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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Fret size .....what do you think?

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Since bending strings is not generally "Surfy" .....what type of frets do you like ? Tall ones are great for bends , but can make it difficult to play some chords without playing out of tune. What are some of the best guitars for lower profile frets?

Width of a fret can also contribute to less than accurate intonation, not just height.
Guitar brands with lower, smaller frets typically would be vintage style Fenders, Rickenbackers and Gretsch.
Older Gibsons from the 50's have smaller frets.
Most current, mid level priced guitars have medium to jumbo sized frets.

Cheers,
Jeff

http://www.facebook.com/CrazyAcesMusic
http://www.youtube.com/user/crazyacesrock
http://www.reverbnation.com/crazyacesmusic

My squier cab has vintage-y sized wire, so I guess it's individually spec'd for each model, and not brand specific at all.

Nebula V

Chippertheripper wrote:

My squier cab has vintage-y sized wire, so I guess it's individually spec'd for each model, and not brand specific at all.

Yes, within the modern Fender/Squier lines the fret spec is all over the place, specific to each model as you said. Some companies though such as Rickenbacker and Gretsch do not vary their spec as much and older and vintage versions rarely did.

http://www.facebook.com/CrazyAcesMusic
http://www.youtube.com/user/crazyacesrock
http://www.reverbnation.com/crazyacesmusic

For whatever reason, I like the frets as large as possible. Whether I'm bending or not and regardless of genre. I should clarify, as wide as possible, crowned to flat in cross section.

There is a neck radius vs. fret height/width ratio that feels right to me. I love small skinny frets on any guitar, but I don't mind wide ones on flatter radius guitars. Don't really like tall and fat, but more acceptable on a flatter radius.

I prefer larger frets. I affectionately refer to Jumbo frets as 'speed bumps'. Medium Jumbo frets are popular because most people can, at the very least tolerate them. I like them just fine.

I had both of my '63 Jags refretted with Jumbo frets, because the frets in both guitars were worn out when I got them.

Having played the new Professional Series Jaguars and Jazzmasters with the narrow-tall frets (and slightly flatter fretboard), I'd have to say that I like them as well as, or maybe even slightly better than the Jumbos. In fact, I REALLY liked the way that new Jag played. I've even entertained the idea of thinning the herd a little, to help raise money for one of the new Jags. We'll see.

As far as Vintage frets are concerned, meh, not much of a fan.

-Cheers, Clark-

-Less Paul, more Reverb-

I agree with Jake. I have three guitars, a vintage Strat with skinny frets, a standard Strat with mediums and a Rob Chapman speed metal type Strat with extra large frets. From guitar to guitar I notice the neck shapes more so than the frets. I would have thought the bigger frets would be more slippery but when I'm concentrating on playing I don't notice it at all. I once re-fretted my vintage (7.25" Radius) with fat Gibson frets and ended up retiring it and buying a replacement with skinny frets, for whatever reason the Gibson frets didn't work well (for me at least). Fatter frets seem to work better with flatter radius somehow, I am unable to explain why though. Out of all my guitars I've grown to love my American Standard most, it's isn't as comfortable as the vintage but I make less mistakes while playing, it has a flatter radius, some neck tweaks and medium size frets, I guess it's a step towards Gibson style and certainly works for me.

jawkneenowak wrote:

Tall ones are great for bends , but can make it difficult to play some chords without playing out of tune.

It can also depend on your touch. If the tendency is to grab a chord like a vise-grips you're going to go sharp with the taller frets. I have no aversion to the typical medium-jumbo fret but prefer vintage frets - primarily because they're usually on the radius I prefer, which matters more personally.

What are some of the best guitars for lower profile frets?

Jeff is right that Fender has radii & fret size going on all over the place across its various models. For vintage radius the AVRI series and (less expensive) Classic 60's Lacquer series have vintage radius & frets.

Wes
SoCal ex-pat with a snow shovel

DISCLAIMER: The above is opinion/suggestion only & should not be used for mission planning/navigation, tweaking of instruments, beverage selection, or wardrobe choices.

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