#1
...with high action or low action? Or does that not affect bendability? What about tall frets vs medium frets? What about fretboard radius?

I ask because my Jackson RR5 has Jumbo frets and 25.5" scale, and when tuned to Eflat with 9 gauge strings, it seems to take just as much pressure really to do the same pitch bends as it does with my LTD FX-400 (24.75", XJumbo frets, in Eflat with 10 gauge strings, which technically is tighter).

I mean... I can feel that my RR5's strings are looser, but it doesn't really seem any easier to bend, which I feel logically should be the case.

How do you maximize bendability when in a set tuning with a set string gauge?
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Jul 29, 2011,
#2
I've heard that higher action and taller frets make bending easier because the fingers can get under the string easier. It sounds plausible to me but I don't have any direct personal experience with it.
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#3
Hm... well I guess the only reasonable explanation then is that the RR5's Jumbo frets in comparison to my LTD's/Edwards' XJumbo frets make it harder to bend.

Because my guitars are all set up relatively the same/similarly.

Have you compared bending with equal tensions between ESP and Jackson?


-edit: Actually, one theory I have is the difference in fretboard radius. Jackson's compound radius goes up to 16" radius at the high frets, whereas ESP stays at 13.7" all throughout.

The thing is I've heard that flatter fretboards make bending easier, but my experience has always shown me that the opposite is true.

Thoughts on the fretboard radius thing?
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Jul 29, 2011,
#4
Well, I think that 9's are too loose, they should be quite easy to bend... I use 12's on my Les Paul (24.75" Scale and Medium Jumbo frets? ) which is in D standard. I find it quite easy to bend, of course with 11's it would be lots easier but hey, I like heavy strings. My action isn't as low as possible cause I'm not used to that.
However, when I had my Ibanez (25.5 Scale with Jumbo frets and a Floyd Rose Licensed tremolo), I had 11s in D standard. I pretty much find the string feel the same, although the guitars are really different.
I don't really know about radius stuff, not that experienced..
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Last edited by Sakke at Jul 29, 2011,
#5
I don't really know but the scale on your LTD is shorter than the one on the Jackson. So the tension is almost the same on the two. I have no idea about the fretboard but it seeems like a good theory.

I can only say that I find ESP's a bit easier to bend on than Jacksons. I have played a lot (also compared ESP SV Standard with Jackson KV2) and I would say there is a difference.
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#6
Doing a direct comparison right now...

My Jackson RR5 (25.5" scale) in Eflat with 9's, is definitely harder to do extreme bends with than my LTD Alexi-600 which is also 25.5" scale in Eflat with 9's. Like there is a clear difference, the only real differences between the guitars are the fret size and the fretboard radius, and the bridge of course. But I don't really think fret size can be it because my Alexi's frets are soooo worn out that they are probably the same height as the RR5's frets
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Jul 29, 2011,
#7
I find bending is generally the same unless there is something specifically wrong on the guitar.

Action that is too low and/or neck not set up properly, can def. cause problems.
( ^ I think that is the #1 problem with 'bend-ability' of certain necks)

Fret wear is matters more than height of frets IMO. Worn frets cause all kinds of problems and can def. effect bending too. That's why people like stainless frets.

Flatter neck radius is supposed to make for easier bending, again I personally feel the difference there is minimal. Ditto on neck scale.
Quote by fixationdarknes
How do you maximize bendability when in a set tuning with a set string gauge?
Get the neck set up by a pro.
While at it... make sure the frets are level. (If you ever re-fret go stainless)
#8
Quote by fixationdarknes
Doing a direct comparison right now...

My Jackson RR5 (25.5" scale) in Eflat with 9's, is definitely harder to do extreme bends with than my LTD Alexi-600 which is also 25.5" scale in Eflat with 9's. Like there is a clear difference, the only real differences between the guitars are the fret size and the fretboard radius, and the bridge of course. But I don't really think fret size can be it because my Alexi's frets are soooo worn out that they are probably the same height as the RR5's frets

It's hard to diagnose without handling the guitars personally.

I have 2 carvin guitars. Identical scale (25") and similar if not same radius.
#1 has 9 gauge and is overdue for neck maintenance and a fret leveling.
#2 has 10 gauge - but neck is fine with stainless frets. (no wear).

#1 despite having lighter strings ... bending is problematic.
#2 bends beautifully and easily everywhere on the neck.
---
Also are you comparing fixed to floating bridge? If so the floating bridge should "feel easier" to bend.
#9
Well you shouldn't change the action if you feel comfortable playing with it. Bending takes some time and practise to get down, it really is up to you! If you're comfortable playing low action you should continue doing that, if the action limits you in a certain way or you're getting a lot of fret buzz then you should change it. Hope that helps!
#10
Quote by cringer

Also are you comparing fixed to floating bridge? If so the floating bridge should "feel easier" to bend.


