This is on an old Archtop guitar, I put in hours of research through a lot of companies, who all claim this is a Kay guitar, but I find it impossible, as the name inside is associated with Guyatone. Either way, these are as far as I can tell Very unique if not one of a kind! They sound superb with vibrato, and I am sure that's the reason for them. These start on 2nd fret and go to 9 I believe. Please help me to understand when and why this was made, and if there is a specific name for it!
I wouldn't be so certain that they are OEM frets.

Frets 1 to 9, are the most likely to wear out first. Partial fret jobs should be fairly common. I've even done one myself on an old Guild Starfire III. (Can't remember if it was 1 -7, or 1 to 9).

With that said, I have no information as to who is the supplier of that wire.

Have you tracked "Guyatone", to find out if that was a re-branded OEM Kay".

Stewmac sells a ton of fret wire in several configurations http://www.stewmac.com/

You can peruse their current fret wire inventory. The corrugation on the wire in your picture, I actually can't recall if I've seen that or not. It possibly could have been on my ancient Guild, or you could have planted the thought in my head......
Wiki might be of use for corporate history of both companies. You can also check here: http://www.jedistar.com/
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 19, 2014,
I have checked all over, and I have found nothing lol. Thought maybe an older pro might have come across something like this. And I called Demont Guitars who now owns or sells Guyatone, and they said they don't claim stake to this guitar. Same with any other reps I could get a hold of in numerous companies. I believe this thing to be a "Big Band" Archtop from the 30's, a lot of swing and big band was around then, and this thing sounds phenominal with those ridges, and I don't know what OEM stands for, but I can assure you these are original, I got this guitar from a very old man, who couldn't remember anything about it, other than it was old, and he had it since the beginning. The vibrato on it sounds great, but I believe the reason it is on 2-9 (I think, it could go higher up It's in storage right now) is that they would be the most commonly used on a guitar like this, especially for the time period, I would assume. As stated., Thanks everyone for current help, past help, and future help! I really wanna solve this mystery!
someone showed frets like these in a similar thread on another board... it might have been AGF, but i'm not sure. theirs were on a similar guitar.
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I find it somewhat counter intuitive that those frets are responsible for the sound of the guitar. Frets do make a difference, but you've also got some really well seasoned wood there. But more importantly, it doesn't seen those frets would be a good fit with many electric players of today, in that it seems to me, they would not be ideal for doing string bending.

Keep in mind I'm not saying you're wrong, just giving a knee-jerk style of impression.

"Original Equipment Manufacturer".

When used in this context, it refers to the actual maker of the instrument, not the marked brand.

Cort and Samick are huge OEM guitar makers. Both companies market their own instruments under their marques, but also manufacture guitars for other marketers as well.

During the decades after WW II, lots of big name guitar companies marketed OEM guitars to Sear, Montgomery Ward, et al.

Nowadays, you can buy a few dozen from Cort, have your brand name put on them, and become a big time music dealer on E-Bay.

For a laugh, google "Funai Electronics". They make huge quantities of everything you see on store shelves, yet I've never seen a product with their name on it.

Best Buy's, "Dynex", even the old American brand, "Zenith", is now made in China by Funai.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 21, 2014,
Reviving this post to try and score some answers still again.

The Frets make the guitar unique cauve of vibrato, it I bend the strings they hit the ridges giving it multiple note sounds, real neat IMO.

anyways pls help!
The frets were ground down to level them and then not crowned. The tool marks are a side effect of large scale, cheap, manufacturing processes and low quality control. That fact that it turned out better, in your opinion, is just luck.

An exact reproduction of this, without the heavy equipment used in the factory, will be tough. The best approximate result would be to use a very VERY course metal file to level standard frets and then don't polish or crown them. It's still not going to be as course as you are seeing here, but I can't think of another way to do it.
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Idk, that is a very plausible scenario, I'd still like to think this was on purpose, because I also have seen very few brass fretted guitars, and none like this. I will research about this crowning of frets though. The sound of the guitar with the ridges on the frets just sounds too..... Meant to be lol. It's very neat sounding, and I figured it was a specific type of guitar, IE: classical, acoustic, electric, lap steel, dobro, etc.

If it helps the Brand is "Winston" from what I have researched, I find no mention of it's MFR but one resource, however Demont guitars says they do not believe Guyatone made it. IDK.
I will leave my last post, but I am sorry to say that I do not believe this was a Recrowning issue at a large scale plant with poor quality. I do not see a 1930's-40's (maybe) factory having the machinery to do this to a guitar, not that they were not around, But I found one mention of this brand anywhere, so it leads me to believe it was a short lived company, which probably couldn't have afforded to have that kind of equipment. But Not all of the frets have ridges, it is frets 2-9, they skipped 1,10,11,12,13,14 Which leads me to believe this was intentional. The ones with ridges are the most common I play, even on electric, and I am sure it is like that for more than just me. I really just think it is too ergonomic, and good sounding to have been accidental.
Most of these cheap value guitars that where made from the '40 through to the '70 were made in the same same handful of factories regardless of brand. The reason it's only on frets 2-9 is because those are the frets that they have to add neck relief too so that the neck doesn't buzz. Usually the relief is sanded into the fretboard but occasionally that step gets missed so when it goes into the machine that levels the frets it ends up having to grind significantly more off frets 2-9 than any other frets. If you look closely at your photo you will also see that the width of the top of the frets isn't consistent. Some spots have a very wide rigged area while other spots, on the same fret, are much more narrow. This is because of imperfections in fretboard sanding and the frets themselves. I've seen this happen on Kay, Silvertone, and a few other bargain brands that I can't think of off the top of my head. This was not a rare occurrence back in the day. Now days quality control over budget instruments is much tighter and tools used are better which is why you don't see it happen any more.

The reason the frets are brass is because brass was cheaper and they were trying to make the guitar as cheaply as possible.
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