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fzrkev

Fret wear, how long do they last?

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The only reason I ask is my futura seems to be marking up on the low strings on the 2nd 3rd and 4th frets. I mainly play rhythm for stuff like ac/dc, airbourne etc so its all down there. The frets seem to have little lines in them that match the windings on the strings. Is this normal, or do I have soft frets??

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Cheap imports have soft frets, if the action is set low and you play hard expect to see wear in a very short time.

 

It's one corner tht is cut that ends up being very costly to repair in the long run.

 

I'd rather see top of the line fret wire on em than better pickups personally as most folks swap pups for their flavor of the month anyhow.

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Damn! It's a samick built model too. Thought they had a good rep for build quality?

 

Oh well, suppose Mr Guitar tech'll be making sone sheqels out of me then.

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are they well crowned?

sometimes if they are not crowned very well you can see more wear marks.

Are they wearing down... or just not shiny any longer?

If they aren't making noise, worn to low spots, at least try a crown and polish first.

 

TWANG

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New guitar=noticeable fret marking early on. As the fret crown breaks in you will see less wear. There will always be noticeable wear in the areas that you play the most. Sometimes it's just a shine that occurs with metal to metal contact. Next time you change strings polish the frets with 0000 steel wool. Be careful if you have a maple fretboard, you will scratch the lacquer if you rub over into the fingerboard. If the frets are worn, you will still see the marks. If not, it was just the shine from use.

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Cheap imports have soft frets' date=' if the action is set low and you play hard expect to see wear in a very short time.

 

It's one corner tht is cut that ends up being very costly to repair in the long run.

 

I'd rather see top of the line fret wire on em than better pickups personally as most folks swap pups for their flavor of the month anyhow.[/quote']

 

I like low action and tend to play hard alot (mostly due to inexperience). Will raising the action really decrease the fret wear if I still play hard? I would think that one would play even harder if you have to push the string down further due to higher action. This is a serious question as I am trying to improve my techniques and preserve my frets for as long as possible.

 

And now that you mention it, i agree with having better fret wire on cheap models rather than better pickups. I've been saying that the G310 would be a better value with better pickups, but a higher grade fret wire would do much more for the overall quality of the guitar in the long run.

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I find it difficult to think the fretwire is cheap somehow.

I seriously doubt that chinese made epis have any worse fretwire than my korean which is 17 years on and doing fine.

I haven't noticed anything at all unusual about my chinese lps frets.

 

teapot tempest perhaps. *s*

 

your left hand shouldn't be abused. You can strum as hard as you like, but generally, the sooner you develop a full range of touch with the

pick hand the better you'll be.

Faster, stronger, more accurate.

with the fretting hand using as little pressure as possible is a habit you want to work on right from the start.

Your hand will live longer.

 

Rather than make the entire guitar out of titanium, just go old school and work on proper technique.

 

If the action is set low and you play hard, you'll get noise.

If you're pushing down harder on the strings than you need to, you're just adding tension to your hand for no reason.

Lighten up.

Whether playing badly hurts your guitar is a moot point.. it hurts your playing and you first.

 

I doubt the g310 has any cheaper wire than my lp studio.

I tend to think people are getting too used to calling epis cheap around here.

 

TWANG

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Well, i can only speak from the limited experience I have, but my mid-90's 310 has considerably more fretwear than both my mid-80's S-500 and my '99 Kramer - both of which (I'm assuming) have had more playtime and taken ALOT more abuse than the 310 judging by the condition they were in when i got them.

Aside from the fret wear and the serial number, the 310 looked like it was brand new out of the box. Not a scratch.

The frets on the Kramer look virtually untouched. And judging from the neck edges and the bonehead I bought it from, I would say that it has never been crowned or refretted.

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I try not to worry about fret wear and just play up and down the whole neck a lot to maybe just maybe try to keep it somewhat even..... maybe

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I try not to worry about fret wear and just play up and down the whole neck a lot to maybe just maybe try to keep it somewhat even..... maybe

 

+1

 

You can't be afraid to play the thing! Even expensive instruments require re-fretting at some point, depending on how hard you play them.

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I try not to worry about fret wear and just play up and down the whole neck a lot to maybe just maybe try to keep it somewhat even..... maybe

 

Obvious logic: It eludes me.[-X

 

Seriously though, I'm at a point where I favor areas of the neck. I do play the whole thing, but I gravitate towards the center - Amin pent usually

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I realize that this topic is a little played out, but since we all would rather rely on opinionated conjecture instead of fact or even a general consensus from other sources of information across the web, I did a little research into the subject. None of this is neccessarily the gospel truth, but I would rather compile my opinion from a wide range of players across the web, than limit it to a few people soley on this forum.

 

This is what I learned:

Many, if not all, asian import guitar manufacurers switched to softer nickel/silver fret wire quite some time ago, but not neccessarliy to "stick it to the consumer" or cut their costs on the bulk of their fret wire.

We all know the disadvantage of softer wire, but here are some of the advantages from a company standpoint.

