Topic: Frets wearing out

Hi guys!

My last acoustic guitar (bought approximatively 1 year ago) has his frets wearing out...
I had the same prob with another acoustic but I didn't repair it, because this guitar cost me 100$... And it appears after 2-3 years.

I only repaired my Fender Stratocaster, and I'm not too happy about the work, I don't work with this dealer anymore. (I bought this guitar like 10 years ago)

Actually, there's no major buzz problem... But I don't know how the hell I'm facing this problem so frequently. I play a lot (almost everyday), but I use to gently wipe the strings and neck with a soft cleaning cloth after I play with my guitar...
I also change my strings more often.

Do you also have this same prob?
If so what do you do?

[url]https://soundcloud.com/curtis-k-music[/url]

2 (edited by Classical Guitar 2017-12-17 22:36:07)

Re: Frets wearing out

CurtRHCP  I had one guitar for 40 years  and gave to a grandson I taught how to play. It still looks new and never had a fret replaced. If you hit you notes in the center of a fret you should not have to replace them. I like ebony fret boards however the guitar that is still being used is a rose wood fret board . If you are wearing frets than watch as you play and see if you are fingering notes on top of the fret rather than in the middle between frets. Either that or are you turning your guitar too high?  What gauge string are you using? Maybe try a lighter gauge.

I know two bass players and from knowing them one after years of playing had all his frets replaced. The other one has a 30 year old 5 string bass and he has never had a fret replaced.

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.

Re: Frets wearing out

Typically, a player who does more string bending will wear frets out faster than simple on-off pressing will. The action of rubbing the strings sideways across the frets will wear the crowns of the frets down. This wear is easily visible to the eye, with a flat polished surface on the worn frets being visible.

On a nylon string classical, the effect is reversed, where the frets will wear indents into the nylon of the top 3 strings. The strings will develop a slight wavering sound when this happens, as they're no longer shaped consistently along the length of the string.

The standard nickel-silver frets are fairly soft, and there are even varying grades within those. Less expensive guitars will usually have poorer quality components. It might be a good move to talk to a luthier about having your guitar re-fretted with pure Stainless Steel frets. They're much harder, and will last a lot longer.

Here's a good article on fret wire. It's mainly about banjos, but the same principles apply:

http://blog.deeringbanjos.com/stainless … lver-frets

Re: Frets wearing out

I have the same problems with dents in the frets. I have had two guitars that I've had fret replacements done. Not cheap and if you have a bound neck it's more money. I know mine come from pressing harder on the strings than I should. I learned on a cheap guitar with a higher action and I never broke myself of the habit of pressing to hard. So I think the two major causes are high action and pressing to hard on the strings. I have the action right on all my guitars . I just need to lighten my fretting hand.  Good luck.

Re: Frets wearing out

Great article TF !!  It would seem to me that the Nickle in the fret wire is what makes it hard.... or at least harder than the string . So one would guess that the string would wear a whole lot faster than the fret under normal playing.  Curt brings up another thing with his comment about wiping down the fretboard and strings after playing, as dust and dirt becomes kind of a "grinding compound" that could speed the normal wearing action.  It seems reasonable to remove any oils or acids that have transferred from your skin from the surfaces to prevent corrosion, but I would think cleaning BEFORE playing and removing any dust or grit that might have settled while sitting on the stand or whatever equally important.

I  have a couple of guitars that have served me well over 40 years, that have never had a fret change (and only one fret lift and need reset), so maybe the newer alloys are softer ?

"what is this quintessence of dust?"  - Shakespeare

Re: Frets wearing out

When I play, my fingers are a bit behind the fret, like on this picture
http://files.hubguitar.netdna-cdn.com// … G_8319.JPG

I also read old guitars had best quality frets...

I also think my fingerprints are pretty acid, when I touch a screen we can clearly see my fingerprint ^^

Thanks guys!

[url]https://soundcloud.com/curtis-k-music[/url]

Re: Frets wearing out

The best technique is to use your finger mid way between the frets and not close to them. It takes less pressure and once you get used it, it will become second nature. Also try washing your hands 1/2 hour before you play to remove any extra acid fro your finger tips. Are your frets stainless steel or plated?

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.

Re: Frets wearing out

How do I know?

[url]https://soundcloud.com/curtis-k-music[/url]

Re: Frets wearing out

You use a capo?

10 (edited by Tenement Funster 2017-12-19 11:20:07)

Re: Frets wearing out

Further to this discussion, I had a look at the frets on my EP Les Paul last evening, and noticed they're wearing down quite a lot. It's less than 3 years old, but I do a fair bit of bending. I called my luthier (Matt Lunn @ Route 12 Guitar Repair, Kentville, NS), and he also recommended stainless steel. He said he uses a brand called "Jescar", and send me a link from this supplier in Ontario:

http://nextgenguitars.ca/products/jumbo … e-set.html

After some more digging, I learned about the Vicker's Hardness scale (expressed as an HV number), i.e., the harder the metal, the higher the number. I found this out about the three main fret materials:

Nickel-Silver = HV200
EVO Gold = HV250
Stainless Steel = HV300

I asked Matt about the standard nickle-silver frets, and he said there's really no silver in them. Usually they have 15% - 20% nickel, blended with tin. They're very pliable and easily shaped to the radius of a guitar's neck, but that same softness enables them to wear quicker. I learned more from him in 5-minutes than I've ever known about frets.

