Review : GruvGear FretWraps String Dampeners

Neal June 29, 2012 7

String dampeners – sometimes you just need a little extra assistance to help keep those unwanted notes from ringing out and ruining a take.  For years guitarists have been making do with hair ties and other DIY solutions, but finally someone has come up with a simple product which works perfectly.  Say hello to the Gruv Gear Fret Wrap professional string dampener!

For the past year I’ve been using the hairy side of a strip of velcro slid under the strings for dampening duty – and to be fair that solution did work very well, apart from the fact that it was a pain to get on and off and move around.  So it has been a bit of a luxury to finally replace my homemade remedy with a slick and simple purpose-made product.

Gruv Gear Fret Wraps

gruv gear fret wraps guitar string dampener review

Each pack comes with three wraps in three different colors – black, orange and brown.  As you can see in the image above, the design is a simple black velcro strap with a soft fabric pad in the middle.  The fabric section has some stiffening in the middle, allowing the pad to perfectly follow the curvature of your fingerboard and therefore dampen all strings with equal pressure.

The adjustable velcro strap allows you to fine-tune the pressure exerted to enable the wrap to work flawlessly with your specific guitar.  The straps are well made and should potentially last a lifetime given the right care.  Three different sizes are available to accomodate most neck widths:

Small – Fits 4- to 5-string basses, 6-string electric and acoustic guitars
Medium – Fits 5- to 6-string basses & 6-string classical guitars
Large – Fits 6- to 7-string basses & 7- to 8-string guitars

In Use

The simple design means that a strap can be on your guitar in seconds.  Once you have one on a guitar there really is no reason to take it off again, as it will easily slide over the nut allowing you to resume normal playing.  When slid past the nut it is very unobtrusive.

Very little pressure is needed to adequately mute the strings – this isn’t a capo, so don’t overtighten!  The degree of dampening can be varied depending on where you place the fret wrap.  Position it just past the nut inside the first fret and you can still play open strings with minimal muting, but slide it up the neck and dampening becomes increasingly more noticeable.  It’s very easy to reposition on the fly whilst playing for the ultimate in control.

As expected they work fantastically well when playing – especially when doing tapped licks, as literally no muting is required at all.  This eliminates not only sympathetic string vibration, but also the scratchy noises your palm can unintentionally create when trying to mute.  It really is a perfect solution for super clean playing.

gruv gear fret wrap string dampener review

Advantages Over DIY Solutions

Most guitarists who need a string dampening solution will opt for the DIY hair tie option.  The problem with this is that hair ties were not designed to be used as guitar accessories.  Hair ties do not produce even pressure on strings, they stretch out over time, they’re fiddly to get on and off (especially if your guitar has a large headstock!) and they’re not exactly durable either.

The Skinny

If your playstyle involves a lot of tapping, or you need a little help taming your guitar during live performances, or you just want to ensure that you get that perfect take whilst recording then you absolutely need some GruvGear FretWraps in your life!  These haven’t come off my guitars since I got them and have quickly become an indispensable part of my toolbox. (They also look pretty snazzy on my guitars!). Of course you shouldn’t use these as a substitute for poor muting technique, but for the times when a little extra help is required these really are a definite must have.

My only gripe is that I have more guitars than FretWraps, so I will need to buy more!  Oh, and I wish they were all orange…

FretWraps come in three different sizes and at the time of writing are $30 for a pack of three with free worldwide shipping.

For more information:
Gruv Gear Website

Also, many thanks to Bass Gear UK for supplying the product!

7 Comments »

  1. Rich June 29, 2012 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Good one Neal I am sick of hair ties they go sloppy very quickly, will have to give them a go. Cheers.

  2. Tom Richardson July 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    I can just see all the shredder kids buying these and never learning how to control overdrive by muting with your hands instead. But still have a use especially for recording but don’t think i could be seen with one live!

  3. Tom Richardson July 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    also that wasn’t supposed to sound arrogant as i’m sure many people class me as a shredder and a kid haha

  4. Hirk Kammett July 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Tom I wish I was a Shredder kid! Instead of a shredder old fart!!
    Your right though you should not rely on gadgets like this, should improve technique.
    Thing is every time I watch Guthrie Govan play he has a scrunchie on his guitar haha & And I am sure I have seen a bloke by the name of Tom Richardson use one in a video!

  5. Tom Richardson July 4, 2012 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    haha! i think Guthrie has stopped using his live, i saw him 3 times in one month and on each occasion he didn’t use any string dampener and he was doing some crazy licks but then again he is Guthrie Govan and that was just when i saw him! I did use an cloth tied round the fretboard when i was recording just in case…i could do it without… honest ;)

  6. Reggshred July 17, 2012 at 5:16 am - Reply

    Hmmm found this… Guthrie?

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=321869527896958&set=a.293031804114064.68409.291278117622766&type=1&relevant_count=1

  7. Eric Hernandez May 30, 2013 at 9:29 am - Reply

    This is great for recording! Aloooot better then using my sock.

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