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Wear on the Enya Nova

Someone posted this image of an Enya Nova today. I love the Enya Nova–I think it is a great product. At the same time, I have seen a few pictures like the one above, where there is significant wear on the polycarbonate frets.

The ukulele world often reacts to images like this with panic and fear–which I think is unwarranted.

First, Enya is aware of the issue and has discussed changes for future models–including upcoming soprano and tenor models. Second, Enya has taken care of every customer that has had issues. And third and finally, there is customer error involved here.

Look closely…these are Aquila Red strings with a low G. Aquila Reds have metallic particles in them to give them the red color; and you should notice that the G string is a metal wound string.

Think about that for a moment…would you put a metal string on a plastic ukulele? What’s going to last longer? Metal or plastic?

To be fair, people make mistakes. It happens. We don’t think things all the way through.

Every case of worn frets that I have heard about have involved people that have changed the strings to other types of strings. I guess you can make the case that you should be able to run any kind of strings that you want on your own ukulele; but I do think that when you’re dealing with non-metal frets, a little more discernment is necessary.

And you know what? You’ll get the same results on a Flight TUS or TUSL travel ukulele, Magic Fluke or Flea, or Outdoor Ukulele.

In fact, Outdoor Ukulele states:

Our composite polycarbonate ukuleles are not designed to be used with wound strings; if used, they are not covered by warranty. Strings with fillers, such as copper powder may also wear the frets over time. 

Magic Fluke states:

Nylon strings should not wear the molded polycarbonate fingerboard however if it shows wear at any time, it may be returned for replacement. If wound strings are used, such as ‘low G’ sets, a hardwood fingerboard is highly recommended.

In other words, don’t use a metal or a string with metal fillers on a plastic ukulele without metal frets.

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