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 Post subject: Pure nickel strings and fret wear question
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:20 am 
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So I bought a Fender Strat MIM for xmas and due to it not being my main guitar I haven't played it all that much since I got it 4 months ago. I probably play it just a few hours a week.
But one thing that is bugging me is that I'm already starting to see fret wear despite me having a fairly light touch, and I've had my other guitar for over a year and have played it daily and had no problems.
So I've been looking on forums and people seem to suggest using pure nickel strings. So I've been shopping around and every time I look at strings that say they are pure nickel, I read that the other 3 strings are steel which completely defeats the point of me buying pure nickel.

I'm wondering if anyone knows of any brand that are in fact pure nickel, and would also like to hear your thoughts on fret wear with Fenders.


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 Post subject: Re: Pure nickel strings and fret wear question
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:28 am 
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billhicks85 wrote:
... people seem to suggest using pure nickel strings. ... every time I look at strings that say they are pure nickel, I read that the other 3 strings are steel which completely defeats the point of me buying pure nickel. ... I'm wondering if anyone knows of any brand that are in fact pure nickel, and would also like to hear your thoughts on fret wear with Fenders.
    Hi billhicks85 and welcome to the forum!

    I too have asked the same question. The term "pure nickel" can be misleading especially when we read descriptions such as "Nickel Wound", "Nickel Plated", and "Nickelplated Steel".


    Metallurgy is certainly not my area of expertise and I stand to be corrected, but I don't believe an electric guitar string can be 100% nickel. My understanding is that the core is steel and in the case of the first 2 or 3 strings, depending on the brand and set, it's often pure steel. The other strings have a steel core wound with nickel, or plated with nickel, or coated with nickel. I think it all means the same thing.

    With the possible exception of stainless steel fret wire, fret wear will occur regardless of string type. Actually I'm thinking that it's about time to change fret wire on my Classical guitar. It would be the first re-fret in 28 years but it does show you that even nylon strings will eventually wear out the frets.

    As for fret wear on Fender guitars, I can't say it's either more or less than on other guitars I've owned or played.

    HTH

    Cheers!
    BM

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 Post subject: Re: Pure nickel strings and fret wear question
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:09 am 
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"Pure" nickel, in and of itself is not magnetic. The three plain strings (two if the third string is wound) are always steel, no getting around it. The remaining wound strings are a steel core (either round or hex-sided in cross section) wrapped with either nickel plated steel or in "pure" nickel. I use "pure" in quotes because the nickel is still an alloy of some sort but it is not simply plated on. I'm not addressing specialty strings like stainless, chrome plated, or colbalt strings. Fender strings are available as either nickel plated or "pure" nickel wrapped.

Nickle plated:

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"Pure" Nickel wound:

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My MIM Standard Strat is 3 years old and shows no sign of fret wear. Of ourse, I don't play it every day (I have 5 other guitars) and I don't play professionally. I use the "pure" nickel version of the Fender ball end and bullet end strings on all my guitars.

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 Post subject: Re: Pure nickel strings and fret wear question
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:49 am 
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there is no such thing as pure nickle is too britle to make into strings. a better description would be a higher nickel content. this would do two things make the strings more rust resistant and add life to them.. why because the metal is harder. so naturally being harder they would put more wear on the frets.


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 Post subject: Re: Pure nickel strings and fret wear question
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:17 pm 
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amx05462 wrote:
there is no such thing as pure nickle is too britle to make into strings. a better description would be a higher nickel content. this would do two things make the strings more rust resistant and add life to them.. why because the metal is harder. so naturally being harder they would put more wear on the frets.


This goes against everything I've ever read about the various "Pure Nickel" strings, which is that they are softer and wear the frets less.
I mostly use DR Pure Blues. Mainly because I like the tone, but also because I believed it would extend the life of my frets.

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 Post subject: Re: Pure nickel strings and fret wear question
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:28 pm 
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Best way to get the most life out of your frets is to keep your hands clean and keep your strings clean too. Which means a thorough wipe down of the fret board and strings after you've played.
Grime on strings causes more fret wear than anything else.

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 Post subject: Re: Pure nickel strings and fret wear question
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:12 pm 
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Drew365 wrote:
amx05462 wrote:
there is no such thing as pure nickle is too britle to make into strings. a better description would be a higher nickel content. this would do two things make the strings more rust resistant and add life to them.. why because the metal is harder. so naturally being harder they would put more wear on the frets.


This goes against everything I've ever read about the various "Pure Nickel" strings, which is that they are softer and wear the frets less.
I mostly use DR Pure Blues. Mainly because I like the tone, but also because I believed it would extend the life of my frets.

