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24 Frets easier than 21 frets???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 555, Jul 16, 2004.

  1. 555


    Jun 21, 2003
    I have an Ibanez 5 string that is 24 frets and an SX J bass 4 string that has 21 frets. My question is, is it easier for your fingers to reach frets that are far on 24 fret basses like your index finger is on the 5th fret and your ringer finger on the 8th fret.

    I found it quite difficult on my SX jazz but then i went to play my ibanez and it's so much easier.

    Does that mean 24 fret basses are easier to reach the frets thus playability is easier than basses with less frets? Seems kinda true to me because more frets you have, the less spaces there will be between frets within a limit of 34" or 35" of a bass neck.
  2. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    If the scales are the same I think you're on crack. Since the scales aren't the same the distance between frets will be different. Comparing those 2 basses is comparing 2 different necks, scales, fret types, 4 vs. 5 string. Way too many variables there. To answer your question, NO there is no difference in playability between the 2 when all other variables are eliminated.
  3. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Most ibanez's have REALLY small frets. I hate playing them because when you start playing them, you get used to the smaller size. I played one for about a year, and it got me all out of whack once I got my Ric. SX's on the other hand are slightly larger than standard scale. So, greater fret distance.
  4. bassmanjones


    Feb 23, 2002
    Boston, MA
    In general I never noticed a difference in reaching the lower notes between 21 and 24 fret basses.

    But, I have noticed differences between playability on basses where the bridge is moved farther away from the edge of the body because the bass feels longer. That may be what you're noticing.
  5. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Well, I think that 24> and >21 fret basses can have the same fret size. For example, my warwick thumb has the same fret size as my ric. The warwick has 28 frets, the ric has 20. I have found Ibanez to have the only "small" fret size on a 24 fret'er.
  6. 555


    Jun 21, 2003
    28 frets? :eyebrow: :eek:

    I guess it might be the frets, the frets on my ibanez are thinner than the ones on my SX i guess. I've also noticed the bridge on my Ibanez is closer to the bridge pickup than the SX is which i didnt even notice until bassmanjones mentioned it:D

    Thanks for the help people!
  7. I think I can feel the difference between 21 and 24 fret necks. The 24 fret necks fells easier to play, especially when doing the stretches. I have both 21 and 24 fret Lulls, and I prefer to do tapping a long scale stretches with the 24 fret and more traditional stuff with the 21 fret.
  8. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Sorry, 26.. Typo :p
  9. If the scale length is the same for the two basses--let's say 34 inches--then the distances between the frets MUST be the same if you compare the 21 versus the 24. The octave MUST be 17 inches no matter which bass you're looking at, for example.

    The only difference is that one the 21 fret version, you just run out of frets as you go higher up. But if you measure from the nut to the 21st fret, it'll be the same on either bass--as long as the scale length is 34 inches. So the stretch from the 5th fret to the 9th fret will also be the same no matter what.

    Or did I completely misunderstand the question?

    edited: I meant the 12th fret, or half the total string length...is 17 inches for a 34 inch scale length.
  10. bigyellowhead76


    Jul 14, 2004
    the thing about the ibanez isnt true that i have found, the ones i have played are actually bigger than normal sizes. in myopinion the 21 fret is easier because thier is less frets. and yes the scale length can be the same because you just have to adjust the sizes of the frets until you get it right
  11. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    No. You can't have a true 34" scale neck and have frets on one bass be smaller than the frets on the other. Ibanez's have a smaller scale methinks. Even on the Ibanez website, they don't state the scale length.. They only state the relative size of the fret (usually "medium").
  12. Wow that quote made my head hurt....really bad.

    A 34 inch scale is a 34 inch scale. 21 frets or 36 frets or 75 frets...the actual contact point between the string and the fret is so miniscule that fret size is only a personal preference issue in the long run.
  13. Obviously there must be a complete misunderstanding here. Whafrodamus is exactly right, there can't be a difference if the scale length is the same.

    Suppose you were to take the 34 inch string then divide the string in half. That would be 17 inches, or the 12th fret. if there is a 24th fret it would be half the 17 inches (8 and a half inches) further up the neck. If the bass only had 21 frets, the 8 and a half inches is still where the 24th fret would be, onlythey didn't put frets out that far

    For the 34 inch scale length, the distance between the 1st fret and the 5th fret is going to be about 6-5/8 inches no matter if the bass has 21 frets or 24 or 26 or whatever
  14. 6-3-2


    Sep 20, 2003
    Yeah it's just a longer fret board, if anything it's just the neck extended into the body more, which wouldn't add any scale.

    I think it's easier to play a 24 fret bass because the 21st fret isn't right on the body so you don't have to reach around it to get to the 21st fret, because I wouldn't say on average but sometimes the body is carved for you to reach higher up since there's 3 more frets that usual.
  15. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State

    Very correct.

    Here's where you might find a difference - if the bridge is pushed up on the body, the bass will be longer, compared to a bass where the bridge is close to the end of the body.
  16. I prefer a 24 fret neck because it's easier for my simple brain to visualize the fretboard with the octave, since I think in terms of 12 frets.



  17. another thing- the length of the top horn-
    on and Essex J/standard Fender etc. the strap button will be in line with the the 12th fret.

    if the top horn is shorter, the frets towards the nut will be harder to reach, but the frets near the pickups easier to reach- anyway, that's what I've found on my 24fret Hohner B2A which has the strap button on the neck heel.

    whatever, the position of the strap buttons will alter your fretting hand + arm angles.

    also, I'm guessing the Ibanez has a flatter neck than the SX.
  18. BenderR


    Jun 1, 2004
    Tucson, AZ
    That's a great idea! Now I have to trade in 7 of my nine guitars and basses in order to standardize on 24 fret necks. :) The exempt intstruments are my Warwick fretless which has fret markers all the way up to #24 and my lap steel which has markers up to #36.