While this is all interesting, and I hope it's useful to you, Curt.

11 (edited by Classical Guitar 2017-12-19 11:45:08)

Re: Frets wearing out

This is from an instructional magazine and the same quote is in Playing Guitar for Dummies : "When playing a particular fret, remember that you don’t place your finger directly on the metal fret wire, but in between the two frets (or between the nut and first fret wire). For example, if you’re playing the fifth fret, place your finger in the square between the fourth and fifth fret wires. "

I am sorry to quote Playing Guitar for Dummies and I do not mean anything implied by that quote.

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.

Re: Frets wearing out

Yes I use a capo, quite often because I tuned my guitar one step down, so when I have to play a standard tuning I put the capo on the 2nd fret.
I never placed my fingers on the metal fret, the sound would be weird ^^
I placed them a bit before the fret. There's thousand of images showing people placing their fingers like me. Even professionals.

I also have an Epiphone Les Paul, frets doesn't shine like on my other guitars, but there's not even a single scratched. I play less with that guitar but I used to play quite a lot during a period. By the way, the fretboard is not "coated", it's not shiny at all and the fretboard doesn't slide as good as other guitar, but I don't really mind, I received it.

Tenement Funster :
Thanks for the informations!

[url]https://soundcloud.com/curtis-k-music[/url]

Re: Frets wearing out

Do you have most of the wear on frets 3-6?

Also, is your capo technique similar to your fretting technique or do you put the capo directly behind the fret wire?

Re: Frets wearing out

Frets wearing is clearly visible on frets : 2, 3, 4 and a little bit on 5th fret.
I just take my guitar to check it, I place my capo between the frets.

For a test, I gently did a slide with the thin E string on a perfect fret, after the slide, there's a significant scratch. Mmm, I know why after several days it's starting to wearing out.

It's the only acoustic guitar I have, and I play everyday with it... I bought it 350$...

Aaargh... Anyway, it was in my plan, in January I'm gonna buy a new guitar, an electro-acoustic to play concerts, I hope it's gonna be a guitar that will last. This shop owner is really nice (he invited me to play with his band live).

[url]https://soundcloud.com/curtis-k-music[/url]

Re: Frets wearing out

It’s directly related to your capo. My guess is it can be attributed to one or more of these things:
1 you are leaving the capo on your neck after you play. 
2 you are capoing too close to the fret
3 your capo is too tight.

Do you have a tension adjustable capo? If so try and dial it in so you use the least tension necessary to sound all the strings.  Also given that you have reduced string tension due to the dropped tuning you are probably driving the strings really hard into those frets.

Re: Frets wearing out

1 It happened I forget to leave my capo, but just 1 or 2 times...
2 My capo is in the middle of the frets.
3 Well it seems tight, but there's no way to loose it.

Here's a picture of my capo :
https://static.bax-shop.es/image/produc … cal_01.jpg

Thanks for the replies ^^

[url]https://soundcloud.com/curtis-k-music[/url]

Re: Frets wearing out

You might consider changing to a schub.  They have a little dial that allows you to adjust tension.


https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B004VDD4 … ref=plSrch

Re: Frets wearing out

1. Does the guitar sound OK?
2. If yes, forget about it. 

But do wash your hands before you play.  I have oily skin and have noticed a difference in how long I can keep strings on a guitar just from washing my hands before playing.

Granted B chord amnesty by King of the Mutants (Long live the king).
If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome! - Mekidsmom
When in doubt ... hats. - B.G. Dude

Re: Frets wearing out

The guitar still sounds ok, the wearing out is not too deep, clearly noticeable on certain frets (mainly where are the thinest strings).

[url]https://soundcloud.com/curtis-k-music[/url]

Re: Frets wearing out

My advice is to fix it when it's a problem.

Granted B chord amnesty by King of the Mutants (Long live the king).
If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome! - Mekidsmom
When in doubt ... hats. - B.G. Dude

21 (edited by Classical Guitar 2017-12-20 16:56:11)

Re: Frets wearing out

Try using a capo where you can adjust the pressure. Here is just one example: http://www.juststrings.com/pwv-pw-cp-02.html

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.

22 (edited by Tenement Funster 2017-12-21 16:35:18)

Re: Frets wearing out

A G7th capo allows the player to go on and off - setting the pressure manually - all with one hand.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51jE-oEl4RL._SX355_.jpg

Re: Frets wearing out

Whilst we have casually drifted into capo territory ... what are peoples thoughts on the Thalia capo:

https://www.thaliacapos.com/collections/all

Are they as good as they look ... ??

-[ Musician, writer, guitarist, poor singer ]-
My songs             http://neophytte.mine.nu/audio/
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Re: Frets wearing out

neophytte wrote:

Whilst we have casually drifted into capo territory ... what are peoples thoughts on the Thalia capo:

https://www.thaliacapos.com/collections/all

Are they as good as they look ... ??

Wow ... they are gorgeous, aren't they? What I didn't see was a way to adjust the tension, but I do like the one-handed operation. For me, tension adjustment is so important, because the need varies when going from electric > acoustic > 12-string. The G7 is the only one I've found which will do it all with one hand.

Re: Frets wearing out

expensive buggers -    make for a great christmas present for a guitarist

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