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Old 07-19-2013, 03:26 PM   #1
MilesJeffery
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Question B.C. Rich Fret Material Question.

I just bought a B.C. Rich Warbeast NJ Deluxe and was wondering if anyone knows what metal the frets are made from, stainless steel or nickel or some other metal.

I need to know because it will influence my choice of strings. I want to minimize fret wear. If their stainless steel I'll get nickel-plated steel but if their nickel frets I'll get nickel strings.

Thanks,
Miles.
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:32 PM   #2
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I would imagine that they're stainless.
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:35 PM   #3
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I was thinking that too, but I was just checking seeing as B.C. Rich don't put the details on the site. It is one of their top-of-the-line models so I suppose it should.
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:53 PM   #4
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The vast majority of fretwire is 'nickel silver' which is copper/nickel/zinc alloy. There are varying grades of course but in a general sense it's the same stuff. If a manufacturer doesn't specify, it's going to be nickel silver. Stainless steel frets are significantly more labor and tool-intensive to install and a manufacturer would not use them and not tell you about it. It's like tube and solid state amps - if the manufacturer doesn't tell you it's got tubes, it doesn't have tubes.

Plus I can't think of any $800 guitars with stainless steel frets. The cheapest guitar I can think of with SS frets would be the Parker Maxx fly which is $1400 or so and they have a unique fretting process that probably makes it cheaper to use steel.

Also, nickel and nickel-plated steel have a pretty similar wrap, and sometimes even the exact same wrap. It's not going to affect your fret wear in any meaningful way. Steel wrapped strings will chew up your frets faster, those would be the ones to worry about. Not many people use those though, they tend to be shrill.
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:05 PM   #5
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Alright, thanks for the heads up.
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Old 07-19-2013, 05:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc8995
The vast majority of fretwire is 'nickel silver' which is copper/nickel/zinc alloy. There are varying grades of course but in a general sense it's the same stuff. If a manufacturer doesn't specify, it's going to be nickel silver. Stainless steel frets are significantly more labor and tool-intensive to install and a manufacturer would not use them and not tell you about it. It's like tube and solid state amps - if the manufacturer doesn't tell you it's got tubes, it doesn't have tubes.

Plus I can't think of any $800 guitars with stainless steel frets. The cheapest guitar I can think of with SS frets would be the Parker Maxx fly which is $1400 or so and they have a unique fretting process that probably makes it cheaper to use steel.

Also, nickel and nickel-plated steel have a pretty similar wrap, and sometimes even the exact same wrap. It's not going to affect your fret wear in any meaningful way. Steel wrapped strings will chew up your frets faster, those would be the ones to worry about. Not many people use those though, they tend to be shrill.


^Agreed. Stainless steel fretwire is not only significantly more expensive than standard nickel-silver wire; it is a royal bitch to work with. The stainless steel alloy is so damned hard on the Rockwell Hardness Scale that many standard fret-working tools (cutters, leveling files, etc.) are useless on the stuff. Bring a guitar with stainless steel fretwire into your local repair shop for a fret dress and you will quickly become persona non grata with the repair tech. I have heard from people at a few well-known manufacturers that the machines they use to create and install frets on their production guitars don't work properly with stainless steel fretwire.

Carvin offers stainless steel fretwire as an option on all of their instruments, but you're still talking about a guitar that will run you at least US$800.00. One of the few production instruments I ever saw with factory stainless steel frets was Washburn's top-of-the-line XM model, which was discontinued a few years ago because it was too expensive. Perhaps not coincidentally, the neck and fretboard for that guitar were made by Parker.
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:09 PM   #7
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+1 colin
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:13 PM   #8
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The easy way to figure out if they are SS or Nickle/Silver is to try and stick a magnet to one. If it sticks on good & solid their SS, if it doesn't wan't to stick they are N/S. More than likely they are Nickle/Silver like most guitars.
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:58 AM   #9
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Something that I just found out about the Warbeast NJ Deluxe is that it's MSRP is $1,250.00 (820)

Do you still think it will have nickel-silver frets as is cost quite a bit over $800?

If you're interested, I'll try the magnet test when the guitar arrives and post the results. It should be here any time between the 24th and the 26th of this month (July)
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:02 AM   #10
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I seriously doubt it will.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:09 AM   #11
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Old 07-20-2013, 12:05 PM   #12
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Frets are nickel silver. I don't know of a single production model BC Rich that has ever had SS frets.
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Old 07-20-2013, 05:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilesJeffery
Something that I just found out about the Warbeast NJ Deluxe is that it's MSRP is $1,250.00 (820)

Do you still think it will have nickel-silver frets as is cost quite a bit over $800?

If you're interested, I'll try the magnet test when the guitar arrives and post the results. It should be here any time between the 24th and the 26th of this month (July)

MSRP is an imaginary number, I hope that's not what you paid. They're $800 at any major retailer in the US.

Again, SS frets aren't something that just automatically show up on guitars at a certain price range like a hardshell case. They're an extremely rare, extremely specific upgrade and there is no reason to think that BC Rich would just throw them on a midrange guitar and not tell anyone. Most of the major manufacturers don't have them on any of their guitars: Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, PRS, Ibanez, Jackson - none of them sell a single production guitar with SS frets. Parker, Carvin, and Music Man are basically the only major brands that use stainless steel, and they are very clear about what models have it.

So, we can say with great confidence that your guitar will not have SS frets.
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Roc8995
MSRP is an imaginary number, I hope that's not what you paid. They're $800 at any major retailer in the US.

Again, SS frets aren't something that just automatically show up on guitars at a certain price range like a hardshell case. They're an extremely rare, extremely specific upgrade and there is no reason to think that BC Rich would just throw them on a midrange guitar and not tell anyone. Most of the major manufacturers don't have them on any of their guitars: Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, PRS, Ibanez, Jackson - none of them sell a single production guitar with SS frets. Parker, Carvin, and Music Man are basically the only major brands that use stainless steel, and they are very clear about what models have it.

So, we can say with great confidence that your guitar will not have SS frets.


And /thread.
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:32 PM   #15
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:10 AM   #16
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I paid $700 for it. Made a deal with the dealer.

I'll probably get the guitar re-fretted with SS frets after the NS ones have worn out, but that won't be for a couple of years yet.
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Old 07-21-2013, 12:13 PM   #17
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Unless your hammering your strings onto your frets with a hammer, they should last a whole lot longer than a couple years. You seem like you might have some sort of misconception about fret durability.
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Old 07-21-2013, 02:06 PM   #18
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yeah. i mean the only time i've ever worn out my frets was when i was using stainless steel strings and normal frets. assuming you're not silly like i was, they should last a fair while.

even when they wear down, you can normally get a crown or two out of them before they have to be replaced.
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