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mm stan
06-04-2014, 11:38 PM
Okay All you Luthiers, what is your experience on frets....
What is the advantages on a lower seated fret aside playability and comfort? Does a higher seat offer better anything in volume or tone wise? and what is your experience with the sizes and shapes or frets. which one to you offers more and why.....Thank you in Advance :)

coolkayaker1
06-04-2014, 11:54 PM
I'm chiming in here just to add the green mark so I can follow this thread.

Outstanding query, Stanley.

Michael N.
06-05-2014, 01:33 AM
They don't make the slightest bit of difference to either tone or volume. Why would they? At the end of the day it's just a string being stopped by a piece of metal.
Whether or not you prefer the feel of fat, thin, low or high frets is down to individual player preference. Nothing more than that really.

rudy
06-05-2014, 04:09 AM
"Seating" is the physical process of mating the crown shoulder to the fret board. Are you asking about crown height and/or profile?

Doc_J
06-05-2014, 04:12 AM
I always thought taller frets required less finger pressure to fret a string.

coolkayaker1
06-05-2014, 05:06 AM
I always thought taller frets required less finger pressure to fret a string.

Or more, if the string is tight (to get string to fretboard)? I don't know, just asking. Also, are taller frets more likely to be played out of tune (e.g. sharp) if incorrectly fretted?

billten
06-05-2014, 05:21 AM
Not a builder but i know my OU has massive high frets and you press down and the damn thing goes sharp every time, so yup i agree with cool...

PereBourik
06-05-2014, 06:14 AM
With hand/wrist issues I've learned by accident that taller frets are easier for me to play. If I over pressure and go sharp that's just another alarm that I'm working too hard.

David Newton
06-05-2014, 07:35 AM
Taller frets assume that you aren't going to be pushing the string to the fretboard.
If you like to push the string to the wood, you should like lower frets.

Allen
06-05-2014, 10:04 AM
First up would be aesthetics. Some might like the look of big fat frets, and on a bass, that's fine. But on a ukulele or mandolin they look silly and just plain wrong. Take that to the next level where we as builders are always trying to improve our work, and then the subtitles of those aesthetics between small size differences in appropriately sized frets from one brand to another is what drives me. Soprano's get a different fret than my Baritones. Guitars get something else again.

Intonation is also a factor. All be it a very small one and more to do with playing style than the hight of the fret. But if you have a tall fret and are the type that mashes the string down to the fret board, that note will be sharper than on a lower fret with everything else being equal......but we are splitting hairs here.

mm stan
06-05-2014, 10:17 AM
"Seating" is the physical process of mating the crown shoulder to the fret board. Are you asking about crown height and/or profile?
Yes I am asking about that and what other good points and benefits that may come from it...aside comfort and playability thank you :)

mm stan
06-05-2014, 10:21 AM
First up would be aesthetics. Some might like the look of big fat frets, and on a bass, that's fine. But on a ukulele or mandolin they look silly and just plain wrong. Take that to the next level where we as builders are always trying to improve our work, and then the subtitles of those aesthetics between small size differences in appropriately sized frets from one brand to another is what drives me. Soprano's get a different fret than my Baritones. Guitars get something else again.

Intonation is also a factor. All be it a very small one and more to do with playing style than the hight of the fret. But if you have a tall fret and are the type that mashes the string down to the fret board, that note will be sharper than on a lower fret with everything else being equal......but we are splitting hairs here.

Aloha Allen...thank you for your response...yes I'd like to hear more in intonation area and these type of things tone and feel....

Michael N.
06-05-2014, 10:23 AM
If you are pressing the string such that it gives intonation issues that suggests you are putting way too much pressure on fretting the string. Otherwise known as the death grip. The string should be stopped such that an extremely tiny reduction in pressure would lead to a buzz. That's why you sometimes see 8 year old kids whizzing around the fretboard making it look incredibly easy. That's because it is.

rudy
06-05-2014, 04:22 PM
Yes I am asking about that and what other good points and benefits that may come from it...aside comfort and playability thank you :)

Ah.

As others have stated, it's more of an aesthetics thing than anything else when considering profile and width of the fret. I prefer smaller frets on uke because the strings require so little force to fret that it's easy to stretch the string sharp if the frets are tall. Frets are frets and have nothing to do with the ease of noting, it's just easier to produce clean and correctly pitched notes if your frets are smaller and you play with the correct technique. If you play lightly, tall frets won't feel any different, but do remember that you effectively make the total thickness of the neck (from rear to the fret tops) slightly taller. It can contribute to a neck feeling overly-large for no particularly good reason.