Precisely. Nickel is softer and more malleable than steel.

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 Post subject: Re: Pure nickel strings and fret wear question
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 3:39 pm 
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OK Theres definitely something wrong with these frets.
I've just changed the strings for the first time and there is definitely noticeable fret wear.
I've never seen anything like this, theres even considerable wear around the strings that are nickel wound.
The 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th fret have been flattened a little from bending, but I've hardly bent strings with this guitar, in fact I've hardly played it.
And I swear I have a light touch.
Wtf?!


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 Post subject: Re: Pure nickel strings and fret wear question
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 3:50 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Pure nickel strings and fret wear question
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 4:09 pm 
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I know it doesn't look much but I've hardly played it and its already caught up with the guitar I've had for over a year and play all the time. It's worrying me.


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 Post subject: Re: Pure nickel strings and fret wear question
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 5:27 pm 
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I have a guitar with stainless steel frets, and I use pure nickel strings on it to tame the high end a bit (but honestly regular strings sound fine on it too). I can tell you that the stainless steel frets absolutely eat through pure nickel strings at a much faster rate than usual, so pure nickels are softer. But that would really only address the wound strings on your guitar, the plain strings are steel.

Also, you have to take into account that every guitar seems to have a different rate of fret wear depending on how soft the frets are to begin with. I've noticed that on some of my guitars, if I so much as breathe on the strings they leave fret wear! On others, I've played them for years and they don't even need a fret level yet. You could just have a guitar with faster wearing frets.

Has the guitar ever taken a fall or has something ever possibly impacted that guitar in that area? It strikes me as a little bit strange that the grooves where the string is wound should be so well defined. I could be completely wrong on your guitar, but I have seen guitars with wear due to something hitting it on the neck. And I've also seen guitars with grooves like that from regular wear, so it's not really all that unusual.

Fret wear is a fact of life for guitar players, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. If the guitar is a 2006 or newer, it should have medium jumbo frets. That should allow for at least a couple of fret levels in the future. I don't think your wear is bad enough to affect intonation yet. Of course, fret wear is still a constant annoyance so if and when you ever need a refret I'd suggest looking into stainless steel frets to see if they're right for you. You can even buy a replacement neck from Warmoth and other similar companies like Allparts or USACG that is fretted with stainless steel frets and costs roughly the same as a refret would cost (only you'll never need a refret again). But you probably have years to go before you need to even think about that.

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 Post subject: Re: Pure nickel strings and fret wear question
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 8:54 pm 
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billhicks85 wrote:
I know it doesn't look much but I've hardly played it and its already caught up with the guitar I've had for over a year and play all the time. It's worrying me.


What gauge strings are you using? That much fret wear in less than 6 months does not say "light touch" to me. That is some heavy grinding by the 6th string. Unfortunately, fret wear is not covered by the warranty, but it might be worth taking the guitar to an authorized service center and letting them look at it.

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 Post subject: Re: Pure nickel strings and fret wear question
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 2:10 am 
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I'm using .009's.
Like I said my other guitar, which is a cheaper Ibanez btw, has been played a lot more frequently for a lot longer and doesn't show this kind of fret wear, and I use .010s on that.
I've only had this guitar for about 5 months and only play it a couple of times a week sometimes less. The other I play almost every day and had for 1 and a half years.


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 Post subject: Re: Pure nickel strings and fret wear question
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 5:14 pm 
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nikininja wrote:
Best way to get the most life out of your frets is to keep your hands clean and keep your strings clean too. Which means a thorough wipe down of the fret board and strings after you've played.
Grime on strings causes more fret wear than anything else.


Thanks for the reminder, nikininja. I get sloppy.

Now those wear marks for a new instrument make me wonder about the quality of the frets right out of the factory. I am guessing that cost-cutting is a very studied area where every detail counts, and so it doesn´t surprise me that players buy a MIM and then upgrade a few appointments, be that potentiometers, frets, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Pure nickel strings and fret wear question
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 7:06 pm 
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mike07502 wrote:
Now those wear marks for a new instrument make me wonder about the quality of the frets right out of the factory. I am guessing that cost-cutting is a very studied area where every detail counts, and so it doesn´t surprise me that players buy a MIM and then upgrade a few appointments, be that potentiometers, frets, etc.


My MIM Standard Strat is three years old and I have been using Fender 10-46 Pure Nickel strings on it for the past two years and it has zero fret year. There is something going on with the OP's guitar that is not right. What, I have no clue.

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