View Full Version : Narrow fret wire

07-01-2014, 10:34 AM
I've always loved the fret wires on Flukes and Fleas, but never played another uke where they were that narrow, or low either. I've seen fret wires on ukes called "medium," but have no idea what that means. :o So my curious question is, which ukes have you found that have narrow and/or low fret wires? Sorry I can't be more specific, but maybe some of you have measurements? I never thought it would matter as much as it does to me, but I guess it's just one of those personal playability preferences. Appreciate your thoughts!

David Newton
07-01-2014, 10:44 AM
This from Stew Mac

07-01-2014, 11:54 AM
Kanile'a, Ko'olau and Collings and very vintage Martin sopranos. I don't know if they are low enough for you but they all seem narrow to me, unlike some current Lanikai, Kala, Pono and Kamaka ukes which have fatter frets.

Just my general observations for relative reference. I'm not going to dig them out and try to measure them, my apologies. ;)

07-01-2014, 12:04 PM
I had a Kala SMLT that had very narrow, low frets. The strings had a tendency to buzz if I wasn't careful about finger placement. I find it easier to play cleanly with larger gauge frets.

07-01-2014, 12:09 PM
I like mandolin fretwire on ukes. It is narrow and low. Not sure where "medium" falls on this scale, but I know what I like and it is thin gauge wire on ukes.

07-01-2014, 12:38 PM
Mandolin fretwire is what I use. Fret height can be lowered.

Brian W
07-01-2014, 04:43 PM
My Kiwaya KTS-4 has the smallest and thinnest frets that I have ever seen on a ukulele, though I have heard--not personally seen--that vintage Martin's also used the same small fretwire. My Ohana has much thicker, more guitar like, frets. I find that a thinner, low profile fret will make the instrument intonate better up the neck, provided that they are precisely installed at the correct locations. With the medium frets, proper crowning is required to ensure better intonation. The only downside to using smaller fretwire is the need to apply more pressure on the strings to get each note to properly sound, which makes playing some barre chords a little uncomfortable; especially since I have learned to use less pressure to prevent the note from going sharp. Just takes a little getting used to.