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Advice from fanned fret players

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by improvpwnd, Jan 20, 2006.


  1. I really like the idea of the distribution of string tension (tighter on lower strings, more loose on higher strings) on fanned fret basses, however I have never played one. Are they any more difficult, easier, or the pretty much the same to play as compared to a standard bass? Does it take some getting used to? I would imagine harmonics would be a little uncomfortable at first. Would you recommend fanned frets? I'm looking to get a 6'er and I do a lot of tapping, if that matters.
     
  2. AxtoOx

    AxtoOx

    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    I have a 4 string Dingwall AB. I just picked it up and started palying it, and I switch between my Dingwall and F Bass 5er all the time, no problem.
    Your fingers just fall into place. It's just getting over the visual part.
    I have heard some that play fanned almost exclusively that the get a little fatigued when they go back to a regular Bass. But that's the only negetive I've heard.
     
  3. first off- getting used to fanned frets.
    It will take you longer to post and read this thread than to get comfortable. As you say its purely a visual distraction. Not a physcial one. Honestly when your wearing the bass like normal, you don't really see anything different.
    30sec-2 mins max.
    The only time you will notice any differences is playing above the 15th fret. Consider on Dingwalls the 7th fret is parallel, so where 90% of us play its pretty much no difference. If you tap alot up high on the neck, I suspect you will have to look at your fingers, but it shoul dbe no different.

    As for recommeneding the fanned fretboard-absolutely, it has only benefits, you mentioned even string tension. On a Dingwalls it overt and noticable, you feel immediately the differences between a fanned and parallel fretboard. The varible scale lengths really do make each note clear and focused. Harmonics are in the same spot where you'd expect them to be, if the fret moved 1/4" up so does the harmonic, it will take very little time to figure it out. Infact because of the angle of the fanning its more ergonomically correct on your wrist.
    I even play an fanned fretless Dingwall bass, its not any more difficult than playing a regular fretless.

    Again the only time where others have mention issues w/ the novax board is chordal playing above the 15th fret.
     
  4. Thanks guys for the info so far. I guess one concern I would have would be playing chords in the higher register (frets 12+)...though I'm going to mainly be tapping up there, I do find myself hitting chords up there as well.
     
  5. since it appears you'l be spending alot of time up high, you might want to play one, first.
    NOW i'll say this Dingwalls have extreme scale lengths. 37" B ->34"G. However a number of other builders such as conklin, Bee, JP, have all built fanned basses on smaller scales, even the Dingwall SuperJ (34E-32G) is shorter. A shorter scale should facilitate your concerns, yet still provide the benefit of even string tension, and improved clarity
     
  6. Thanks again! I had not thought of the differences in scales either. The bass I get will probably be a Conklin so I am sure they can figure in a scale just right for me...I'm thinkin no more then 35" (35.5" maybe??) B --> 33" or 32" C
     
  7. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I never feel like the scale length on my Dingwall is ever an issue.

    It feels comfortable across and down the board. I also am somewhat puzzled at the amount of fear about fanned frets. When you look down at the fretboard from playing position, it's hard to tell that the frets aren't parallel. Yes I guess it could get tricky in the upper registers, but I would guess you'd be used to it within a few practice sessions.

    What I do note when I listen to live board and audience tapes of my band is that it has a definition and solidity that is lacking in other basses...it has a presence that is hard to describe. It also can provide the low end without mud or flab. I was listening to one of our songs that's a 2 chord soul/reggae/rock rave up (between A and D major) and I alternate between D above low E and D below low E, and there's no lack of note response, speed, or definition below E. Part of that has to be the long scale length...but I never feel like I'm stretching to get down to the nut.
     
  8. Sky-
    i agree w/ you about the scale length, however one of the biggest comments I read about Dingwalls is a few people can't seem to get comfortable on that 1 position stretch. I was emailing w/ a player at the dudepit the other day and he owns an ABII, and it has befuddled him trying to reach the 5th fret GD string (for harmonics), all the while fretting the F on the E string, I tried it myself and honestly its too far, but again I've never tried that til today. So I can see where some may feel the scale is a bit much. I've also had a chance to play my shorter scale SuperJ, and even thou its fanned in the same increments as the Afterburner, the shorter scale makes the bass feel faster.
    Of course i'm a wee bit biased
     
  9. AxtoOx

    AxtoOx

    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    I've never tried that before either, your right it's to far, but I can't do it on my F Bass either, not quite as far but he must have quite a stretch.
     
  10. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass

    Dec 29, 2005
    Canada
    I've never been happier than with my Dingwalls.

    My band mainly rehearses through a headphone setup (electonic drums), so you hear everything clearly. Back when I had only one Dingwall, I had a minor problem with the jack which forced me to play a few jams with my other basses (MM StingRay5, Lakland 55-01, Fender P) and it just bummed me out because everything else just sounded so muddy in comparison.

    The extra scale length does make a difference and the fanned frets take very little to get used to. It's much more intimidating to look at straight on than it is to play.
     
  11. AxtoOx

    AxtoOx

    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    I'm about talked into getting another one, I'll have to get the pencil and paper out tomarrow.
    Where's the rolaids!!!!
     
  12. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass

    Dec 29, 2005
    Canada
    Everyone's gotta have at least two... :)
     
  13. AxtoOx

    AxtoOx

    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    Yeah well if they were open now, I'm affaid it would be over by now.:rollno:
     
  14. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    What are you looking at? Are you gonna stay with the Afterburner style or Prima or Zebra (or maybe a Super J)?
     
  15. AxtoOx

    AxtoOx

    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    I think all I can afford now is another after burner, I can afford a nice one a 5er, but I'll have to sell some stuff to get anything else, and I have no feedback anywhere so it could take a while. I used to use Craigs List, but It's not big out here.
     
  16. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass

    Dec 29, 2005
    Canada
    I really love those Prima and Prima Artists, but I could never buy a bass like that and still be married (with the exception of winning a lottery).
     
  17. AxtoOx

    AxtoOx

    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    I feel for you, I have the change jar out now seeing what I can do.