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boxofrocks
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Post by boxofrocks »

Fret wire is made of nickel and LEAD? I just learned that from How it's made on the Discovery channel. I might think twice about kids playing my axe from now on.
Silencio
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Post by Silencio »

Fret wire does not contain anything as soft as lead. From the Warmoth page:

"We offer only quality fret wire 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."

18% nickel is just enough to make brass look like silver. The stock Dunlop wire everybody uses is 18% nickel/silver. Some frets are made of stainless steel for even longer wear. I love How It's Made, but they either got it wrong or that was some shoddy manufacturing.
boxofrocks
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Post by boxofrocks »

They were at the Godin guitar factory. Must have been a mistake. Everything I found says nickle/silver. I hit the back button a couple of times on the DVR to make sure he actually said what I thought he said, and had a flash back of all the times I licked my fretboard :P
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Post by bassjones »

Godin makes far too nice of instruments to be using something that soft for fretwire. You might as well make wooden frets.
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Garr
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Post by Garr »

Having worked in the metals industry for about three and a half years (and my best friend is metallurgical engineer), I can tell you that lead is used in alloying as a grain modifier which adds to the tensile strength and flexibility of an alloy. There very well may be lead in that wire, but it's likely to be under 10% and bonded with aluminum or copper or iron as the primary metal.

The brief reading I did with this said that most fret wire is primarily iron and brass (brass being copper and tin) with nickel added in to make it bright. The lead is likely there to soften up the iron or affect it in some stage of heat treating or something like that. I'd have to do a bit more research to get a better answer.
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Post by Silencio »

That may be true, Garr, but the fact remains that saying frets are made of nickel and lead is like saying salad dressing is made of oil and salt.
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Post by HillgrassBluebillyFTW »

just think of all those prison tattoos that were done with...

oh wait, I was thinking guitar strings nevermind.
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Garr
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Post by Garr »

Silencio wrote:That may be true, Garr, but the fact remains that saying frets are made of nickel and lead is like saying salad dressing is made of oil and salt.
Which is why I stated that they are primarily (70% or more) made from a ferrous brass alloy. There are spectrometric traces of nearly every metal in any alloy, but most often, it's in trace amounts. For instance, alloyed aluminum contains over 12 different metals in it including iron, nickel, zinc, strontium, antimony, tin, copper, chromium, and others.

I don't believe that I was saying that fret wire was made exclusively or even predominantly of those metals (i.e. lead and nickel), but to say that they are not used at all, well, is just wrong.
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