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Basses with fanned frets

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ChaosGwar, Jul 29, 2002.

  1. What basses offer the fanned fret necks?

    I know Dingwall uses the fanned fret system, does anyone else?

    And for you Dingwall owners, how much would one cost? I'm looking at them as a possible 6 string addidtion.

  2. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    after learning upright for a short while now im wondering why everyone doesnt use fanned frets. Im sure its hard to get used to with the frets the way they are, but for person with perfect pitch, it probably keep them sane.
  3. fivestringdan

    fivestringdan Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    Bill Conklin is doing some.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    Ralph Novax is the father of modern Fanned frets.do a search.
  5. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Acacia also licenses the fanned fret patent from Novax. They don't fan as much as Dingwall does.
  6. s7on3d


    Jun 26, 2002
    Ra'anana, Israel
    Excuse the stupidity, but what are fanned frets?
  7. Fanned frets are where there is a Wider spacing between frets on the lower strings, but the higher strings have smaller spacing, so that the scale for the high strings can be shorter than the low strings, and vice versa.
  8. i saw a fretless conklin gt7 with fanned fretlines.
  9. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Novax makes the Mo' B 5 and 6 string basses with fanned frets. I believe that Darrin Huff is gonna start offering it.

  10. Hi:
    I'm have a Dingwall Afterburner bass. You can do a search for all the details. Mr Dingwall licences the Novax fretboard. IMO it really make a big difference in playability and tone ( details here )

    The Afterburner series basses are his budget bass, it costs approx $1600USD for a 5 string w/ a flame top (a 4 string is $200 less expensive). You can read all about the Afterburners at his website The pict on the website are identical to my bass.

    W/ that said Mr Dingwall also makes 6 strings, If Geoff St. Germaine pipes up he can give you all the details, he is currently having one built. To my limited knowledge, skys the limit on these upper endbasses, and the price climbs accordingly(maybe $3-6K).
    I've seen used Dingwall primas, Zebras, and Vodoos on Ebay and the seem fairly affordable ($1500-2500). AXE music in Canda seems to have a full assortment of Dingwalls, including a one-off 6 string which they attempted to auction on EBAY last month for $3K.

    So far i have found little differences playing the fanned frets, string bending, tapping and even double stops are all similar to a standard fretted bass. Actually string bending is a bit easier as the fanning goes along the same angle as you wrist turning up. I've also noticed that the angle of the frets is more ergonomically easier on your wrist. The biggest problem for me has been after the 12th fret the angling gets steep and you spend time looking at your finger placement, but i don't spend lots of time up there so it really hasn't been too bad. It just takes practice time.
  11. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    True, but Matt just closed down. Too bad.
    Family reasons, they got a son. Too good?:D
  12. bassplayajew


    Mar 14, 2002
    Bethesda, MD
    I'm pretty sure that the purpose of fanning the frets is to accomodate the multiple scale lengths. Its really common sense, just someone started making money off of it.
    Guitar frets are closer together (than bass frets)because the scale length is shorter, so logically, increasing the scale length means to also increase the distance of one fret to another. The scale lengths are different for each string because the strings are different sizes, so someone probably developed a formula (the relation of gauge and tension to scale length) or made a lot of necks to figure out what scale length the E string will intonate "perfectly" at.
    But even with fanned frets and a proper set up, its still impossible to play in tune. And whoever has perfect pitch knows that. But if a bassist with fanned frets and a guitarist with a conventional neck play together, the person with perfect pitch will still hear the same note on both instrument clash.
  13. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    But I don't really care, I don't have perfect pitch, and my audience can't tell the difference. In fact, I have never met anyone with "perfect pitch". I know guys that can name off all the notes on a piano from hearing them, but I don't think he could tell if they were a cent off.

  14. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    No, the fanned frets and differing scale lengths really don't have anything to do with intonation or being "in tune", like the Buzz Fieten system does. Rather, they have to do with achieving something closer to even tension and similar tone across all the strings. Many folks feel that a longer scale length can help give a clearer low B, but don't necessarily like how it changes the feel and sound of the G (or C) strings. The fanned fret arrangement avoids that.

  15. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    that was actually a custom conklin 8 string with the fanned frets that you saw, and it used to belong to our own jauqo iii-x.
  16. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Yep. With the caveat that at longer scale lengths you can use lighter strings which have better intonation, I'm on the same page as you.

    For example, the tension on a low B string is much lighter at .130 than the tension on a .065 D string, at the same scale length. To get the same tension would require a larger string like ?.145 maybe. I know some people are using .140 Bs now, I have a hard enough time getting a .130 to intonate however.

    And of course, a .145 B on a 34" scale will just sound different from a .125 B on a 37" scale, and if you prefer the sound on the latter then that's reason enough.

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