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why fanned frets?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by a e i o u, Oct 11, 2004.


  1. how do you play a bass with fanned frets? what is the purpose of it? i just dont get it :help:
     
  2. Playing fanned fret basses are super easy, it takes no time to learn. The point is to have your lower strings on a longer scale so they are tighter, not floppy. I think the scale on a b string on a dingwall is like 37 inches or something crazy like that. Then the higher strings are shorter, so they are still full sounding. I think it goes down to like a 32 or something around there on a dingwall for a g.
     
  3. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Never played one but it's to improve intonation on lower strings and use a longer scale so they're less floppy. I guess bending doesn't work so well as the frets aren't straight. That's why they wouldn't work with my style.

    I can imagine a bit of adjustment at first.
     
  4. aeiou- please read that thread on fanned fret picts. There are a few articles linked to it. You can also read the patent from the Novax people(ralph novax patented the premise).

    Essentially, the multiscale (fanned fretboard) allows the lower strings to be longer, and the higher strings to maintain the length and tension we're used to play. Also the multiscale allows even string-to-string tension (and believe me you feel it) and interestingly, the fanning is ergonomic, look how your wrists turns when you play higher up the neck.
    Lastly, the fanning is purely a visual distraction, it will take under 5 mins to play easily on these basses
    read the other thread
    frank
     
  5. Jean Baudin

    Jean Baudin

    Aug 27, 2003
    redwood city, ca
    Endorsing Artist: See Profile
    Bending works fine on fanned fret basses. :meh:
     
  6. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Wouldn't bending up make it severely sharper than normal? And pulling down you'd need to pull much farther to get the same effect... right?
     
  7. Oliver

    Oliver

    Jun 21, 2003
    Perth, Australia
    but the fact that the note is in a totally different position wouldnt that confuse you when you play it?
     
  8. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    No, it doesnt confuse you, unless you look hehe. Your fingers already know where to go. Like Frank said, its a visual distraction far more than a physical one. And IMO, it makes for a better sounding, better playing bass, but thats just my 2 cents.
     
  9. Dincrest

    Dincrest

    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    Quick semi-tangential question (and I apologize if it's been answered already, but since this thread was here on the front page, I figured I'd take a shot):

    Would one say that fanned fret basses, particularly in the lower register, are easier, harder, or about the same to play as parallel-fret basses for those of us with smaller hands than the norm?
     
  10. I felt the same way untill I tryed one. No problem at all if you dont "stare" at the fret board. I played a Dingwall Afterburner And it was Sweettttt.... The B string was like buttaaa.....If only I had the funds for every bass I love ;)
     
  11. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Id say harder, it is a bit of a reach in the first 5 frets. I have rather large hands I guess, and it wasnt too much of a big deal for me, but I can see someone with smaller hands having trouble reaching in the lower register. On a Dingwall anyhow. Sheldon's B string is 37" long, down to a 34" G. Conklins tend to have less difference in scale length, like Jean's new 11 String. Its 36" to 32", so not as much fan as a Dingwall, then again, it might be near impossible to play with such a dramatic scale length difference with that many strings. On a 5 or a 6 its fine, but more than that and you need a fan with less degrees hehe.
     
  12. its funny actually, You'd think that playing these basses would be more difficult becuz of the limitations of the fanning, but I've found it no more challenging than playing parallel fretted basses. As for bending, IMO its easier on a fanned fretboard, think about it, the fanning angles in the direction of the bend, it also goes in the direction of your wrist, making the wrist turn easier. I've had no problem bending in any/all directions
    As for access the lower register, like Juneau mentions, that stretch between fret 1 and 5 is longer than a normal 34 or 35" scale bass, but its not more difficult, you have to readjust your thinking and pivot your arm/elbow to a different spot, again this takes about 30 sec to get comfortable. I rountinely switch back-n-forth during my gigs to a 32" scale fender Urge and the 37" Dingwall, to me the biggest problem switching is remembering the 5th string, but i find NO difficulty w/ the scale length. In fact the difference in scale feels about 1/2" to 1" at most. My fingers already know where to go.
    I find the benefits of playing a fanned fretboard far outweigh any percieved limitations. Once you get comfortable on them, its hard to go back to a parallel bass becuase you miss even string tension, the focus of each note, and playability
    just my opinion
    frank
     
  13. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    That's the one reason I had to give up my Dingwall. 35" is about my limit, though I want to try a 36" just for the heluvit.

    As for the notes being in different places, the only place I ever had a "where's my note" problem was down at the first and second frets of the D and G, it took a little getting used to as my hand would need to be closer to me than the same position on a parallel-fret bass would require. Everything else was a cakewalk.
     
  14. Jean Baudin

    Jean Baudin

    Aug 27, 2003
    redwood city, ca
    Endorsing Artist: See Profile
    I haven't noticed anything different than a non-fan fret bass... however as juneau said, my fan isn't as dramatic as a dingwall. I have 3 inches across 9-strings, whearas Dingwall's have 4 inches across 5-strings.

    Just for the record, Hideous Claw is 36" - 32". The Conklin 11 will be 35" - 32". And Pac-9 is 35"-32". :smug:
     
  15. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Hideous Claw was the new 11 I was refering too hehe :D Don't know why I thought it was a Conklin hehe.
     
  16. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    There is still one intrinsic problem with fanned frets --

    There are still frets! :eek: ;)

    I'd love a fanned lined fretless, personally. I'm sure Sheldon would be up to the task!
     
  17. Diowulf

    Diowulf Guest

    Aug 4, 2004
    San Rafael CA
    LOL...could that even be possible?
     
  18. oversoul

    oversoul fretless by fate

    Feb 16, 2004
    Portugal
    My upcoming Conklin will be 32"- 35" too, more because of the upper range than the lower.
     
  19. oversoul

    oversoul fretless by fate

    Feb 16, 2004
    Portugal
    Get a fanned bass, defret it, put filler in the cavitys, voila? ;)
     
  20. Dingwall offers "fanned fret-less" as an option.

    Mike