24 frets makes more sense than 20

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BrandonBass, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    I understand that not everyone one uses the 24th fret on a regular basis, but those of you who plays warwick you'll find it much easier to access the 18 to 20th fret region if it is a 24 fret bass.

    Such a pain to access the 20th fret on a fender due to the cutaway

    Also the fact that it has means 24 fret means the distance between each fret is closer to each other, meaning you dont have to stretch that much to get to the next fret...

    Anyone feels the same?
  2. Nope, having only 20 keeps me on my toes for improvisation instead of doing linear runs I have to drop octaves to continue them and whatnot.

    The # of frets will never dictate which basses I will or will not buy.
  3. verycoolname


    Jan 28, 2013
    Agreed, except on an Ibanez and not a Warwick. I write a surprising amount of lines in the 12-24 fret region (on the D and G strings mostly) and I think it's really helpful, and (obviously) provides more options (because of the two extra octaves). And, like you mentioned, I'm able to make greater reaches because there's less distance between the frets.

    However, sometimes I don't like to "overplay", so a standard 20 fret bass is great as well.
    Artman likes this.
  4. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    The distance between frets is determined by the scale length, not by the number of frets. For example, the distance between the 12th and 13th frets on a 34" scale bass should be .954", regardless of whether the bass is a 20 fret or 24 fret bass.
  5. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    How you guys can call yourselves bass players if you play above the 5th fret I'll never understand.:bag:
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.
  6. Enough disinformation has already been tossed out, so I'll go *opinion/experience*... I prefer the feel of 20 fret necks- I am convinced the strings are just a tad more pliable nearer the middle of their speaking length than toward the bridge. This seems to me to facilitate slapping. The 24th fret is handy as a reference point, but I rarely need it. NOT saying Im *so good I don't need it* but that I try to stay in the *money notes* region. :)
  7. I prefer 24 frets, but I have both & less is not a deal breaker for me. Sometimes you have no choice. Be ready to adampt when necessary. Many companies such as Fender: unless you're looking for a specific 24-fret model, you're pretty much limited to 21 frets.

    I do appreciate a decent cutaway that allows access to the upper frets. My F Bass BN6, Warwick Thumb BO 6, Conklin GTBD-7 & KSD Burner Deluxe 6 all have a decent cutaway designs. I really love the angled body/neck joint of the BN6, which provides the best upper register access (in my experience to date.)
  8. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    I always wear out the 24 th fret, but not because I fret that high, it is because I pluck that far forward.

    Gimme 21 and call it a day, but it is not a deal breaker as long as I have room.

    Going over my repetoire in my head, technically I don't need more than 15.
  9. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    24 may make more sense to you, but 20 has made me way more dollars.
  10. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    My first pro bass was a Carvin LB20 with a 24 fret neck, and Jazz Bass-style pickups and controls. It was the most uncomfortable bass I've owned. The design was intended to facilitate access to the upper frets, but I could never gt both my hands where I wanted them at the same time. I eventually ended up with a Precision: 20 frets, one pickup, two knobs. It fits me, and I can comfortably play 3-hour sets with it.



    At this point, more than 20 or 21 frets IS a deal breaker for me. I don't need 'em, don't want 'em, and won't pay for 'em.

    Your mileage may vary.:D
  11. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Reviewer: Bass Player Magazine
    Fret count has nothing to do with upper fret access/cutaway. The cutaway is completely at the whim of the builder. You will find basses with poor access to 24 frets and great access to 20 frets just as you will the other way around.

    Fret count does not change the distance between the frets. At all. Only scale length does.
  12. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    using the above pictures as reference, I cant imagine how it would be easier to access the 20th fret on the fender compared to the carvin
  13. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I don't play past the 12th fret - ever. And I seldom play much past the 5th.

    My basses don't even need frets past the 13th. I could play a cigar box bass that blocked access to everything up in that range and it wouldn't be an issue.
  14. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    More serious answer now...

    An equally apt thread title could be "21 frets makes more sense than 20" because on typical 4 or 5 string the 21st fret gives you up to an even E (typical as in standard-tuned) which makes sense from layout stndpoint, but not ncessarily a performance standpoint.

    If you were arguing 24 vs 21 it gets dicier, do you play more stuff in A, C, and E or F and G?
  15. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Reviewer: Bass Player Magazine
    That's because Carvin chose to make their cutaway deeper. That's the choice of the builder and has no correlation to the fret number. Here's a pic of a Zon Vinny. A 26 fret bass, but access to 21-26 is poor. I have pics somewhere of a 20 or 22 fret Elrick with phenomenal upper fret access.
  16. Draculea


    Oct 2, 2011
    Mexico City
    This, it's definitely scale length what conditions the distance between frets, not the number of frets.
  17. imho, aside from "I just don't need them" types of answers, there are two or three viable reasons that someone might prefer 20 or 21 versus 24 (or more) frets on a bass:

    - if you are used to jumping up to the top frets a lot and don't want to look at your bass to make the jump, hitting the cutaway with your left hand is a way to feel where you are. If you're used to the location on a fender, you'll obviously overshoot by quite a bit on a carvin lb/bb (or warwick/ibanez/etc). So you choose what you're used to here, which could be a 20 or 21 fret design.

    - slap tone and right-hand feel is different depending on where your right hand is positioned and on how many frets you have. Not necessarily better or worse overall, just different. So again if you prefer the fender or stingray slap thing and need that much space for your right hand, a 24 or more fret bass might be annoying to you. By that same token, I'm stoked about how amazing my new-to-me carvin bb75 sounds for slapping, arguably superior to, but certainly different from, my stingray or jazz (both sought after for slap tone).

    - you may simply like more space for your right hand without worrying about playing over the fretboard, so to get a mellow tone while digging in a 20 or 21 fret board gives you more room for expression.

    All that being said, I own both and love both designs and move freely between them. I play all over and it doesn't affect me, although I do tend to look at my left hand when jumping around.
  18. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    This ^ is it. I generally prefer 24 frets just because of "completeness" of two octaves as a thinking tool and the extra high end range. I don't have to use it much but whan you want it, it's there.

    But as Bassteban says, for slapping there is just something much better about strings hitting the frets about the 20th fret whatever it has to do with plyability or whatever. So if you want that slap tone and feel you just have to forego the extended upper frets.
  19. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I could get by pretty well with 7 frets.
  20. pkstone


    Apr 13, 2011
    I'm going to jump in and advocate ZERO frets.

    "Fret not" sayeth the LO-ARD!