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Old 05-17-2019, 05:27 AM
Finger Stylish Finger Stylish is offline
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Default RainSong RE-Fret (UPDATE)

It's all done!
This is a review of a recent re-fret I had done on my Carbon Fiber RainSong guitar. RainSong uses nickel frets as their standard. I purchased the guitar new from Specialty Guitars Plus in Charlottesville, VA in 2012. After about five years, the frets were in bad need of leveling and dressing. 2 years after that they were beyond another re-leveling and needed replacing. I opted for the Sintoms Ringing Stainless steel .109(2.7mm) x .038(.96mm). I purchased them from Philadelphia Luthier Tools & Supplies.(thank you jonfields45 for that info) Stainless is harder and shouldn't wear as fast as the nickel.
My luthier Bishop Stearn in Gordonsville VA did the replacement.
It was his first time using SS and his first time re-fretting a Carbon Fiber guitar. It was a 2 day turn-a-round and he said it was the easiest re-fret he's ever done. All total the cost of the re-fret was $192
As far as differences from the previous nickel frets; The guitar sounds maybe a little brighter, and the sustain seems a little longer.
Could be due to the new strings which are Martin Monel Custom lights.
I play at least 10 hours a week and apparently have a strong left hand grip. If you are needing a re-fret, you might consider Stainless Steel.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:01 AM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Congratulations you made the right choice by going with stainless steel frets, sounds like you're quite happy. Rainsong should be using those by default on a carbon fiber guitar IMO. Thanks for sharing your experience.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:16 AM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Good to hear that worked out for you! Stainless steel frets add one more level of "not having to fuss with" a nice carbon fiber guitar. That should give you many more years of happy playing!
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:29 AM
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SprintBob SprintBob is offline
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Vance,

Just so you know and you might check with Rainsong, carbon fiber has a galvanic reaction with stainless steel where stainless becomes the anode and CF is the cathode. I own an all carbon fiber sailboat with a carbon fiber mast and anytime you bolt stainless to carbon, we have to make sure the stainless is 316LSS and there is some type of barrier between the stainless and the carbon (epoxy, silicone sealant, etc.). If you don't do this with 316LSS, you get a stain that looks like rust but it does not pit. 304SS (lower nickel content) will pit.

I'd like to do SS frets too but this is in the back of my mind. I'd be interested if you knew of this and had to take any precautions.

Guitar sounds awesome in the video.

Cheers,

Bob
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Last edited by SprintBob; 05-19-2019 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:16 AM
ac ac is offline
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Depending on the type of stainless steel, there are some SSs that possibly can have reaction when in long contact with SS, but not all types.

https://www.corrosionpedia.com/galva...olymers/2/1556

Since there is likely a pretty large number of guitars with SS frets owned by forum members here, folk with Emeralds, CAs, & Blackbirds, hopefully we can collect some first hand experience how their guitars are faring. I know some of these guitars will be a good number of years old--plenty of time for anything to happen if it's going to.

Does anyone have experience with any type of reaction with their SS frets that they can identify? Photos would be a plus.

I'd be curious to know.
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:43 AM
NoodleFingers NoodleFingers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SprintBob View Post
Jim,

Just so you know and you might check with Rainsong, carbon fiber has a galvanic reaction with stainless steel where stainless becomes the anode and CF is the cathode. I own an all carbon fiber sailboat with a carbon fiber mast and anytime you bolt stainless to carbon, we have to make sure the stainless is 316LSS and there is some type of barrier between the stainless and the carbon (epoxy, silicone sealant, etc.). If you don't do this with 316LSS, you get a stain that looks like rust but it does not pit. 304SS (lower nickel content) will pit.
I'm pretty sure the fretboard and bridge on RainSongs isn't carbon fiber but some kind of molded resin. You certainly can't see any weave there.
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:54 AM
mountainmaster mountainmaster is offline
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Emerald fretboards have a top layer of polyester. So no worries there.

According to the page ac linked to fiber-glass mitigates galvanic corrosion. Does that mean Rainsongs of the hybrid series are safe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoodleFingers View Post
I'm pretty sure the fretboard and bridge on RainSongs isn't carbon fiber but some kind of molded resin. You certainly can't see any weave there.
True, you cannot see it. Still, this is what the Rainsong website says: "Performance Shape Casting™, a process invented by RainSong, allows necks and fretboards to be cast simultaneously as a single graphite matrix."
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Last edited by mountainmaster; 05-17-2019 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:13 AM
Finger Stylish Finger Stylish is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SprintBob View Post
Jim,

Just so you know and you might check with Rainsong, carbon fiber has a galvanic reaction with stainless steel where stainless becomes the anode and CF is the cathode. I own an all carbon fiber sailboat with a carbon fiber mast and anytime you bolt stainless to carbon, we have to make sure the stainless is 316LSS and there is some type of barrier between the stainless and the carbon (epoxy, silicone sealant, etc.). If you don't do this with 316LSS, you get a stain that looks like rust but it does not pit. 304SS (lower nickel content) will pit.

I'd like to do SS frets too but this is in the back of my mind. I'd be interested if you knew of this and had to take any precautions.

Guitar sounds awesome in the video.

Cheers,

Bob
I did contact RainSong Customer Service regarding the change. This was their response sent to me on 05/01/19.

"Hello Vance,

Thank you for contacting us.

