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View Full Version : Thin frets anyone?



spongeuke
04-24-2015, 10:44 PM
I've always liked the look of the thin frets on the vintage ukuleles. While comparing playing the vintage to new is judging apples to oranges as the set up and neck thicknesses are different. It seems that a thinner fret makes a more exact purchase on the string and a smaller crown would work better for low action set ups. Problem is there is no source for fret wire of less than .059 inches and the .059 are bar frets from LMI. While bar frets are not used much, I have found they make it easy to adjust the fret hight without filing and recrowning. LMI's are still almost twice as fat as vintage bar frets.
Is there some reason for the thickening of frets over the years?

mzuch
04-25-2015, 04:02 AM
Stew-Mac's narrow/low fret wire is .053" wide with a crown height of .037".

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
04-25-2015, 04:24 AM
The apex of the crown is the only point of contact.

The apex of the crown is the same thickness on fat or thin frets when crowned correctly.

jcalkin
04-25-2015, 05:34 AM
You could buy brass or nickel-silver sheet stock and cut your own bar frets. Might as well go the distance if you are really into it.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
04-25-2015, 08:19 AM
go fret less !!!!

coolkayaker1
04-25-2015, 09:59 AM
The apex of the crown is the only point of contact.

The apex of the crown is the same thickness on fat or thin frets when crowned correctly.

So, is it purely an aesthetic choice, BHU? Or does it have some player implications for fingering and fretting?

jcalkin
04-25-2015, 10:28 AM
So, is it purely an aesthetic choice, BHU? Or does it have some player implications for fingering and fretting?

Everything about frets has to do with touch, feel, and the player's finger sensitivity. Bar frets feel way different than round frets of the same height. A heavy hand makes tall frets play out of tune. A sloppy player may slur notes on low frets. Ear sensitivity also plays a part. As wide frets wear the point of string contact moves toward the bridge. but many players don't notice the change of intonation until the wear eventually makes the string fret out. Feel is the most important issue for normal people. For instance, I really hate tiny mandolin frets on any instrument, even if its properly set up with them. Normal people with normal hearing can play just about anything without too much bother if the set up is good. I'm pretty happy to be in that class. (Sorry to butt in, Beau).

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
04-25-2015, 11:56 AM
So, is it purely an aesthetic choice, BHU? Or does it have some player implications for fingering and fretting?

Fret width shouldn't impact a players fingering style. Fret height perhaps, could make a fretting note out of tune if pushed to hard, but i use .080" wide and its no taller then the thin stuff.

I like the 0.080" as its easier to use with bound fret boards (0.080" doesn't crumple when you cut it with snippers like the .053" does), but ill use thin is the customer want it- i really don't care either way.

spongeuke
04-25-2015, 01:36 PM
Great responses to my question. I agree that it is usually about feel. If it is comfortable then I usually play better. If uncomfortable I don't play much at all. When using a bound fret board the .080 makes a lot of sense. Most of my playing and repair work is with vintage Martins these days. Thinking of using bar frets on a new one. So cutting my own seems to be my option. I'll see what's up with mandolin frets.
Still if enough people don't like the feel of the thin ones and can't handle fretless, tradition is always an good fall back.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
04-25-2015, 03:01 PM
yer- Sopranos thin frets for sure-

Concerts are fine with . 80" untill you get into the high frets then it gets a bit cramped. WHo plays up there anyway!

Tenors are good all over with .080"

Sven
04-25-2015, 07:05 PM
I make my own bar frets with 1x3 mm brass profile that I buy at the hobby store. They're actually on both my personal players. Otherwise the smallest from Stewmac (on all sizes).