The Carvin / Kiesel thread

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by soliloquy, May 22, 2011.

  1. mbardu

    mbardu SS.org Regular

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    For me it's a number of things. Durability and peace of mind is one, but I'm lucky to have a few guitars and to have only ever had to do a refret once so it's not really the main one. Your point on buying used is good too. I definitely have less concerns buying a guitar with stainless steel frets.

    The main thing though is really the glassy smooth feel which never gets in the way of expression on bends and vibratos. I love PRS, but they're among the guitars I play kinda less, and it's a small detail but a good part of that is due to the fret feel. And that's with PRS actually being among the best in non-stainless. Now this is subjective and I'm sure there are people who actually prefer a bit of friction, but for me that's the reason if I had to pick one.

    As far as objective things go, I do find I have less string wear and breakage with stainless (I attribute that to no rust buildup at all and no small invisible wear on the frets that wear down the strings).

    Re: the note on 2020, it's a matter of people's perceptions changing and more availability. A few years ago people were still using SS frets as an argument against some brands ("stop talking about how your stainless steel frets are great, my Ibanez with REAL frets is a much better guitar"), there were still a lot of cliches ("luthiers say it's bad", "stainless steel frets don't even sound good" etc), and it was hard to get a hold of them.
    Now that it's common practice to see them on the high end stuff all around (TA/Suhr, Aristides, EBMM, even Ibanez starting to put them on the very high end...) people are starting to see there's no downside for the player, and we're seeing more availability too as a result. So it can become a make or break because the choice is there. Today if I have to chose between a Schecter Elite with stainless steel frets and a Jackson import without, this will weigh heavily in the balance if I'm going to feel the difference every time on every bend. Couple of years back it wouldn't have been a make or break in some cases, but just a break or break :lol: because there was no option (I mean...except Carvin, but people are going to say again that I'm too big of a fanboi so..).
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
  2. RiksRiks

    RiksRiks ERG Player Wannabe

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    I was just reading over the whole argument in the last few pages. I don't come to argue, since I personally don't have a lot of experience ordering directly from Kiesel (I've played a number of them but even then maybe not so many), but to be honest, I also agree with another poster that you may find WMI instruments that feel on par with what you describe as "Kiesels with no non-returnable options" now, I think you mentioned the fact that you have a wider pool of options even with the non-returnable put aside, I think you're right but honestly it comes to a matter of preference. As I said, I've only played a few (mainly 6's but I own an 8) and again PERSONALLY I'd prefer a Charvel 24dk 2pt over any similar spec'd Kiesel. Even in that case, I can be pretty sure that my Roasted Maple and Fingerboard will match, at less than the price of a Kiesel, is that asking too much?

    But then again, objectively speaking none of us can say that a guitar is better than another just because some specs (I'm looking at you, SS) if you already are fixed on your idea that Kiesels are the best bang for the buck ever, us showing you endless options from anywhere else is just a meaningless endeavor.
     
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  3. sharedEQ

    sharedEQ SS.org Regular

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    Stainless frets, from a wear perspective are overkill, and can actually be a detriment.

    My experience having guitars leveled, refretted, plekked, and now doing my own crown and levels, is that the neck wood and fret profile changes over time faster than the fret material wears away.

    When you level the neck or get it plekked, the guitar will never play better than at that moment. Over the next 3 5 7 years, the wood swells, contracts, and over time changes. Despite truss adjustments it will never be as perfect as when it was leveled.

    I haven't had a single guitar over 25 years that the neck didn't change.

    What this means is that regardless of fret wear, even if you have stainless frets that weren't played, it will still need another level down the road. New guitars are the most volatile, you can almost expect new guitars to need a level in a couple years.

    And here's the thing, stainless frets take a ton more work to crown. So a level and crown job is now a many hour job.

    They really aren't all they're cracked up to be.
     
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  4. mbardu

    mbardu SS.org Regular

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    That's fine if wear was the main argument. And again the age old argument that they are harder to work with for hobbyists or luthier.

    The real argument for most proponents of stainless is play feel though. And that has nothing to do with the above. Short of polishing your frets every other session you're just not going to get the same feel with nickel. Again, maybe it's not your thing subjectively, but it's undeniable and important for many people.

    Ps: i have with me a couple of 20+ year old guitars that have never required significant neck adjustment. So not all instruments are going to see their neck move so much that they need a level or PLEK. That's also what makes a good guitar. That's why I recommend always splurging for the 300$ Chinese Agiles which will truly stand the test of time!
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
  5. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger

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    There are lots of benefits of SS vs nickel:
    • They don't oxidise so you never have to polish them. Within a week after polishing nickel frets I notice they've changed colour or if you haven't taken it out of its case in a while. With SS they are the same on day one as day 1000.
    • They stay super smooth. Nickel frets slowly lose their smoothness once you start playing or let the frets oxidise and you start to feel drag when you bend.
    • Strings last longer(only when polished super smooth). With nickel the way they wear and oxidise it causes the strings to wear faster.
    • They don't wear. At least after a thousand hours of playtime I've no wear on my Carillions. 30 seconds of playtime causes wear on nickel. You will eventually need a fret dress and even a refret once you start encountering problems. I've worn down a few guitars, it depends on the quality of the fret material but even the hardest nickel still wears away.