I have attached the specs for the frets we use. I'm not sure if you'll be able to find the exact same fret in stainless but I'm guessing you'll be able to find something close. I have spoken with a few RainSong players that have had stainless frets installed and they were happy with the result so my expectation is that it will work well for you too.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Kind regards,

Dave"

I'm guessing they weren't concerned.
The tone is a little different, but I like it so far. I play plugged in almost exclusively, so I can EQ in and out what I want. So far I have put more Bass in the balance than I was using.
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1976 Martin D-28(original owner)
1992 Taylor 420(original owner)
2012 RainSong H DR 1000(original owner)
2011 Gretsch Anniversary Model(original owner)
Mandolin- 1920's A-Style (unknown brand)
Mandolin- Guitar Works A style
Banjo -2016 Gold Tone EBM-5+
Yamaha -1999 FG 460 SA (my drop tune axe)

Last edited by Finger Stylish; 05-17-2019 at 06:38 PM. Reason: Correction needed
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:59 PM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ac View Post
Depending on the type of stainless steel, there are some SSs that possibly can have reaction when in long contact with SS, but not all types.

https://www.corrosionpedia.com/galva...olymers/2/1556

Since there is likely a pretty large number of guitars with SS frets owned by forum members here, folk with Emeralds, CAs, & Blackbirds, hopefully we can collect some first hand experience how their guitars are faring. I know some of these guitars will be a good number of years old--plenty of time for anything to happen if it's going to.

Does anyone have experience with any type of reaction with their SS frets that they can identify? Photos would be a plus.

I'd be curious to know.
I browsed through the article and while plain steel, CF, and salt water are a problem, some select stainless steels, CF, and salt water might be a problem, without salt water it seems you are pretty safe. I've been eating salty electrically conductive food (entirely carbon based!) with our stainless tableware since I got married in 1981 and I can faithfully report no pitting! To be safe, after refretting with SS it seems you should not bolt your guitar to the outside of a boat :~).

From production photos of old for both CA and RainSong, the fretboard is not a CF composite (you would not want pointy fibers poking up out of the fretboard after a little sanding as part of a re-fret). The typical composite for guitar parts is phenolic or epoxy cut/fortified with paper or cloth fiber both of which would be soft if exposed. And of course recycled pulp and cloth fiber are a lot cheaper than phenolic or epoxy!
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Old 05-17-2019, 02:24 PM
MiG50 MiG50 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoodleFingers View Post
I'm pretty sure the fretboard and bridge on RainSongs isn't carbon fiber but some kind of molded resin. You certainly can't see any weave there.
I always assumed it was something similar to the micarta fretboards that Martin uses. Composite, but not carbon fiber.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:43 PM
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Thanks Vance for that information. I'm sure your guitar is going to be fine, and putting this information up is gold. The question of refretting a CF guitar comes up on the AGF from time to time and this is now a point of real life reference. When I need to refret my guitars I will definitely go with stainless.
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Old 05-18-2019, 04:14 AM
Finger Stylish Finger Stylish is offline
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CF guitars are here to stay and every day we're all learning something new about them.
Sharing that new is an awesome responsibility and privilege.
I appreciate all the comments and thoughtful questions that the CF owners always have. Cutting edge is what CF guitars and their owners are it seems!
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1976 Martin D-28(original owner)
1992 Taylor 420(original owner)
2012 RainSong H DR 1000(original owner)
2011 Gretsch Anniversary Model(original owner)
Mandolin- 1920's A-Style (unknown brand)
Mandolin- Guitar Works A style
Banjo -2016 Gold Tone EBM-5+
Yamaha -1999 FG 460 SA (my drop tune axe)
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Old 05-18-2019, 07:54 AM
studioman001 studioman001 is offline
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Although I love my Emerald X20, I would also like to purchase a rainsong dreadnought at some point so this is good to know. Thanks!
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:19 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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A jam buddy of mine has a classic DR-1000 and loves my X20 too. They are different animals, both very nice. The Rainsong is LOUD and BOLD. He was also quite taken by my X30, FWIW. If not for some recent medical expenses making money tight for him, he would be pestering me to sell it to him.

Back on topic, my 2001 built WS-1000 has seen a lot of play time, and I have a heavy left hand, but its frets are holding up nicely. It is not my only player, but has certainly seen a lot of logged play time. I have already decided that any re-fret work on any guitar will be stainless steel, or maybe EVO gold if my luthier objects to SS.
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finger Stylish View Post
I did contact RainSong Customer Service regarding the change. This was their response sent to me on 05/01/19.

"Hello Vance,

Thank you for contacting us.

I have attached the specs for the frets we use. I'm not sure if you'll be able to find the exact same fret in stainless but I'm guessing you'll be able to find something close. I have spoken with a few RainSong players that have had stainless frets installed and they were happy with the result so my expectation is that it will work well for you too.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Kind regards,

Dave"

I'm guessing they weren't concerned.
The tone is a little different, but I like it so far. I play plugged in almost exclusively, so I can EQ in and out what I want. So far I have put more Bass in the balance than I was using.
Thanks for checking, sounds like a non-issue.
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Collings 0001A (Adi/Mahogany)
Froggy Bottom H-12 (Adi/EIR)
Rainsong CO-WS1005NST (all carbon fiber)
Robinson 12 Fret SS Dread (Spruce/Mahogany)
Santa Cruz Skye 00 (Adi/Coco)
Taylor K-22ce 12 fret (all Koa)
Eastman 810CE (Spruce/Maple archtop)
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