I'd like to hear everyones opinion on Stainless Steel fretwire. I've recently ordered a neck with Stainless frets, but have never actually played them. I know Ed Roman bashes them quite a bit, a long with everything else.
I agree with Jack. They are better from a functional perspective. I tend to strangle the neck when playing open chords and always have worn spots at the 1st fret where the B and G strings are. Stainless gets rid of that, well, it is going to take a lot longer. I like them much better for that reason. I forget that the frets are stainless and can't really tell the difference. They allow for bends a bit easier, but the strings last just as well. They are a bit harder to work on, and require a bit more patience to do a leveling job on, but I'll pay for that. It isn't that big of an issue. My neck didn't need the frets to be leveled anyhow. The rest of the tonal stuff is garbage. If it were true, the gold frets would sound different as well, as well as anything with a brass nut, or more durable tuners with different alloys that the pegs and gears, you see how this is going nowhere... The one thing that would make me buy nickle brass frets is if I wanted binding on a neck. Other than that I am going with Stainless for everything.
They seem fine to me. I didn't have a noticeably more difficult time rounding off the sharp ends and polishing my SS frets, it just took a little longer. There may be a slight tonal difference - you'd have to build two absolutely identical guitars, same weight, same pickups, wired from the same spool of wire - yeah right. If there is a tonal difference, you can take care of it by turning down the treble on your amp from "5" to "4 1/2" and turning up the bass from "6" to "7" - or you need a better amp.
(Hint: everyone always needs a better amp, you can tell your wife I said it's O.K.)