Stainless frets, is it an upgrade? Worth it?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by bbarott, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. Scott Baxendale

    Scott Baxendale Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    That’s not really true, I met and hung out with SRV and played his 59’ strat through his rig during the Cold Shot sessions at the Dallas Sound lab in Los Colinas. Both Rene Martinez and Zac Berry who were SRV’s guitar techs were really good friends of mine and we spent a lot of time discussing Stevie’s setup and rig. I also have had intimate knowledge of several of Stevie’s guitars including his 59’ and the Charlie’s Strat with lipstick pickups, which I worked on and got to play before Stevie Ray ever even saw it. He used .013-.056 on his 59 tuned to Eb. His set on his 59 strat was .013 .016. 019(p) .034 .044 .054 There is no doubt he had other guitars with other setups and string gauges, but I’m pretty sure about the setup on his number one.

    After I played his guitar I set mine up like it, but I would always break the .019 Plain G string, so my set became a weird .013 .016, .017, .034 .044 . 054. The G being from a .010 set. I gigged my Blues Rock trio for three years with that setup. I use either .010’s or .011’s on most guitars these days, except my number one guitar which has .013 flat wounds tuned to D standard.

    A interesting side note about SRV, in the late 80’s in Dallas the dudes in the scene always held Jimmy Vaughn in the highest esteem as the real Texas Blues guy while Stevie was the kid brother. We all loved his playing but his brother was always considered more authentic. That’s all kinda BS though and no one thought that after Cold Shot came out though. The night after I met him I went to his first big Dallas show after he had made his international mark with “Let’s Dance” He put on the single greatest guitar performance I’ve ever seen, and jimmy herring comes into my shop all the time to just play guitars for two hours.
     
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  2. Scott Baxendale

    Scott Baxendale Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    That’s cheap. He must work out of his house?
     
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  3. Robert Graf

    Robert Graf Strat-Talker

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    You left out the cost of the frets, from what the post said, so that's 18 x at least 21 frets. That's way high for the frets. Over 700 for a fret job? Looks like I've been way too cheap in what I have charged, but I haven't done a fret job for anybody for some time now.
     
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  4. Henry2

    Henry2 Strat-Talk Member

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    "The cost is $18 per fret replaced, $185 to level crown and dress the frets, plus a $150 up-charge for the stainless work."

    For those without a calculator, a 22 fret Strat refret would cost $731. That's why I said that seems high.
     
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  5. bbarott

    bbarott Most Honored Senior Member

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    ^^^ Ron, this right here is enough for me. My frets wear distressingly quickly. I have a really nice older SG ('73 I believe) that is next to unplayable right now on account of it's simply worn out. Been this way since the late '80s, and I've owned it since it was new.

    Time to get these strats cleaned up. After that we'll see about the rest of 'em.
     
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  6. Torvald

    Torvald Strat-O-Master

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    That makes a Warmoth neck with stainless frets a screaming deal! Anywhere from about $207 on up with the extra $20 for stainless and $30 for the nut for the basic unfinished maple/rosewood, or about another $50 if you want roasted maple.
     
  7. siegeld

    siegeld Strat-Talk Member

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    I recently purchased a Tom Anderson with stainless steel frets. TA switched over to S/S for all their guitars (I think it was over 15 years ago). While I can't contribute all the enthusiasm I have for this TA to the S/S frets, I can say the frets make a strong contribution to making the guitar an absolute delight to play. I have owned Gibsons, Fenders, EBMM's, PRS and played hundreds of other guitars owned by others and in music stores (I have been playing > 30yr). IMHO the pros of the S/S frets are worth every penny on a refret (if done right, or when selecting your next guitar (assuming it's an option).

    Enjoy!
     
  8. Torvald

    Torvald Strat-O-Master

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    Or just buy a brand new neck with stainless frets if that's what you want. Just like Leo envisioned.
     
  9. lbpesq

    lbpesq Strat-O-Master

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    I was reading through this thread and was just about to order me up some SS fret wire to try out until I watched this video. I thought the neck with the SS frets sounded less present, slightly thinner, and a little truncated.

    Bill, tgo
     
  10. EC Strat

    EC Strat Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    So 731$ Sounds like a good deal to me.
     
