| I think stainless steel frets are nothing more than a sales gimmick for
the uninformed players.
Personally I would never recommend stainless steel frets.
customer wants them, of course we will do them)
Ok, Ok, Ed, Tell Me, How Do You Really Feel About
Stainless Steel Frets?
I used to say "Nothing sounds as good as pure old fashioned Nickel Silver Frets!!!" Stainless
frets make your guitar sound less than natural. The stainless is extremely hard
and makes the guitar sound brassy, too bright & in many cases will result in
serious listening fatigue.
Today we now have Gold Tone Adamantium Frets which hold up like the stainless
steel frets and sound as good as the Nickel Silver. Unfortunately the cost of
Gold and Titanium makes these frets costlier than the old tried & true Nickel
Silver. But they are actually less expensive than stainless steel. I have
been recommending them since mid 2008.
Parker guitars use stainless frets and is the only company I know that actually
glues their frets onto the fingerboard. They don't use a "fret tang." Many
people object to that Parker sound as being way too bright. In fact, Parker
actually upgraded their pickups to compensate for the stainless steel frets.
They used to use Dimarzio's and now they finally offer a model with Seymour
Duncan pickups. The Duncan's help about 85%, but I would sure like to see Parker
go to an old fashioned softer nickel silver fret.
Stainless frets on a Strat or PRS styled guitar sound like one of those old
Parker guitars before they changed from Dimarzio to Duncan: screechy & bright. I even talked to numerous country pickers who traditionally use a very bright
tone. The guitarists I talked to all agreed that the stainless was way too hard
and so was the resulting sound.
Nothing will ruin your tools as quickly as a stainless steel frets. Even
though they may last longer they cost triple to replace when they do wear out,
so I see no monetary savings.
In closing I must say that if you insist on stainless steel frets I will be
glad to install them on your guitar. I will require payment in full for the job
at the time we start. I will not allow any cancellations unless of course you
are willing to pay in full for the work.
I will get some additional testimonials from other builders and guitarists
and post them on this page.
Ed Roman - 11/21/03
Stainless Steel Vs Nickel Silver Frets
A certain main stream neck manufacturer, has recently been actively pushing
stainless steel frets as the be all, end all for guitar necks. Stainless frets
have been around for quite some time now, and there is a reason why this longer
lasting fret material is not used more often.
Tone quality is one reason why
stainless steel frets have not become more widely used. Another reason is the
cost. A stainless steel fret job can cost as much as three times as much as the
same work on nickel silver frets. Stainless steel frets wear longer, yes, but at
The Parker Fly guitars have stainless frets, They feel good because of the
way they are attached to the neck. I think the Parker is ahead of it's
time (that's a good thing).
Most guitarists will agree, they are too bright and too tinny, for anything
other than sounding like one of those overly bright Taylor acoustic guitars.
A Taylor is a bolt on neck guitar, Not a good thing on an Acoustic, It will
never mellow with age and it will always sound too bright. My own experience is
they play easy but they sound horrid and they are impossible to record with if
you are looking for a sweet acoustic tone.
Parker has compensated somewhat by switching to Duncan pickups and hard
mounting them. I wish they would go back to offering a hardtail. Those
were the best ones.