Hello there and welcome back to yet another excellent article for you! This time we will be looking at the infamous instrument care product, GHS Fast Fret! In this GHS Fast Fret review article, I will introduce this highly popular product and provide you with my analysis of how you may be wasting your money by buying this!
My regular visitors know that I am very picky when it comes to instrument care products. It all started when I first discovered that the lemon oil as we know it was not really lemon oil!
Check out my Lemon Oil is Not Really Lemon Oil article here
Recently I made a pretty big purchase from Thomann and also added a wide variety of instrument care and maintenance products so I could feature them on my blog and share my views with you. I couldn’t resist but finally wanted to give GHS Fast Fret a go.
As you can already see from the title of this review article, this is going to be a very negative one and I will tell the reason why. However, before we dig into details, let’s have a quick look at the brand.
GHS Strings is an American company that specialises in electric, acoustic and bass guitar strings along with some care and maintenance products. It was founded in 1964 and in 1975 bought by Robert Mcfee and his son Russell McFee. GHS stands for the surnames of the company’s original founders Gould, Holcomb and Solko.
The company also acquired Rocktron which was a legendary guitar electronics company and managed their product line since early 2000.
With regard to their guitar strings product line, I would not be able to comment on their products as I have never used their strings. Based on the user reviews and consolidated feedback, it looks like GHS Strings is doing well. However, based on the number of reviews and feedback on leading websites such as Thomann, they are probably not one of the top brands in this segment.
On the other hand, they have a product in their catalogue that stands out with its unique position in the instrument care and maintenance category. GHS Fast Fret has been constantly on my radar and I heard very good things about it.
GHS Fast Fret Claims
GHS Fast Fret is described as a “string cleaner” and “lubricant” for guitar and bass. It also offers the combined benefit of cleaning and maintaining strings and the fretboard! One of the claims is also about making strings sound bright and new as well as prolonging their life.
On top of that, GHS Fast Fret also promises to help with playing faster and reducing finger noise. It comes in a cool-looking plastic box including the cleaning cloth and the applicator.
As you can see from the packaging, it contains white mineral oil. But what is white mineral oil really?
White Mineral Oil
According to ECHA (European Chemicals Agency);
White mineral oil is a highly refined petroleum mineral oil consisting of a complex combination of hydrocarbons obtained from the intensive treatment of a petroleum fraction with sulfuric acid and oleum, by hydrogenation, or by a combination of hydrogenation and acid treatment.
Additional washing and treating steps may be included in the processing operation. It consists of saturated hydrocarbons having carbon numbers predominantly in the range of C15 through C50.
So it’s basically a petroleum product just like the baby oil! Know what you’re paying for!
Let’s have a look at the claims first.
Cleaning The Strings
Does Fast Fret really clean the strings? Or is it because you have just rubbed your guitar strings and the fretboard with baby oil and you have to wipe it off so it feels less greasy?
I think this is a false claim, it doesn’t clean your strings. YOU, wipe your strings off the baby oil and as a by-product of this action, your strings get cleaned as well. You can also wipe your strings with a damp cloth and this will also clean your strings. So what is it that cleans your strings? The cloth, a slight moisture in the cloth or you, wiping the strings and removing the gunk?
As far as I know, oils can help metal prevent corrosion as they act as a film layer but they don’t create a reaction and remove corroded layers.
Let’s You Play Faster
It doesn’t help you play faster at all. The time you have spent on your instrument practising makes you play faster when you need it. And if you have spent years on your guitar, the chances are you know how it feels like playing old, rusty strings and also you know that you should restring and take care of your beloved instrument.
Brightens The Sound
Yet another false claim! It doesn’t brighten your sound at all. The thing that helps with your guitar strings is that you have just wiped the baby oil off your guitar strings and also removed the built-up gunk so the guitar strings can vibrate a lot easier. Claiming that it will brighten your sound is pretty ridiculous in my opinion. Can we use Fast Fret as an EQ pedal really?
I’m sure it is definitely a long-lasting product as you wouldn’t use it every day. However, many people have reported that it may get dried up and you basically waste your money. You may say that it comes in a nice box and the applicator has a lid so it’s protected and sealed.
As I was pulling the printed packaging material so I could take a photo, I noticed that the printed side of this paper was very greasy. So it’s definitely not the best protective packaging design at all. This means there has been some leakage and also means air can reach into the applicator and cause it to dry up.