Actually yes. My LTD Alexi-600 has a floating bridge, RR5 is string-thru.

That being said, my LTD FX-400 is fixed, and is still easier to bend on than my RR5.
#11
How new are the strings? Their age could be a factor.

I think higher action logically would help you bend better. I know that a few players who use bends pretty extensively (Kirk Hammett is the first to come to mind) prefer playing with higher action, though I don't know if that's a deciding reason. Fret height and string action would logically have a similar (albeit less dramatic) effect as scalloped frets would - you can get a better hold on the string and apply pressure better, hence an easier time bending.
#12
The strings are both brand new, both Ernie Balls. I slapped on new strings to all these guitars I'm testing.

I do think that one of the main reasons for this issue is fret height. When bending with my LTD's and Edwards (XJumbo), I feel like I have more control of the string. With my Jackson RR5, I feel like the force of my finger is being wasted by being pressed up into the fretboard.
#13
Fret height does make a difference, for sure. I have a guitar with medium frets that's not particularly easy to bend on, but my two with Jumbo frets (which also have heavier strings) are much easier to achieve and control bends and vibrato on.
#14
I feel like that's enough reason for me to not like Jackson nearly as much as ESP anymore (although I've always been a little partial toward the latter anyhow).

I wish Jackson would make some XJumbo stuff =p

Or maybe I just need some damn scalloped frets
#15
I've never really seen the advantage. I've seen people who can play just as fast and fluently on non-scalloped guitars and the advantage it offers when bending is pretty much equaled by having jumbo and larger-sized frets.
#16
Quote by Geldin
I've never really seen the advantage. I've seen people who can play just as fast and fluently on non-scalloped guitars and the advantage it offers when bending is pretty much equaled by having jumbo and larger-sized frets.


I don't think scalloped frets make it any easier to play faster or more fluently, nor do I feel that the advantages of a scalloped fretboard are equalled by having very tall frets.

When I bend, I hold the string with the area between the tips and the pads of my fingers. When I bend up, the lower strings meet the tips of my fingers, which stops them interupting the bend. I find that with very low action on medium or smaller frets, bending itself is easy (because I don't have to apply quite as much force to fret the note), but the higher strings can slip off the tips of my fingres and interrup the bend. When I'm playing on small frets I find it very hard to get any kind of grip on the strings at all.
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#17
I haven't read every post, so forgive me if any of this is obvious or redundant...

There's a limited range of acceptable string height before you create tuning issues... too high off the frets and your open strings are flatter than fretted notes.
That being said, too low can obviously create a buzz issue no matter how true your neck is, especially when frets start wearing in your normal playing zones. Taller frets are usually easier to bend with because they provide enough depth to keep tension right during bends without your finger motion hampered by too much pressure on the fingerboard. Scalloped frets, like really high frets, require a very soft touch to avoid pressing notes sharp when not bending... I play way too aggressively for that.
As far as really wide frets... prone to tuning issues when compared to open strings because of the tendency for fretted notes to go even sharper as the fret crowns wear down...

I prefer tall frets of an average width, stainless steel for durability... I use 12's in standard tuning with a 25-1/2" scale and a blocked Floyd that only dives... and I bend like a maniac...sometimes whole chords.... works well for me.
Last edited by Terry Gorle at Jul 29, 2011,
#18
Quote by Prophet of Page
I don't think scalloped frets make it any easier to play faster or more fluently, nor do I feel that the advantages of a scalloped fretboard are equalled by having very tall frets.

I've always read that scalloped frets offer two advantages: (1) greater control over bends and vibrato and (2) removing excess wood from the fret area so a lighter touch can more easily be applied when fretting. If I remember correctly, those are the reasons Yngwie Malmsteen scalloped his frets. He's one of two well known players I know of who use totally scalloped fret boards, so I'm going by his reasons.

Taller frets increase the distance between the fret board and the top of the fret wire, much like scalloping does, albeit to a lesser degree. Consequently, a lot of players who use taller frets report (1) having more ability to bend and control their vibrato and (2) needing less force to fluently fret a note, which are the same two advantages that scalloping offers, if I'm not mistaken.

Note that I didn't say play faster anywhere in there - being able to fret with minimal force while maintaining fluency is a key element of playing faster, yes, but the advantage is universal and not dependent on tempo.
#19
Quote by Geldin

Note that I didn't say play faster anywhere in there - being able to fret with minimal force while maintaining fluency is a key element of playing faster, yes, but the advantage is universal and not dependent on tempo.


