bass builders use them? They're way more durable than traditional "nickel-brass" frets--I know that much--but what, if any, are the tonal advantages?
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I know a company that experimented with fret materials, stainless steel being one of them, and they thought that the stainless steel produced excess fret noise that was much more noisy than nickel frets.
  3. Aren't stainless steel frets an option on Warmoth necks?
  4. Yes, and Stick Enterprises has offered V-shaped (rather than rounded) stainless steel frets on Sticks for several years. I imagine that fret noise isn't as big an issue on a tapping instrument as it might be on a more conventional BG.
  5. jdlwareagle


    Nov 13, 2005
    Mobile , AL
    Parker Fly instruments use stainless frets .
  6. Blues Cat

    Blues Cat Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner Commercial User

    May 28, 2005
    Katy, Tx
    Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner
    Carvin will do it. I just sold a bass that had SS frets & after a year & a half of playing, there were no marks on the frets. I think builders are hesitant because it wears the tools out faster.
    I can see how they might contribute to a little extra fret noise. I would have prefered SS mando or banjo frets.
  7. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    It has no bearing on the topic at all - as it shouldn't - but Ed Roman has a legnthy rant about the evils of SS frets on his site. Might make interesting reading if the scantily-clad 80's era girls don't distract you :)
  8. I read the Roman rant just now. Needless to say, I took his recommendations with a small boulder of salt, given his *ahem* STERLING *cough* reputation for honesty and full disclosure. :rolleyes:
  9. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    They are an option from Warmoth. I just ordered one of their deluxe 5 necks with tele headstock, and the littlest vintage fretwire in stainless. This was at their recommendation as thye were concerned the very thin vintage fretwire might wear too fast in the nickel...
  10. Some luthier was really pushing banjo fretwire as THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIGHT for a long time. Anyone remember who it was? I want to say Rick Turner, but it might not be him...
  11. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    I recall that Lee Sklar did more testimony regarding banjo and/or mandolin fretwire than any builder had. I have a faint memory of Valley Arts as one of the proponents in the luthier world.
  12. It was Sklar, that's right. I believe that smiling and nodding was the usual response to that.

    Man, it's hard to believe that the San Fernando Valley used to be the center of the guitar and bass world. Now all it's known for is Armenians and porn... :p
  13. steve21

    steve21 Banned

    Cool, I'm Armenian AND I love porn. ;) ;)
  14. Get thee to North Hills! :smug: :smug: :smug:

    (I love all the generic place names in the Valley that have come about in the past 15 years: "North Hills," "West Hills," "Valley Glen," "Valley Village"...at least "Arleta" has some history to it.)
  15. Spector_Ray


    Aug 8, 2004

    OH...do you know Bob Kevoian???:D
  16. JOME77


    Aug 18, 2002
    I got them on the last Warmoth Gecko neck I had made. It is a cost upgrade but very durable.
  17. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy easy there, Ned Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA
    I wonder if anyone's playing around with ceramic frets? As I understand, some high tech ceramics are virtually wear free, if they don't crack and break. I hear Porche is using ceramic clutches that never need replacing.
  18. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    sounds scary. the tougher the material, doesnt it get even harder to place into the neck without the wood chipping? and ceramics crack so easily, im not sure if i want a fret that wears easier and never cracks, or one that i have to worry about disintegrating on the neck.
  19. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    I got them on Warmoth neck. Mistake! They sound clangy and add some unwanted noise. If I could do it again I would choose differently. For what it's worth.
  20. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    If Ed Roman wrote it, I don't wanna read it. :)

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