Fanned Frets?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sonorous, Jun 14, 2004.

  1. Sonorous


    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    Can someone explain this term to me?
  2. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Have a read here. This is the guy who patented the idea.

    Basically it allows multiple scale lengths on one instrument, so that each string can have the best length for that strings guage and pitch.

    In practice, you'll find a 37" B string is great, but a 37" G string is very tight and sounds thin. So fanning the frets allows you to get the tight defined B of a 37" scale, and to also have the nice thick sounding G string of a 34" scale.

    Yeah, I've got a Dingwall, and yeah, it rocks....
  3. Sonorous


    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    You also live about 2 hours away from me.

    (Thank you.)
  4. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    I understand how it works. But I don't understand how people get adjusted to them, let alone switch back and forth between them and normal basses.
  5. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    Those I have been in contact with, that have tried (or use) fanned fret instruments, are all of the opinion that they are suprisingly easy to play. They look wicked but aren't.
    I have never tried one. Would love to. But I imagine that when you have the instrument strapped on, it will look and play just like any other; but perhaps it will look as if it is closer to your eyes, due to the perspective cheating you... maybe. I mean, if you look down at your bass from the side, the first frets will appear angeled one way, while the frets at the other end will appear to be angeled the other way - due to the perspective. So I am just thinking that a fanned fret bass will be much the same, just a bit "more" perspective, sort of.

    Am I making any sense???
  6. Jean Baudin

    Jean Baudin

    Aug 27, 2003
    redwood city, ca
    Endorsing Artist: See Profile
    Like anything else you get used to it. Going from a fanned fret bass to a regular bass imo is no harder than switching back and forth between a 4 and a 5 string.
  7. Yup Like Jean mentions... Switching back and forth between a fanned fret instrument and a parallel fret instrument is no more problem than switching between a 4 string and a 5 string.
    If you've played a fanned fret instrument for more than 10 mins you'll understand that the fanning is only a visual distraction and not a tactile one. You get used to it very quickly and it disappears.
    I rountinely switch between a 37" 5-string fanned Dingwall and a 32" 4 string fender.

    Brucewane...woohoo, another Dingwall owner in Houston.
  8. Sonorous


    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    Ok, thank you to everyone. I get it now.
  9. ivanthetrble


    Sep 9, 2002
    Just for the record. I find it more difficult to make the switch to a headless bass (Steinberger) than making the switch to fanned frets.
  10. I've played Jean's 9-string fanned-fret Conklin a few times and it didn't take long to get used to it enough to get around. Actually, it's more natural in some ways since the angle of the frets more naturally matches the angle your finger would make when barring the strings at the various positions.

    The Novax fanned fret system is a really great idea. I think more luthiers would offer it if they had the ability to cut the fretboards themselves. It's probably tricky to get right without the right jig. Plus, they have to pay licensing fees to Novax.

    - Dave
  11. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    i'm sorry i haven't tried one yet.

    and with all my recent years at NAMM, no excuse!

  12. Dave-
    I'm not sure why more luthiers don't use the Fanned fretboard, considering the sonic and ergomonic benfits.
    The licensing costs do not appear high (they are stated on the webpage) and I'm not sure cutting the fingerboard presents a huge problem for a skilled luthier, apparently the licensing fee gets you directions as well.

    My feeling is that the many lutheirs are concerned that the Novax board is not traditional looking (which scares away many players), or that many of the comment we read prevent most players from considering a bass w/ these fretboards or fingerboards (I have a multiscaled fretless as well) , i.e.,the fanned frets are too hard to play or that you can't switch back and forth, but really it more about ingnorance on their part. In my experience w/ Dingwall Basses, the Novax board imparts a huge mount of playability and tone. Night and day really.
    Heck i hope Mr Dingwall corners the market on novax equipped basses, he really figure out how to successfully incorporate the concept and make his basses very noteworthy