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Fanned Frets?? What gives??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Macrocosmcwh, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. Good morning fellow TB'ers. Ok I have a bit of a newb question to ask...


    Why Fanned Frets?

    Ever been a "Fanned Fretless" ?

    I am curious if it is for sound or for ergonomics of play... Thank you for your input as always!

    Have a great weekend!
  2. Better string response since longer works better for low tunings and shorter works better for higher tunings. Kinda why a grand piano sounds better than an upright piano.

    There have been fanned fretless basses.

    Ergonomics or tone? Yes.
  3. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    I can't help but admire the maniacs who play fanned fretless :D:
  4. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    Me too.

    I briefly owned a Dingwall Afterburner and I just couldn't get used to the fanned frets.
  5. I think a fanned fretless would work extremely well as an extended range bass. As an unlined player, I sometimes wish I could play lined basses since an unlined fanned fretless intimidates the crap out of me and I like unconventional guitars and basses a lot.
  6. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Really? I was comfortable playing on fanned frets the second I put them in my hand the first time, there was literally zero adjustment time for me. The only thing that I had to get used to was chording and harmonics, which can be a stretch especially on a 6er. Some folks do not like how you have to adjust your right hand with the bridge.

    As far as the fretless, there are a few of them but they are not common.
  7. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    IMO, the fanned fret concept is one of the most significant evolutionary bumps since the inception of the electric bass. To my ears, it has had more of a profound influence than, let's say, multi-lams, high mass bridges, etc. in terms of articulation and string-to-string balance. Certainly not everyone's cup of tea and that's understandable. Proof of the pudding: our drummer, Roger, always asks me to use the "white one" indicating my DW Combustion. When asked why, he responds "...because the notes fly off the fingerboard". Well, the Combustion is gone but I keep an ABI in the arsenal to keep him happy.

  8. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sarcasm: Just ONE of the many services I offer! Gold Supporting Member

    Since I have been trying to get my fretless chops together, I REALLY admire anyone who plays fretless WELL.

    Dan K.
  9. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    My recent purchase was between a Dingwall and a Carvin. If Dingwall offered larger frets it probably would have won. I admire the concept and implementation of the fanned system. Very logical and scientific.
  10. Jean Baudin

    Jean Baudin

    Aug 27, 2003
    redwood city, ca
    Endorsing Artist: See Profile
    My future fanned fretless:

  11. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    I've never played a Dingwall, but a friend of mine has a fanned fret LeCompte. The only adjustment for me is when I go past the 12th fret, it feels a little weird there.
  12. Really? I found that if not paying attention to the fanned frets it's not too difficult, but lately my Combustion 5 has been getting quite a bit of playing time..

    The intonation definitely sounds better up higher on my Dingwall then it does on my Spector Euro 5LX but my Spector hasn't seen a setup in a few months. Both are great basses, and I don't mind the fanned fret system. I'm happy I found my Combustion locally because I probably would've never gotten a chance to try one or buy one.

    They're awesome IMO
  13. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    OH MY!! How many strings will that have?!

    Question for the group also - a bit off topic - what is the point of unlined fretless? Is it all about the looks or perhaps showing off? I admit to liking the look quite a lot but seems like it would be much harder to play (even without the fanning).

  14. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    DanK - I always admire the bass in your avatar whenever it pops up. Spalted ash?

  15. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    Good question - thanks for asking it!

  16. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Like others have mentioned, the concept is like a piano; where lower notes are clearer with the longer scale length. Plus you get really consistent string-to-string tension and overall even tone.

    I find that many 5-string (or 6-string) basses that have 35" scale lengths have good sounding low B's, but I don't particularly like what it does to the treble string sound, making them sound too thin. Having the fan eliminates this issue.

    There have been fanned fretless basses, although I haven't seen an unlined one to date with the exception of Jean's work in progress photo above. They are fairly rare.
  17. Jean Baudin

    Jean Baudin

    Aug 27, 2003
    redwood city, ca
    Endorsing Artist: See Profile
  18. Warmuth


    Aug 6, 2012
    I just tried, and bought, a fanned fret bass today. Played like I always do, it didn't affect me at all. I am a hack who doesn't play chords though.
  19. 2cooltoolz

    2cooltoolz Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Lake Conroe, TX
  20. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    To be fair Jean, you are a freak. In the most possibly awesome sense of the word.

    Seriously, anyone who hasn'nt needs to check out Jean's new album "Mechanisms". It's incredible.

    Can't wait to hear some stuff on that Ken Lawrence fretless.