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  11. StratoMutt

    StratoMutt Most Honored Senior Member

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    I never trust a video to sound like it would have in person. All I was able to gather was an ever so slightly, brighter sound. I could tell no difference when overdrive was added. I think the presenter in the vid got it right when he stated "just a tweak of the presence control".

    As stated earlier the biggest difference I have found is the the slightly greater metallic fret buzz.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
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  12. agejaded

    agejaded Strat-Talk Member

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    I’m not unaware that there’s a lot of marketing and the cost reflects this. I wasn’t convinced that high end guitars justified the cost until I played them.
    Ever played one?

     
  13. Nate D

    Nate D Most Honored Senior Member

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    Wait, people are saying the fretwire impacts your tone? We tone fretwire now?
     
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  14. EC Strat

    EC Strat Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Paired with maple, you see, for a bright stratty sound
     
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  15. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

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    Yeah dude i have played several...several high end guitars,several high end parts-guitars with absolutely stellar parts, several crappy guitars modded into bangers and what i found is that the solid body electric is a very finite instrument..meaning that after a certain price point you cant make it better no matter how much you try...you can have the best guitar you can possibly get by spending around the 1000 mark so i dont really get the rest of several thousands....not for playability and sound anyway and i ask you again to explain specifically what do those several thousands improve in terms of playability and sound but iam fully aware you wont be able to respond....and iam only asking cause you said...every penny....you have around 5000 dollars to justify...half a million of pennies actually....
     
  16. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    a question I often get... I use a watch as an analogy.... there are those for whom a watch is just a utilitarian device... the only time they give it any thought is when they need to know what time it is for those guys any 29.99 piece of plastic on which they can see 5:30 displayed is perfect. Then there are those for whom a watch is a beautiful example of engineering, hand crafted luxury, and a beautiful piece of jewelry... those guys gravitate toward the more esoteric watches available, some costing Millions... But, on both that 5:30 is exactly the same... not one iota of difference..

    Similarly. in a guitar, there are those for whom it's purely a tool.. get it setup correctly and they can rock it's little ass off... and, of course, there are those for whom WHAt guitar they play and how it looks is a statement, many of those guys can also rock that momma.. but or them if it's not impeccably beautiful.. it just doesn't cut it..

    nothing wrong with either, in both cases... you get what ya want or need, and go with it..

    ya gotta remember though.. it's not the gear, it's never gonna BE the gear, it will forever be 100% what YOU can do with the gear at hand.. when a good guitarists ends a set, no one ever walks over and asks, How much did that guitar cost ya? Well except the gear geeks..

    r
     
  17. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

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    We are not comparing the plastic watch with the crappy whatever parts vs the hand crafted one though..we are comparing hand crafted watch vs something with equivalent parts but not the x logo on it....and the fact that the price difference reflects nothing on the performance side...you just pay more for the logo.
     
  18. agejaded

    agejaded Strat-Talk Member

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    I’m not sure what you are driving at here,
    Guitars are very subjective, how do you quantify feel, fit, playability etc?
    I’m allowed to say that I believe my Tyler is worth every penny, it plays great, it sounds great and I get a lot of pleasure playing it.
    I’ve got an R9 that is in the same price bracket and I’m not convinced it’s any better to play than my 1990 LP Studio.

     
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  19. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

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    Well you can say whatever you want and your feeling are definitely subjective but not the facts.The fact is that a 6000 dollar guitar isnt any better than a 2000 or a 1000 dollar one just like a uber overpriced imac isnt objectively better than a pc 1/3 or even less of its price.Now if you feel great paying many times the price of the product and still getting the same product is your business but iam also allowed to laugh at it.
     
  20. stratology

    stratology Strat-Talker

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    Sounds like you've never used an iMac.

    'Objectively' in this case means that you limit the evaluation of a computer to a selective, restricted feature set, like CPU speed, and RAM - which may have made sense in the 1990s..

    'Objectively' in this case also means that you ignore a long list of - verifiable and measurable - features and properties, such as resale value, software/hardware integration, usability, reliability, display quality, connectivity, software included in the price, free OS upgrades for years, Keychain, Time Machine, Core Audio, Boot Camp, consistency, etc.


    Sorry for the rant, off topic, but I'm sick of hearing uninformed prejudices labelled as 'objectivity' when it comes to this very topic.
     
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