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Seems I've always got grief on the following  2 subjects....but I'll approach them from a different angle?

Here goes:   Anybody have an opinion, any experience  or would comment about  1) stainlees steel frets and 2) Earvana compensation nuts and/or saddles?

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Funny. I get grief in forums when I start talking Hot Hide Glue.  Go Figure.

As a repair man SS frets are a real pain in the tookus to deal with. Way hard on my tools, hands and patience but once set up properly will certainly outlast nickle silver.  I won't comment on the sonic differences because that is really subjective and probably where most of the aforementioned grief comes from. 

Compensated nuts are enjoying a come back.  I like a zero fret and a low first fret action myself but again that is a subjective and personal preference.  Guitars don't seem to have the problems that banjo's do but each compensation you do on a nut (or saddle for that matter) is dependent on the key you are playing in, the scale length and the string dynamics.  The Ervana system does spec out well and won't harm your playing but I don't see it becoming a new standard any time soon.  

I had a favorite instrument of a very accomplished player on my bench once and discovered that it intonated pretty flat across all strings.  I "corrected" this to the dismay of my client.  When I put the old slightly flat saddle back he was delighted. Turns out he had developed a habit over the years of bending each note up to proper pitch.  Without knowing it he was compensating for each key he was playing in. It had become a natural thing for him to do.  By correcting the intonation I had inadvertently removed his ability to sharp up the notes he wanted to.  So much for my strobe tuner and technical knowledge.

Greg N

Thanks for the comments Greg.   I use a capo quite a lot up and down the fret board and it's my experience on my dozen plus various guitars that most all instruments "creep" to sharp......which absolutely drives me nuts...since I'm very pitch sensitive.   I've read moocho reviews on the Earvana system and even though Hohner isn't a big player in the inexpensive acoustic guitar business, they have been installing these nut/saddle combos for a couple years now on their "Essential" acoustic series.   I've played 2 different  ones off the self and was blown away by the dead on intonation, yet  I see little to nothing via all the various guitar mags and net sites about this system...particularly by "luthiers".


I'm thinking about doing a couple ss refrets on an old Martin Sigma and an Ovation Anniversary...I already have Stew mac diamond fret files......I'll let ya know how it goes.


Thanks agin for the git back.

I didn't even want to mention capos.  Removes the effect of the compensated nut as soon as you apply it if you are still using the saddle that was compensated for a straight nut. If you compensated the saddle for the compensated nut now what? The capo is in essence creating a straight zero fret.

Guitars that sharp as you climb are under compensated. The fix depends on the player preferences and other set up issues.  Action height is a major component.  The taller the action the greater the compensation needed since the string is stretched when you fret it just like when you intentionally bend a note sharp.  I'll stop there but there are many more things to take into consideration.

I would love to hear from you on how the re-frets go.  Even with the diamond files the SS is hard to dress compared to standard.  Any extra time spent making sure the fret board is dead on and properly dressed will benefit you in the end.

Greg N


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