The future of Fretted Instruments?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Nasty Nate, Nov 27, 2012.


    I just found this. and yes, they make bass necks.

    Here's a brief summary of the reasoning (full explantion in the FAQs page)
    All our basses are out of tune, because the fret position is calculated based solely on division of the open string, while string tension and height also play a part in real life.

    I'd have to play one of these for myself.... will we all be playing instruments like this in 50 years?
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Thatd be interesting. I have no idea.
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    These have been out for years and I still haven't seen one in person.

    What we have works, and has worked for years. No need to change.
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I don't think so. The human ear/brain combination is amazing. It tends to fill in the blanks in many cases. In my view, some minute "problems" get "corrected" by our brains. I just don't see this catching on. Way past the point of diminishing returns to me. It's kind of like how we don't really "hear" below certain frequencies. We hear the harmonics and our brains fill in the blanks. With this fret system, I honestly think that many who hear the difference only do so because they have been told there's a difference. But I could be wrong I guess.
  5. No this is not like the wood grain thread i was just reading. This indisputably DOES effect the sound, because thirds sound different when they're out of tune. I just wonder if it'll catch on.
  6. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    They have two kinds of "bent fret" necks. One merely corrects the errors in the even tempered scale that various causes produce in a straight fretted instrument. Sort of a Buzz Feiten system on steroids. This is perfectly fine but I don't think they currently have a bass neck that does this.

    The second kind of neck tries to correct the errors that are built into the even tempered scale itself. It is impossible to do this for every possible key with a single neck which is why the even tempered scale came into broad use in the first place. So they try to make significant improvements in the most popular "guitar keys" at the expense of the less popular keys. But they compromise so that the less popular keys do not sound horribly out of tune like the "wolf keys" that you can read about on instruments from centuries ago that were tuned to be near perfect in the favored keys. This could be useful and I believe it is the only kind of neck that is available for bass guitars at the moment. If you don't do all of your playing in the favored keys or nearly so, it might not be a good idea for you.

    Each neck is more expensive than any bass guitar I have ever owned....

    You can, of course, do all of this on a fretless neck for free if you practice enough and have a good ear. In fact you can do much better because you can play perfectly in any key and then play just as perfectly in any other key on the next song without changing equipment at all. This is something you will never be able to do on a bent fret neck. Learn to do that and you will be half way to being a cellist in a symphony orchestra because they do that routinely all the time. And yes, you, even you, can hear it if you try.

  7. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    No, thank you. I've studied these tempered tunings in the context of pipe organs built from @1600 to @1850. They all favor some keys at the expense of others. Look at the first fret for example. It favors the good old open 1st position E major at the expense of keys that horns play, like Ab major.

    Worse, if it is to keep a solid G string from going sharp, it has the opposite effect with a wound G string, which tends to be flat and needs the saddle moved up almost as much as the high E string, so the player is limited as to what strings sound good on the instrument.

    With the variety of gigs I play, I get to play with horns, keys, strings, etc. So I'll keep my conventionally placed frets (in the context of my fanned fret fingerboard) and if I have string stretch, etc., I'll take care of that with individual nut shims like Steven Delft's compensated nut, which I have done to my fanned fret bass, along with manipulating the height of the nut to get just the right stretch to the string.
  8. your idol

    your idol

    Oct 13, 2008
    Columbus, OH
    Wouldnt finger pressure while fretting be an X factor that this will still do nothing about?

    Pressing harder=greater tension?

    At what point do we say maybe the pursuit of perfection has far too many variables and admit we cant address every little one of em and just go back to being happy playing our instruments?
  9. I tried reading the FAQ, but it was too long and confusing. But from what i gather, i dont see it really catching on. The current straight frets seem to work fine, and that fact that thousands and thousands of songs have been written with them in the past 100 years and no one has complained... i think this change would be unnecessary.

    Dont get me wrong, im open to any new ideas for bass design, but it should have a clear and significant benefit compared to what we currently have.
  10. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    I cant believe I am the first to say this.

    This is a good reason to go fretless.
  11. can't slap a fretless
  12. landau roof

    landau roof Reupholstered User

    Jul 29, 2010
    Downstate CA
    Fretted instruments would sooner be completely phased out than this becoming the norm.
  13. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    Don't tell that to a rockabilly bull fiddle player!
  14. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    The finest piano is not completely in tune with itself. I think our mind's ability/necessity to "pull things into tune" can stimulate the brain and in some cases cause us to be more receptive. Music doesn't have to be perfectly in tune to sound perfect.
  15. hoketus


    Nov 5, 2012
    Toronto, ON, CA
    What people don't realize is that all fixed-pitch instruments are quite 'out of tune'. Most instruments of the orchestra are continuous pitch and this offers some flexibility in tuning for colour. If you ever listen to a good string quartet for example, they're not really playing in 12ET temperament - they'll innately stray toward Just Intonation as they're tuning only to each other.
  16. Bakithi Kumalo and I disagree
  17. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    Your just not doing it right.
  18. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    It won't. It's the equivalent of an evolutionary dead end. Virtually none of the music recorded to date has been performed on instruments fretted in that way, and the difference in sound is trivial to an untrained ear. Considering that the vast majority of the listening public have untrained ears, it gets down to cost/benefit analysis - the added expense of building those necks balanced against the lack of necessity will prevent them from ever making it into the mainstream. They're doomed to be a rare novelty.
  19. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    I think this is the case, and put very well too.
    Music is almost like the lead partner in a dance . . . when you listen you interact and 'dance along' with the music. IMO of course.
  20. wvbass


    Mar 1, 2004
    You're just not spelling it right.