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Thread: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

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    Default Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    Friends, Can anyone that has hands on experience help me decide between either of my final choices of fret wire?
    Will the 39040 SS be too skinny of a feel change- because my MT, AJr & A9 all have frets 80 wide - But I like the "idea" of being traditional / true to the F2 OEM versus the more comfortable feel of the 53 width but the GOLD color maybe too Non traditional
    FWIW, the instrument is in players cond. - not in collectors cond. but may turn into my only oval mandolin soon.
    Thanks, Bob
    p.s.The present frets are SOOOO low that it wouldn't be fair to judge off the present skinny feel & I'm at the Jersey Shore and mandolins are few and far between in whats left of brick and mortar stores to try b4 I buy.

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    I'm not going to answer your question. But the ends and plane (level-ness) of the frets, along with general fret geometry (nut and saddle height) affect feel far more than fret width. I really don't think anyone could feel the difference in a blind test if the ends are properly smoothed, and the geometry is right. It's a crowned fret. That's verging on 0 contact area, unless they're not well crowned or you're pressing down really hard.
    If I give you .060" frets, those are significantly smaller (objectively) than 0.080" frets. That's 1.5 vs 2mm. A lot, right?
    No, not really, That's two thicknesses of a sheet of paper at the widest bit, which is against the wood, which you never, ever touch. Not even when sliding.
    So pick which you are most enthused over, it'll be fine.

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    Thanks for enlightening info...Has anybody out there went from the OEM Gibson frets of the '20s (32hx34wx25tng)to either of the 2 sizes i m considering (53hx37w or 39hx40w) ???
    Last edited by frshwtrbob; Mar-04-2019 at 12:53pm. Reason: more info

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    I have the 37053 EVO on three Gibson F5s (one from the '20s), doesn't feel too narrow to me, looks elegant and mellow. Seems to last for a long time; 4 years now and still going strong; almost now wear at all.

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    I've refretted quite a few oval hole Gibsons.

    I generally prefer .080" wide by .040" high.
    I have also gotten good results with .053" wide by .037" high.

    The smaller wire is a little bit harder to work with-- it has a tendency to distort slightly if you use tang nippers to undercut the tang for instruments with bound fingerboards. If you are doing the work yourself, you might want to take this under consideration, especially if you have not done many fret jobs.

    If the frets are installed with minimal height taken off during the final levelling process, the difference in playability between the .080" wide and the .053" wide wire will be minor, but noticeable if you have sensitive fingers and play with a light touch. The .080" might be slightly more comfortable. I feel that any difference playability between the two wires is due to the difference in crown height rather than crown width.

    I have not used the .039" x .040" wire for a complete refret. I have used antique wire occasionally to replace a few worn frets. You've got to be pretty good at fretwork to do a good job with wire that small, especially on a 100 year old instrument. That's a different subject, though.

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    I am not doing the frets myself, and this is off the orig. questions (but as long as I have an experienced ear) would it be too shabby or incomplete of a job to not take off the binding? One of my luthiers sez "because the board should be shaved, it HAS to come off. (he's the expensive one)

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    Quote Originally Posted by frshwtrbob View Post
    I am not doing the frets myself, and this is off the orig. questions (but as long as I have an experienced ear) would it be too shabby or incomplete of a job to not take off the binding? One of my luthiers sez "because the board should be shaved, it HAS to come off. (he's the expensive one)
    I remember when I had my first mandolin refretted. The luthier ( the late John Zeidler )told me he would be taking the fret binding nubs down level to the fretboard. It didn't matter to me and the finished look and feel was great. I would think it would be a real pain to replace the frets while leaving the binding intact. My latest refret was done by my friend and luther, Corey Eller, who used gold evo frets. I play a lot and look forward to getting some more time between refrets.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    Quote Originally Posted by frshwtrbob View Post
    I am not doing the frets myself, and this is off the orig. questions (but as long as I have an experienced ear) would it be too shabby or incomplete of a job to not take off the binding? One of my luthiers sez "because the board should be shaved, it HAS to come off. (he's the expensive one)
    There is absolutely no reason to remove the binding. Modern tooling makes it absolutely unnecessary.
    Removing the binding is a disruptive repair practice.

