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Old 12-11-2012, 03:01 AM   #1
primusfan
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fanned frets?

the idea appeals to me. but i really don't know that i necessarily hear the difference. or if i do it's not quite the difference i want to hear. my main complaint about bass is the G string. i believe i've posted before complaining about how it sounds out of place on all my bass guitars. obviously a short scale will beef up the G a little bit. or maybe just stringing a 4 as BEAD.

but there are there these fanned frets (multi-scale length if you haven't seen this) that even the tension across the board by slanting the nut/bridge/frets to make the B longer and the G shorter like the varying string lengths on a piano.

anyway, i'm sure most of you know all this already. my question is: is this shit for real? the explanation makes sense. but is there much of an audible difference? i've only heard on youtube videos so i can't give a fair comparison. who here has one or has played on one?

and sorry i didn't searchbar this. let me know if there was a thread recently and i'll delete it.
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:12 AM   #2
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I haven't played one and I would assume that the main difference would be that by having a longer scale on the B and shorter on the G it would allow for tighter low strings without having insanely heavy guages.
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:40 AM   #3
primusfan
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yeah. i mean i get the theory behind it. but i just wonder how effective it actually is at balancing the tone of all strings.
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:38 AM   #4
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it's about feeling the difference, not hearing it
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Noble
it's about feeling the difference, not hearing it


Yes, and no.

Longer scale lengths can help make low notes a lot more clear, which can make them sound more 'even' tonally, if that makes any sense. Obviously that isn't written in concrete and there are a lot of other factors, but it generally helps. Some people like the added clarity, some people don't notice it at all, etc. It's as much about sound as it is feel though, in my opinion.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:44 AM   #6
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The only fanned-fret basses I've played are Dingwalls but I can tell you there absolutely is a difference. Feel-wise (besides the fanned frets themselves) you definitely notice the evenness across the strings, that is you're not compensating for a flubby B and/or E (on a 34"-37" fan). For beefing up the G string there's basses like the Super J and P which have a downsized fan, with a shorter scale (IIRC 32") for the G and fanning up to somewhere around 34"-35".

Sound-wise, it's been my experience that just like the feel, it comes down to evenness. You don't have one string that's overly boomy and/or one that's sounds anemic in comparison to the others.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:43 PM   #7
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Fanned fretts help the intonation a bit. I play double bass and I know that my finger spacing on the low E or B is wider than on the G, in order to get proper intonation. Fretts are always slightly out of tune though.
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Old 12-15-2012, 05:07 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by corrda00
Fanned fretts help the intonation a bit. I play double bass and I know that my finger spacing on the low E or B is wider than on the G, in order to get proper intonation. Fretts are always slightly out of tune though.


Really? I know you can get those true temperament fretboards and that straight frets are slightly out in terms of intonation, but I didn't think having a fanned frets helped that as such.

There's probably something I don't know or that I'm missing, but this is how I am thinking about it - Even though the frets on a multiscale instrument aren't straight like they are on a normal guitar neck, each string has it's own scale length and the area where the string meets the fret are in theory at least, just the same as any normal fretboard?
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Old 12-17-2012, 05:55 PM   #9
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I asked about this when I discovered that I could chat with Bassists on line in a forum.

It did not go well, for me or the fanned fret idea. Many ideas were discussed in the realm of the further evolution of the instrument.

In light of the wider toleraces of the longer string and lower notes, fanned frets make sense, but how is that explained agianst the straight bridge and positions on the Double Bass Violin?

It really cannot be rectified for the Beginner, or intermediate student. For the advanced player with an Ear like DaVinci had an Eye, I am sure that this would be the thing that would settle their quest for a satisfying instrument in the New Age Genre.

Most of us will never play music needing that level of commitment to the never ending analysis of sonic minutia. Most will never be hired in an average Band with such an instrument, because it does not have the look of the week, or day, or moment, or whatever whimsical reasoning thrown out at the time.

Leo took three swipes at the instrument (Precision, Jazz, and StingRay), Alembic brought stringers into 'view' but Rickenbacker was doing that and double truss rods before then. Seems the most significant contributors of design since Leo were Ken Smith (tone blocks, 18v Preamps, carbon fiber rods) and Entwistle's Status (All Carbon Fiber and reportedly monsterous Electronics).

From that perspectve we see that Fanned Frets were never adopted by Entwistle who was so sonically analytical that he gave us the first standard gauged string set that dominated the instrument since.

As on one fourm, the vast Majority of Players were such 4 String Fender freaks (not that such is a bad thing) that Fanned Frets will never be embraced by the form purists who are holding back the evolution of the Instrument and thus will never effect the wider market.

Most will never hear the difference. We all have our limitations and own quest with the Instrument. Some top out at 4 or 5 Strings, some like me at 6, others move on to 7 and 9 strings which I think is some kind of Contra-Lute. All though, are existing in a world of that vibration of that wood and steel mic'd by an electromagnetic device, each drawn by an individual spectrum.

That is who we are in common.
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Old 08-30-2013, 03:02 PM   #10
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Depending on who you are as a player there can be drastically improved feel to a Fanned-Fret Bass or any Multi-Scale instrument as some need a certain string gauge to feel tighter or a string gauge to be more vibrato responsive.

I have been playing on the one in the photo for under 2 years now and my biggest regret is that I did have the axe closer to when I started playing 20 years ago.

The low E is a .130" short scale La Bella and the scale length is 28.6". It's nice and tight, feels like a conventional low B tuned up one step with a capo at the 3rd fret.

I built this instrument and other Fanned-Fret / Multi-Scales, and am very interested in building the unconventional. I'm really hoping to talk with other people who are similarly interested!!
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Old 09-06-2013, 08:50 PM   #11
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The basic rationale for multi-scale (fan fret) instruments is that the lower strings get a longer scale and that helps their clarity in much the same way that the longer bottom strings of a grand piano are clearer and more defined from each other than they are on a short-scale spinet.

Even if you can't appreciate the difference tonally, you'll probably find that a fan-fret instrument is actually easier to play -- your fretting hand/wrist assumes different angles over the course of the entire fretboard, and for the most part, the fan-fret guitars mirror those angles, making it a more comfortable guitar/bass to play.

The only reason we haven't see a LOT more fan-fret instruments (including guitars) to date is that manufacturers have found it easier to produce the same old if the customers are buying. Fan frets have been relegated to custom builders. Dingwall is well known for them, but other builders are jumping onboard. It's not a more difficult bass to build -- there just hasn't been the demand for them from customers (most of whom don't know that they exist or are too afraid to try one).
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:52 AM   #12
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I had a Dingwall for a while and in the end the B wasn't better then any other B. In fact it wasn't all that nice a bass. The intonation was amazing though. Perfect everywhere.

In terms of play-ability it was fine till you needed to get up the dusty end so was useless for soloing and chord stuff but a friend who taps did say it performed well on that front.

So from what I've experienced there not better then a "normal" bass but just different.

I also think i would have preferred it if the b had been a 34" to a G which was say 31" or 32".
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