Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 66

Thread: Beware EVOs

  1. #1

    Default Beware EVOs

    Decided that my Duff needed a refret and after reading all the complimentary posts regarding EVO frets and learning that several well known makers were installing them on new mandolins I decided I'd give them a try. The results were disastrous. The tone became shrill and tinny even when not fretted. Many adjustments by my repair guy could not improve tone. Decided to bite the bullet and go back to the original size nickel silver frets. The old tone came back immediately. I've since learned that some of the better makers really don't like them at all for the same reason. So please give it some serious thought before making the switch.

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Roccus For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Registered User Gary Hudson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    I don't understand how the frets would affect the tone when not fretted.

  4. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Gary Hudson For This Useful Post:


  5. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Greer, SC
    Posts
    368

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Hmm, interesting. I have three instruments with EVO frets and all of them sound great.

  6. #4
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    KC MO
    Posts
    402

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Very interesting experience. "Even when not fretted"? That especially seems odd.

    Lots of happy folks using gold EVO. I don't know for sure about other high-end luthiers, but I do know that Tom Ellis uses gold EVO frets as a premium feature on his A5 Specials, so the gold EVO can't be "disastrous" for him.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Doug Brock
    Eastman MD315, Eastman MDA315, Silverangel Econo A #446
    Pisgah Wonder, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  7. The following members say thank you to Doug Brock for this post:


  8. #5
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Bozeman, MT
    Posts
    863

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    I'm pretty sure something else was the culprit. I have EVOs, and Tone is plentiful, pleasant, and full.
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
    2017 Ratliff R5 Custom #1148
    Several nice old Fiddles
    2007 Martin 000-15S 12 fret Auditorium-slot head
    Deering Classic Open Back
    Too many microphones

  9. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    12,070

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Have had EVO Gold on my Gilchrist for ~ 3 years now, love them, no negative tonal impact, afaik. But, to be fair, I know of one cat who had them ripped out after replacing the original frets with them on his old F-5. Don't know why he did that, either the feel or tone.

  10. The following members say thank you to AlanN for this post:


  11. #7

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Very interesting. Been thinking about doing the EVO Gold on my Duff F5. Figured it was a no-brainer when the time comes. Now I'm not so sure.

    I think an email to the Land Down Under might be in order.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

  12. #8
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Beautiful Salem County, NJ
    Posts
    1,571

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    I love the EVO Golds on two of my instruments (the two I have them on). Don't know what the problem was with yours, but it's a shame you had to refret the second time. I don't really understand how the tone changed even when played without fretting. I am hoping one of the Luthiers here can enlighten us.
    Purr more, hiss less.

  13. #9
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Statesville, NC
    Posts
    782

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    No negatives for me on the EVOs I have had for year, love them!
    Drew
    2016 Skip Kelley Vintage F-5 (#54)
    2003 Flatbush V4
    2015 Eastman MDA815 (mandola)
    2019 Northfield Flat Top Octave
    https://www.facebook.com/3rdCreekBluegrass

    "Thank you for making it through a truly unreasonable amount of mandolin playing" - CT

  14. #10
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Bozeman, MT
    Posts
    863

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    We should collectively ask the builders and repair persons we all know...
    This is a bogus warning, imo...
    I’ll ask Bruce Weber ASAP...will his opinion squash this question?

    Additionally, Roccus, which adjustments did the Luthier make before you bailed on the EVO’s? Did it involve taking the nut and bridge off and reinstalling? Cuz that happened when the second refret happened and “the tone came back”.
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
    2017 Ratliff R5 Custom #1148
    Several nice old Fiddles
    2007 Martin 000-15S 12 fret Auditorium-slot head
    Deering Classic Open Back
    Too many microphones

  15. #11
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    22,923

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    If somebody had a problem and others didn't it doesn't make it a bogus anything. It means one person felt compelled to tell others he had a problem. Then each individual, including any luthiers can weigh in. That still doesn't make it a bogus warning. Somebody had an issue.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  16. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to MikeEdgerton For This Useful Post:


  17. #12
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Redwood City, CA
    Posts
    2,056

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Some reports of changes make sense to me. By that, I mean that I can understand how a change might affect the mandolin's tone, at least in principle. Such changes involve things like adding or subtracting mass, or changing the wood type, thickness or finishes. Changing the strings. Changing the bridge. Even changing tailpieces. Also, things like changing the action, improving the relief, and so on. But some other things make no sense to me at all. And when that happens, I am inclined to disbelieve the report. Tone is a very subjective thing, after all, and it's well established by now that we can all be fooled by our ears from time to time, despite our sincere desire not to be fooled. A claim may be perfectly sincere (not "bogus"), but that doesn't prevent it from being incorrect.

