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Starting out on Fanned fets

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by katri, Nov 11, 2005.

  1. Hey,
    I'm thinking of buying a fanned fret bass but i have not seen any that really appeal to me apart from the dingwall super j (G.A.S!!!) but i cannot afford one so i was wondering are there any alternatives?? any help is appriciated

  2. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO
    Budget and Fanned Frets while not oxymoronic are certainly NOT aligned at this point in time. I've seen the odd example from time to time, but after Dingwall and crazy botique stuff there doesn't seem to be a lot for the everyman.
  3. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Yup. There's no entry level in terms of sub-$500 fanned frets.

    The Afterburner 1 will cost you a few buck but is well worth it and may be cheaper than some folks suspect...especially the ones without a fancy top wood.
  4. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Mar 6, 2005
    And you don't have to buy new!
    I never buy new gear unless it's just simply not available any other way.
    Start lurking around the ebay and bassgear.com sites for a used one.
  5. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    Someone posted on the Dingwall board that they bought an Afterburner for $700,
  6. what about fitting a novax neck onto a bass would this be cheaper?? would i still get the benefits of fanned frets with a normal bridge?????

  7. http://www.novaxguitars.com/parts-accessories/necks-bass.html

    I guess it could be cheaper, but still quite pricey. The necks shown at the link are designed to fit most P and J basses, so if you have a bass that can use a standard P/J neck, it might work.

  8. will i get the benefits of fanned frets because arent the bridges they use for fanned frets specially made?

  9. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    The bridge on the Dingwall and other fanned fret basses is part of the equation. I have a feeling that a straight bridge and fanned fret neck would mean you'd have a pretty radical fanning, and it would be difficult to play.
  10. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    A regular bridge wouldn't give you the spread needed to intonate a fanned board. Instead of a Dingwall you'd end up with a Dingbat. :eyebrow:
  11. munkyboy


    Feb 1, 2004
    What's your budget?

  12. probably about $700-1000 so i think maybe buying the neck alone may be the best option
  13. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Mar 6, 2005
    As BurningSkies noted it is possible and I have seen pics of fanned frets with a straight bridge.

    Basically you end up with the frets straight on bridge side and strongly slanted at the nut.
    Look very strange but the nut end is actually quite like the standard angle, it just looks really weird because of the other end being straight.
    I'd really like to try one and see what it feels like, but I do suspect you'd gain at least part of the benefit of what you'd get with a Dingwall.
    However, fanned frets aren't the only thing that make Dingwalls great and if you want to go the fanned fret route you're probably going to be much happier with yourself if you just start searching for a used Dingwall or saving and getting a new one.
  14. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY


    Dingwall basses get a lot of attention for the fanning, but that's really only a part of the total. The bass is extremely well designed, and built with complete attention to detail, both in sound and build quality. Almost every part is specific to Dingwall...from the bridge to the pickups which are wound in shop with pickup shells that are CNC'd on premises. I believe on my dingwall even the tuners are custom designed.
  15. Judging from the info at the Novax site, they sound confident that the bridge on a standard P/J bass would work properly with perhaps a couple of modifications.

    From the site:
    "Novax® Nex are designed to easily retrofit standardized (Fender and clones) guitar and bass models with no permanent modification to the body. The range of adjustment of the stock bridge system will accommodate the scale length requirements of the Novax® neck....

    Intonation is adjusted in the typical way, using the 12th fret harmonic sounding against the string fretted at the 12th fret. A tuner is recommended. Also we recommend checking this adjustment against the 19th fret harmonic and fretted note. This will ensure the tuning accuracy. The saddle for the high E and B string on the guitar (G on bass instruments) may need a longer intonation screw to allow the saddle to move forward farther on the bridge base plate. USA made Fender instruments will use a 4-40 screw (included). Imports and clones may use metric sizes. In some cases the spring may need to be removed from the low E string saddle to allow it to move farther back."..

    I believe it would work as advertised, but of course it still would be NO Dingwall. Quite pricey for a "unfinished" neck. And if price is no object, I guess one could just order a new Dingwall..

  16. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    I agree, it will work. I just think that part of why the Dingwall works is the extended scale length, and if you look at the Novax replacement neck with a low E @ 35 inches, it has about the same level of fanning as a Dingwall does with a 37 inch low B (around 36 inch low E).


    Lets face it, there are tons of 34 and 35 inch scale length basses out there...that have parallel frets. The whole point of the fanning is to lengthen the scale on the low end.
  17. I agree, but let's not forget that they are trying to lengthen the low string scale and keep the high string scale shorter at the same time.
    This is something I really notice on my 35" scale bass. First I've owned, and I like the added tension on the low strings, but at the same time the high strings have more tension and end up sounding much thinner and bright.
    A fanned fret arrangement would allow the best of both worlds, wouldn't it??

  18. Dingwalls don't come up frequently in our classifieds (which should tell you something) but there was a basic afterburner 1 model that came on a week or two ago and sold for around $800 I believe. That's right in your price range. Don't but a neck.
  19. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    Yes...exactly. That's why I always vote Dingwall. It allows even string tension across the board. I just don't think that the 1 inch of extra scale length is worth it with a replacement neck. The spread on most 5 string Dingwalls is 3 inches, and on a 4 its either 2 or 2.5 inches (in that ballpark). With a parallel bridge on a regular bass and a replacement neck you'd need pretty steep fretsweep to get more than an inch.

    Its sorta like when you have a mediocre bass and you go and get super nice pickups...and the bass sounds better, but not as much as maybe you hoped.

    For the record, with a Dingwall, you get: 5pc maple neck, graphite reinforcement, easily accessible trussrod not to mention the banjo fretwire and the attention to 'finish detail'. On the AB, you also get a nice wenge board.
  20. allow me to jump in here and add my 2 centavos...
    If you really want to try fanned frets search out Ebay, 1'd say 1X month there is a fanned fret bass that comes available, and while getting a ABI for $700 is feasible, its more the execption than the norm. Expect to pay around $1K for the bass.
    Thats said, the novax retro fit neck will give you a great idea on what to expect from a fanned fretboad and I will slightly disagree w/ burningsky on this, the benefits of the 1" will be sufficient to feel the differences. What you will feel it s that your string-to-string tension will even up and your string to string response will even up. Thats pretty much all you can expect from taking an old fender J bass and retro-fit the neck. And yes the old style bridge will sufficiently handle the fanning, you'll just have to wind the E saddle all the way back to accomidate the large scale length on the E string. If you look on the Dingwallguitars.com forum (under the custom one-offs threads) you'll see a EB stringray bass w/ a fanned fretboard and standard bridge- it works
    Now buying a Dingwall bass is just plain different than getting a fanned fret neck. its a whole different beast. Sheldon designed the bass to accomplish a lot more than just evening the string tension. His bases are better manufacturered, better designed and are built way better, you get maximum benefit from the novax neck in his basses. Every note on the dingwall is authoritative and artciulate, each string rings out, no dead spots, tons of sustain and very even string-to-string tension and feel.
    I can say this because sheldon built for me a J bass which incorporates both the novax neck and all his design goodies (I believe sheldons sells the production versions as superJs), and it feels & sounds very different than a fender J bass w/ a novax retrofitted neck.
    All his basses are Highly recommended, however, Arcadia, conklin, Bee and a number of other luthiers are building fanned fret basses.