Warmoth Custom Guitar Parts - Fret Size

Warmoth offers a range of fret sizes and materials to suit every player. Use the information below to determine the fret wire that works best for you. Dunlop fret numbers are provided for reference only. Actual fret measurements will vary slightly from batch to batch.

Standard Nickel/Silver Fret Wire

This is our standard fret wire. It is drawn from the finest 18% hard nickel/silver to give long life with steel strings. The composition of this fret wire, while called "nickel/silver," contains no silver at all. The ingredients are brass and nickel. Our nickel/silver fretwire is rated at HV 170 on the Vickers hardness scale.

Item Number Width X Height Description Used By
6230 .080" X .037" This is the smallest fret wire Vintage Fender® necks
6130 .106" X .036" Low and wide. Sometimes called "Medium Jumbo" Many Gibson® necks
6105 .095" X .045" Narrow and tall Very popular choice
6150 .103" X .046" Wide and tall. The standard "Jumbo" Modern Fender American® necks
6100 .118" X .058" A very large wire, almost scalloped feel Common on Ibanez® necks

Stainless Steel Fret Wire

This is our premium fret wire. Stainless Steel is both harder and smoother than nickel/silver fretwire, offering superior longevity and a quick, glassy feel with negligible effect on tone. This makes it a great choice for those who use round-wound strings - notoriously hard on frets. Our top-quality, German-made Jescar fretwire is rated at HV 300 (+/-20) on the Vickers hardness scale. Add $20.

Item Number Width X Height Description Used By
SS6230 .080" X .043" Small vintage Fender Size Vintage Fender® necks
SS6105 .095" X .047" Narrow and tall Most popular choice
SS6150 .104" X .047" The standard "jumbo" size Modern Fender American® necks
SS6115 .108" x .051" "Jumbo" wire with more peak Unique to Warmoth
SS6100 .110" X .057" A very large wire, almost scalloped feel Common on Ibanez® necks

Gold Color Fret Wire

Our beautiful gold fretwire is a nickel-free copper alloy similar in color to 12k gold. This top-quality, German-made Jescar EVO wire is solid throughout and will never turn brassy or look worn. It is almost as hard as stainless steel and polishes up nicely for a super-fast, glass-like feel. Rated at HV 250 (+/-20) on the Vickers hardness scale. Add $30.

NOTE: Our gold fret wire is EVO hypo-allergenic, for those with allergies to nickel.

Item Number Width X Height Description Used By
GD6150 .104" X .047" Standard "Jumbo" size EVO Modern Fender® style
GD6100 .110" X .057" A very large wire, almost scalloped feel Ibanez® style

Choosing a Fret Wire

Choosing the correct fret size and material is purely a matter of personal preference. In general low frets are considered better for chords and rythm playing, while tall frets make string bends and lead techniques easier. 6105 and 6150 are our two most popular fret sizes, and represent a good balance.

The width of the fret determines the amount of wear that can be expected before leveling and re-crowning is necessary. Wider frets wear longer. Narrow frets wear faster. For the longest wear and exceptionally smooth string bending, with no change in tone, consider Stainless Steel frets. Gold fret wire has a unique look, and is also hypo-allergenic.

Our Fret Installation

Warmoth's fret installation technique is a hybrid of the compression and glued-fret methods. We first fill the fret slots with a gel-type cyanoacrylate glue. Then, as the frets are pressed in to place, the glue moves to fill in the spaces behind the barbs of the fret tangs. The result is a very stable and durable fret job. The glue has a release agent in it should a refret ever become necessary.

The fret edges are back-beveled to about 30°, and polished to a smooth finish. We can also leave this edge square and unfinished if your request it. Most Warmoth necks are playable as they are received and do not require additional fret leveling. If you desire extremely low action or some other specialized feel, additional fret work may be necessary.

Because wood moves with changes in temperature and humidity, fine fret work is best done after the neck has adjusted to these changes, and been strung up to pitch for several days. For this reason, Warmoth leaves this fine tuning to the end user.

While stainless steel and gold fretwire are harder material than nickel/silver, the same fret leveling/dress techniques can still be used. They take longer to dress, but these harder frets will last much longer than comparable sized nickel/silver frets.

Neck finishes that cover the fretboard are sprayed directly over the frets. Finish covering the frets may be scraped off, or simply left to wear off with use. A fret leveling operation will also take this off.