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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member J T's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
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    Cryogenically Treated Frets?

    I was checking out the 2019 Gibson 4-string bass and reading the specs, I ran across Cryogenically Treated Frets. Now that is the first time I believe I have seen this.
    What sort of advantage does this treatment give to the frets over non-treated/standard frets? Any one know?


    Neck

    Neck Material
    Maple

    Neck Profile
    Rounded

    Fingerboard Material
    Rosewood

    Fingerboard Radius
    12" / 304.8mm

    Number of Frets
    24

    Frets
    Medium - Cryogenically Treated

    Nut Material
    Tektoid

    Nut Width
    1.625" / 41.28mm

    End-of-Board Width
    2.484" / 63.09mm

    Inlays
    Acrylic Dots

    The farther you go, the closer you are.

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: Cryogenically Treated Frets?

    From Wikipedia...

    "The field of cryogenics advanced during World War II when scientists found that metals frozen to low temperatures showed more resistance to wear.

    Based on this theory of cryogenic hardening, the commercial cryogenic processing industry was founded in 1966 by Ed Busch. With a background in the heat treating industry, Busch founded a company in Detroit called CryoTech in 1966 which merged with 300 Below in 1999 to become the world's largest and oldest commercial cryogenic processing company. Busch originally experimented with the possibility of increasing the life of metal tools to anywhere between 200% and 400% of the original life expectancy using cryogenic tempering instead of heat treating. This evolved in the late 1990s into the treatment of other parts."

    So it appears cryogenically treated metals become harder and more resistant to wear.
    "Scan not a friend under a microscopic glass; you know his faults so let his foibles pass".

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    Friar Park
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  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Jun 2007
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    England
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    368

    Re: Cryogenically Treated Frets?

    In engineering cryogenic treatment of metals is generally confined to steel alloys that have previously been hardened by a heat treatment. Steel can be hardened by a heat treatment which converts austenite (a crystalline phase structure) to martensite (a much harder crystalline phase). Heat treatment alone will convert most of the austenite to martensite but following the heat treatment with a cryogenic treatment (usually cooling with liquid nitrogen) will convert even more and increase the hardness compared to heat treatment alone.

    If the frets are made of hardened steel (which I very much doubt) then cryogenic treatment may have some effect, otherwise it is more likely to be snake oil and marketing hype.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Cryogenically Treated Frets?

    So, it's almost 7:30 pm on a freezing Friday down to single digits.
    The UPS driver just wants to go home and warm up.
    One last delivery to make.
    A box for Gibson.
    No one there [at that late hour] so he just leaves.
    Sits there the whole weekend in sub-freezing temps.
    Monday morning the package is brought into the building and the fret wire is taken to the work area.

    VIOLA!!

    Cryogenically treated frets!!
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

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  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member J T's Avatar
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    Re: Cryogenically Treated Frets?

    OK so in relation to frets, they are harder than frets made of the same steel non-cryogenically treated. Not a different metal like stainless, just frozen at one point. Got it.

    I would then assume that frets on a bass cryogenically frozen would stand up to string slapping style playing. I guess.

    How long has this been on frets?

    Didn't Dean Markley do something like this on strings some time ago? I've never heard of it on frets until now.

    Thanks!
    The farther you go, the closer you are.

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member J T's Avatar
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    Re: Cryogenically Treated Frets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    So, it's almost 7:30 pm on a freezing Friday down to single digits.
    The UPS driver just wants to go home and warm up.
    One last delivery to make.
    A box for Gibson.
    No one there [at that late hour] so he just leaves.
    Sits there the whole weekend in sub-freezing temps.
    Monday morning the package is brought into the building and the fret wire is taken to the work area.

    VIOLA!!

    Cryogenically treated frets!!
    Bawhaha!


    "Hey boss, what do we do with this fretwire?"

    "Hmm. Use it. It's a feature. What's the number of Marketing?"
    The farther you go, the closer you are.

  7. #7

    Re: Cryogenically Treated Frets?

    "OK so in relation to frets, they are harder than frets made of the same steel non-cryogenically treated. Not a different metal like stainless, just frozen at one point."

    Except stainless steel frets (or EVO alloy and titanium frets), frets are made of german silver, an alloy (which contains no silver) of copper and nickel, not steel.

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    England
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    Re: Cryogenically Treated Frets?

    Quote Originally Posted by J T View Post
    OK so in relation to frets, they are harder than frets made of the same steel non-cryogenically treated.
    No. Frets are not made from heat treated hardened steel so cryogenic treatment will have no effect on them. It is snake oil marketing hype.

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member GuitarMikey's Avatar
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    Mar 2013
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    Charlotte, North Carolina
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    814

    Re: Cryogenically Treated Frets?

    But is the cryogenic treatment authentic?
    GuitarMikey

  10. #10
    In the Zone/Backstage Pass
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    4,882

    Re: Cryogenically Treated Frets?

    "They're fresh-frozen, to lock in taste and freshness!"

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