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Thread: Beware EVOs

  1. #51

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    I have noticed they brighten up the tone somewhat. I still like them, though. I actually played a guys guitar the other day where he refretted all but the last 5 frets with EVO. I was curious to hear, so I played a chromatic scale right past the gold and silver line to see if there was a difference....

  2. #52
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    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Quote Originally Posted by mandohat View Post
    I have noticed they brighten up the tone somewhat. I still like them, though. I actually played a guys guitar the other day where he refretted all but the last 5 frets with EVO. I was curious to hear, so I played a chromatic scale right past the gold and silver line to see if there was a difference....

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  4. #53

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brock View Post
    Here's an interesting example of a pro mandolin player who had two mandolins refretted every six months.

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    Like you say, interesting post. He also describes doing this for 30 years......which would be 60 refrets PER MANDOLIN. Not saying it isn't possible, of course, but that wouldn't leave you with a lot of wood left in the fret slot to work with, even if you are really careful. Looks like a lot of glue would be involved.

  5. #54
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Paul was the consummate professional luthier. If there was no wood left he either would have created more or put a new fretboard on. He was an interesting guy. We didn't always agree but he was generally right on. There was a reason the guy went to Paul for the work. I was sorry he got sick before I could send him one I had that needed work.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  7. #55

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    I have EVO gold wire on an electric (medium jumbo 0.102" wide), a flattop (0.090" wide), and two mando's (medium 0.080" wide). I also have an oval hole archtop mando (my first build) with the traditional skinny (0.050" wide non EVO) wire. The skinny wire definitely has a more delicate sound to it when you listen closely. It's also wearing pretty fast. On my next two builds I went with medium gauge EVO gold as I really hate doing fretwork. The medium wire does have a more robust, full tone and perhaps a little less "air" in the sound, but for bluegrass it's a positive. I'm wondering if part what the OP was hearing was a difference in the wider wire. If the frets are not fully recrowned after leveling, you will hear more of the fret metal in the tone. It's really obvious with the jumbo gauge wire used on electrics. Another thing is that according to the JESCAR spec sheet, the juncture between the tang and bead is not a crisp 90% corner so you need to relieve the top corners of the fret slots (something a good luthier does anyway) in order to get the fret to seat totally tight. Improperly seated frets can definitely affect tone. I'm amazed at how well EVO gold holds up compared to traditional nickel/silver. I play mediums and hit hard with a thick pick and see no appreciable wear after 3 years. Most players say they can't hear the difference between EVO and nickel/sliver for a given gauge (not true with stainless steel) but luthiers seem to see about 4x the lifespan. I'm very pleased with it as a builder and a player.

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  9. #56
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    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Interesting report from the OP, and a good warning to consider all variables when we're having work done to our "babies." I have EVO Gold on my Kelley and really like it. If I ever have to get my Silverangel refretted I'll probably go with the EVO. That said, I can see how it's not for everyone. I really wanted Primetone Picks to be "just like Bluechip but only a couple bucks," as so many have claimed, but I've never bonded with them. I find BC far superior in feel, speed off the strings, and tone, with Wegen a close second. Doesn't mean Primetone devotees are wrong, just demonstrates our varying preferences...

    Sorry you had to get 2 refrets to the Duff, man, that stinks!!

  10. #57
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Talked to a pro yesterday who had his Loar done with EVO recently and he likes them. Has different strings on too so he wouldn't commit 100% to saying there's no tone difference, but he said "very close to the same".
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  11. #58
    Registered User Denman John's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    I’ll be getting my Kimble refretted later this month by Michael Heiden and will try to remember to post my experience. It has skinny banjo wire frets and will be going a little bit wider. I know that Michael likes EVO fret wire and uses it on his mandolins. It’s taken 5 years to wear down these frets, so I’m interested to see how long the EVO frets will last. If I can get 10 years out of them, I’ll be happy.
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  12. #59
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    I have EVO .080” width on four instruments. No complaints, and I see close to zero wear after couple of years’ hard playing on my main acoustic axe.
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  13. #60
    Registered User rockies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    My Heiden A-41 required fret work a year ago so Michael installed EVO on it. Same sweet, balanced, loud tone as before. I believe Michael said he uses EVO on all his new builds. I'm totally satisfied and I also cannot understand different sound unfretted, Sounds like bridge wasn't properly seated or bridge base was reversed and got corrected after second refret. IMHO
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  15. #61
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    One of my luthier buddies refused to do stainless steel refrets solely for the reason that it wrecked his tools, hurt his hands, and took too long, all due to the working hardness of the material. He turned me on to evo 10 yrs ago. No fret work required since, so it saves money for the player, and eliminates fret work for the luthier, which I assume is one of the less fun tasks of luthierie.
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  16. #62
    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    I realize this thread is not the best survey, because most of the posters bought the EVO fretwire and would tend to like it. However, there is nothing preventing anyone from saying they don't like the EVO wire, yet the opinions are something like 25 to 1 in favor. It was stated that there are a number of luthiers who don't like the wire, but the posts are something like 7 to 0 in favor. If there are more people who dislike the EVO wire, I'd like to hear them say why. I feel like any luthiers on the cafe who don't like the wire would have already spoken up, but again if any don't like it or see problems with it, I'd like to hear about it.
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  18. #63

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Actually, from a "job security" point of view -- luthiers should like fretwire that causes customers to return more often, if you catch my drift......

  19. #64
    Registered User Steve Sorensen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Unless requested, I use Jescar Gold EVO or Stainless for all new builds.

    There is a learning curve for stainless, but well worth the effort once one figures out how to prep and crown-polish-round them.

    EVO is a bit easier to work with than stainless, but also a bit softer and easier to wear out over the years.

    These are great products and Jescar is to be commended for creating a much much better fret wire than the old traditional.

    As Danny Roberts told me after a few weeks of playing his VX with Jescar Stainless frets, "I've never played a mandolins with frets that felt so comfortable. My fingers feel like they are gliding over ball bearings!" Now, three years later, he still mentions how comfortable the fingerboard remains.

    I've gotten the same feedback from Don Rigsby with the Gold EVO on his FX. When I did some work on Don's FX last year, there was almost no wear on the EVO frets . . . after 3 1/2 years of daily play.

    For me, the repeated, consistent positive feedback from players like Danny and Don has made the choice clear --
    Jescar Gold EVO and Stainless are the way to go!

    I'd rather be enjoying building new instruments than slogging through a re-fret any day!


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  21. #65
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    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Hey Steve,

    Hope to catch up at IBMA once again and check out your wonderful craft.

  22. #66

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    I've got over 5 years on EVO frets on my Heiden and they might be original from 2010 since I got it used. I might be starting to get a tiny dent in the first 5 but I can't feel it. Beautiful tone from the Heiden.
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