Hardest nickel frets?

joesatch

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What are the hardest fret wire without going with stainless or gold EVO? I know PRS uses some secret fretwire that Paul says is the hardest nickel fretwire. I love the EVO frets but re-fretting my LP with gold frets aint happening.
 

NotScott

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I am not sure what PRS was using 10 years ago but the frets on my Santana needed a dressing long before any of my Jescar equipped Les Pauls.
 

Skyjerk

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If you are doing a refret anyway, and want harder frets, why not stainless?

Seems like a no-brainer to me. It’s not going to change the tone or the appearance, but they will wear a lot longer and if polished properly will feel awesome
 

Ripthorn

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All non proprietary nickel silver fretwire that I have seen is 18% nickel silver making them all very similar alloys. Not likely to find a lot of variation unless you get super crappy Chinese wire that is as soft as butter.
 

valvetoneman

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jescar is the hardest i think then evo gold then stainless, although I've used hosco wire and that is very close to jescar imo
 

NorlinBlackBeauty

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Stainless if you are refretting. That are ever so slightly brighter in sound. I have them in my new StratoMutt and would go no other way ...

 

Skyjerk

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That are ever so slightly brighter in sound.

No disrespect intended, but I disagree. I think this is a myth.

Many people say they sound brighter, and I disagree with them all :)

I’ve refreted many guitars from nickel to stainless and they sound exactly the same.

I don’t even use nickel-silver at all anymore. All builds get stainless, all refrets get stainless.
 

NorlinBlackBeauty

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No disrespect intended, but I disagree. I think this is a myth.

Many people say they sound brighter, and I disagree with them all :)

I’ve refreted many guitars from nickel to stainless and they sound exactly the same.

I don’t even use nickel-silver at all anymore. All builds get stainless, all refrets get stainless.

I think I hear an ever so slight difference in the video when played clean. With some overdrive I hear no difference. Give it an objective listen.

The feel of polished stainless frets is uncanny. Slick, little or no friction.
 

Skyjerk

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I think I hear an ever so slight difference in the video when played clean. With some overdrive I hear no difference. Give it an objective listen.

The feel of polished stainless frets is uncanny. Slick, little or no friction.

Ok I gave it a fair listen and I do hear a diff on the clean as well, but here’s my take. It sounds identical on the attack, but I hear it on the decay.

There is slightly more sustain to my ears and the way it’s decaying you’re catching more of the high end because the lows are decaying faster. So, there’s not more highs, your just catching more of it because the highs are sustaining a hair longer.

I think in a band or live setting you won’t hear that at all.

That’s my take. I could be wrong :)

Either way, I’ll continue to use em just the same
 

anthagio

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I use Jescar stainless steel frets and they are awesome. Hair brighter? Could be. After all, it is harder material. Physically, it should sound little different. But as Skyjerk said, you won't hear it.
 

valvetoneman

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i won't use stainless because i don't want to, I'm happy with using jescar wire, if it ain't broke why fix it, don't tell me it's better etc as this is my choice, it's all opinions after all

So what if i have to refret in so many years time, I'll live with it
 

Skyjerk

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i won't use stainless because i don't want to, I'm happy with using jescar wire, if it ain't broke why fix it, don't tell me it's better etc as this is my choice, it's all opinions after all

So what if i have to refret in so many years time, I'll live with it

It’s your axe buddy. I have no stake in the wire you use :)

Curious though. You dont actually state a reason. Mind if I ask why?
 

joesatch

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i dont like stainless. Nickel frets have a dampening effect when played on which i prefer, they absorb the impact when you do hammer-ons and pulloffs. kinda hard to explain. I don't like the super hardness of stainless. So i guess Jescar Nickel frets are the hardest nickel frets.
 

valvetoneman

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It’s your axe buddy. I have no stake in the wire you use :)

Curious though. You dont actually state a reason. Mind if I ask why?

I think there's a tonal difference and i agree with the post above, i want warmth in the tone which i don't think stainless would provide, obviously this all depends on your own goals as a builder, i like vintage guitar tones not modern ones which sound different to me

I'm only talking unplugged tone btw
 

Tone_Chaser

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Stew-Mac has some new frets that are supposed to be tempered so they are harder. In-between regular nickel and SS in how hard they are. You might check into those.
 

joesatch

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StewMac Cryowire interesting. It has mixed reviews i wonder if they are really much harder than Nickel.
 

mountainwhimsy

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Just to throw something into the mix. I personally think there is a huge difference between SS and nickel on an acoustic guitar. I've used it on a few acoustics and really do not like it there. A noticeable ping or zing for me that I really could not get over. Especially when playing quietly. I've gone to Evo on my acoustics; nickle or SS if a client wants it, but not for one I'm building for myself or for sale. On an electric, SS or Evo are fine for me.

And on the recording above, I could tell the SS immediately.
 

Roxy13

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Just to throw something into the mix. I personally think there is a huge difference between SS and nickel on an acoustic guitar. I've used it on a few acoustics and really do not like it there. A noticeable ping or zing for me that I really could not get over. Especially when playing quietly. I've gone to Evo on my acoustics; nickle or SS if a client wants it, but not for one I'm building for myself or for sale. On an electric, SS or Evo are fine for me.

And on the recording above, I could tell the SS immediately.

Since you have experience with the EVO could you tell me more about it? How is it to work with? Any noticeable tone changes on an electric guitar?

I have a 3 pickup SG custom replica with gold hardware that may need a refret. Normally I do SS frets for my own guitars when I refret one. But, I thought the EVO wire might look pretty cool on it, and if it's a bit easier to work with that could be a plus as well.
 

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