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Thread: Outdoor Ukulele fret wear

  1. #1
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    Default Outdoor Ukulele fret wear

    I've got a Tenor Outdoor Ukulele (brown), and a little less than a year into owning it, I'm noticing some distnct wear on the frets -- to the point where it's starting get a bit of a buzz. With the molded nut/bridge, there's nothing to tweak with the action.

    Fret wear seems to be explicitly excluded from the warranty (https://www.outdoorukulele.com/pages/warranty ).

    Anybody else seen this? I've avoided wound strings, but I'm not sure if any of the fluorocarbon strings I've used might have a powder as mentioned in the warranty. I've used Aquila Reds, and D'Addario Pro-Arte Carbon. Maybe I just fret unusually hard?

    Any thoughts on a strategy to deal with this? I was considering something like a paint or polish on the frets to fill in the wear.

  2. #2
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    There's a well known method of filling in a too low nut slot that involves using a mix of superglue and baking soda (Stew Mac has a good YouTube video on the technique). I would imagine it could be possible to use this method to fill in a divot in a plastic fret as well. But filing it down and re-crowning the result to be smooth and level would be a real challenge.
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  3. #3
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    I've never been a fan of non-metal frets. At least Magic Fluke offers the option of a wooden board with metal frets. Even after the sale, Magic Fluke will replace the plastic board with a wooden one ($79). I'd like to see all the plastic boards have the wooden board option. I guess the simple solution is to play the uke a lot less.

    I have eight Magic Fluke ukes, only three bought new. Three of the five used ones had plastic boards, but only one showed any wear on the frets. I had two of the plastic boards replaced with wood.
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  4. #4
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    Aquila Reds do indeed have metal powder in them.
    "In the manufacturing process of our Red Series strings we use different percentages of metal powder to optimize each string’s performance within the set." (Reference: https://aquilacorde.com/en/shop/mode...en/red-series/)

    The interesting thing with the OU instruments is it looks like the frets are hollow, as is the nut and saddle. I don't have one currently, but have had them and that's the way it appeared to me. So it seems enough wear would go right through...or maybe it could also just get dented/deformed and the polycarb doesn't always wear away...not sure...Someone can correct me if I'm wrong on all that...but I remember shining a bright light through. I've never had an OU over a year, but never noticed any problems with what I had.

    It'd be interesting to see some quality, close-up pics of your wear. Playing touch does indeed come into play too...so it could be multiple things contributing to the problem..
    I just don't know how you could fill a dent and then get it level too. It'd be one heck of a tedious process (as besley has already noted), even if it could work.
    Last edited by jer; 01-20-2020 at 05:03 AM.

  5. #5
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    We’re seeing some chatter on this on the Enya Nova thread, too. I would definitely take some pictures and post them. I’ve got 3 Outdoor Ukuleles and I’m not seeing any wear (although my strings have taken a beating on the underside from them...but I consider that normal wear) and the same holds true for my three Enya Novas.

    Well...not 100% true...when I glued the Enya I destroyed back together, I had a high fret on the fretboard and had to sand it down...but this is NOT a normal occurrence. I broke that thing into 5 pieces. Pretty amazing that you can glue it back together with super glue...although I did have to use JB Weld on the neck when the superglue on the neck gave loose with (yet another—but accidental) drop of the ukulele.
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  6. #6
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    I have one of the first batch of OU tenors. I use the Rye Rabbit strings that they used to be shipped with. No issues on the frets. Next string change will be to D'Dario titanium.
    - Laura

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  7. #7
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    Interesting reading that warranty. Something to consider when the guitar comes out.
    Glenn

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill1 View Post
    Plastic fretboards are not new. Harmony used them in the 1950/60s in the ukes made for schools. If you check out old Harmony ukes they have varying degrees of wear 60 years later, after starting life as school ukes. The same is going to happen to the OU and Enyas.

    .
    Agreed - but you hit the nail on the head with 60 years. I have a Maccaferri ukulele from around 1950 - absolutely no fret wear. These reports are dealing with years if not months and showing wear.

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by actadh View Post
    I have one of the first batch of OU tenors. I use the Rye Rabbit strings that they used to be shipped with. No issues on the frets. Next string change will be to D'Dario titanium.
    Won't the D'Addario Titanium strings have the same issues as the Aquila Reds? Assuming the titanium refers to a metallic ingredient they use and isn't just marketing hyperbole.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenn2018 View Post
    Won't the D'Addario Titanium strings have the same issues as the Aquila Reds? Assuming the titanium refers to a metallic ingredient they use and isn't just marketing hyperbole.
    No, they don't actually have any metal in them. It's just a name with those that is supposed to express a high quality...like a Platinum Mastercard. ha.. Marketing..

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