    I do not follow your luthier's logic at all. If the board needs to be planed, the binding will be planed along with the fingerboard. If the fret slots need to be deepened, they can be deepened with a Dremel in a router base and a jewelers' bit. And it is standard practice to undercut the fret tang to clear the binding with a "tang nipper," which is a tool that is easily available from several sources. These techniques make it unnecessary to remove the fretboard binding. Repair people have been using these techniques for 20 or 30 years.

    I suggest that you get a second opinion from another luthier. You might want to contact Troy Harris in Poughkeepsie, NY. He is a competent repairman and a mandolin builder.

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    rcc56, Thanks for your suggestions - I have already showed the mandolin to another local luthier and he said he would leave the binding on - but I just wrote Troy as well. Up to 3 weeks ago, the previous owner (27 years) of this instrument had xtra lite strings on it and didn't keep it properly humidified - The backward bow that WAS there is no longer there since I have been maintaining 50% and put on a set of J74s - It's fairly playable now (& a hell of a lotta fun to hear) in its present "very worn out frets" state so there's no super rush to get this done.
    Do you think I should let the weather take it's course til May/June and see how the neck reacts BEFORE a luthier re-frets it and then it decides to react to the Jersey shore humidity where mandolin tops swell (absorb moisture )as usual and the action changes????
    Bob

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    That sounds like a good idea.

    Before you let it sit for a long time with J74's on it [and that is the heaviest string I would use on that mandolin], have someone check the top brace directly behind the soundhole and make sure that it is not loose. We frequently see this brace come loose on these old Gibsons.

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    39040SS is what I used for my lastest 5-6 mandolins. I love it. It is relatively easy to use and doesn't seem to wear. I like the slim vintage style. I haven't used it on radiused boards, I fear it may be harder to bend as it is as tall as it is wide. Undercutting the ends is very easy with two cuts with tips of my flush cutters and two strokes of fine file.
    Adrian

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    1st thing I did when I went to the sellers house was stick my fingers in the soundhole and check the top brace and it was fine. Troy Harris was nice enough to send photos of the Evo and SS for me to compare the looks AND he stated
    "I use the stainless steel .040 fret wire to maintain the vintage authenticity and the EVO Gold .053 for excellent playability. The .053 width is really the sweet spot for mandolin and the fret ends dress nicely."
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  17. #13
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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    FWIW, I just called Jescar to place an order and they are out of the 37053 Evo fretwire - The salesperson said they don't think they'll be ordering it for 6 months since it wasn't a very popular size...

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    I like the evo 37053 so much I fretted one of my Les Pauls with it!

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    Friends,
    Does anybody have a line on where to get it now that Jescar ran out and won't be ordering it soon???
    I specifically need the 200 tang size to fit the 1920 F2 fingerboard.
    Bob

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    Axiom lists it on their website at axinc.net. They specify the .020" tang in their diagram.

    If they are out of stock, LMI shows it in stock, but with .023" tang. If your luthier knows what he is doing, he will be able to make it work.

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    Wow,
    Thanx loads...
    I just emailed them.
    Bob

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    They are out of it and dont forsee getting any til the end of the year...they said that now that they're out of it, they've had the largest demand for it. Go figure.

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    Well, unless anybody can come up with another supplier, your choices are 53 x 37 EVO wire with .023" tang from LMI, or the #764 .053" x .037" nickel silver wire from Stew-mac, also sized for an .023" slot.

    For the record, I've never had any problems installing wire designed for an .023" slot on an old Gibson. You do have to knock the square corner off the back of the tang, and perhaps open the slot a tiny bit with a jeweler's bit in a Dremel router base, but this should be a routine procedure for anyone with reasonable experience in fret work.

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    Default Re: Jescar 37053EVO vs 39040 SS on a 1920 F2

    yabba dabba doooo!!!
    I found some EVO 37053 with the 200 tang size at
    Philadelphia Luthier Tools & Supplies

    Thanks, Bob

    p.s. Here's a link I found of a mandolin player AND luthier (or vice versa) that installed the 53 high sized EVO on many mandolins....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N85aR45W8Zc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQtb57uinFY
    Last edited by frshwtrbob; Apr-16-2019 at 3:36pm.

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