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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AskBass, Aug 6, 2018.
^ You can't teach an old dog new tricks ...
The internet is not going to be much help with this. Everyone's hands are different. Everyone's fingers are a different length. What's comfortable under one hand could be excruciating under another.
Actually, the size of a fret has no real bearing on how hard you have to press. You only need to press as hard as it takes for the string to touch the fret. Any harder and you'll be bending the string a little making the note sharp. You don't need to press the string onto the fretboard. Bigger frets make bending notes easier which is why guitarists like them. Not needed much on basses. I much prefer thin and low frets.
And the position that a bass hangs on the strap or sits on the knee can make more difference to your hand and wrist position than the neck shape.
This conflicts with what 2 luthiers have told me, one of them is a world famous bass maker.
I'm happy to be proven incorrect and would like to hear their reasoning behind their statement but physics suggests otherwise. Once you press the string to the fret hard enough to prevent buzzing then any more pressure is just bending the note sharp. A taller fret may feel harsher on your fingers though as less of your finger is touching the fretboard at similar pressure to the low frets.
In fact, it could be said that a taller fret requires less pressure. With shorter frets there is more of your finger touching the fretboard before the string is pressed hard enough to contact the fret properly therefore you have to put more pressure through the finger/fretboard contact area before the string is cleanly fretted..... but as i said, it may actually feel harsher on the tall fret as you would have more of the pressure concentrated on the finger/string contact area.
your action dictates how hard you need to press down not fret size.
All I know is I know the luthiers better then I know you so I gotta go with what I know.
And that's all I got to say about that.
Setting aside a scalloped fingerboard, I can't even begin to understand how you would stop pressing on a string until it hits the fingerboard. Will taller frets affect intonation? In theory, yes. In real practical terms? Not at all. the variation from perfect intonation is minuscule compared to the variance of any fretted instrument. Remember, we're talking about thousandths of an inch here. I prefer small, low frets, as for me they require a little less effort. But I'm not bothered by larger frets either. Ideally, you want to finger the string right behind the fret to get a good buzz free sound. The 'advantage' to taller frets is that they are slightly more forgiving of this
I was going to let this go until just now while playing and noticed what you see below.
This photo below is my Warmoth neck with vintage frets..... smaller than modern standard. I happened to look at my fretting hand and noticed that even with these small frets the string doesn't contact the fretboard unless I press hard. This is at the 5th fret. I tried pushing hard enough to touch the fretboard at the 2nd and even there I have to press harder than is comfortable to get it to touch.
If the string is touching the fretboard then you are most likely pressing way too hard.
Im going to have to take back one of my previous posts now too. I realised that other than with the thinner D and G strings virtually none of the finger touches the fretboard when fretting normally as well.
I also thought that it might be the high tension flats that don't allow the string to touch the fretboard so i had a play with my short scale that has ground wound strings (therefore much lower string tension) and it still took quite high pressure for the string to touch the fretboard..... much more than required for normal playing.