Refretting Frets

  • Theoreticaly strings last longer with SS frets because of a lot less friction than softer frets!

    This is exactly what I thought whilst playing SS for the first time, Morty. The strings <-> fret contact interface is so slippery it's hard to imagine much wear on either end (frets or strings).

  • This is exactly what I thought whilst playing SS for the first time, Morty. The strings <-> fret contact interface is so slippery it's hard to imagine much wear on either end (frets or strings).

    I must have rushed my research as I quickly based it on this blog of an anti SS Luthier. I have to say that I trust the experience of the folks who chimed in here over what I read over there:…tainless-steel-frets-hmm/

  • Hi to all,
    The frets on my guitar are starting to look sorry for themselves and l can see a refret on the horizon. So l thought I'd take the chance to ask all you good folks your opinions on stainless steel, or any other options out there. All and any input is greatly appreciated.

    I haven't met anyone that doesn't love stainless steel frets on electric guitars.
    I refret all my electric guitars myself to ss frets (jumbo size) and it is totally worth the extra effort and cost.
    No longer a need for refretting after a few years, I see no wear at all after several years of daily playing with ss.
    Stainless steel is a big subject in itself meaning different things with hundreds of different properties and all ss frets are not alike or equally hard.

    To me they do make a very slight "zing" when playing the electric guitars unplugged, but it's not noticeable at all when plugged in or recording. SS are hard to very hard so in order to save the life of my cutters I use a hacksaw to cut the ss as close as possible before installing, then take the last bit with files.
    Playing with unmarked and clean frets is a joy so I highly recommend refretting to ss.

  • Once you go stainless steel, you'll never go back. The sound difference is negligible IMHO. I have refretted all of my guitars with them, except the really vintage instruments which I keep stock for value.
    They look great, wear great and are super smooth! Personally, I don't see any disadvantage (other than them being harder on your luthier tools)

    Even the most accomplished builders like John Suhr love SS frets. I had a long talk with him once about them... the lad loves them!

  • I have my Les Paul fitted with stainless steel frets and both my EVH Wolfgang Special and USA come with stainless steel frets.

    I agree with what a few have said on here, the feel of stainless steel is a lot smoother for bends than nickel, obviously when finished to the correct standard. Some say they are a touch brighter maybe, I don't really notice much tonal change and nothing negative.

    They will last around 2-5 times longer than nickel.

    Negatives if you can call this a negative are you need the best tools if you are to do this yourself, stainless steel will just blunt and wreck cheaper files and cutters.

    A definite negative is your wound strings wear a lot faster due to how hard the stainless steel is. But as mentioned before the positive side of this is how much longer your frets will last.

    Personally unless its a vintage instrument you would want to keep period correct/stock I would always go for stainless steel now.

  • Thanks again for everybody's thoughts and opinions. You've all sold me, one way or another, on stainless steel for my next refret :)
    One follow up. Which make of stainless steel fretwire to go for? It'll be for an Ibanez S5470, if that makes a difference. And I do like the fret size it came with, whatever that was.
    Thanks again for all your help.

  • Someone said "can of worms " topic, and he is right .
    I am saying unless you try SS frets you cannot know.

    My journey with Jescar SS frets start with my two Tom Anderson guitars 5- 6 years ago .
    After that, I replaced Ni frets on all of my non-Anderson guitars.
    Simple as is. ,
    Example: 3rd, 4th and 5th frets on my Steve Vai Jem vwh were almost "destroyed" after only one year of excessive use .
    Do you think anyone have a time to replace frets every year and thus actually torture the guitar neck and guitar its self.

    After 5-6 years of use , there is no even smallest sign of wear&tear on my 5 SS frets guitar.
    They looks like a installed yesterday 8o

    SS frets sound ? I like it .
    Feeling ? Ni frets feel like playing over send paper now .....Bends and vibratos cannot be even compared . That SS glass , smooth ice feeling ....
    One of the side effect of easy bending ,is that I moved from 9-46 to 10-46 string on long scale guitars, and from 10-46 to 11-48 on Gibson type guitars ... Easier to bend and to vibrate . Simple as is.

    Good luck !

    1988 Branko Radulovic Hand Made Strat in Macedonia (SFRJ)

    2006 Steve Vai vwh moded with SS frets and Sustainac 2006 (Japan)

    2008 Fender YJM , moded (USA)

    2010 Tom Andersons Drop Top 2010 (made in California)

    2017 Charvel GG sig Caramelised Ash (USA)

    2022 Gibson ES 335 2011 Custom Shop Cherry of course ( Memphis)