Got tired of SS frets, am I alone?

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by chopeth, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. chopeth

    chopeth SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,087
    Likes Received:
    543
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Location:
    Andalucía
    My main 7 stringers have both SS frets and I had to change the pups several times to make them sound nice. I think this kind of frets gives guitars a weird trebblish character that clash with longer scales and modern pups.

    Anyone here feeling this too?
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

    Messages:
    29,659
    Likes Received:
    8,361
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I've refretted three of my guitars with stainless steel frets and didn't notice much of a difference, at least anything that couldn't easily be fixed with slight EQ adjustment. :shrug:
     
    Kyle Jordan likes this.
  3. cardinal

    cardinal Strat 7 Guy

    Messages:
    4,456
    Likes Received:
    1,454
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    So this thing with SS that some people hear and some don’t. I wonder if it depends on how low your action is.

    I run my action very low. Like just over 1mm over the last fret and a nearly straight neck. The strings inherently are rattling like crazy over the frets.

    I swear I hear a rasp with SS frets, but maybe if I raised my action the sound would go away if the strings aren’t rattling so strongly against the frets.

    Doesn’t seem like a crazy theory (different pick material sounds different), but I don’t want to jack up the setup on my guitars to test it out.
     
  4. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

    Messages:
    29,659
    Likes Received:
    8,361
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I run my action between 1mm and 2mm, and again, on the exact same guitars, while I feel there is a slightly different tone, it's so subtle that once you start adding the gain it disappears. I haven't felt the need to modify presets or replace pickups and I have a whole box full of spares.
     
  5. cardinal

    cardinal Strat 7 Guy

    Messages:
    4,456
    Likes Received:
    1,454
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Yeah, whatever I think I hear, it’s subtle and doesn’t really bother me. I do think it’s there, but I’m hardly nit picky over it. I don’t even change my amp settings when I plug in drastically different guitars.

    I used to be crazy over trying to dial in a tone just ever so right, and maybe then it would have bugged me? But now I just get close enough and go.
     
  6. Scordare

    Scordare SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    298
    Likes Received:
    54
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    Ill-noise, USA
    I heard absolutely no difference when I got my first SS fret guitar and I set up for very low action too.. The super smooth bending and not having to constantly polish or dress frets overrides any slight tone difference. IF you do hear something why not turn treble and presence down a bit to compensate? Do you also play at low volumes to where you hear the plinky, plink of the guitar over the sound coming from the speakers?
     
  7. xzacx

    xzacx SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,193
    Likes Received:
    709
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Location:
    cleveland
    I don't know how you can attribute those characteristics to any one element of a given guitar, unless it's been refretted. IMO, the modern pups and longer scale are the more likely cause. I've only had one guitar refretted with stainless, and heard no difference at all in tone.
     
    spudmunkey likes this.
  8. Randy

    Randy ROOMFORYOUROOMFORYOUROOMFORYOU Super Moderator

    Messages:
    20,464
    Likes Received:
    3,580
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Location:
    The Electric City, NY
    Can't say I notice a tonal difference but they do feel different and as has been mentioned, are substantially more work. Since I do all my own fretwork, I'm kinda 50/50 on using them on my own stuff because I don't wear down nickel frets much at all anyway.
     
    Hollowway likes this.
  9. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    3,547
    Likes Received:
    969
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    Location:
    QLD, Australia
    maybe a different set of strings? different material. I think its more in your head, like because you are aware of it. If you did a blindfold test, you wouldnt be able to pick which guitar has SS frets by sound alone
     
    Hollowway likes this.
  10. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

    Messages:
    12,776
    Likes Received:
    4,029
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Location:
    California
    I don't hear any difference between them, and I'm not sure I can even feel a difference. And since my nickel fretted guitar from high school took 10 years of heavy playing before it needed a refret, I'm not sure I would even get SS frets, if there's an upcharge. :shrug: There may well be a tone difference, but there are so many things that people say affect guitar tone, I don't even bother. I just get good pickups and adjust the EQ at the amp and play.
     
  11. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger

    Messages:
    4,805
    Likes Received:
    1,196
    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Location:
    Ireland
    I've refretted 2 guitars I know inside out with stainless steel frets, there was zero tonal change except for the reduction of fret buzz from them being more level.

