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what fret material type and size do you prefer and why?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Ammioz77, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. Newbie question I know.. but I'm hearing a lot about frets... material type, size... jumbo, medium, banjo frets on basses.. even mandoline frets... Sonically and tonally, what does each give? How much do they make an impact in light of the fretboard material?

    What do you prefer and why?
  2. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003

    I started out playing fretless.

    I like the smallest frets I can get. ( vintage style)
    Or even mandolin frets.

    With good left hand fretting, fret size does not effect my playing.

    I also like to slide, and slur, notes.
  3. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I just play whatever comes stock on the bass...defintely not one to go ripping apart a perfectly intact bass.
    But if I'm picking a fret material for a custom or something, it would be the small vintage type. To me it seems to make less metallic clank noise than big jumbo frets.
  4. Brad Maestas

    Brad Maestas Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2003
    Oakland, CA
    From my own experience, less fret material seems to allow for more wood in the sound. For many years I played on the standard jumbo frets that came stock on most basses. I remember a Lee Sklar interview where he talks about the benefits of smaller frets, namely mandolin frets, that was published in the book Studio Bass Masters. That got the seed planted. Then in 2002, I bought a Fodera that already had mandolin frets installed. I love the way it feels and plays. So effortless. I think a big reason I like the bass overall is because of its small frets and its predominantly woody tone.

    I'm back to jumbos on my Sadowskys and although I get more clank from them, it's nothing that a little touch/technique change can't fix. I think different sizes and shapes can be optimized for a particular bass and a particular player, too, of course. If a player gets used to the smaller frets, he might want to have them installed in all his instruments. I can't afford to re-fret all my instruments so I go with the flow and experiment when I can.
  5. I like the jumbo width/low profile frets. like the ones that came on the old BC rich basses
  6. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    I prefer the vintage size frets but I have no problem with the medium jumbos. Will not use stainless steel frets. Everything I've heard about them says they are too bright.

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