SINTOMS offers more than 200 kinds of precision-engineered fret wire,
along with a range of cutters and fretting tools.
A Thriving Source For Hi-Tech Fret Wire
The fall of the Soviet Union threw its former republics into a massive economic shakeup, ending old systems overnight while others were forged from scratch. Among the countless people driven to find a role in the new marketplace was Alexander Edelshtein, a prominent Belarusian engineer who once developed systems for automating design work. Finding diminished opportunities in his old position, Alexander turned his design expertise to a hands-on trade, specializing in the production of fret wire for musical instruments. His company, SINTOMS, was founded in 1992. SINTOMS would take a detailed approach to fret production, analyzing the shortcomings of existing frets and developing unique equipment to refine the process. The result was a line of premium fret wire, easily mounted and replaced, and designed to project rather than impede the natural tone of the instrument.
Today, SINTOMS is a supplier to musical instrument makers around the world. In the 20 years since its founding, its line has expanded from five models of nickel silver frets to more than 200 models in a variety of materials including bronze, stainless steel, alloy brass, and a special non-allergenic alloy. Frets can be supplied in standard sizes for a wide range of instruments, or in custom configurations requested by the manufacturer. Products are available for specialized instruments including domras, balalaikas, and bouzoukis along with acoustic and electric guitars and mandolins. In addition, SINTOMS makes a line of fret-mounting tools including a unique cutter for creating the fingerboard slots where the frets are placed. Its tool collection also includes tang nippers and a fret bender for use in mounting.
With customers in more than 50 countries, SINTOMS’ client base now blankets much of Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Australia. Its first customers, however, were factories and luthiers in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Still reeling from the breakup of the USSR, some early customers unable to make conventional payments would barter with musical instruments from their factories—ultimately creating a new dimension for SINTOMS. Within three years of its founding, the company became a wholesale supplier of musical instruments and accessories. It now sells more than 100 guitar models, among other products, into the Belarusian market.
With his expertise in engineering and design, as well as a background in mathematics, Alexander has brought precision and premium appeal to his products, which are chiefly marketed to makers of mid-to-high-end instruments. In-depth design and testing, and high-tech production, have attracted an ever-wider circle of instrument makers to the SINTOMS line. As such, the company has become an active player in building a guitar culture in new markets. Since 2000, SINTOMS has been the publisher of the magazine Belarusian Guitar. The company also takes part in music festivals, competitions, and forums for refining guitar craftsmanship around the world.
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