    I often have to go weeks or even months without playing cause of work so SS frets are the biggest godsend for me. I can take out my guitar knowing the frets are still as level and smooth as when I put it away. It's just one less thing to worry about. SS frets on a guitar is like a car where the tyres never wear.

    I should point out thats only when they are done correctly. If they aren't crowned and levelled properly then its going to cost you a lot to get them corrected by your average guitar tech because they don't like working with SS. Also if they aren't polished correctly then they will wear strings down a lot faster than nickel because the strings will never smoothen out SS frets the way nickel can be. Its why I don't like SS being used on mass production guitars where the extra bit of attention isn't being given to the fretwork.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
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  6. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Approx 20% of people have at least some sort of allergy (even if "symptoms" are imperceptible) to nickel. So that's twice as many people as left-handed people. It a significant t quantity, but important for some folks.

    For me, good stainless frets feel like a fresh nickel fret job, but...like...always.
     
  7. soliloquy

    soliloquy SS.org Regular

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    For me, it's acidic sweat. However, the issue isn't visible in US and Japanese guitars so far.

    Previously, my Agiles, peavey, deans, Ibanez, PRS SE, and bunch of others, I'd start noticing slight dips in frets within a month or two of playing (mostly Korean and Indonesian frets)

    Once I switched to Carvin ss frets, the issue disappeared. I sold my carvins, got an Edwards, Taylor and Gibson, and the issue seems to have all but gone.

    I do eat through strings rather quickly though. So something about frets certain nickle alloy and my sweat don't go together.
     
  8. sharedEQ

    sharedEQ SS.org Regular

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    My hands are dry and neutral.

    I usually only replace strings when they break. I can get hundreds of hours from a set. When I buy a set, I also buy two extra 9s because that string is the one that eventually breaks.

    After a year of playing the strings are still shiny.

    I never let anyone play my guitars because I've made that mistake before. Even after just a few minutes, the guitar gets this oily schmunda that I can feel and will cause strings to dirty and blacken.

    So yeah I guess some ppl need ss. Although I think the real culprit is probably smoking or dirty hands. Always surprised at reports of fecal matter on ppls phones. Ppl are dirty and grubby. I imagine kiesels hands are like that. A guy who treats ppl that way is not someone who washes his hands after taking a dump.

    However, I don't buy the oxidation argument. Within a few minutes of playing a guitar, any resistance is wiped clean. Steel wool at string changes takes 30 seconds.

    Ss strings are largely a marketing gimick. But that's human nature. Ppl need to believe they are getting something better.

    They create more problems than they solve but they do help sell guitars.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2020
  9. Jeff

    Jeff Banned from Reality

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    Yes, they are. If you’re tech is any good, and has the right tools, none of that other stuff matters. My tech has never complained, and never charged me more money, in the ten years I’ve had necks with stainless.
     
  10. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Yeah, this was more of a big deal a decade or so ago when no one was really stocking them, used to working on them, or had the tools available.

    Since then, the market has corrected significantly and the tools and supplies are far more commonplace, and cheaper.

    That's not to say some shops still charge a little more, but it's nowhere like it was in like 2003.
     
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  11. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    ya no one good charges more for ss now. a full refret isn't even that expensive.
     
  12. Jeff

    Jeff Banned from Reality

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    Agreed.

    This guy went to Roberto Venn, worked for Washburn’s custom shop, and now has a couple decades on his own:

    https://tullysshop.com/$

    great guy, great work.
     
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  13. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    I had hoped for a Kiesel 9-string by now. Has he said anything about that possibility?

    I'd hoped that Babymetal's Metal Galaxy could help 9-strings push a bit more mainstream.
     
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  14. trem licking

    trem licking SS.org Regular

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    You get your 9 string after i get my 8 with floyd. Deal? Deal. Heh
     
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  15. Jeff

    Jeff Banned from Reality

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    I want a guitar with a quartersawn, roasted maple neck with graphite rods, a nitro satin finish, richlite fretboard, and SS frets. It’ll never require maintenance! LOL
     
  16. mbardu

    mbardu SS.org Regular

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    I mean, if you really want to go 100% the no maintenance way, just get an Aristides.
     
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  17. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    Regarding fretwire, there is a marked difference in the cheap stuff you find in cheaper Asian built guitars vs something like Jescar. I ordered my Kiesel with Jescar nickel fretwire and unless Kiesel fucked up and installed stainless, that stuff is far more durable than cheaper fretwire. Dunlop nickel fretwire has lasted quite nicely in my experience as well.

    So not even the nickel stuff is the same across makers.
     
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  18. Jeff

    Jeff Banned from Reality

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    I plan to, some day. Waiting to see what the headless looks like, but the regular 060R is cool too.
     
  19. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    No plans, and not like a "maybe some day", but he's seeing a decline overall in 8 string as it is, and doesnt think it's because people are awaiting a 9...just a slow shift away from more than 7 strings.
     
  20. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    I could see them dropping a 9 out of nowhere like they did the 7-string Zeus Bass. :lol:

    But yeah, seems that 8s have been on a sharp decline the last couple years. All the major manufacturers have been rolling back their offerings.
     

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