    What's the specs of your guitar? Did you have it refretted? I can guarantee it's the woods, scale length and pickups. All those can contribute massively to the high end, especially modern pickups with mid spikes and trebly attack. Moving to Alnico V pickups solved that for me.
     
    xzacx likes this.
  12. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,227
    Likes Received:
    242
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Location:
    Tenerife
    Yes, I'm with you. That's the reason I sold my Carvin mainly... I DON'T like SS frets. There is that weird "trebblish" thing going on... just resonates different the attack BUT consider that most of the people likes that instant fast and super bright attack so for most of the people that is something desirable... for me it is not, specially with modern pickups that are very focused in having tighter bass and faster attack... is just a plus-plus situation where it goes over the top for my taste.
     
    NateFalcon likes this.
  13. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD Bass Player in Exile

    Messages:
    1,655
    Likes Received:
    283
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    It's psychoacoustics, if you ask me.

    Not that anybody did...but this is the internet, so there it is.
     
  14. chopeth

    chopeth SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,087
    Likes Received:
    543
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Location:
    Andalucía
    I don't know, guys. It's probably in my mind. I feel them different though, and I do think I could differ my guitars with SS and those without them in a blind test, but maybe I'm wrong. There is something slightly trebblish and clangy going on I couldn't get rid of when I change my strings. It happens in both my Rans, and the action is perfectly set. It's nothing bad, but I'd rather not have it. Maybe it is, as someone mentions above, the ceramic pickups, but I also have other guitars with ceramic and niquel frets are great there.
     
  15. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    3,547
    Likes Received:
    969
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    Location:
    QLD, Australia
    this is the best nickel vs SS frets comparo ever.



    Same guitar body, both necks build from the same wood blank and same specs to reduce variables
     
    Randy, Flappydoodle and Zhysick like this.
  16. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,227
    Likes Received:
    242
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Location:
    Tenerife
    Yep, YouTube's compression kills it a lot but there it is, a difference big enough to make you believe LOL
     
  17. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

    Messages:
    1,795
    Likes Received:
    1,077
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    Man my finger sweat is so caustic I'll take stainless over nickel every day. Same reason I have to use coated strings.

    I absolutely hate working with it though. So hard to cut.
     
  18. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    717
    Likes Received:
    532
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2018
    Interesting.

    Neck 2 sounded brighter and more "zingy" for clip 1, but noticeably duller for clip 3

    Though, just to point out, he played the segments differently a couple times, presumably by accident. For the second clip, he picked every note, but for neck number 2 he used his fingers for some notes.
     
  19. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

    Messages:
    27,716
    Likes Received:
    3,080
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Somerville, MA
    Devil's advocate - isn't that a common criticism of ALL Carvins, that they tend to be on the bright side, regardless of fret material?

    I own a couple guitars with stainless frets, and a couple with nickel steel, and I can't say I've noticed any consistent tonal trend between the two groups. They DO feel different, though, and while it takes me a long time to wear down a nickel steel fret (I just got my Strat refretted, which I've owned since November 1998, and even then I probably could have just had them crowned but I wanted larger fretwire), I do like the smoother feel of stainless and the fact it doesn't oxidize and get sticky if you let a guitar sit for a while. I'd have done stainless on my Strat, but my shop doesn't do stainless...
     
  20. Randy

    Randy ROOMFORYOUROOMFORYOUROOMFORYOU Super Moderator

    Messages:
    20,464
    Likes Received:
    3,580
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Location:
    The Electric City, NY
    Not to nitpick... I mean, you're right but I don't think the way people hear things in general is with regard to how accurate one playthrough is vs another when listening for tonal variations. So yeah, I noticed him playing some things differently but I'm able to hear the difference in the attack and the degree the EQ falls off after the initial hit consistently enough, despite variations in HOW he plays a line not just from neck to neck but even from strum to strum in the same clip.

    We can go down the path to where we have a robot playing the guitar for the sake of consistency but the hallmarks you're looking for to find relevant differences seem to be apparent enough and in a way that's seemingly unaffected by how it's played.
     

Share This Page