small frets

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by 59jazz, Dec 2, 2003.

  1. 59jazz

    59jazz Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma Supporting Member

    what are the advantages of having small frets on a 34" scale? would .080 x .043 frets allow the strings to make contact with the fingerboard? Would this give a fretted bass a more "woodsy" tone? Would flats and small frets make a good combo?

    Thanks, H2
  2. kboyd


    Jul 6, 2002
    Never tried it myself, but Alembic made a custom with Mandolin fretwire and swear it sounds awesome, but if you play heavey, you will need a refret sooner than one with standard wire. Check out their "BIG Bass" in the custom archive section.
  3. Since smaller frets take up a narrower space on the fingerboard, they supposedly provide better intonation. I also personally like how they feel.

    However, they're maybe a little harder to play, they wear quicker, and I've heard that they don't sustain as well, or give as clear a tone.
  4. Carey Nordstrand built Matt Power the 'ultimate 4-string', sporting mandoline/banjo fretwire as part of the requirements. In the 'players' section of his site if you wanna take a look. Mr Power's somewhere about here isn't he?

    Whether they contact the fretboard depends, possibly come close on lower frets if you dig in a bit, but because they wear faster you'd probly be sub-consciously inclined to lighten up a bit.

    Josh D
  5. jacochops


    Jul 2, 2000
    Suzhou, China
    Hey! I had Carey make that 4 string with small frets, and yes, they felt very "quick" under the fingers, and it actually makes it much easier on your can get away with a very light left handed approach. However, Carey has some REEEEAAALLY small fretwire which I LOVE (I can hear Carey grumbling in the background now...);), but is a real bitch to install, since the frets tend to twist like a cat on a rope when you put them in. It's essentially mandolin wire. Once you play on that stuff, you won't go back. Ifd it wears out, I don't care. I'll pay for refrets all day long for the privelidge of playing on that wire!
    Matt P
  6. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Dingwall uses banjo frets on all his basses.