Stainless Steel vs Nickel Silver, Do You Hear A Difference

Do you hear a difference between stainless steel and nickel silver frets wire?

  • Yes

    Votes: 8 15.4%
  • No

    Votes: 30 57.7%
  • Banana

    Votes: 14 26.9%

  • Total voters

Butcher of Strats

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2022
How can you even tell, if you don’t compare different frets on the same guitar?

This is the only guitar I’ve owned with SS frets, it certainly wasn’t pingy. It was a joy to play though. The next guitar I refret will get SS.

Right, the only SS fret guitar I have was a partscaster as usual, with NS frets on an ebony board maple neck by Warmoth. Replaced that neck with an ebony board maple neck by Warmoth, only difference besides SS being fatback rather than some 1980s Warmoth profile.
So pretty much comparing apples to apples.

That is as usual a single bridge pickup and no tone control.
The pickup is the TV Jones Magna'Tron which they list as the brightest of the TVJ filtertron types.
So figure a very bright guitar and no way to roll off treble.
Amps are as usual set fairly bright.
Any shrillness is left to touch and technique to tame.

I have not bonded with that guitar yet, but cant really say why.
Does need some fret touchup, a L&C would be in order, so theres that.

You get a sweet tone from that SS fret guitar!
But use it very differently from how I use a guitar.
I play more like I am trying to clear the room!


Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 2, 2016
I've been using Ernie Ball Super Slinkies and recently swapped over to Ernie Ball Extra Slinky Classic Nickel strings. I wonder if it's going to offset the stainless steel frets on my Strat when I get it back? :p
Since I got my Strats refretted with SS, couldn't be happier. The one I play on that vid, got medium SS frets on it around 5 years ago and still feels and play great. No signs of wear on frets can be seen. I settled with those strings and find they do an excellent job. IMG_20230319_181410.jpg


Apr 8, 2007
Purely anecdotal:

My best sounding, best playing guitar has stainless steel frets.

That being said: I think that proper crowning may be more important than fret material. I'd prefer a properly crowned nickel fret guitar over a guitar with stainless steel frets that has one of those nasty large flat fret surfaces that, unfortunately, we see way too often.

And: fret mass is not only determined by fret material, but also by fret size: a super high jumbo nickel fret has more mass than a tiny vintage nickel fret.

So, for me, the ideal situation is high, properly crowned, stainless steel Jescar frets.


Nov 13, 2015
Well, they feel different so that might lead a bunch of people to think they sound different too. It would be a good experiment for youtube - same guitar two necks only difference is SS frets