He was referring to:

Quote by Geldin
I've never really seen the advantage. I've seen people who can play just as fast and fluently on non-scalloped guitars and the advantage it offers when bending is pretty much equaled by having jumbo and larger-sized frets.



Anyway, no one here is trying to claim anything about speed, so let's not talk about that. We have enough ridiculous threads about zomgspeed on this forum, I'm just talking about bending. And clearly Jackson's Jumbo frets are not tall enough to negate the need for scalloping since it is easier for me to bend on my LTDs and Edwards. That is all I was saying, and the more I think about it the more I believe it is the main reason for my problems with Jackson.
#20
ehhh.... twice in a week I've stumbled on not remembering things I've posted when they're sitting in front of me. You'd think I'd figure it out the first time. :p

Anyway, speed was never my main point. At some point I guess the discussion got derailed talking about the relative advantages of scalloped frets vs. taller frets. Taller frets make a difference much in the same way scalloped frets do. I don't know that there's any "need" to scallop your Jackson's fretboard. You could just get the fretwire replaced with taller frets (I don't know for sure, but I'd imagine that would be cheaper than scalloping your fret board).

Considering that the LTD guitar you mentioned has a shorter scale length (less string tension) and has taller frets, it definitely makes sense that it would be comparable to a guitar with lighter strings and shorter frets in terms of bending. Raising the action could work, but having encountered a similar problem on my guitar with short (OK, relatively short) frets and having tried to raise the action as a stopgap, I can tell you that trying to do so is going to be more hassle than it's worth.
#21
Quote by Geldin
ehhh.... twice in a week I've stumbled on not remembering things I've posted when they're sitting in front of me. You'd think I'd figure it out the first time. :p

Anyway, speed was never my main point. At some point I guess the discussion got derailed talking about the relative advantages of scalloped frets vs. taller frets. Taller frets make a difference much in the same way scalloped frets do. I don't know that there's any "need" to scallop your Jackson's fretboard. You could just get the fretwire replaced with taller frets (I don't know for sure, but I'd imagine that would be cheaper than scalloping your fret board).

Considering that the LTD guitar you mentioned has a shorter scale length (less string tension) and has taller frets, it definitely makes sense that it would be comparable to a guitar with lighter strings and shorter frets in terms of bending. Raising the action could work, but having encountered a similar problem on my guitar with short (OK, relatively short) frets and having tried to raise the action as a stopgap, I can tell you that trying to do so is going to be more hassle than it's worth.


Well, but using string tension calculators, my RR5 in Eflat with 9's should = less tension than my LTD in Eflat with 10's. The shorter scale relieves some tension, but not as much as going down to 9's vs 10's does.

I think I may just avoid Jacksons altogether and go for ESP/Edwards only in the future.

/shrug I really like some Jackson guitars, but I just wish they had taller frets
#22
Quote by fixationdarknes

/shrug I really like some Jackson guitars, but I just wish they had taller frets

have you consider getting a re-fret done?
SInce you really like the guitar... just change the frets to whatever you wish they were.
#24
Quote by Geldin
ITaller frets increase the distance between the fret board and the top of the fret wire, much like scalloping does, albeit to a lesser degree.


Which is precisely why I said I don't feel that the advantages of a scalloped board are equalled by having very tall frets.

I paid €400 for a refret earlier this year. If you don't think you'll be completely satisfied with the guitar after a refret, I'd imagine that selling the guitar and buying something that suits you more would be a better choice.
My name is Tom, feel free to use it.
#25
One other question: I sort of feel that while having light gauge strings (9's) may decrease tension necessary to bend, I feel like the strings are so thin that they cut into my finger skin when I push on them, so even though it's easier to bend, it's still painful to bend...

Does anyone else feel similarly?
#26
I honestly prefer heavier strings to light ones. I prefer using at least .010s for E standard and up a gauge for every whole step I tune down. I dunno about cutting into my fingers, but I definitely prefer having a bit more string under my fingers.
#27
Agreed. That's why I kind of think I'd prefer 24.75" scale for Eflat and E, because for me 10 gauge is too taut to use 10's in Eflat or higher, but I don't want to use 9's because of how they feel and sound.

Am I the only one this picky?
#28
Quote by fixationdarknes
One other question: I sort of feel that while having light gauge strings (9's) may decrease tension necessary to bend, I feel like the strings are so thin that they cut into my finger skin when I push on them, so even though it's easier to bend, it's still painful to bend...

Does anyone else feel similarly?


That's normal, the force required to bend my be less, but so is the surface area of the string, which results in the strings cutting into your fingers a little more.
My name is Tom, feel free to use it.