1. Softer wire is easier to install, trim, crown & polish at the factory.

2. Softer wire has less of a tendency to pop up at the edges after time.

3. It's easier to maitain for the home luthier and the professional and causes less wear on tools.

4. I'm not sure about this one, but i read that softer wire allows the strings to make better contact with the frets and reduces certain types of buzzing that harder frets may cause. Like I said, Not too sure about that one, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

 

So my conclusion is yes, Epiphone uses softer fret wire (on many models, at least) than higher grade pro instuments. Again, this isnt Epi screwing the consumer, per se, but using the same factory standards as other Asian import Mfgs in this regard.

 

And any of you that want to convince yourselves and others that people arent noticing this soft wire like it doesnt exist, need to go back a few months and re-read some threads. There are several.

 

Here is one:

http://forums.epiphone.com/Default.aspx?g=posts&t=3414

 

I'm not saying that Epiphone is right or wrong for it, I'm just saying that its not a fallacy made up by people that want you to hate your Epiphones.

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well, apparently it is and it isn't a fallacy.

that is, if the reasons for choosing the different wire are believable.. then it's an arguable point.

 

I read the other post and all I can say is the frets on my sheraton are still fine.. sure the action is a tick higher than

it was new, but man. that baby is old, and played a lot.

 

of course, it's a korean model. But I bring that up because some of the posters seemed to have guitars as old as mine in that thread.

 

I'll keep an eye on the lp studio.. if anything the .011 ought to give me faster wear.

TWANG

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Lets say for a minute that it is indeed the truth. Who knows when the cutoff point was for harder wire, or which models recieved it first...probably lower end stuff like the G310 or Specials, i would assume.

 

The real fact is that we will never truly know unless someone with some vast knowledge or inside info spills the beans with proof to back it up. But alot of people playing different brand asian imports are complaining about the same thing.

 

I'm not going to tell people this as hard fact, but I am putting myself in the softer fret wire camp because of info i've read and that it just makes logical sense from alot of different standpoints. My theory (and it makes sense to reason) is that Gibson would use a harder fret wire on a pro instrument because they endorse serious and famous professionals. No pro is willing to spend $2000+ on a guitar that has to be refretted every year. And at the rate that a pro, or even a studio musician would play, I would say that "every year" is an accurate assumption in that case. Two years tops. But thats just my theory and line of thinking. I could be dead wrong.

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The frets seem to have little lines in them that match the windings on the strings. Is this normal' date=' or do I have soft frets?? [/quote']

"Soft frets" seems to have some players quite concerned these days. (It's a favorite whipping post of MarxBros.)

 

Not because their guitar's playability has become hampered in some way (string buzzing, intonation, etc.).

But because they heard about "soft frets" somewhere and pulled out their guitar and looked at it real close, and yes sir-ee sure enough there are marks showing on some of the frets.

 

Know what the marks mean? They mean you are using your instrument as it was intended and if you keep right on using it that way, you will likely have 5-10+ years of good service before any playability issue needs addressed. This seems especially true on Asian made instruments where, for reasons only the manufacturers know for sure, they are machining a more higher rounded/beveled top on the fret.

 

That higher profile results in less metal on the very top of the fret which in turn wears down a bit faster -- at first. But as the fret wears down the profile becomes flatter, more Gibson like, and the wear rate slows way down. Many players who keep right on playing report 10+ years on and still going strong with the so-called soft frets.

 

Personally, I think it's much-a-do about nothing.

 

Hit every BLUE NOTE baaaby..., I'm going to play on:-"

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Few of us have had to re-fret an instrument. If you play it every day and have a hard style with your left hand, do a lot of bending and vibrato, you will wear the frets faster.

 

Frets are kind of like tires... one day they will wear out. If have yet to wear out a set of frets that couldn't be fixed with a fret dressing and many of my guitars needed a fret dressing right out of the factory to play their best. It's not something I worry about.

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I think that initial fret wear can be alarming to a new player, but for for the majority of people with a reasonable amount of experience, this wont be an issue. I'm not concerned whatsoever with my 310 because I know that by the time the frets wear down too far, I will be ready to move up and on....eh, hopefully sooner.

 

This topic has caused a lot of heated debate (among other things) and we need to all just accept the fact that whatever fret wire Epiphone uses, it is within factory standards for asian import guitars and we are stuck with it for now. We can raise a stink and Epi can raise thier prices. Its a vicious circle. And as long as inflation rises in the western world, quality will continue to suffer. Such is the way of industrialized man.

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After this thread started, I pulled my Gibson Les Paul out and examined the frets closely. As someone said, they are rather flat on top with distinct breakover to the sides. These are silver or steel colored frets on an ebony fingerboard and yes, they do have a more radical feel as you slide a note up the neck. It's a different feel because of the way the frets are crowned. It's not wear because the 21st and 22nd, which I never touch, look exactly the same as the ones I abuse all the time (grin).

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My son's 1 year old Epi Les Paul quilt top ($550) has significant divots on the lower frets (G and B strings) and will need at least 3 new frets soon. After 1 year! Sure, he's a beginner and doesn't have good technique yet but this is just unacceptable quality. My Yamaha acoustic's frets are in better condition after 30 years that the Epiphone's are after 1 year.

