Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Difference between Brass & Nickel Frets? (Kala KA-S vs KA-15S)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Difference between Brass & Nickel Frets? (Kala KA-S vs KA-15S)

    A few days ago I took the plunge and bought my first ukulele from TradeMe (New Zealand's Ebay equivalent) - a Kala KA-S.

    However, the seller has since mailed me and said they'd made a cock-up, and they've actually got a Kala KA-15S. They'll either refund me in full, or refund $20NZ and send the KA-15S.

    The 15S seems to be basically the same Uke, but without the white binding on the body, and with brass frets rather than nickel. Everything else (mahogony laminate, rosewood fretboard and gear tuners) looks identical.

    So, down to brass (or nickel) tacks: what's the difference between brass and nickel frets, in terms of tone and durability? On the durability front, assuming I'm using nylon strings, is any kind of wear likely?

    Also, does anyone here have a KA-15S? There's surprisingly little about it on the net.

    Cheers - looking forward to getting strumming. I used to be a rubbish bass player, then became a mediocre guitarist, then a mildly capable mandolin player - my ability with an instrument seems to be in inverse proportion to its size. Not sure where I go from here - sopranino?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    near Rochester, NY
    Posts
    51,854

    Default

    Can't be of much help, I'm afraid. I don't know the answer to your question about frets, but would guess the nickel ones are referring to a nickel plating, as opposed to solid nickel. Again, I'm no expert.

    I do know that I bought my first uke in January....a Kala KA-SC....and I've been very pleased with it. Good luck with your new uke, and keep us posted on your progress!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    San Diseasey
    Posts
    2,254

    Default

    my makala has brass frets and i havent had any problems with it other than the fact that they just look cheap. but it sounds just fine. ive contemplated re-fretting with some extra nickel fretwire that i have lying around, but that old saying just keeps ringing in my head "if it aint broke, dont fix it".

    the only other thing i can think of is the idea that the brass frets would be more abrasive to your strings than the smooth nickel ones. but then again, i havent had any break on me on that ukulele. and before it even gets within a mile of causing any wear, its time to change strings.

    so my say... its all about aesthetics from this point. if you are only worried about sound, then no... i dont think the brass frets are going to cause you any grief. youre just saving $20 by not getting the shiny sparklies of the other ukulele.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    The Ranch,CO
    Posts
    910

    Default

    I've played them both but own the KA-S (shiny is my favorite color).

    To me they play the same and sound the same, not sure about the long term string wear though.

    I would say use that 20 bucko's to get a couple extra sets of strings, you'll want to change out the stock strings unless it came with Aquilla's.
    Ukulele, the most fun I've had being bad at something!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Cheers for the replies - that's what I was hoping to hear! Aesthetics aren't terribly important on this one, just a half-decent sound and something that holds its tuning.

    I'll give them the nod, and start waiting for the postman.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Happy Ending

    Received the uke today, and the seller threw in a set of Aquila high-g sopranos to boot!

    I suggested that I'd be happy to take some Aquilas in lieu of a refund (inspired by freedive's comment), but didn't expect them to bite - they go for about $35NZD, and the price difference was only $20NZD. So, for any other kiwis here, I can recommend nessie71 for any ukeybits.

    Uke itself sounds pretty good - holding its tuning reasonably well for a freshly strung instrument, although I'm guessing it'll get more reliable in time. My wife has had to put up with me cranking out dodgy renditions of I Think I Need A New Heart and Dark of the Matinee.

    The only real stumbling point I've hit is the tallish frets combined with nylon strings means that I have to be careful not to fret too hard, particularly on the C string, or it can distort (sounds like tone bending a mouth-organ). I guess I just need to adjust to the wonderful world of nylon.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    West Midlands GB
    Posts
    1,671

    Default

    Good result. It's interesting that one poster thought brass frets look cheap. To me they look vintage. Just a matter of personal perception, I guess.

    Note bending from pressing down hard with the fretting fingers is quite usual for someone with your musical background. I think you'll adjust quite quickly. It may also be that the strings are a little high at the nut. That can cause excessive and unavoidable sharpening of the notes. See how you get on with it.

    Have fun!

    Ukantor.
    Last edited by ukantor; 03-24-2009 at 01:17 AM. Reason: choice of words.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Staten Island, NY
    Posts
    15,736

    Default

    I could be wrong but... nickle frets would be silvery in color, brass gold.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •