What type of fret wire do you prefer?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Ostinato, Feb 13, 2005.

  1. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    I did a search in all the forums, and all that came up was ONE POST; and it was a guy looking for fret wire to buy.

    So maybe I'm the first one to ask this, but for me, fret wire size is a huge deciding factor when deciding on a new bass. I prefer larger fret wire a la mid-seventies J-basses, as it transfers more energy back to the string, or gives me more "zing", as opposed to shorter vintage fretwire that seems less so. I also find it harder to slide from note to note on smaller frets.

    How about you? What type fret wire do you gravitate towards?
  2. I tend to like smaller frets because I`m not a big fan of fret noise and I don`t slap much. I also think that frets are a big part of the sound of a bass and that builders should list different sizes of fretwire on their options... just a thought :smug:
  3. I like smaller frets. Because I like the feel of the fretboard right under my fingers.
  4. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I prefer smaller frets. I don't like fretbuzz. However, if the strings you are using are soft enough, you can still get intimate with your fretboard.
  5. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    Me too.
  6. Tumbao


    Nov 10, 2001
    My preference is for the vintage-smaller frets.
  7. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    I like them thin and tall. Guitar frets actually. Better intonation and longer lifespan.
  8. This is an interesting comment. IMO...fret size has nothing to do with fretbuzz at all....fretbuzz has everything to do with the geometry of the neck and the trueness of the frets, not the size.

    Since, I tend to play more "on top" of my frets and less "behind" them I find that any size fret will work for me. Sure the feel is different but the playing is not hampered much by fret size. But, If one's playing style is agressive...a la slap and tap...then I can see the advantages in big frets...However, like others said, if you want to be "up close and personal" with your instrument, perhaps smaller frets are better.

    If you do need an all around situation, however, go with larger frets.
  9. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Okay, true!

    But also large, in-your-face frets are going to buzz pretty loud and proud. That's just in my experience.
  10. pistoleroace


    Sep 13, 2002
    I'm not sure what size they are but whatever John Suhr uses on his bass. On my sheet I received with the bass it says medium for frets. Also, he uses stainless steel and are the smoothest ever.
  11. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    It's interesting how some guys equate large frets with slap and tap style technique, as I'm also a predominant fingerstyle player.

    I just happen to prefer that bit of "finger tone" to add some dimension to a J-bass with both pickups wide open and the tone rolled off a little. :bassist: :bassist: :bassist:
  12. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    That makes no sense. Frets don't buzz: Strings buzz when they're too close to a fret while still vibrating. For example, an "A" string vibrates only "so much" when you pluck a "C". It'll vibrate more if you pluck hard than if you pluck lightly, right? The more a string vibrates, the more likely it is to buzz. But, if the frets are all level and the action is set-up according to the player's technique, it doesn't matter if the board has big frets or small.
  13. Dave Luhta

    Dave Luhta

    Jan 22, 2005
    Probably a stupid idea but why can't frets be made of a soft material which wouldn't buzz and might feel better? They'd have to have a way to change them as they wear and that might require a new type of neck being designed, but it might be interesting to have soft frets....
  14. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    You mean like gummy-bear frets or something? Halfway through the set my bass would be transformed because I'd be inclined to eat them.
  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Some luthiers will install Delrin© frets for you. Supposed to have a softer attack than metal. I have no idea how long they wear.

    A guy who used to come here a lot, Angus, had a Yamaha that was refretted with Delrin frets. But he hasn't posted in a long time.
  16. jja412

    jja412 Fine gear enthusiast

    Feb 2, 2004
    St. Louis
    I like 6130 fretwire - wide and low.
  17. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Larger, tall frets seem to make a louder and more pronounced buzz, than short, small ones.
    This is in my experience, however limited, obviously :scowl:
  18. PunkerTrav


    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA
    I had an opportunity to play a Lakland and the frets on that bass were amazing to my hands. They were very small if I remember correctly. The frets, and neck as a whole, felt remarkable.
  19. Techmonkey


    Sep 4, 2004
    Wales, UK
    Would it be true to say that stainless steel frets are very similar sounding and feeling to brass frets, although much slower to wear down?

    I'm thinking of buying some medium small or small frets for my 5 string project, and even though it's going to be mainly a growly finger/plectrum bass (Wenge/wenge neck, walnut body) with ultra tight string spacing, I'll probably end up slapping now and then on it for the odd bass solo...
  20. I like no fret wire
    go fretless :D