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Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Tedward, May 26, 2011.
For my next build I plan to do a fan fret. Are there any fan fret calculators out there? Tedward
Decide the scale lengths you want for the outer strings, use a regular fret calculator for each, connect the dots.
And that's use the two scales for the paths of the outer two strings, not for the outer edges of the fretboard.
Here you go:
Fret position calculator at Stewart-MacDonald
Fretfind also works.
Thanks guys. From my research I'm to use a .75" difference between each string. So, if the E string is 36" scale length, the A string will be 35.25" scale length, the D sting 34.50, G string will be 33.75" scale length. Is this correct?
That's if I use a 36"/33.75" scale. Is there a standard or common combination of scales for a four string EADG?
I seam to remember a TB'er building a bass with fan frets a while back. I think it was a P or J bass if my memory serves me right. Tedward
Why do you feel you need a 36" scale length for the E string?
It's not that I want to use a 36" for the E string, I was just using 36" as a number to see if my thinking was right. My Bad, I should have explained that. What would be a recommended scale length for the E and G string? Tedward
If it were my bass, and I were a metric-phobe, I'd go with a 35" (or 34") E string scale length and 0.75" difference between adjacent strings.
However, having screwed up too many projects dealing with fractional inches, I would use hard metric measurements.
That would depend on what you want the tension/gauge of your strings to be.
Curious...are you planning on having equal string spacing (on centers) at the nut and bridge?
The strings in between don't matter, you just need to low E scale and the high G if you're doing a 4 string.
Nothing wrong with 36" scale, I prefer it and that's what I use for a low B on my 6 string fans. My high C I like using 32" scale.
Oh and when you're laying it out make sure you are able to measure and mark very accurately.
low string scale from online fret calculator.
mark it on fretboard blank.
decide on the 90 degree fret (usually #9 for me.... no reason!!) and use a try square to draw that one in
high string sclae from online fret calculator
using the same 90 degree fret (at #9) work outwards....
join the dots
I've made 2 six string acoustic guitars and one bass with fanned frets (and another acoustic under way)
first one I made a mitre box for cutting the fret slots, but after that I just freehanded it. once the lines are drawn it's no harder than cutting 90 degree slots.
the only hassle with electric instruments over acoustics are the bridges. I used individual bridge units from bezdez on ebay, but there are a few folks making all in one units. you need to have your thinking head on if you're using one of those though as the whole fan needs to be worked out from the bridge end.
anyway, heres some of mine
I'm working on a fanned fret project, too, and something I've wondered (and forgive me if this is a stupid question) is: what are you using to mark the distances between the frets? I figured I could use my calipers since they'll show thousandths of an inch, but maybe there's some other way to do it I'm not thinking of...
I also thought of using FretFind to lay out the whole board, printing it, and somehow adhering the paper to the fretboard and just cutting along the lines. But then you have to get the paper off, and I know Pilotjones had some trouble with that with his current fanned fret project.
I use a digital caliper and tape the fingerboard with masking tape and either use a inlay scribe or a nice small chisel point marker.
The smaller the device the more accurate you can mark.
TapyTap, I'm going with P bass neck dimensions so the string spacing will be the same as a P bass (nut & bridge). How do I go about figuring the string tension/gauge?
Just glue it on with a glue that you can sand and it won't be hard to get off. I would recommend a flat fretboard, or you are going to end up having to twist the frets to get them to sit correctly.
Some people like to have equal spaces between the edges of the strings. Others prefer to have strings that are spaced equally apart when measured from the centers of each string. Certainly, we would all agree that 10mm between adjacent string edges is different than 10mm between string centers.
Assuming that you will use a different gauge for each string, applying equal spaces as measured from string centers vs. string edges on a single-scale instrument will not make a difference intonation-wise. Why? All frets are parallel with one another...if you change the angle at which your string intercepts one fret...you will equally change the angle at which the string intercepts all of the frets.
However, on a multi-scale instrument, one single string will have a different angle of interception with every fret that it crosses. How you determine the string spacing at the nut and bridge can make a huge difference intonation-wise.
If you know the unit weight of a string that you would like to use, then you can determine the tension of that string at any given length by using a simple formula. A few websites exist that will explain this in detail and provide some online calculators which will determine tension for you. Here is one such site: String Tension. Just plug in your numbers and away you go.
Where do you find the unit weight for each string you might ask? You have two choices: 1) manually collect the data yourself by weighing each string; 2) ask string manufacturers to provide you with this information. Very few string manufacturers will provide you with this data, but two come to mind: D'Addario (D'Addario : String Tension Guide) and Circle K Strings (Circle K Strings - Gauges and Tension).
Cool thing about Circle K Strings...Skip - the owner/creator of these strings - is a regular here on TalkBass.
There are plenty of resources for determining string tension, but it requires you to know unit weights of different string gauges, and the only two companies I know that post that kind of information are Circle K and D'Addario.
You'll have to consider the scale length for each string. For example, if your bass is a 4-string with a 36"-33" fan, your scale lengths will be:
E - 36", A- 35", D - 34", G - 33"
From there, you can use the formula:
Tension = [UnitWeight * (2 * frequency * scale length)^2 ]/386.4 to give you tension in pounds.
Circle K has developed both Balanced and Traditional sets for basses to have even tension. The traditional sets are actually formulated for the Dingwall bass. Truth be told, almost any traditional set when used in conjunction with fanned frets will have very consistent tension - this is the issue that fanned frets set out to correct.
Darn, TapyTap. Beat me to it.
Me! I never found it an issue before, but once I threw a set of Circle K Balanced 200's on my 8-string, I realized I had a problem. There is a very noticeable difference in the string spacing between the high C and F vs. the Low F# and B (somewhere on the order of 2mm different, if I recall my measurements correctly).
Interestingly enough, Ritter basses employ the consistent between-string spacing method. Damn that Jens gives me a new reason to love his work every single day.