#1
- What's the advantage of jumbo frets that manufacturers love using so much? They take up an awful lot of space at the higher notes and can't be cheaper than less wide fretwire.

- No doubt this is going to vary with use, but in your experience, how long do ordinary frets (what material are they made of?) last before they start causing playability problems?
#2
Jumbo frets are popular because most people find them easier to play fast with, try fast licks on an acoustic vs an ESP, its all preference but a huge difference non the less.

Fret wear is pretty much solely determined but how often the guitar is used and how much pressure is applied to the strings when playing. Frets are usually nickel or stainless steel.
#3
Jumbo frets have a few advantages.

They give a guitar a more scalloped feel. The fact that they're taller means that the strings sit higher off the fretboard when they're fretted, and your fingers are less prone to 'dragging' on the fretboard, which makes it easier to bend strings. They also tend to last longer than smaller frets because there is typically a larger surface area in contact with the string when fretting, especially with frets that are wide (which is typical of large frets). And when the frets do need to be re-levelled, they can be re-levelled a greater number of times because there is physically more material on the fretwire to wear through. Smaller frets typically don't go through more than 1 or 2 levellings before needing replacement, depending on how worn they were before they were levelled.

How long frets last depends on a ton of factors. It depends on how often you play the guitar, how hard you fret it, what gauges of strings you use, and how much you fret in one particular area of the fretboard (such as the cowboy chord area of the first 4 frets). It also depends on what size of fretwire you're using and the metallurgy of the fretwire.

Typically fretwire is made out of a mixture of nickel, copper, lead and other metals. These kinds of frets can last decades, or only a couple of years depending on the percentages of the alloys present. Stainless steel fretwire can last many decades and can last the life of the guitar.

As you might've guessed, the questions you've asked have no simple answer. There are too many factors at play to say a set of frets lasts X amount of years.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Feb 26, 2015,
#4
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE

There are too many factors at play to say a set of frets lasts X amount of years.


Indeed, but perhaps some could share their experience, when they noticed fret wear, i.e. after x years, having played y times a day, for z hours on average.
#5
Frets are also made of different alloys. Some wear faster than others and some players play with more pressure than others so it's nearly impossible to come up with a number. I wouldn't worry about frets wearing out. You'll know if they do. They will have grooves in them that will affect your ability to play smoothly especially bending notes and they a very noticeable so you'll see them easily. God bless any player who has been at it long enough you wear out his frets.
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#6
Depends on the style you play and the type of player you are in that context. I have yet to wear out a set of frets, and I've been playing for 23 years! That said I've worn a set flat and had them redone, but that was once in a lifetime, at least so far.

Wear in my experience is not much of an issue unless you are a pro, or unless you are, like, independently wealthy and can sit and play for hours a day without getting paid for it.

I have a variety of guitars I play and I just pick the ones I like. Sound, feel, whatever floats my fancy at the time. Type of frets was never something I considered in the purchase, more...

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#7
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Typically fretwire is made out of a mixture of nickel, copper, lead and other metals. These kinds of frets can last decades, or only a couple of years depending on the percentages of the alloys present. Stainless steel fretwire can last many decades and can last the life of the guitar.

As you might've guessed, the questions you've asked have no simple answer. There are too many factors at play to say a set of frets lasts X amount of years.


To be completely honest and fair, lead, zinc and cadmium are likely present in most fret wires, but only as trace amounts.

Quote by dthmtl3
Indeed, but perhaps some could share their experience, when they noticed fret wear, i.e. after x years, having played y times a day, for z hours on average.


I own a Taylor 314CE acoustic that is a daily player. It is used for rhythm and lead practice around the house and gets a couple of hours of use daily. It has minor fret wear on the e, B and G strings. The e string is visibly worn up to about the 10th fret, the B string up to about the 11th fret and the G string up to about the 5th or 6th fret. Also have a 2006 Taylor T5 with more severe wear on those three strings. Both were purchased new by me.
#8
Fret wear is pretty much impossible to say, depend on how many hours you put in, how hard you push, fret material, string material. The answer would be a long time - thousands of hours barring abuse.

#9
Quote by dthmtl3
Indeed, but perhaps some could share their experience, when they noticed fret wear, i.e. after x years, having played y times a day, for z hours on average.

I can't because every guitar I've owned exhibit fret wear at different rates. Depends on too many factors for an estimation to be useful.
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#10
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Fret wear is pretty much impossible to say, depend on how many hours you put in, how hard you push, fret material, string material. The answer would be a long time - thousands of hours barring abuse.


But surely not thousands of hours of barre-ing abuse! Sorry, I'm getting loopy, I couldn't help myself.

OP, I have several guitars I play in rotation so I don't see fret wear very quickly. I had a fret job done on one erroneously due to bad advice form an incompetent tech.

I have a guitar I didn't play very much after the first year (my first guitar) that has a lot of fret wear on it and could probably stand to have a leveling done to it if I decided to play it again with any kind of frequency. I have another guitar I got about two years later that I played the hell out of for 12 years as my only guitar that, really doesn't have a lot of visible wear.

To kind of minimize the issue altogether, I did order the Carvin's I own with stainless steel fretwire. Given that I use nickel wrap (softer metal) strings on them, I do not expect to see noticeable fret wear on them for a LONG time, if ever. I suspect my eyesight will deteriorate at a quicker rate than wear sets in under those conditions