Anyone confront a hypo-allergenic electric guitar?

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jamoo
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Anyone confront a hypo-allergenic electric guitar?

Post by jamoo » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:00 am

Nickel is tearing my fret-hand up. The culprit is strings or frets.

I was using Markley Blue Steels, which obviously contain nickel. I asked Fender and their 350s contain trace nickel. Same with GHS steel strings.

Only Ernie Ball professed nickel-free Slinky strings (2248s). Alas, I put them on to a similar effect, which leads me to one of two conclusions:

a) Ernie Ball nickel-free strings contain nickel. OR
b) It's my frets.

Frets would make sense, as my thumb and index finger are primarily effected (barre chords and muting). My middle finger is a little affected, but pinky and ring are clean. Alas, they have much less contact with the strings.

I've received two moderate suggestions and a more extreme one:

1) Paint the frets for a coating.
2) Try Elixir Polyweb strings which come coated (but are probably nickel underneath).

Anyone with experience know if Elixir's coated strings are sufficient to thwart nickel allergy? (I just asked them, but thought someone might know.)

The extreme suggestion is a guitar re-fret.

In the meantime, my bronze-string acoustic is nearly 3000 miles away. Even if it's a fret problem, it would be useful for an experiment - nickel-free strings.

Thoughts?

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Snarl 12/8
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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:42 pm

I can't imagine that they'd like about the nickel content of their strings. I think you're overthinking this. (I'm a big time overthinker, so I know it when I see it.) It's your frets, dude. Or maybe you're allergic to something other than nickel, or in addition, or it's not an allergy. But I don't know why you're suspecting strings that are advertised as being nickel-free of having nickel in 'em.
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Post by dfuruta » Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:28 pm

Yeah, seems more likely that it's the frets...

From looking on google for a moment, http://nickelallergyguitar.wordpress.com/ might be of use.

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Post by jamoo » Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:45 pm

Snarl 12/8 wrote:I can't imagine that they'd like about the nickel content of their strings. I think you're overthinking this. (I'm a big time overthinker, so I know it when I see it.) It's your frets, dude. Or maybe you're allergic to something other than nickel, or in addition, or it's not an allergy. But I don't know why you're suspecting strings that are advertised as being nickel-free of having nickel in 'em.
Overthinking is sometimes the only way I know to address a problem. In this situation, if I were to not think, I'd just go to keyboard or confess an indulgent masochism.

The strings aren't advertised nickel-free. I know from writing them e-mails.

Two votes for frets... I just need to rule-out those strings.

I really am allergic, it's one of the bane's of my existence. There are people more allergic, but I don't know them.

I caught the Wordpress blog. Thanks for the links.

UPDATE: Best e-mail yet from Elixir
Unfortunately, the Polyweb coating is not part of the plain steel strings, so there would be no protection from direct contact with the nickel in the strings or the electroplating.

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Post by Adam Chesi » Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:43 pm

Frets are typically nickel. They make stainless steel frets as well. A quick little tech tip from Sweetwater about the difference between nickel frets and stainless:

http://www.sweetwater.com/expert-center ... 08/05/2009

I've only ever seen stainless steel frets in custom orders or in aftermarket work.
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accordion squeezist
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Post by accordion squeezist » Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:16 pm

Consider a fretless guitar.
Heard a fretless banjo in concert last night. We were all knocked out.

jamoo
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Post by jamoo » Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:14 pm

accordion squeezist wrote:Consider a fretless guitar.
Heard a fretless banjo in concert last night. We were all knocked out.
I'm not an innovator and wouldn't know where to begin but that is a great idea.

My primary talent is good taste.

I went with nail polish and it seems to work. Thanks to all for the advice here. The frets it were.

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Post by CraigS63 » Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:09 am

Carvin offers stainless steel frets as an option.

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Post by Jim Williams » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:22 am

If you play a Fender type guitar, Warmoth makes very nice necks and stainless steel frets are an option, like ebony and other good stuff.
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