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 Post subject: SM@s advertizzing claim.
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:44 am 
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Stewmac's latest email encourages use of SS frets, saying
"Luthiers love stainless because it's easy to work with."
Comments?

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:51 am 
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Colin North wrote:
Stewmac's latest email encourages use of SS frets, saying
"Luthiers love stainless because it's easy to work with."
Comments?


Not easy but not impossible. Its definitely harder to cut/trim. Knoxville has a dealer that sells Suhr Guitars most which have Jescars FW11057-S SS fretwire. The locals have to have that wire....... :mrgreen: I've had a minor problem trimming the ends before filing, you cannot cut it close to the fingerboard with out lifting/distorting a few fret ends. The last few jobs I've measured the wire and ground to length on my Wilton 2"X72" belt sander (about .030" long) and I may never trim another fret on a guitar again. If you take care and pay close attention to your fretboard prep, it takes a minimal amount of leveling which leaves a minimal amount to crown. Also Ive found that you can polish out what the fret file leaves on the top of the fret with 320 and buff to a mirror sheen.


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These users thanked the author Clinchriver for the post (total 3): SteveSmith (Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:02 pm) • pat macaluso (Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:11 am) • Hesh (Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:10 am)
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:25 am 
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Here comes some rare criticism of our friends at Stew-Mac from me.

1). We do a lot of Stainless refrets.

2). Until recently we didn't offer partial refrets because we want at the fret board to correct ski ramps, mill in relief, less on the treble side, more on the bass side, and eliminate any minor twist that might exist.

3). We don't charge more for stainless.

4). We continue to use standard tools even though we recently vetted some of the high-end tools on the market for stainless and found them to be not to our liking anyway. We like spending money on new tools and can when ever we wish since fretting is a major revenue center for us but what's out there now is no better and often not a good for one reason of another as what we've used for over a decade now.

So what's the rub about Stew-Mac's claim of stainless being easier to work with to us? It's not true........... Stew-Mac gets three Pinocchio's for that one..... ;)

Stainless is a bit harder to work with. It takes longer to file, polish, shape and it is harder to cut and harder on tools IME. So much so that we do offer stainless, partial refrets if the thing had been refretted with stainless prior because it's WAY easier than having to mill stainless down very far for that level set that we need and provide.

We have several clients who wear out stainless in eight months.... The "death grip" guys we call them.;)

No big deal, stainless is not so much so of anything that as mentioned we even charge more but it's not easier to work with than nickel silver or even EVO IME. I also hesitate to see why Stew-Mac sees any value in promoting one type of wire over another unless they have an exclusive on it. Most folks who browse their wire section are going to purchase something, some type from them anyway.

We get our wire directly from Jescar and prefer Jescar wire. Our spends on fret wire are around $1,500 a pop and we buy it by the pound. These days around 20% of our refrets are stainless. Dave likes pushing it and I like furthering snake oil claiming to hear a difference, a tinny sound from it on finer acoustics.

Hesh here the dinosaur will start refretting my own black Strat Monday with 104 X 47 nickel silver wire from Jescar.


Last edited by Hesh on Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:59 am 
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In smaller sizes, such as Jescar's .080" x .050" wire, stainless is no worse to work than nickel-silver wire. In larger sizes, stainless is a lot more work and much tougher on tools and the luthier's wrists! I find EVO is tougher to cut because it is stiffer, but easier to level, crown, and polish than stainless.

Yes - I think Stewart MacDonald is owed a couple of Pinocchio's.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:41 am 
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Clinchriver wrote:
I've had a minor problem trimming the ends before filing, you cannot cut it close to the fingerboard with out lifting/distorting a few fret ends.


On big wire, If you have a press set up, you can slide the caul to the edge of the board and clip the end while it's still clamped down.



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:33 am 
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Hesh are you saying you do notice a difference in tone or not? I didn't understand the sarcasm :D


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:35 am 
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david farmer wrote:
Clinchriver wrote:
I've had a minor problem trimming the ends before filing, you cannot cut it close to the fingerboard with out lifting/distorting a few fret ends.


On big wire, If you have a press set up, you can slide the caul to the edge of the board and clip the end while it's still clamped down.


Great tip, thanks. Cutting and grinding slightly long before pressing is working very well, like I said I may never cut another fret on the fingerboard again.



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:37 am 
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Colin, I saw that too and thought that SM's remark about stainless being easy to work was misleading :shock: , based on what I have heard about how stainless is difficult to work with. I find EVO to be quit easy to work with. In fact, I think it's easier than nickel-silver beehive . I haven't felt the need to try stainless...

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:46 am 
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Since SM was sold I am disappointed in the quality of some of the stuff. The necks are often made from Philippine and luan Mahogany. I bought 3 had to return 2 but I still give the kudos on customer service

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:37 pm 
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jfmckenna wrote:
Hesh are you saying you do notice a difference in tone or not? I didn't understand the sarcasm :D


Sorry JF, Yes I believe that I can at times on better acoustic instruments hear a tinny tone from stainless that I don't much like. Can I prove it? Nope and I failed a blind listening test on our electric mule guitar with some of both frets but no one knows which is which but Dave.

But my claim is on acoustic instruments and better, audiophile acoustics that have a decent tonal spectrum I do hear a difference before and after. I'll add that I think I can hear a difference in EVO over NS too on better acoustic instruments AND we are finding that EVO is not far from stainless in our wear tests either.

I've done an informal survey too and I'm not alone. We refretted a Tele a while back for an A-list studio musician who's been on 40 or so albums and he tried stainless for his Tele. He was back in two days asking, begging us to rip it out and replace it with Nickel silver. This guy was not concerned initially about the change in tone and no one brought it up to him or, in other words planted the suggestion. But he was near frantic over it as if he sh*t on his shoe.... and needed it out of his life at once.... It was a learning experience for me.



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:39 pm 
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sdsollod wrote:
Colin, I saw that too and thought that SM's remark about stainless being easy to work was misleading :shock: , based on what I have heard about how stainless is difficult to work with. I find EVO to be quit easy to work with. In fact, I think it's easier than nickel-silver beehive . I haven't felt the need to try stainless...


Yeah I agree and go figure. Of all the wire EVO is my favorite to work with.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:40 pm 
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A bit off topic but I HATE Dunlap wire and we won't use it.

We recently told a pro jazz player that we would no longer use his lousy Dunlap wire because of inconsistencies in tang width and the general, rubbery resistance to filing that it has in any size.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:42 pm 
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bluescreek wrote:
Since SM was sold I am disappointed in the quality of some of the stuff. The necks are often made from Philippine and luan Mahogany. I bought 3 had to return 2 but I still give the kudos on customer service


I'll second that and add that things such as the diamond crowning files have been made shorter.... what's up with that.... Now I have to do more strokes for the same amount of work.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:52 pm 
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Ok I see. I've yet to use SS frets but I'm willing to do it should it become necessary. So far I have simply told those that want it that 'Some people claim it alters the tone.' They think about it for a bit and go right back to the good old standard wire. I think it's a good case by case thing though. I've had a few death grip customers in the past. In fact one guy came back after about 3 months with all the cowboy chords pitted out and thought that we had scammed him. He stormed off and we never heard from him again. Me personally I have a 20 year old electric guitar that I have played the hell out of and it doesn't even need a dressing.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:16 pm 
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They are kinda vague what their claim is based on. I have been very happy with Stew Mac fret wire. It's very consistent - which makes the entire fretting job so much easier...

After being in the metal rolling industry - there are several things this can be from... It could be as easy as SM not accepting cuts from the beginning and end of the roll - which is generally where all the inconsistent material lives. Of course - that sort of thing costs you a lot more vs taking the whole thing. But it's worth it if you don't like fighting fret tangs, doing a bunch of rework, and grinding a bunch of fret off on a brand new fret job.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:27 pm 
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Jescar wire comes with no oil on it. [:Y:] saves time/money by skipping the degreasing procedure.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 5:34 pm 
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jfmckenna wrote:
Ok I see. I've yet to use SS frets but I'm willing to do it should it become necessary. So far I have simply told those that want it that 'Some people claim it alters the tone.' They think about it for a bit and go right back to the good old standard wire. I think it's a good case by case thing though. I've had a few death grip customers in the past. In fact one guy came back after about 3 months with all the cowboy chords pitted out and thought that we had scammed him. He stormed off and we never heard from him again. Me personally I have a 20 year old electric guitar that I have played the hell out of and it doesn't even need a dressing.


Yeah I just sold one that I had played a lot since 1977 and it had no visible wear either.

Can I ask what brand of fret wire the 3 month cowboy had on his guitar?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 5:37 pm 
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david farmer wrote:
Jescar wire comes with no oil on it. [:Y:] saves time/money by skipping the degreasing procedure.


And we never have to mess with the radius and use it right off the roll with great results.

PS: I forgot about degreasing wire since I've only used jescar for years now. I do remember having to degrease SM wire and getting filthy paper towels for several wipes. Don't get me wrong many of my personal guitars have SM wire and it's fine, I just like working Jescar more.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:53 pm 
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Maybe SM are hoping to sell more side cutters, as well.

Alex

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