View Full Version : Fret Wire Question: SM 0764 narrow/low

12-21-2014, 07:37 PM
Just got done freting a fingerboard with Stew-Mac's 0764 narrow/low fretwire and I'm having second thoughts. I got a recommendation that it would be good for a tenor uke and I notice a lot of you pros seem to like it. The stuff looks great, but I'm thinking maybe this stuff is outta my league. I've used their narrow/medium (SM 0147) before without any problems, but thought it looked and felt a little crude...so wanted to try the narrow. My questions:

Set-up: Nice low action possible, but does this mean less forgiving when leveling? Not much metal to work with there and the profile is so weirdly round.

Sound volume: Isn't such a low fretwire gonna kill volume. I'll bet the stuff feels and plays like a dream which is why I'm trying it, but I always thought a big, proud fret gave bigger volume and this stuff is low man low. It is mandolin wire obviously.

If I sound a little anxious it is because I just put this stuff into my best, most beautiful number one fingerboard and I'm looking for a little feedback. Of course if it turns out bad I can always pull the frets in put in the medium, but I hate doing that. Chews up my slots and a hideous tear-out is always possible.

Any thoughts?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-22-2014, 06:13 AM
I've used both sizes from Stewmac and I've noticed no difference in the sound or volume between the two. I've used the 764 in over 400 ukes without regret. The smaller size is a dream to work with and dress but as you mentioned, your fretting should be pretty accurate to begin with because the crown height is indeed lower.

12-22-2014, 08:41 AM
I've never heard that a low fret would kill volume. And certainly doesn't in my experience.

I only ever used the 147 wire on a couple of ukes when I first started building them, and really didn't like the look and feel of a fret that large. So switched to the 764. I even have some clients asking for a wire that is even lower.

Install by pressing in rather than hammering works a treat.

12-22-2014, 11:50 AM
Thanks for the reassurance...

Yes, I think 764 just looks more in proportion with the small fingerboard of an ukulele. Looks more like it belongs there than the wider stuff... And it was almost a pleasure to install.

I think I got the volume idea from a ways back with electric guitarists who like big, fat frets which gave more sustain and made vibrato a little easier. These are not really issues with an acoustic ukulele me thinks.