What size fret wire should I use?

Customers ask me quite often what size stainless steel fret wire should they use. It takes  experience and talking with you the customer to decide.

Lets get this out of the way to start. The size of the fret wire has nothing to do with intonation. If the wire is properly crowned during a refret all wire will provide correct intonation. If you have big wire and you squeeze the strings when you play you are going to go sharp. So to help you decide you need to look at your style.

Personally I like 6100 on electrics and either 6105 or 6150 on acoustics but that is just me. This is about you! 6100 at .110 x .057 is considered jumbo but Jescar and Ibanez both make bigger wire.  Why do I like 6100? Because I have a light touch and the fret wire is high enough that with my light touch my fingertips do not press hard on the fingerboard resulting in lower friction. It is especially suited to lead work and shredding.

Next in line is 6150 at .104 x .047. This is a great all around stainless steel fret wire for electrics. It is wider than 6105 but narrower than 6100. Many like the feel better than 6100. It’s a tough call. If you feel 6100 is too big for you but you are wanting a mid Jumbo then this would be it.

And finally 6105 at .095 x .047.  A very comfortable stainless steel fret wire. Great for acoustics and electrics. I have put this on many Martins and Taylors and Fenders. People are very happy with it. Since this wire is narrower and a little lower, for some people it doesn’t have that railroad track feel to it.   Your guitar may very well have this wire on it.

As you can see there is little difference between 6150 and 6105. On a maple neck I might advise you to go with 6150 if you had 6105. Why? To cover up witness lines in the finish. When frets are removed there is sometimes a faint visible line on the fingerboard on both sides of the fret slot. A slightly wider fret will cover those witness lines up. If the fret board is refinished then obviously that is not an issue.

 

2017-07-23T09:40:12+00:00

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