Design Q: Multi-scale fretting

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mark5009, Jul 1, 2018.

  1. mark5009


    Feb 17, 2018
    Sydney, Oz
    Hi, all.

    I'm going through the design process for another build, this one a 4- or 5-string multi-scale, so angled fretting. My question is: where to you place the "perpendicular" fret?

    Obviously too close to either the bridge or nut is not going to work because the angles will be too great at the other end, so somewhere in the middle. But what is optimal? Novax seem to like somewhere around fret 15, others at 12, still others at 7 or 8. Or does it really matter at all so long as you are somewhere in the middle? I can't really think of any reason why around 12 isn't optimal, but what do I know? Maybe there are obvious playability things going on I'm not thinking about.

    Oh! And does fretboard radius have more or less impact on a multi-scale than a single-scale? I would think somewhat flatter is better, but I've never played one so don't know.

    Any thoughts?

    .. mark.
  2. TonH


    Jan 26, 2011
    The Netherlands
    I am building a Multi-scale bass right now and I have the perpendicular fret at the 7th-8th fret.
    I think when you put the perpendicular fret at the 12th fret the first frets have an angle that becomes uncomfortable to play.

    The radius of my bass is 9.5, I have to find out if it's oke or not. But I believe Dingwalls have a 9.5 radius as well.
  3. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    For basses, I think the 7th fret is most common.
  4. mark5009


    Feb 17, 2018
    Sydney, Oz
    I get that many basses are made with 7 - 8 being the location, but I wonder if that is simply because they copying what is popular, rather than being based on some design principal? For example, here is a pic of the current Novax J-Bazz 4 and it looks to me like being at 16 or so. Maybe this is just one of those build-it-and-see things?

  5. Following a multi-scale is on my agenda.
  6. mark5009


    Feb 17, 2018
    Sydney, Oz
    I've been following your excellent build, and it got me thinking of making one for myself! And then I started thinking--always a bad idea I know--and this idea came up. I can use something like fretfind to locate these frets anywhere, but just where?
  7. TonH


    Jan 26, 2011
    The Netherlands
    So I understand you already know this website: - FretFind2D
    That's what I used.

    Just choose a multiple scale and then you can choose perpendicular fret distance.There is some explination what this means when you cick on the "?".

    This is what I used as parameters:
    first string scale length 84cm
    last string scale length 89cm
    perpendicular fret distance 0.33258 (7th fret)
    string width at the nut 3.3cm
    string width at the bridge 5.9cm
    fretboard overhang (first&last) 0.3 and 0.4
    calculation method 12
    number of frets 24
    number of strings 4

    And then I printed a pdf.

    Good luck!
  8. I think having the perpendicular fret around 7 becomes more advantageous with guitars because most chording is done in the lower fret area and having extremely angled frets makes it more difficult to fret multiple strings at once. For single string fretting which is more common on bass, it is less of a factor.

    For me the perpendicular fret location would be dependent on the playing style, and where they spend the most time fretting. I would try to position it in the general area where that particular musician spends most of their time playing. For a soloist they might find it better to have it up high. For a "ain't no money above the 5th fret" kind of player they would likely prefer it lower.
    kodiakblair, TonH and Panada like this.
  9. mark5009


    Feb 17, 2018
    Sydney, Oz
    That makes a lot of sense. Thank you!