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Fanned frets

Discussion in 'Ask Anthony Wellington' started by thehangingmist, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. Yo Ant! Howdy!?
    What do u feel about fanned frets? Why do u like them or why u dont like them?
  2. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    I don't own any basses with fanned frets. But I've played my share of them.

    As a concept I love it. For fretted basses, the concept appeals to the intellectual in me. In a grand piano, there's a string for every note. And each string has it's own scale. We're never gonna' have that on a bass. But giving each string it's own scale is closer to the idea of a piano.

    The thing that I like the most about fanned frets is the tension is almost the same on each string. Or, at least, that's how it feels to me. That's something that I've never considered.


    I don't think that the concept will catch on any time soon because it would mean luthiers having to admit that someone else had a 'better' idea. Most people don't like admitting that someone else had a better idea.

    Having said that, I think fanned frets is a great idea for fretted basses. For fretless basses,...not so much. I think a fanned fret 'fretless' calls for a total 'rewrite' of your muscle memory. But that's not the case with the fretted.

    I'm sure at some point I'll own a basses with fanned frets. The best sounding B string I've ever heard was on a bass owned by a friend of mine. His name is Harold Tate. He owns quite a few basses with fanned frets. The B string was unbelievable. Closest thing I've heard to 31 hertz on a piano. I think the B string was 37". It was amazing sounding and the tension felt like a E string on a Fender Jazz.

  3. Since i can't get near one unless i get one made for me or something i can only ask! would playing a fretted fanned fret bass feel a total muscle memory rewrite as well?
    what i dont like is that first couple of frets start to feel really far apart on the low B string on a 35" scale bass and even a 34 if i may say! but the high C doesnt want to sound too sweet at 35" either so fanned frets would be great but i dont want the first position playing ( for example 3 notes per string scales spread over atleast 5 frets ie) to feel further apart down low on the B!

    so it does it feel like you might have to stretch and shift even more if say the scale length of the low b is 36 or 37 and the high c is 33 or something!?
  4. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    It's a matter of physics at that point.

    But I try not to do any stretching. I have really hands and fingers. But the benefit of that is that it's forced me to learn how to shift efficiently and effectively.

    I think you have to decide whether you want comfort or tone/tension. There are other compromises that you can make but,...

    Physics is physics!

    Let me know what you decide.

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  6. I've owned a fanned fret 5 string made by Dingwall. Their combustion series is reasonably priced for what they are too!

    I found it to only take an hour or two to get completely used to playing it. As Ant mentioned, its about the way you shift around the fretboard rather than stretching. The first few frets are nice and easy to get used to, its after the 15th where it gets a little awkward to play.

    Its like moving from a shorter scaled bass to a longer scaled, you get to know how it feels, sounds and plays in a short amount of time.

    At the end of the day, it's probably not a great idea if you're playing a whole bunch of chords all of the time. Its definitely a luxury tool to have in your collection though. Hope this helps!
  7. adi77

    adi77 Banned

    Mar 15, 2007
    is the intonation better on a fanned fret?
  8. In all honesty its hardly noticeable. The only difference being the tension of the strings being more-or-less equal across all strings. It would all depend on the strings you have, your playing style, how hard you pick the strings etc. Obviously if you hammer the string theres gonna be issues on the attack of the note whether it be fanned or regular.
    Long story short, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
  9. adi77

    adi77 Banned

    Mar 15, 2007
    thanks.. (i just installed the balanced tension d'addarios and they kind of do the 'more or less equal tension thing". )

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