View Full Version : What size fret wire for ukulele?

01-01-2011, 10:25 PM
I am ready to order some fret wire for my uke build from stew mac, but not sure which to buy. They offer narrow, med and wide, and they also offer low med and high. Also, this is going to be a steel string uke, does that make a difference. Thanks.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-02-2011, 05:21 AM
I like a pretty narrow wire; #764 or #147.

01-02-2011, 05:36 AM
Interesting page on topic. I have always liked Dunlop on guitars. http://www.lutherie.net/fret.chart.html

01-02-2011, 11:06 AM
Tenor or soprano?
If soprano I'd go with the narrow. For tenor either narrow or medium would be fine. Steel string doesn't matter.

01-02-2011, 08:28 PM
I use #174 for most everything on a Ukulele. Tried others but they end up looking a little too chunky on these instruments. If you think you are going to build more than a couple, then I recommend buying it by the pound. It's so much cheaper that way.

01-02-2011, 10:03 PM
Just put in my order for #147 fretwire. Allen, you list #174, but I couldn't find such a thing, did you mean #147? Thanks for the input. I think it is pretty cool that a proffesional builder like Chuck and the rest of you guys take the time out to help a newbie like myself. I would love to stop by your shop and see your work in person the next time I am in Hawaii. The build is a soprono, my first build wish me luck. I was going to convert my solid body to steel strings but changed my mind and am building from scratch. I wasn't sure if my solid body would be strong enough, it has much of the wood hollowed out in the back. Got a good deal on some Koa, now just collected all the parts I need.
One of the last things I need is a finger board blank. Any suggestions on where to buy and what the best material is (ebony vs rosewood). Many thanks.

Liam Ryan
01-02-2011, 10:19 PM
I'll throw my hat in the ring for the #764 stuff. By the pound. I press my frets in with an arbour press so no need for much in the way on leveling, so I can get away with the lower stuff.
I'd say if you're already getting the fret wire from stew-mac then get a fingerboard blank from them as well. Less postage costs.

01-02-2011, 11:42 PM
Yes. You're right, it 147. I'm just a little dyslexic at times.

Sort of depends on the color pallet you have going with the instrument on whether you go with ebony or Indian Rosewood. Both are certainly suitable for any uke, but I prefer IRW over ebony for tone.

If you plan on doing any inlay, then ebony is by far easier to work with. Any gaps are easy to fill with black tinted epoxy or CA. Not so with any other wood choice.

02-09-2011, 11:38 AM
My friend and I are trying to build a version of a Martin Style 3 soprano. We have already purchased Stew-mac #764, but it specs a little wide at .053. Is this what you guys would recommend anyway? More recently, I looked at the chart that oldgoat52 posted. Dunlop and Jescar make wires that are narrower. Any recommendations before we go any further (haven't gotten to the necks yet).