Prolongs Fingerboard Life
As I’m a very strict advocate of not using mineral oils on my fingerboards, I would definitely disagree with this! While applying Fast Fret, you tend to also oil the fingerboard, just like you do with any fingerboard maintenance and care products. And while wiping off the excess oil, you are supposed to have a better-looking fingerboard.
My regular visitors know that I only promote natural essential oils for rosewood, ebony and pau ferro fingerboards and I don’t use any other petroleum product to seal these beautiful boards. For example, Sandberg Fingerboard Oil or Music Nomad F-One Oil are excellent choices.
Check out my Sandberg Fingerboard Oil review here
Check out my Music Nomad F-One Oil review here
The included cloth is a very low-quality, weak cloth that left lots of particles behind when I first attempted to wipe the Fast Fret off of my fingerboard and the strings! I would definitely not use the included clots if I had to.
The Most Expensive Baby Oil You Have Ever Purchased!
Now the fun part begins!
TLDR; I already threw my Fast Fret in the rubbish after I disassembled and measured the actual content. As you can see below, the whole package weighs around 43g.
Then I removed that extremely hard sponge-like part from the applicator and weighed it as well. It weighs around 8g. To be honest, it looks and feels like it contains a lot of oil.
Next, I tried so hard to squeeze this hard material and remove the white mineral oil as much as I could. Basically, you can only extract a couple of drops. Not more than that! This kitchen scale is pretty accurate and it didn’t even move a tick!
And don’t think that there’s a container or a small tank behind the black holder that feeds your rubbing needs with extra virgin white mineral oil. It’s a just small part of the whole product
Let’s Calculate The Damage
Let’s assume that half of the weight of the applicator part is white mineral oil and this makes 4g of liquid gold. Also, let’s check how much pure white mineral oil retails at Amazon.
Here’s an example product from Amazon that has the highest number of sales and customer feedback and it goes around €15 for 355ml.
I should say it’s one of the most expensive (€42 per 1000ml = 1l) food-grade mineral oils with over 30K reviews! So per ml, you pay 42/1000=€0.042
Mineral oil density is around 0.8 to 0.9g/ml and the water is 1g/ml. That’s why 1000ml of water is 1000g or 1kg, right? 🙂
How many ml of white mineral oil does GHS Fast Fret offer? 4/0.8 = 5ml and how much does this cost per ml? 9.6/5=€1.92 (And this is a very generous calculation!)
So you basically pay around 46 times more than a pretty expensive mineral oil in the market. If you calculate with affordable options, this number could even go up to 100 or more! Just imagine you would like to buy the same amount of mineral oil via buying Fast Fret, you would have to pay over €1000!!!
You may say that it comes with an applicator and cloth, but as I said the cloth is pretty generic, low-quality, weak material and can be replaced with any cloth you can find in your home. The applicator is also no special tool, it just acts as a container and applicator for the mineral oil. You could easily get some mineral oil, put it in a small bottle, grab some cloth and cotton and apply it to your instrument.
Fast Fret Worth It?
It’s definitely not worth it at all. Apart from being extremely expensive, this is not how you should care for your guitars and guitar strings. To be honest, I find it very successful as they have been able to sell tens of thousands of this product.
Just look at Thomann’s website and see the number of reviews! At the moment, there are around 10000 reviews and we know that not every person who buys a product writes a review. That means there have been probably 60000 to 80000 or more people who bought Fast Fret!
GHS Fast Fret Alternatives
If you are looking for alternatives, here’s my advice. Go grab some essential oils and a real string cleaner. For essential oils, I highly suggest you go pick up Sandberg Fingerboard Oil or Music Nomad F-One Oil.
There are natural essential oils that you can toss into your salad and still survive! Note that these are for your fingerboards! But if you ever thought rubbing mineral oil to your strings and the fingerboard is fine, you can do the same with these essential oils.
But if you are after a solid string cleaner, I highly recommend Dunlop Formula65 String Cleaner which will remove corroded particles, clean your strings and also make them slippery. While I was working in the musical instruments business, we would often use Formula65 String Cleaner when we needed to liven up factory strings and remove corroded parts on them.
I hope you enjoyed this article and find it helpful! I try really hard to help my visitors not waste their hard-earned cash and never put down a product unless I have solid reasons. I have never been endorsed by any of the brands mentioned in this article and paid for all these products with my own money.
Here I’m just trying to give you my honest opinion on these products based on facts. Hope you will save your hard-earned cash with my articles!
Thanks for visiting my blog and supporting me so far! I will hopefully see you in the next review here!