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How many frets do you need?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ZiggyDude, May 13, 2010.

  1. ZiggyDude


    Jun 8, 2005
    I was fooling about with the custom Moser that I had made and recently got delivered. I started thinking that it would have been nice to move the neck pickup higher up the body. But - that would require not getting 24 frets. Maybe cutting it back to 21 - 22 at the max. Another idea would have been angling the end of the fret board so I had 22 at the G string and maybe 20 at B. Since it is a P style pickup that would allow me moving it some.

    I mean - how often does anyone ever use those frets? Most that want those notes use a 6 string bass so they can go laterally.

    The advantage in playability and tone would be there as I can keep the bridge pickup farther away from the toneless bridge area and still have space between the pups to get the fingers in.

    Curious on thoughts? Also - mention what type of music you do. Like I am 80% fingers and 20% pick - no slap. Doing Classic Rock, 80s, and new stuff.
  2. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    You're not likely to need anything past the 20th fret unless you are writing your own material, as very few parts from past songs require playing that high, and few modern songwriters will require playing up there. If you do write your own stuff though, it could be vital. I play 6-strings and rarely go up that high, but there are a couple parts I've made that require the 24th fret. And I'd rather have it there in case I need it than not have the option. You can have 24 frets and still have the neck pickup quite high up- are you going for the mudbucker position or something?
  3. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I only need 5. There's no money to be earned beyond the 5th fret anyway.

    On a serious note... 13th fret is the highest I usually go.
  4. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
  5. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    We have attended the same schools.
  6. Fretless1!


    Feb 19, 2007
    Beat me to it. :p

    But, seriously, 20 frets is plenty. More than that is nice if your going to do a lot of soloing up there. If not...
  7. Ah, one of these threads. Yeah, "no money above the 5th fret". Fieldy only needs 2 strings and 3 frets, so he obviously wins.
  8. BananaKing

    BananaKing Supporting Member

    May 15, 2008
    Vancouver, B.C.
    I'm actually currently build a 5 string tuned E-C and I'm going to be putting 28 frets in it. That way, I have a full E-E range.

    The reason that I need that, though, is that I arrange a lot of classical guitar and piano music for solo bass (or I was until I got rid of my Lakland) and I found that (I more often than not) I needed the additional range that I couldn't hit without at least 24 frets.

    Plus, I really like the idea of being able to chord in whichever way I choose that high up.

    I slap a lot, but I usually slap over the fretboard more often than not, so it doesn't really make a lot of difference for me.
  9. seventhson

    seventhson Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    Not that you would ever want to play this, but you need 22 frets to play the Stu Hamm's version of Bach's Prelude in C Major.
  10. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    kinda depends but most of the time after about the 16th fret not much happens. Another thing to consider is how well you play up there in the miniature world. Big fingers that easily do the F-A reach on a 35" bass are a bit of a liability in the area where the frets are spaced closer than a mandolin. Maybe a partial ramp between the board and the pup would allow you to hit some more notes and w/o frets it can be a lot easier.
  11. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    Yeah! FiEldY wins EVERY TIME!

    Actually, no. While I am a rather boring and non-flashy bassist, I am sitting here listening to some Jeff Berlin. I like it, but I'm not dedicated enough to learn to actually DO it.

    Hat's off to those who do, though!
  12. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I have a 24 fret 5 string. I like to have the extra fret/range for soloing on jazz gigs. Would I miss it if I didn't have it...probably not.
  13. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    I could get away with 15, but I still prefer 21 :D
  14. ausf


    Jun 24, 2008
    New York
    I had a two octave neck (24) on a fretless which was real neat because it made so much sense: 'Here's and octave, and another one half it's size'. I'm very visually oriented and it just worked.

    Fretted, I'll go right up to 21. I play a lot of RHCP, so you've got to. That's on a Ray, when I borrow a Sterling, I get confused.

    Back in my days of metal and punk, I think 7 would be fine.
  15. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    I like 22 frets. We used to do a song where I played a double-stop A & E way up at the end of the fingerboard. Then one night I used my older P bass, and I wasn't thinking. We started that song, I reached uo to the end of the neck, and right as I plucked the Ab/Eb, I realized what was gonna happen...

  16. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    I prefer 24 frets. My Modulus VJ is my only bass right now with less (although my Hamer fretless has 22, and my really old bass I don't play anymore has 21 or 22). 24 frets is good for us guys who take solos, or like to two-handed tap every now and then. I always run out of notes for melodies when I have less. That being said, I don't use the higher frets that much.
  17. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Totally with you on that one!
  18. I need 42 frets on a daily basis.
  19. somegeezer


    Oct 1, 2009
    I don't generally go past 15th. 17th is pushing it. But I have played a lot of songs higher than that in the past. Even one which required a 26th fret on my G. I only have 24 damn it! Definitely a 6 string would be useful for me. Good job I'll be getting myself one at some point.
  20. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    I've used the higher frets more in the last month than I have in my previous eight years of playing. However, that's only because the things my new instructor has had me doing I've had to do up and down the entire fretboard. So, at least from a learning perspective, I'm using all the frets a lot these days.

    Personally, I rarely go above the 12th fret when playing so the number of frets on my basses has never been something that concerned me. Certainly not putting down those who use the high notes, I'm just stating what I need for what I play.

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