Sintoms has developed a range of fret wire made from Bronze. They have studied the metallurgy of Bell Bronze. Bells made from Bronze ring for a long time after they have been struck. This long resonance has been utilised in the production of Bronze Frets.
In Sintoms’ evaluation of their new Bronze fret wire they conclude the following.
- Increased wear resistance
- Prolonged Sustain
- Improved Articulation
- Well-balanced sound
- Pleasing Aesthetics
Most fretted instruments are made with Nickel Silver fret wire that is around 82% copper and 18% Nickel. Musicians who perform concerts and practice intensively can find the fret wire wears quite quickly. The instrument may need re-fretting every 3 years or so. During the re-fretting process the fret slots become damaged and after a couple of re-frets it may no longer be possible to carry out an acceptable re-fret. Replacement of the fingerboard may be necessary which will inevitable alter the feel and tone of the instrument.
Bronze fret wire is highly resistant to wear and may last between 7 and 10 times longer than the factory standard wire. Vladimir Maisuk’s Taylor acoustic guitar, fitted with 12-56 high tension strings was fitted with Sintoms Bronze frets 5 years ago. Vladimir plays 3-4 hours every day and even after 5 years of this intensive playing there is no sign of fret wear on the guitar.
The Bell Bronze used in Sintoms Bronze frets have shown an improvement in sustain over the standard nickel silver frets. Sintoms “Frill” profile coupled with the bell bronze metal provides a more clear sound throughout the full sound range of the instrument. More on the Frill Profile in a later article.
On an instrument fretted with Nickel Silver frets, the frets themselves respond differently across the range of note frequencies. Low to mid frequencies can be absorbed slightly by the copper/nickel alloy. Bronze frets, on the other hand, have less absorption of the low and mid frequencies and so offer greater clarity of tone across all the frequencies.
You will know that bells are made to produce a wide range of frequencies and they ring clearly across that range. Sintoms Bell Bronze fret wire performs similarly when installed on an instrument to product a more balanced and natural sound.
Bell Bronze has a nice deep golden colour that blends well with either gold or chrome coloured hardware. The golden colour is not a surface finish; it is the colour of the metal. When making high end instruments Sintoms Bell Bronze fret wire gives you a distinctive finish to the fingerboard.
Tonetech has 6 sets of Bronze fret wire to give away free (one set per TonetechPro customer). We have 3 sets of 2.5mm crown width and 3 sets of 3.0mm crown width. All we ask in return is that you send us your evaluation of working with bronze frets and the effect they have on the sound of your instrument.
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