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Old 06-03-2014, 06:42 PM   #21
Explorerbuilder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty_Chisel
""People always want to try to find some new unthought of idea" because without those people you wouldn't have a flush toilet, a cell phone, food, clothing or a computer to make those statements on.

People "made" frets long before there was production by some manufacturing plant you know. That's what you get for ditching History. "


Your examples are of people trying to improve on an existing concept. The OP is asking for alternative materials just to be alternative. If there is something that OP is trying to improve upon, then identifying desirable properties would be the first step.

Look at Floyd Rose and how he created his bridge. He was a jewelry maker that identified the issues with the existing bridge at the time and had the requisite skills to make a bridge and refine it. He didn't just try to come up with something just for the sake of it.

OP also listed a soft rubbery material as a fret which I think would kill sustain.

Well what needs to be improved regarding steel frets? The are the hardest, smoothest material available. You cant ask for more than that. I just dont see a single need to try to improve the best.
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Old 06-04-2014, 05:40 AM   #22
von Layzonfon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Explorerbuilder
Well what needs to be improved regarding steel frets? The are the hardest, smoothest material available. You cant ask for more than that. I just dont see a single need to try to improve the best.
Actually, they're not the hardest, smoothest material availble; titanium is harder and smoother, and ceramic and glass have also been cited as having desirable properties as a fret. But, as with all things in engineering, you inevitably reach a compromise which is the best possible fit all around. Titanium is harder than steel but is expensive and difficult to work. Ceramic and glass are far too brittle for a common fret application - although I'm sure an artizan could manage to use either as a one off. Rubber probably could work but would very likely kill sustain and put an end to bending notes.

So yes, steel frets are certainly the "best" solution for the majority of applications which is why they are so universally used.

But again, I think OP was just asking for speculations on possible alternatives as an interesting exercise. And yes, it will likely be difficult and almost certainly inferior, but sometimes it's fun to do things just for the hell of it. And you might actually end up learning something in the process.
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Old 06-04-2014, 06:08 AM   #23
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I think OP wants to build a guitar completely from scratch, but doesn't have the resources to produce fretwire.
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:01 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by von Layzonfon
Ceramic and glass are far too brittle for a common fret application - although I'm sure an artizan could manage to use either as a one off.

So yes, steel frets are certainly the "best" solution for the majority of applications which is why they are so universally used.


I think it's also a case of steel frets being dirt cheap to produce.

Ceramic, quartz and glass, by the way, have versions that are a LOT tougher than the "far too brittle" dismissal suggests. And with these materials being used in tens of millions of products (phones and tablets come to mind, as well as newer developments for aerospace and deep sea work), they're getting tougher all the time.
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Old 06-04-2014, 12:11 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dspellman
I think it's also a case of steel frets being dirt cheap to produce.

Ceramic, quartz and glass, by the way, have versions that are a LOT tougher than the "far too brittle" dismissal suggests. And with these materials being used in tens of millions of products (phones and tablets come to mind, as well as newer developments for aerospace and deep sea work), they're getting tougher all the time.
Of course. I only really had in mind the stuff that a potter or glass-blower might produce.
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Old 06-04-2014, 12:40 PM   #26
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Old 06-04-2014, 03:28 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by von Layzonfon
Actually, they're not the hardest, smoothest material availble; titanium is harder and smoother, and ceramic and glass have also been cited as having desirable properties as a fret. But, as with all things in engineering, you inevitably reach a compromise which is the best possible fit all around. Titanium is harder than steel but is expensive and difficult to work. Ceramic and glass are far too brittle for a common fret application - although I'm sure an artizan could manage to use either as a one off. Rubber probably could work but would very likely kill sustain and put an end to bending notes.

So yes, steel frets are certainly the "best" solution for the majority of applications which is why they are so universally used.

But again, I think OP was just asking for speculations on possible alternatives as an interesting exercise. And yes, it will likely be difficult and almost certainly inferior, but sometimes it's fun to do things just for the hell of it. And you might actually end up learning something in the process.


Titanium is decidedly not 'harder' than steel, especially since 'steel' encompasses such a vast range of products.

Nor is ceramic necessarily too brittle.

If cost wasn't an issue, I'd suggest Tungsten Carbide or Titanium Carbide. I'm not sure you could for all practical purposes ever wear out a set of fretwires made of either of those...
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Old 06-04-2014, 04:39 PM   #28
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God, who'd have thought there would be so much millage in this?

If you're going to bring all the alloys into it then it is equally incorrect to say that titanium is not harder than steel as some of the alloys of titanium (which is more likely to be used than pure titanium) are harder than some alloys of steel.
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Old 06-04-2014, 05:19 PM   #29
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Well, I sure as hell didn't think this would get this much feedback!


While I actually opened this with bass in mind ( I want to get a different sound from slap bass ) but let's talk about classical guitar! I am sure that nylon strings wouldn't wear the frets too much, so do you think that a 100% wood neck would be nice ?
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:39 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by von Layzonfon
God, who'd have thought there would be so much millage in this?

If you're going to bring all the alloys into it then it is equally incorrect to say that titanium is not harder than steel as some of the alloys of titanium (which is more likely to be used than pure titanium) are harder than some alloys of steel.


Hate to shock you but every steel is an alloy, it is in fact part of the definition of "steel".

Titanium, not so much, since it's an element.

The point remains.
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