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Thread: Fret wear on USA PRS's?

  1. #1
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    Fret wear on USA PRS's?

    I bought my first PRS used around 2 years ago it is a Royal Blue 2007 Custom 24 and when I got her was virtually unplayed with no fret wear.
    Now 2 years down the road I am seeing quicker fret wear on the PRS than I am with any of my other guitars.
    PRS wear after 2 years

    This is the wear on my 1995 Washburn USA MG 102 that I bought used and have been playing out hard for 15+ years now and have never dressed and recrowned the frets on.

    This is the first and only PRS I have owned so I have no point of reference in this is this normal guys on these guitars?
    I have seen the video where Paul talks about the hard PRS fret-wire but on my guitar that does not seem to be the case what gives?

  2. #2
    408 Sig Club President Twinfan's Avatar
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    The fretwire hardness has only recently changed, so a '97 has the older stuff. My '06 Modern Eagle has worn quicker than my more recent PS Sig which has been played very heavily.

    I'd say the wire moved to a harder spec around 2010...

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    I have not played PRS's long enough to know ( just over a year). That said, I feel confident in them, just could not swing them till recently. Is there any chance your guitar may have been refretted by the previous owner?

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    Authorized PRS Dealer Brandt@MusicInc's Avatar
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    Without having the guitar in my hands it looks like a re-crown of the first few frets maybe all you need. (Depending on the depth of those groves.) Your local tech should be able to handle this for a reasonable cost. Question, do you play all over the neck or are you typically a rhythm player grabbing open chords...?
    Brandt Bourque

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandt@MusicInc View Post
    Without having the guitar in my hands it looks like a re-crown of the first few frets maybe all you need. (Depending on the depth of those groves.) Your local tech should be able to handle this for a reasonable cost. Question, do you play all over the neck or are you typically a rhythm player grabbing open chords...?
    I play all over the neck and there is wear all over this neck. However I am primarily a hired in P/W player so I use the bottom of the neck a lot in many settings because of the key/ chordal voicings I am asked to play in. I am primarily hired in as the lead player when I'm playing in a group with more than just me on electric.
    Doing a dress and recrown itself is not the issue. It's the thought of having to do a dress and recrown this quickly on a guitar at this price point that I have a problem with.
    The info on PRS making a change in fretwire to a harder wire is helpful and makes sense. Can some one here confirm that change was made and a time it was done?
    Bottom line if this rate of fret wear is normal for these guitars it's not acceptable on a working player guitar and I will buy a CARVIN next time!
    Last edited by Ascension; 11-06-2013 at 01:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Audie View Post
    I have not played PRS's long enough to know ( just over a year). That said, I feel confident in them, just could not swing them till recently. Is there any chance your guitar may have been refretted by the previous owner?
    Nope she was pristine and just as it left the PRS factory when I got her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Twinfan View Post
    The fretwire hardness has only recently changed, so a '97 has the older stuff. My '06 Modern Eagle has worn quicker than my more recent PS Sig which has been played very heavily.

    I'd say the wire moved to a harder spec around 2010...
    It's a 2007 not a 1997. A Royal blue Custom 24 with a Brazilian board HFS/VB pickups and the WT neck to be exact.

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    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    I've had to re-fret my main CE a few times in the past 20 years, and the first time was after maybe five years of heavy use.. All frets are not created equal, there is a balancing act between frets that last and frets that sound "good". The general consensus about fret wire is that the harder it is, the brighter it sounds, and I assume PRS used a softer alloy for tonal purposes..perhaps? I mean.. PRS did issue a trem upgrade package that consisted of unplated brass saddle screws that supposedly "improved" tone... What can I say? Paul hears mouse farts.





    Quote Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
    I will buy a CARVIN next time!
    That's cool... Ugly chicks need love too.

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    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    I had a Japanese Fender Jazzmaster where I wore out the frets after 5 or 6 years as my only guitar. Nowadays I have several guitars that share the playing time but my #1 05 CU22 I have owned since 2006 did need a crown and level about a year ago.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
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    Strange.
    I have a 2006 that has been played, and played, and played some more, and there is very little fret wear. My original Artist 2 I bought back when they first came out and had it for a lot of years, and it wore about the same as my Gibson 347 I was using at the same time. You can always go stainless steel, but they are brighter and have a harder attack IMO. I dont like them.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
    Bottom line if this rate of fret wear is normal for these guitars it's not acceptable on a working player guitar and I will buy a CARVIN next time!
    Plenty of working musicians are happy with their PRSes, and have been for many years. I'm one of them, going back to 1991.

    So if yours is unacceptable for what you want, you should definitely switch to Carvin, and have one less thing to worry about.

    Why be unhappy? Do it!

    Heck, there's probably no difference in tone between a Carvin and a PRS.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 11-06-2013 at 11:20 PM.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  12. #12
    Senior Member aduayer's Avatar
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    Instead of going to the Carvin/Fender/I never had that kind of problem chat, I'd like to go back to the topic.
    I think Ascencion's problem is very intriguing and I'd love to know what could have happened to those frets too. I have a few PRS, I use heavy strings and play very often and hard and I only have to replace the frets once and I switch for the stainless steel ones, with I prefer by the way.
    I work for a band, that uses PRS guitars and they play something like 150 gigs a year and we only had to re.fret the #1 guitar twice in the last 8 years, so the frets wearing like that is very odd.
    looking back the pictures, both the PRS and Washburn frets are wearing with the same pattern, so looks like playing wearing. I am mentioned that because sometimes people accommodate the guitar with something making pressure on top of the strings and that can damage the frets, witch, doesn't looks like it.
    my only guess at the moment is that somehow the material on the frets of your guitar wasn't good. I have no idea who supplies frets to PRS, but that can happen with anything that is manufactured. A wrong mix of components, anyway... It's just me thinking about it and trying to come up with something that could explain that.
    my suggestion, would be to re.fret the guitar. I would say go with stainless steel frets. In either way, contact PRS custom service and tell your story. I don't think there's anything they can do about it, but I know stories about what PRS does when you write to them that I see no other company doing it.
    good luck and keep us up dated

  13. #13
    Just one more... HighGain510's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
    Can some one here confirm that change was made and a time it was done?
    Bottom line if this rate of fret wear is normal for these guitars it's not acceptable on a working player guitar and I will buy a CARVIN next time!
    If you need ABSOLUTE confirmation regarding the materials used, wouldn't it be better to pose the question to PRS directly perhaps? Their customer service folks are usually very quick to reply as well:

    custserv@prsguitars.com

    While it's nice that you can order SS frets on a Carvin stock, I'm not sure what you gain by "threatening" to switch to Carvin on the PRS official forum... Believe me, I love Carvin stuff too (I still have my custom Holdsworth HF2 Fatboy with SS fretwire), when they build a really nice guitar it is a beautiful thing, but PRS as a whole builds a much more solid and consistently great playing AND sounding guitar IMO, not even a close comparison. I've had a TON of Carvins show up that played amazingly well but even after a few pickup swaps just sounded lifeless.

    If you love the guitar, clearly you are playing the snot out of it, why not just pony up the $3-400 and get it refretted with your preferred size of stainless steel fretwire and call it a day?

    I was curious, what gauge strings are you using? Either you have some sort of kung-fu grip going on, you use heavier strings or it's a combination of the two as that seriously looks like an awful lot of wear going on and I don't think it's the frets, just IMHO... I play with a much lighter touch, but I have cycled through ALL of my PRS quite a bit over the last few years and never put anywhere near that amount of wear on the frets!

    P.S. I had an older McCarty Soapbar Standard that I modified heavily included adding huge Stainless Steel PLEK'd frets on there and now she's back to playing as amazing as they do new but without the worry of wearing the frets down again! Trust me, a couple hundred is worth it and if you clearly wear down frets like you do, it's quite a worthwhile investment, IMHO of course.
    -Matt

  14. #14
    Angry Southern Gentleman Hopeful Sinner's Avatar
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    I was kinda thinking technique, string gauge and/or possibly a lot of capo usage could be part of the issue since both guitars seem to be doing the same thing just at different intervals.

    Who knows man, I'd just get it refretted... No need to jump ship unless mutiny on the bounty was what it's all about...

  15. #15
    chief Shawn@PRS's Avatar
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    PRS has never changed our hardness specs for our fretwire, it has always been 200 on the Vickers hardness test. Of course as with any manufacturing there is always a variance, but we test each batch of fretwire to assure it meets our specification for not only hardness, but also size.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
    Bottom line if this rate of fret wear is normal for these guitars it's not acceptable on a working player guitar and I will buy a CARVIN next time!
    Ahem. With that remark and only 6 posts, it makes it seem as maybe this is just an anti PRS thread/post. Forgive me if I am wrong, but other than myself, I know quite a few PRS players who play the heck out of the guitars, and I have never heard of such an issue before. Here are a few pics of my 2006. The guitar has COUNTLESS hours of heavy use. For 3 months out of the year, sometimes between 7-12 hours a day, and usually a few hours a day year round. Its 7 years old now, and while there is some fret wear, it still has tons of time left before a dressing would even be needed. The action is as low as can be, and is buzz free on every string the entire length of the fretboard. My touch has lightened up, and I play varied music, so its not the same frets getting pounded all the time. I am sure that extends fret life, but none of my PRS has ever worn any faster than my Gibsons, Fenders or Guilds. the PTC has very fair prices. Why not send it to them, have them look it over and see if there is/was any problem with the existing frets? PRSs customer service is so good, if they found anything wrong I would bet they would fix it free of charge, but I seriously doubt it is a factory problem.








    (LOTS of use)

  17. #17
    Senior Member yankeebulldog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post

    That's cool... Ugly chicks need love too.
    PRS Guitars - PS #4344 SC245, PS #4343 DC245, Ted SC245 Willcutt's WL Limited, Paul's Guitar
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  18. #18
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn@PRS View Post
    PRS has never changed our hardness specs for our fretwire, it has always been 200 on the Vickers hardness test. Of course as with any manufacturing there is always a variance, but we test each batch of fretwire to assure it meets our specification for not only hardness, but also size.
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

  19. #19
    Just one more... HighGain510's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alantig View Post
    Ha! I thought the same thing!
    -Matt

  20. #20
    That looks like something whacked the strings and they gouged into the frets, along with the being played hard - theres that big dent in the G string at the 2nd fret. Ive seen COUNTLESS guitars of all makes with that, and invariably the owner will tell me they dropped the guitar, something got whacked into the strings, or they lean their guitar fretboard-first into their amp. In fact, I have a '97 PRS here thats been played, I guarantee, way harder than the one you've pictured and its got the same gouge.

    I've seen guitars set up with their action too low, where they were buzzing on the frets acoustically, but you couldn't hear it through the amp - the strings inaudible vibration against the frets frets will wear like that in weeks to months, not years.

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