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Tiny frets; easier or harder to play on?my n

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fender_Bender, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. 0349CF35-04EE-4708-9938-C27B6C4A2A6A. My new bass purchase from last week has really tiny “vintage” style frets. I’m wondering what the consensus is on whether they are easier or harder to play on or just different. For me it seems that I actually have to be a little more careful and attentive to fret a note properly. What say you. They actually seem smaller in real life than the photo.
  2. lowdownthump


    Jul 17, 2004
    I agree.
    Doctor J likes this.
  3. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    No difference to me.


    Feb 10, 2016
    Michigan USA
    I don't care for "jumbo" frets. Maybe it's because i started on a MIK Squier Jazz, not the smallest frets but close to it.
    joebar likes this.
  5. I did some measurements with calipers and was surprised to see that they are actually the same width as the frets on my RW jazz. They are however about ten thousandths lower @ approximately .030 in height, which would explain the feeling of almost playing right on the board.
    Stumbo likes this.
  6. Haroldo

    Haroldo Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2005
    North Shore, MA
    I'm a fan, but that's probably because I am vintage myself.
  7. bassplace

    bassplace Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2009
    Annapolis, MD
    I prefer tiny frets. Jumbo and medium jumbo give me too much of a piano string sound with rounds. Tiny is also more comfortable
  8. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Prefer the vintage-small frets. Don’t know if they make playing easier in my mind....I think they do? One more reason I love My Laklands neck.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  9. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Smaller frets sustain a little less and wear out sooner than bigger frets. That's about it.
    lowdownthump, JIO, SactoBass and 3 others like this.
  10. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I like them. A lot. For bass more so than guitar, but sometimes on guitar.

    Nicely finished fret ends are a plus.
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  11. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    I would think someone would have to have Flawless technique to have the difference in the size of frets noticeably impact their ease of playing.
    TrustRod, Sixgunn, SactoBass and 2 others like this.
  12. To me, taller frets seem easier to play in the sense that it feels like you don' have to press down as hard to fret a note. However, because the frets are taller, the strings are higher off the fretboard even though the action (distance from the top of the fret from the bottom of the string) is the same.
  13. bwildt


    Mar 21, 2017
    Wichita, Kansas
    I recently saw a youtube video of a Leland Sklar interview. He really likes small frets. He has all of his basses refretted with mandolin fretwire.
    Loring, JMacBass65, RRR and 9 others like this.
  14. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    My brain is struggling with the physics. Do you really have to press down less hard? The distance from the string to the fret is what determines how hard you have to press down. That is determined by your action, not the fret size.
    Loring, Stumbo, dalahorse and 3 others like this.
  15. Don't know, but it definitely "seems" like it to me. If the frets are big enough, the board feels scalloped and it can feel like you're not even coming in contact with the wood if you have a light touch.
  16. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    That is all true, but the effort before that point until the point of contact should be the same.
  17. I love the feel of tiny frets. I built a telecaster and accidentally reached for the mandolin fretwire... and I loved it! My next bass build is definitely getting smaller vintage spec wire. A lot of people enjoy the huge railroad tie frets, but I like my fingers being closer to the fingerboard and "feeling" the wood when I'm fretting.
    porterbass and joebar like this.
  18. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    On a bass, small frets, on a guitar, tall and narrow.
  19. DD Gunz

    DD Gunz

    Jun 18, 2015
    I greatly prefer smaller frets. Although, the only bass I have with them is a Road Worn Precision. It's hard to explain, but that bass has an amazing neck and I think a lot of that is the smaller frets. I find them anything but hard to play. My RW is capable of insanely low action.

    I like them so much I am having them put on a custom build.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
    Grapevine921 likes this.
  20. dfoehr

    dfoehr Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2006
    I prefer vintage fret wire.
  21. I definitely prefer smaller frets. Much easier to play and no intonation problems at all. I don't like the large jumbo frets like the ones used on the Fender American Std Precision Bass. :cool:

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