 

And I'm sorry, but I don't buy any of the explanations in defense of soft fret wire.

 

Keith

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"Soft frets" seems to have some players quite concerned these days. (It's a favorite whipping post of MarxBros.)

 

Not because their guitar's playability has become hampered in some way (string buzzing' date=' intonation, etc.).

But because they heard about "soft frets" somewhere and pulled out their guitar and looked at it real close, and yes sir-ee sure enough there are marks showing on some of the frets.

 

Know what the marks mean? They mean you are using your instrument as it was intended and if you keep right on using it that way, you will likely have 5-10+ years of good service before any playability issue needs addressed. This seems especially true on Asian made instruments where, for reasons only the manufacturers know for sure, they are machining a more higher rounded/beveled top on the fret.

 

That higher profile results in less metal on the very top of the fret which in turn wears down a bit faster -- at first. But as the fret wears down the profile becomes flatter, more Gibson like, and the wear rate slows way down. Many players who keep right on playing report 10+ years on and still going strong with the so-called soft frets.

 

Personally, I think it's much-a-do about nothing.

 

Hit every BLUE NOTE baaaby..., I'm going to play on:-"

 

 

You can stay in denial all you want. Cheap imports DO have soft fretwire. It's softer than what you will find on all USA Fenders and Gibsons. Do fret jobs like I have for over 20 years and you'll quickly discover that fact.

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"Soft frets" seems to have some players quite concerned these days. (It's a favorite whipping post of MarxBros.)

 

Not because their guitar's playability has become hampered in some way (string buzzing' date=' intonation, etc.).

But because they heard about "soft frets" somewhere and pulled out their guitar and looked at it real close, and yes sir-ee sure enough there are marks showing on some of the frets.

 

Know what the marks mean? They mean you are using your instrument as it was intended and if you keep right on using it that way, you will likely have 5-10+ years of good service before any playability issue needs addressed. This seems especially true on Asian made instruments where, for reasons only the manufacturers know for sure, they are machining a more higher rounded/beveled top on the fret.

 

That higher profile results in less metal on the very top of the fret which in turn wears down a bit faster -- at first. But as the fret wears down the profile becomes flatter, more Gibson like, and the wear rate slows way down. Many players who keep right on playing report 10+ years on and still going strong with the so-called soft frets.

 

Personally, I think it's much-a-do about nothing.

 

Hit every BLUE NOTE baaaby..., I'm going to play on:-"

I played a Mosrite back in the mid-60's, and the frets seemed to be about 1/3 the height of my Gibson fretwires. Very low action. It was truly a fretless wonder. I didn't like the surf/Ventures look of the Mosrites (red sparkle....barf), but I sure did like the action. If only my frets would wear as low.

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Cheap imports DO have soft fretwire. It's softer than what you will find on all USA Fenders and Gibsons. Do fret jobs like I have for over 20 years and you'll quickly discover that fact.

There is no doubt a boom in re-fret work...' date=' not b/c it's needed, but b/c of the hoopla about soft frets and the new players who see those marks and go racing to the nearest shop. I've said before MarxBros if you have proof then put your cards on the table -- but you've yet to show any cards, just smoke.

 

Self-interest is a strong motivator and you just may be out to pad your own wallet at the expense of those who fret.

 

Much-a-do about nothing.

 

Hit every BLUE NOTE baaaby..., I'm going to play on:-"

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There is no doubt a boom in re-fret work...' date=' not b/c it's needed, but b/c of the hoopla about soft frets and the new players who see those marks and go racing to the nearest shop. I've said before MarxBros if you have proof then put your cards on the table -- but you've yet to show any cards, just smoke.

 

Self-interest is a strong motivator and you just may be out to pad your own wallet at the expense of those who fret.

 

Much-a-do about nothing.

 

Hit every BLUE NOTE baaaby..., I'm going to play on:-"

You obviously don't know the difference between "fret marks" and a worn fret. A divot is a pretty obvious thing and fairly hard to ignore when trying to play.

 

You also accuse me of selling something to a customer he does not need it. I take offense at that. In fact, you have a lot of gall saying that. You speak with no knowledge of the subject matter at hand.

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There is no doubt a boom in re-fret work...' date=' not b/c it's needed, but b/c of the hoopla about soft frets and the new players who see those marks and go racing to the nearest shop. I've said before MarxBros if you have proof then put your cards on the table -- [b']but you've yet to show any cards, just smoke.[/b]

 

Self-interest is a strong motivator and you just may be out to pad your own wallet at the expense of those who fret.

 

Much-a-do about nothing.

 

You havent exactly shown any proof to back up your side either. So far I'm the only person to offer up anything even remotely close to information leaning toward an actual fact of any sort. Why? Because I am more interested in the truth of the matter, rather than baseless conjecture and finger wagging. Ignore my previous posts if you will, but I've offered info supporting the "soft fretwire camp" already. The ball is in your court. Find some info supporting your claims and prove me wrong...even if only for the sake of a good debateo:)

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