    Changing out the metal used for the fret should not have any significant effect on tone, in principle. And especially not for the open strings, which don't even contact the frets! This claim seems perfectly preposterous to me, I have to say. Maybe the fret job was done poorly, and left some frets vibrating or poorly secured in their slots? Perhaps that would explain a difference? Or maybe the action was changed, too? Or maybe the nut? But simply changing the metal alloy used to form the frets has essentially zero effect on mass, zero effect on rigidity, and (I am assuming here the fret size wasn't changed, too) zero effect on dimensions.

    So, the change in fret alloy should have no more effect on tone than, say, changing the material used for your mandolin's strap! But this being the Mandolin Cafe, I presume there are even some folks out there who will swear that changing their strap had a major effect on the tone, too. But color me skeptical.

    I am particularly skeptical about the unsupported claim that "I've since learned that some of the better makers really don't like them at all for the same reason." So who are these "better makers" who think tone is adversely affected? Do they actually exist? Yes, some luthiers tend to avoid dealing with EVO and stainless steel frets because they are harder materials and require more work to shape and install -- and some luthiers will charge more for installing these -- but I have NEVER heard any luthier claim that EVO frets adversely affect tone. But that's just my experience.
    Last edited by sblock; Jul-30-2019 at 11:50am.

  18. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to sblock For This Useful Post:


  19. #13

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    I had Lynn Dudenbostel put Evos on my Duff not long after I got it because I didn't like the small frets and it sounds great. Best decision I ever made.

  20. #14
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    2,175
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Well …. evo fret wire was an option on my new , 2016, mandolin when I ordered it. I had worn out the standard Gibson type ..nickel alloy? wire of both my other mandolins and replacing it with evo was too much of a price jump for my budget to swallow at the same time. I have not noticed a concern with my new instrument and the frets certainly aren't wearing as fast as the other alloy did. Tonally I can't say for sure as I have not had nickel on the Gil. But it sounds fine to me. I did hang a set of nickel bronze strings on it this last time around ….. they are bright. Too much so at first but after a month they toned down and are quite nice.
    Let me add that I appreciate the forum as a place to learn and a place express my opinion. Opinions differ as do tastes and hearing, mine is headed south,< sigh. Let's keep on keepin' on. Play On! R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  21. #15
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    15,912

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    I have no dog in this fight, as I haven't tried EVO frets, and probably won't.

    I do think that when a thread's titled "Beware EVOs" it starts out like a consumer warning, rather than just a description of a single negative experience with a product. Which may, after all, be the foundation of a legitimate consumer warning -- an accumulation of individual negative experiences -- but this thread primarily contains positive posts about experiences with EVO frets.

    I'm sure a Cafe member could start a "Beware Gibson mandolins!" thread, based on that crummy A-40 he/she bought. Might not encompass the entire universe of mandolinist experience with Gibsons, though.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  22. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to allenhopkins For This Useful Post:


  23. #16

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    I had EVO gold frets installed on two, totally different instruments. I've never regretted it for a moment, and can't begin to understand how they have had such a negative effect on the OP's mandolin.

  24. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,145

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    The only thing I can think of is the tang on the EVO wire was not the same as the original frets, and the replacements ones that came after. I can't think of another reason for the change in sound if setup was the same.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  25. #18
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    1,022

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    So you paid for two entire refrets back to back? And the same repair guy did the work? Can you elaborate on the “many adjustments” tried before the second refret?

    I have heard the EVO is different to work with, more spring when hammering the ends so you have to have different technique.

    As others have said, it seems unfretted this should not effect your sound.

    Or this is the first in a new trend about instruments opening up after the second refret
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

  26. The following members say thank you to dang for this post:


  27. #19
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    14,457

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Same string set for each set up? In other words, same strings (brand, gauge, material) before during and after Evo?

  28. #20
    Registered User Doug Freeman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    As far as I know you won't find EVO on Collings mandolins, reputedly because Bill Collings thought it kills tone. So there's one premium builder who disliked the material. I don't recall whether I read that somewhere or was told that visiting the Collings Shop last year.

