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Possible to Convert Standard Fret Neck to Fanned Fret

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Klaxxi, Dec 13, 2018.

  1. Klaxxi

    Klaxxi Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2017
    Beaumont, TX
    Would it be possible to take a standard fender style neck and convert it to a fanned fret neck? I'm looking at getting an old Yamaha BB series bass in parts for a project to tinker on and one of the more fun things I can think to do to it is convert it to a fanned fret bass ala Dingwall. I know its pretty common to defret a neck and fill the slots, but from there could someone refret it fanned style? I know the nut slot would have to be recut but aside from that would it work? Or would putting new frets across the filled old slots cause issues? And would things like tuner holes line up? Would it just be easier/cheaper to have a new neck made?
  2. You will need to calculate the multiple scales you want to use and determine if have enough room for those scales. best case, you have room and you fill the existing slots and recut new slots. i don't think you will have enough fretboard room and therefore it will be easier to make a new neck.
  3. Slidlow

    Slidlow Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oshawa, Canada
    Typically the fanned fret is used to increase the string length of the lower strings so I would say it is not worth doing on a regular neck. You won't end up with anything worthwhile.
    SirMjac28 and lz4005 like this.
  4. Klaxxi

    Klaxxi Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2017
    Beaumont, TX
    Isn't that mostly the bride and nut though? Or is say a 20 fret fan fret neck longer than a 20 standard fret neck regardless of scale length?
  5. Guitalia


    Jun 7, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    You'd end up with a neck that's the existing scale for the longest string and medium scale for the shortest string. If that appeals, there's no reason not to do it.
    zoonose likes this.
  6. Klaxxi

    Klaxxi Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2017
    Beaumont, TX
    So it would end up a 34" E and a 32" G or somewhere there about? I guess it wouldn't really benefit anything but it would let me see if I like the feel of fan frets without having to actually buy a Dingwall or Ibanez premium.
  7. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Don't forget, depending where your straight-fret is you'll likely need to retrofit your bridge to individual saddles. I got away with using a badass II bridge to accommodate intonation, but my jag is a relatively mild 35/34" fan centered on the 12th fret.
  8. Klaxxi

    Klaxxi Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2017
    Beaumont, TX
    Yeah I figured so. The bridge currently on it is quite rusty anyway so good chance I'd replace it anyway.
  9. Possible? Yes.

    Practical? No. I'd make a new neck. In the end the labor will probably be a wash, if not less.
  10. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    it can be done but it's gonna be some work. if you have time and like to tinker...
    it'd be a lot of work but anything is possible with labor, time, and cash.

    do you actually need a fan fret? do you use alt tunings and/or different string gages?

    can you get to a guitar center in Texas that has some of the Ibby's to try out to see if it's what you need?
  11. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    It was worth it for me. See my thread about my fanned-fret bass based on a P-Bass:
    A Different Custom P-style Bass
    Of course, I did not re-fret a neck; I ordered a fretless neck and had Sheldon Dingwall fret it in the years before his business took off. A friend of mine who is a great woodworker did help me modify the body to rotate the pickups; I reengineered the bridge and through-body string ferrules.
    Helix likes this.
  12. jwr


    Jun 28, 2010
    Overland Park, KS
  13. dfoehr

    dfoehr Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2006
    you will probably have to rethink the pickup as well
  14. Klaxxi

    Klaxxi Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2017
    Beaumont, TX
    I was going to fill the p cavity and install some nordy big blades.
    Beej likes this.
  15. Waltsdog

    Waltsdog Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Ottawa, ON
  16. kentiki


    May 14, 2008
    As someone that loves to tinker. I doubt that this will work and has epic fail written all over it.
  17. nnnnnn


    Oct 27, 2018
    It seems like you're skipping over the step of just walking into a music shop and trying a fanned-fret bass.

    I don't know anything about building necks, but my guess is that you could buy a new Ibanez, try it for a week, sell it, and still come out ahead financially compared to the money and effort you'd have to put into building a comparable instrument yourself. Start with a used Ibanez and you may not even lose any money when you sell.

    Having said that, if you want the challenge of building one for yourself then sure, go for it.
    zoonose likes this.
  18. mark roberts

    mark roberts Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    Bridge needs to change, as well. Expensive 1-off from reputable bridge makers or individual bridges replace your stock bridge. As far as the neck? If it is a bolt on, have a luthier make you the neck. Better yet, contact a luthier and request a quote to retrofit the bass for fan-fret...then, your “education” will be complete regarding this.
  19. Mustafa Umut Sa

    Mustafa Umut Sa

    Oct 20, 2007
    I think , different lenghts and longer the bass side strings , can load more torsion effect on your neck. I would expect in coming few years , your revised bass neck , wraps to unrepairable state.
  20. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    As I did.

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