- Rob Parry
Touch of Gold
EVO Gold fret wire made by Jescar is an absolute delight. The frets don't corrode, or get scratched by the strings and they hold their polish well with a glassy feeling under the fingers.
As a lil' side project I've done a re-fret and fretboard radius change on my beloved '62 RI strat.
My jigs may not be pretty, they look worse then something made in 2 minutes on Blue Peter, but they do a job. In this case it keeps the sanding block straight, going from a 7¼" to a 9½" radius doesn't take too long.
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this fret wire so I only ordered just enough, cutting it a little fine I had this much left over:
The frets are 1.2mm tall and 2.4mm wide, or the same as Dunlop 6125. This puts them in-between Fender standard (1.1x2.6) and the 6105 on Custom Shop models (1.4x2.3). They're closer to vintage than jumbo in width, but they're still nice and high without feeling like train tracks.
I've been doing a lot of fret work lately, sometimes two guitars a day, every day, and on some of them polishing is a waste of time since playing them for a couple of minutes puts scratches from the strings into the crowns. With traditional Nickel Silver fret wire there is a threshold in quality where under a certain hardness the strings will just chew them up very easily.
A note on hardness: the Vickers scale gives a measure of how hard a material is, higher the better when it comes to fret wire. Cheap nasty wire comes in around 100, Dunlop wire is around 150 and Jescar wire is about 180. These are all traditional Nickel Silver wires, and the tipping point is around the 150 mark, anything below that is a waste of time. If you fret a note firmly and pluck it hard and can see a mark left on the fret by the string, then your frets are too soft. For reference these EVO gold frets are 250, and stainless steel is 300, both are fabulous but EVO can be worked easily while stainless steel destroys tools. Small margins.