  29. #21
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    KC MO
    Posts
    402

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Freeman View Post
    As far as I know you won't find EVO on Collings mandolins, reputedly because Bill Collings thought it kills tone. So there's one premium builder who disliked the material. I don't recall whether I read that somewhere or was told that visiting the Collings Shop last year.
    The Music Emporium has a new honey amber Collings MF and a used (2008) honey amber Collings MF with gold EVO frets (and Waverly tuners). Somebody needs to try them both and report back.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Music Emporium - honey amber MF mandolins.PNG 
Views:	16 
Size:	588.2 KB 
ID:	178665

    https://themusicemporium.com/mandoli...mber-gloss-top
    https://themusicemporium.com/mandoli...f_natural_2008
    Doug Brock
    Eastman MD315, Eastman MDA315, Silverangel Econo A #446
    Pisgah Wonder, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  30. #22

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Did the fret height change? Altering string height can change tone, and some instruments are more sensitive to this than others. Low frets in particular can mute or darken the tone slightly compared to taller ones on some instruments AFAIK.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  31. The following members say thank you to kurth83 for this post:


  32. #23

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Surprising reaction/comments to OP's experience, IMHO.....

    EVO stockholders, perhaps?

  33. #24
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Blue Zone, California
    Posts
    1,203
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    Quote Originally Posted by Roccus View Post
    Decided that my Duff needed a refret and after reading all the complimentary posts regarding EVO frets and learning that several well known makers were installing them on new mandolins I decided I'd give them a try. The results were disastrous. The tone became shrill and tinny even when not fretted. Many adjustments by my repair guy could not improve tone. Decided to bite the bullet and go back to the original size nickel silver frets. The old tone came back immediately. I've since learned that some of the better makers really don't like them at all for the same reason. So please give it some serious thought before making the switch.
    I'd agree about giving any change serious thought.

    But, in my experience with my 2002 F-9 mandolin, my 1982 RB-800 banjo and my wife's 1989 D-41, I'd say there's definitely no difference in tone with open strings. I'd say that the un-fretted difference noted by the OP may be due to new strings, some setup difference or some other kind of issue.

    Playing fretted on our Evo Gold fretted instruments, there might be slightly better cutting-power possibly due to sllightly more brightness related to fret hardness, but if this difference exists it is very subtle and it isn't an obvious change in tone, playing in groups or solo. And, if this difference really exists, it is positive change, but it is a small enough difference that I question my hearing objectivity about it...

    And, this is compared using, at my request, the same old strings as were used before the re-fret on the old nickle-silver frets. Most luthiers change to new strings after a re-fret, but my strings have not been changed (I prefer the tone of old, but very clean strings).

    It is also possible that there is a tone difference due to setting up the instrument for new frets, which could also equate to a slightly different fretting technique or bridge pressure while playing. These setup differences are possible bridge or nut changes that had to be made to accommodate the new fret-height (and which would probably have had to be made for nickle-silver frets too).

    In my experience with Evo Gold frets, I'd be wondering about what else changed on this instrument. Strings, bridge height and location, re-grooved string slots in the bridge or nut, possibly new bridge/saddle or new nut setup or material, even tailpiece setup changes or truss rod tension settings, etc., or any other setup related changes. Even a new pick.

    If Evo Gold frets by themselves had a consistent history of this kind of problem, luthiers and instrument repair people would be talking about it all over the place. That isn't happening, in fact Evo Gold frets are a selling point...

    And with three relatively high-end often-played instruments that have Gold Evo frets on them, I think my wife or I, or our band mates in three different bands, or many of our regular jam mates, would have noticed any obvious differences and would have talked about them. No-one has said anything.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

  34. #25

    Default Re: Beware EVOs

    I can assure you this was not a bogus post. I was as surprised as anyone to hear a difference in the unfretted tone. I can only explain it by the fact that EVOs were wider thereby increasing the mass and also that the harder metal may have had an impact. The harder metal certainly affected the tone when fretted causing metallic overtones especially when not fretted right behind the fret. My repair person did an excellent job of installing the EVOs as well as the nickel silver replacements. No problem there.

    If you question my experience with mandolins, in over 40 years of playing mandolin, I've owned a Gibson F5l as well as numerous A models, a Gibson H4, Gilchrist model 5, Duff F5 and an 80's Kentucky KM1500. I've played several Loars, a Dudenbostel, Monteleone, Givens, Stiver and on and on. I know what mandolins sound like and what kind of tone I want. I just want let others benefit from my experience and not have to pay for a second fret job. As I said I read many positive reports on these frets so I'm sure they work well for others but bear in mind there is at least one exception.

  35. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Roccus For This Useful Post:


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •