Price paid: $ 29.99
Purchased from: www.ChromeFretsUSA.com
Ease of Use: It amazes me how little things can make a person play guitar better and faster. The most obvious course of action is to acquire a decent guitar one with low string action and a well-constructed neck. The latter factor is important since even a guitar with low action can feel like you're wrestling out the notes. A second and less obvious choice is to use a good plectrum (my choice of weapon are the various V-Picks). As well, different guitar strings certainly produce superior results, like the nanoweb, ultra-thin coated Elixirs. In the past I also used rub-on products for my strings and frets like Fast-Fret by GHS. This is a fair product, and you can feel the difference right away, although the results are not long-lasting and you have to use it often. I no longer use Fast-Fret since integrating the more advanced non-silicone, safe and biodegradable Chrome-Frets.
Many guitarists may be reluctant in trying this Teflon wax lubricator, and first thoughts may include:
1) Will it gunk up my fretboard or strings;
2) Will it damage my fretboard; and
3) Will the slick strings cause my fingers to slip and Slide around, particularly while string-bending?
The resounding answer is no to all these questions. (It should be noted, however, that although the product conditions and cleans rosewood type fretboards, it may discolour maple fretboards that have any raw or exposed wood missing lacquer). Let's talk first about cleaning. I applied Chrome-Frets to a fairly new Les Paul Slash signature guitar, and with strings only a few weeks old. Since changing the strings, I may have played the LP no more than four hours. As well, I tend to wash my hands regularly to remove any dirt or sweat before handling my instruments. The amount of dirt and grime that this product removed was remarkable! The rosewood assumed a dark luster and the strings and frets gleamed like they came straight from the factory. The net effect, besides removing all that dirt, and because of the micro-thin Teflon coating, is prolonged string life (and tone life!), besides inhibiting corrosion from sweaty hands or moisture from higher humidity environments. If your strings are sounding dead and not as bright, it may be the result of embedded grime or lack of proper care. Unlike some other string and fretboard cleaners, Chrome-Frets implement a dual-sided spray applicator pad as a first and second cleaning step, then a polishing cloth as a finisher; the cleaning process enables you to clean around the strings 360-degrees. // 10
Sound: Now, on to the effect of playing after using Chrome-Frets: When the brochure claims "glass smooth action", it was not kidding. The strings' tone was brighter and sharper, as though ringing out. Fingers glide easily over the strings, thus making fast fret work and sweeping easier than before... Almost effortless. And most importantly, and this was to my surprise, the fingers do not slip while string bending. Quite the opposite, there is less drag on the frets, which makes string bending easier and higher bending notes possible (pay attention all you blues musicians). As another benefit, cleaning takes place from one end of the guitar to the other, from nut to saddle. Cleaning and lubricating those two areas improves the movement of the strings between contact points, so that strings do not stick, but micro-shifts easily on the nut and saddle. What this means is that a guitar will maintain tuning for longer while string bending or using a Whammy bar. // 10
Reliability & Durability: The Chrome-Frets kit fits easily in any guitar case and is a must have for amateur or professional musician alike. It is inexpensive and will last for dozens of applications and cleanings. This will prolong the life of your strings, but more importantly it improves one's playing. It's like putting on a new space-age neck and set of strings! The product is durable in that it seems to last at least a few weeks before having to re-treat the neck - very good staying power! // 9
Overall Impression: As a side note, a complaint I have with guitar manufacturers is the lack of cleaning and lubrication prior to shipping out guitars, or having them displayed in music stores. Certainly this is the responsibility of the eventual owner, but a little post-care factory finishing before shipping goes a long way. For example, the nut needs to be lubed to reduce detuning while using a tremolo arm (to keep the strings from catching or binding). As well, cleaning the fretboard and strings will enhance initial playing enjoyment. Both factors produce a more positive response when trying a guitar in a music store, thus increasing the potential to purchase, or when receiving your axe by delivery. And they way about doing this is by using Chrome-Frets. // 8