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Is 24 frets really necessary???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tbirdbassist, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. THIS IS NOT A RANT (Im sure this has been discussed before, but theres to much to look through)

    I've been hearing alot from bassists that they need 24 frets on their basses. Does anyone really play up that high on a regular basis? I can understand maybe from some jazz players, but even still, I rarely see them go past the 17th.

    Dont get me wrong, I could care less on how many frets a bass has, as long as its more than 15, Im happy. So again, Is it really necessary to need have a bass with 24 frets? (were talking your basic 4, 5 or 6 string bass, no ERB's)

    (Im gonna get it, Arent I? :bag: )
  2. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY


  3. Rule of thumb: If you need 24 frets on your 4 or 5 string bass, just get a 6 string and be done with it. If you need 24 frets on your 6 string. Get a 7 string. Or just get a guitar. That's what you really want to play anyway if you're consistently finding yourself in the neighborhood of the 24th fret.

  4. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
  5. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    I don't like instruments with less than 24 frets. I play several Stuart Hamm solo pieces that require at least a 23-fret neck. Besides, although I don't depend on that, a 24-fret neck is a cool visual reference for playing pinch harmonics. Another reason is that I'm working on adaptations of the two-part inventions by J.S. Bach for two basses and I'm doing the arrangements thinking of a 24-fret, 5-string bass, trying to take advantage of the higher register the most I can (I don't like six-stringers, BTW).
  6. ...that my Fender J-5(21 frets)& the couple of P-basses(20 frets)had a very different feel(from my 24 fret basses)w/regard to plucking. I like 20 or 21 fret necks for slapping; 24 for noodling/self-indulgent home-studio wankfesting. But to actually answer the question, no. I hear there are basses w/NO frets at all. :eek:
  7. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002

    If a guitarist consistently finds himself in the neighborhod of the 1st fret, then he must really want to play bass, right? :eyebrow:

    That's a bad rule of thumb- the frets are there to be played. 24 frets is great whenever you're doing chromatic passages up and down the neck. Also for playing chords up high while letting lower notes ring out- chords are much easier to play in the upper registers as far as clarity and ease of fingering- just watch John Patitucci play some solo pieces to see how useful the top frets can be while still remaining "bassy."

    And slides, man, slides! You can't beat the sound of zooming up from an open E to the E on the 24th fret and back.
  8. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    Only if the bass' design allows me access to all 24 frets! :D ;)
  9. and...

    Nope - 21 is plenty for me (only use anything that high occasionally and for a special effect).

    I'm really not a fan of much bass playing (even as done by others) much above the 15th or 16th fret on any string. Then again, I'm not much of a fan of exhibitionist soloing on the bass as well.

    Just my opinion.
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Bah...24 frets is cool to have, but certainly not necessary. It doesn't make you a better bassist to have 24 frets, does it?
  11. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    I can't speak for anyone else, but I find 24 frets absolutely useless. I have no need nor any desire for a 24 fret bass.
  12. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Best answer :).

    This is somewhat missing the point of having 24 frets/7 strings/etc. -- the point isn't to be a better bassist simply by having a bass with these attributes, but to remove obstacles from creativity -- eg, only having 21 frets or 4 strings -- so that you can do MORE. Jaco only needed 4 strings, right? I guess you could say that about Michael Manring...and then point out the 3 octave fingerboard he has on his signature bass.
    Looking at these things should be the same as looking at technique. Incredible technique is not going make you a great musician, but there is going to be NO physical limitation to you making great music. On the flipside, someone with an incredible melodic concept, ear, and knowledge of application of harmony with no technique/complete garbage technique is going to find themselves constantly hitting physical limitations that will limit their output. From all indications, Jared is a great player (IIRC, I heard something from him in the Recordings forum, but I might be wrong) and someone who by all accounts uses his high C string and his 24 frets. Drop Jared on a 4 string with 21 frets and, while I'm sure he could still play some pretty deep stuff, there are certain physical limitations -- the lack of another string and 3 frets -- that will intefere, and by the virtue of the bass he's playing, would have fewer colours to paint with...dig?

    EDIT: IMO, they are necessary for what I play. My fretless has a 2 octave board, but my fretted only has 20 frets, and there is indeed a strong sense of being limited when moving from one to the other (the "speedbumps" don't help either ;)) by the lack of those 3 notes. I'm picking up a Yamaha TRB-4II in the near future that is indeed a 24 fret bass, and I couldn't be happier with it. To be entirely honest, the 24 frets was indeed one of the things that attracted me to the bass. Even if you don't USE those extra notes, the complete visual of a 2 octave fretboard makes a lot more sense to my brain that, when looking at patterns, wants COMPLETE patterns, if not entirely symmetrical. If I scratch one arm, I have to scratch the other in the same place or I feel off balance. The same happens when I play up high on a bass with fewer than 24 frets.
  13. Jonki

    Jonki I will not slap my Bee!

    Oct 14, 2003
    Arendal, Norway
    not for me
  14. One observation:

    More frets usually make for a longer fretboard/neck, and a longer fretboard/neck lends to a longer bass. I can see advantages to a shorter string length and shorter distance between arms and advantages to a longer string length and a longer arm distance apart.

    Just a thought. :hyper: ;) :cool: :bassist: :eyebrow: :) :oops: :eek: :( :ninja: ;) ;) :spit: :bassist: :bassist: :D :oops: :mad: :ninja:
  15. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    If I understood your statement right, I think you're wrong. The extra frets are added getting closer to the bridge, but the bass scale is still the same: 34" (well, may be more or less, but that has nothing to do with the number of frets). That's why some players don't like 24-fret necks for slapping. Also, if you take a look to Michael Manring's Hyperbass, you'll see that it has an extra deep cutaway for reaching the highest register of that 3-octave fingerboard.
  16. Just a note, If anyone has forgotten, I meant to say 24 frets on a 4 or 5 string. I can see the capabilities of having 24+ on a 6, 7+ string bass.

    I actually do like the look of a nice long fingerboard (especially on a fretless). But with fretted, I find in the upper registers to be very cramped, and makes more sense for me to have another high string, Then working my fat fingers around in that small area.

    I've seen alot of 3 octave (36 fret) fretted (from 4 to 9 strings)basses and the frets are so close together, that it makes me think that there would be alot of buzz going on while playing up there. A fretless with a 3 octave range(with any amount of strings) seems easier to play to me.
  17. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Here's a pic of the Hyperbass:

  18. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I don't need it. Anything with 19 or more to give me 3 full octaves is fine.
  19. ^he's right. I played a 36 fret bass once (same cutaway body as Manring's, but MUCH cheaper) and it was still only 36". It's nearly impossible to play comfortably though, there's only like a 4 inch for your picking hand before you hit the fretboard.

    I like to have 24 frets. My 2 fretted basses have 24, then I got a fretless J-bass with only 20 and I feel like it's missing something. I really like having the full 2 octave range to play with.
  20. mjw


    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    Thank You!