True Temperament Frets

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 3bc, Oct 13, 2021 at 9:26 PM.

  1. 3bc

    3bc Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    Chicago Burbs
    Anyone have a TT fretted instrument and feel like it is worth the huge expense?

    I was reading about it the other day and it seems like complete snake oil. I.e. the intonation on the average guitar is bad enough that you should really want a TT fretted instrument, but the TT fretted instrument doesn’t change things so much that it will create dissonance when playing with a guitarist that doesn’t have a TT fretted instrument. It’s either a big deal or it’s not, and they can’t seem to decide. And they look freaky and ugly as sin. Also I feel that with a good setup on a quality instrument, intonation should be almost completely dead on anyhow, with maybe Frank Zappa and Rick Beato's son being able to perceive a single cent sharp or flat.

    Seems very pedantic and silly, but I have no firsthand experience and I am open to hearing from others who have firsthand experience what it’s all about.

  2. franklindayala


    Feb 8, 2015
    Or you could use a fretless bass.
    Jeff Scott, gebass6, rtav and 7 others like this.
  3. joelns


    Mar 10, 2014
    Here's my take.... It looks like a great idea at first. But if you're playing with others, who are NOT tuned to the same true temperment system, your intonation will be off and you're the one that will sound out of tune. It's either everyone in the group, or none of them. I hope that made sense.
    Peter Torning likes this.
  4. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    That's a useless rabbit hole IMO. Some guitarists barely ever even tune (Frusciante)
    Jeff Scott and zontar like this.


    May 24, 2011
    Just looking at a bass with true temperament frets makes me dizzy!
    3bc likes this.
  6. smeet

    smeet Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    “True” temperament? In which key will it be in tune?
  7. 3bc

    3bc Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    Chicago Burbs
    I don't get it either. I think the first one I saw was Henrik Linder. Figured he was just trying to make his bass match his personal aesthetic, goth unusual and maybe trying a little too hard. I didn't realize at first that was supposed to serve an actual purpose.

    He's a hell of a player though!!!
    TrustRod and smeet like this.
  8. laklandplayer

    laklandplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2001
    USA - Memphis, TN
    I'm a stickler when it comes to my setups and bass intonation.
    I set them up and intonate them while holding in playing position rather than lying on a bench, there is a substantial difference in how they respond when they are horizontal versus vertical.
    I use the Peterson Sweetened bass tuning when I'm playing with a piano or keyboard in a trio setting.
    It helps compensate for the stretch tuning found in keyboards (low end a little flat, high end a little sharp)
    I find that it does sound more in tune, it's subtle but sounds better to my ears.
    Raoul_Duke and Das Jugghead like this.
  9. 3bc

    3bc Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    Chicago Burbs
    Sweetened tuning is great. I use it exclusively on guitar, a little less so on bass. Whether it’s actually a good thing or not I don’t know, but on both of my basses the intonation is bang on. Spot on with an open string, 3rd, 5th, 12th 15th frets. I don’t have perfect pitch but I can generally tell when something is even a little dissonant. I know some cheapo basses the low G on the e string is out of tune pretty noticeably if a good setup hasn’t been completed.
  10. There’s always someone who wants to remove fun from everything. No fun allowed! Whoever invented these must have dog ears or sumpin.
  11. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Proof that there is never too much money and never too much leisure time for some people.
    stuntbass77 likes this.
  12. I’ve been playing bass for over 50 years and never had an issue ever playing my stock Fenders. Gigs. sessions, rehearsals, I’ve never encountered a problem with a band mate, writer, arranger, producer, and or sound engineer. Please, somebody explain what is being discussed here. Thanks.
    RocknRay likes this.
  13. 3bc

    3bc Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    Chicago Burbs
    Google true temperament frets. I can’t explain it other than to say they are insane and supposedly lock in your intonation completely.

    Then google Adam Neely Led Zeppelin auto tune. When you see how far out of tune many of the greatest singers of all time are, it’s pretty wild. Robert plant, Aretha Franklin and many more, sing quite a few notes that don’t exist on the fret board.
    rtav and dbsfgyd1 like this.
  14. Will,do. Thanks much.
  15. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I think a compensated nut is good enough, my ears aren’t good enough to hear True Temper anyway.
    dabbler likes this.
  16. BassFalcon


    Nov 18, 2020
    These may help the conversation along:

    How to tune

    The true temperament website explains the exact cents difference between that and standard, it appears the biggest difference is +4 for a couple notes and -4 for a couple notes. Nothing catastrophic. It’s basically a “sweetened” tuning but carried over for your whole fretboard.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021 at 5:13 PM
    bobyoung53 and Das Jugghead like this.
  17. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    You might talk me into trying the Buzz Feiten tuning system, but I don’t think I would do a true temperament neck unless I had a very specific use case.
  18. MVE


    Aug 8, 2010
    An 8 cent difference might be just barely noticeable to me while holding a long note in an otherwise quiet room.
    In an actual musical situation, no way.
    dabbler, TrustRod and BassFalcon like this.
  19. OldSchoolFlats


    May 29, 2021
    I would not think it is possible (unless you only ever play in one key). For example, A# and Bb are not REALLY the same, and differ slightly depending on what key you are in.

    I think what you are looking for is true temperament, as defined here:, as compared with equal temperament: If so, I would think you would have frets so close, you could not fit your fingers between them.

    If I recall, rather than equal temperament, pianos used to be tuned in true temperament, but were then only played in one key.
    dabbler and TrustRod like this.
  20. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    If I wanted fad frets, I'd go with Crystal Frets.
    Raoul_Duke likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Oct 19, 2021

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