Bruce Sexauer
06-05-2014, 07:51 PM
I believe that on a guitar a fret height of 34 to 38 thou is the ticket. But on a Uke, with much less space between the fts, the ideal height is surely considerably lower, but I don't know what the right range would be. I hope someone else does and will name it. I have been using guitar wire without any issue that I am aware of.

thistle3585
06-06-2014, 07:56 AM
I struggle with short crown heights on steel string instruments because the pad of my finger hits the fret board before the string is fully seated on the fret so the string will buzz. To get it down, I have to use a death grip but then it buzzes when I pull my finger off. Larger frets solved that problem. I guess people think you have to touch the string to the fretboard behind the fret but that isn't the case. I don't have that problem with nylon strings but if I go with a taller fret and push the string to the fretboard then I get intonation problems. I think its more about playing style then frets with a nylon string.

Paul Henneberry
06-07-2014, 02:17 PM
Hi All,
I'm glad this thread was started because I'm just starting 3 new soprano's and am about to order the fret wire. My three previous sopranos had the LMI gold evo wire (FWG74) which was real blingy but in retrospect is a bit big, crown width = 080, crown height = 043. I've got some stewmac narrow low (#0764) which is crown width = 053, crown height = 037 which seems tiny next to the gold evo stuff. Does anybody use the stewmac narrow low and how does it play? It would be my preferance on these builds because I think it will look appropriate on the small fret board. I also see that LMI has a smaller gold evo wire than I used (FW37053) which is almost the same size as the (#0764) so that is an option. Gold frets and tuners look great.
cheers

Paul

resoman
06-07-2014, 02:33 PM
I've used the StewMac 764 for all the ukes I've built so far (30 or so) except for a couple when I first started. Allen is right, the larger stuff just looks wrong and the 764 will probably out live me that's for sure. I've built one baritone and I used the 764 but on the next I'll probably use the larger wire. I think Chuck Moore also uses the 764 for his instruments.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-07-2014, 02:44 PM
Hi All,
I'm glad this thread was started because I'm just starting 3 new soprano's and am about to order the fret wire. My three previous sopranos had the LMI gold evo wire (FWG74) which was real blingy but in retrospect is a bit big, crown width = 080, crown height = 043. I've got some stewmac narrow low (#0764) which is crown width = 053, crown height = 037 which seems tiny next to the gold evo stuff. Does anybody use the stewmac narrow low and how does it play? It would be my preferance on these builds because I think it will look appropriate on the small fret board. I also see that LMI has a smaller gold evo wire than I used (FW37053) which is almost the same size as the (#0764) so that is an option. Gold frets and tuners look great.

cheers

Paul

Yes, I've almost always used #764 on my ukes. I wouldn't do so if I felt there was a problem with it. I've also used the gold-ego wire in the smaller size (looks identical in size to the #764). It's hard wire and therefore a little harder to work with. About the gold color, it's very subtle when it's installed. I doubt if anyone would notice it's gold wire unless you pointed it out to them and even then you'd have to look real hard to tell it's gold wire. I've used it when I wanted to "warm up" the look of an uke. The thing I don't like about wider wire is when you get above the 12th fret, up to the 19th, where the width of the wire could be 20% of the width between frets. What's that doing to your intonation? Plus, in my experience, the smaller wire dresses better.

Masonguitars
06-07-2014, 02:54 PM
As a builder, I like narrow/medium fret wire. I can file down irregularities without worrying about it getting too low. Guitar fret wire doesn't look right to me on a uke (too wide). As a player, I try to apply only enough finger pressure to fret the string cleanly. I don't like bottoming out on the fret board, and I find it hard to avoid with the low wire, so I prefer medium height.

Allen
06-07-2014, 09:05 PM
I use the StewMac $764 as well for all the ukes. Lot's of other choices for larger instruments in stock and it depends on string choice and scale length on what that will end up being.

I like the look of the Gold EVO wire when it's polished up, but noticed it tarnishes very quickly to a dirty brass color here in the tropics. Don't know how it stands up in drier climates though.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
06-09-2014, 11:12 AM
Issues can be had if the slot is to wide for the fret tang- you get a soft neck with possible loss of sustain do to the fingerboard being now essentially kerfed.

I use .080" wire on ukes as I find the .053" too narrow to easily work. I would love to use a, say, .065"-.070" wire but cant find any.

Im not fusssed either way- If a customer wants .053", its all the same to me, and to the sound.

No intonation issues if crowned properly (even with fat wire at .110"). A good crown makes only a tiny amount of fret touching the string.

mm stan
06-13-2014, 04:19 PM
Issues can be had if the slot is to wide for the fret tang- you get a soft neck with possible loss of sustain do to the fingerboard being now essentially kerfed.

I use .080" wire on ukes as I find the .053" too narrow to easily work. I would love to use a, say, .065"-.070" wire but cant find any.

Im not fusssed either way- If a customer wants .053", its all the same to me, and to the sound.

No intonation issues if crowned properly (even with fat wire at .110"). A good crown makes only a tiny amount of fret touching the string.

This is the kind of stuff I was looking for....anybody else has some secrets which they like to share...:)