#1
I'm thinking of buying a custom made guitar from Warmoth. I have very small hands, and I recently discovered that I play better on my Fender Squire than my Stratocaster! This is because the Squire has a 41" mm nut width, which is perfect for my finger size.

So I'm getting a custom Strat made with a 41" mm nut width. The only problem I have with my Squire is my fingers and hands hurt from having to apply pressure due to the small frets it has. (And no, it's not a technique thing, because I can play barre chords just fine. I have weak wrists.)

I always read that jumbo frets require less pressure to play. Is this correct? If so, they would be perfect for my soft-touch playing style.

But which fret is better—narrow and tall or standard jumbo?

Also, other than notes going sharp, which wouldn't be a problem for me, do larger frets effect chording? And how do bigger frets effect soloing and bending?

Any advice you can offer me is much appreciated!
#2
I've never payed attention to frets so I'd be interested to learn a lil too. Ever tried a Mustang or Jaguar, ts? The 24" scale makes a huge difference.
Fender Mustang/Derfenstein DST> Boss Power Wah> Pedal Monsters Klone> Bogner Uberschall> Walrus Audio Janus> Randall RM20> Line 6 M9> Randall RM20
#3
If one size were better than the rest we would just use that. They make a bunch of sizes so you can pick one that works for you.

Generally for a lighter touch I'd suggest a big fat fret - jumbo or 6100. Taller frets can make bending easier too if you like getting 'under' the string and pulling it around.

Best advice I can give is go to a guitar store and play a bunch of guitars with different fret sizes and see what you like. There's no best fretwire, just like there's no best pickup or bridge or color. We can help with general characteristics but you have to experience them for yourself to decide what works for you.
#4
Quote by Roc8995
Best advice I can give is go to a guitar store and play a bunch of guitars with different fret sizes and see what you like.


I can't. None of the guitars in the shops are 41" mm in nut width. So whenever I try to 'test drive' them with my small hands, it's useless. That's why I came to this forum in search of advice.

And to the other person, yes! I played a Jaguar at a guitar shop and it felt quite nice. Only thing is the grunge sound I did not care for. Small scale guitars sound way different than 25.5 scales.
#5
I'd have all my guitars equipped with stainless 6000 if I could.
Gear:
Jackson Dinky (JB+59) > TC Polytune Noir > TS808 clone > DOD 250 > Modded RAT > CH-1 > GE-7 > TC Flashback > Plexi Clone
#6
I would get the 6100's ..... I just had one refretted from vintage low/wide to the 6100 and love it ..... I had to push down hard and had a bunch of dead notes with low frets , plays great now , gigged it for the first time last night
#7
Quote by Fumble fingers
I would get the 6100's ..... I just had one refretted from vintage low/wide to the 6100 and love it ..... I had to push down hard and had a bunch of dead notes with low frets , plays great now , gigged it for the first time last night


6100s are huge frets! Did you have any problems with string buzz? Also, how does it effect your barre-chord playing?
#8
no problems with buzz , the guitar has to be set up for the frets ..... no problems with chords , you can always hit the strings closer to the fret to minimize going sharp if you have a problem ..... plus the big frets leave room for fret crowning/ filing later as they wear
#9
Unless you actually have some kind of medical condition you should look at your technique man.
Sounds more like an action and string tension problem than the spacing or frets.
Does the Squire have thicker strings?

My Ibanez has extremely small frets and takes almost no pressure to play on. So I don't get the correlation of larger frets=less pressure
My Soundcloud dudes
Recording gear:
Yahama Hs8
Saffire Pro 40
Shure Sm57
Shure Sm7b

Guitar gear :
Ebmm BFR7
Axe fx XL+
Walrus audio Janus
Ibanez Ergodyne
Black Market Custom cab
Last edited by Kyleisthename at Sep 21, 2014,
#10
Quote by BrokedownPalace
I can't. None of the guitars in the shops are 41" mm in nut width. So whenever I try to 'test drive' them with my small hands, it's useless. That's why I came to this forum in search of advice.

Really, it's so bad that you can't even notice the frets? I have a hard time believing that. I'm sure it's not ideal playing on the wider nut but I feel like you should be able to at least get an idea of what the frets are like.

Quote by BrokedownPalace
6100s are huge frets! Did you have any problems with string buzz? Also, how does it effect your barre-chord playing?

I feel like you've got it in your head that these things like fret size and nut width matter a lot more than they actually do. 6100s are big but no company would make frets so large you couldn't set the guitar up or play them properly. I've got 6100s on my les paul and it's got no buzz issues or barre chord issues, and I don't really see why it would. Any guitar with any size fret can be set up to play just fine. It's not like you're all of a sudden playing on railroad ties that physically don't fit under the strings.
#11
Quote by Roc8995
Really, it's so bad that you can't even notice the frets? I have a hard time believing that. I'm sure it's not ideal playing on the wider nut but I feel like you should be able to at least get an idea of what the frets are like.


I feel like you've got it in your head that these things like fret size and nut width matter a lot more than they actually do. 6100s are big but no company would make frets so large you couldn't set the guitar up or play them properly. I've got 6100s on my les paul and it's got no buzz issues or barre chord issues, and I don't really see why it would. Any guitar with any size fret can be set up to play just fine. It's not like you're all of a sudden playing on railroad ties that physically don't fit under the strings.


Because I have tiny hands, fret size could be an issue for me if they increase the thickness of the neck. Do taller frets equal raised string height? If so, does this make the neck feel thicker?

It may not make a neck feel thicker to you, because I imagine your fingers are longer than mine. So maybe this an issue you can't relate to? Such as my problems with testing guitars in shops?

And yeah, guitars from the shops just feel so awkward to me. I've tried playing them before to test fret sizes, but I don't play well on them at all.
#12
I'm sure your hands are small, but again these aren't things that should make it completely impossible to play. There are enough 10 year old kids out there playing on full sized guitars to tell me that it's not just your hand size, it's something else that you're reacting to.

Bigger frets might - might require you to raise the action a fraction of a centimeter. If that much of a difference is a problem for you, you need to be looking at Ibanez guitars or something with a really thin neck, not worrying about these tenths and hundredths of an inch that frets add. If you're actually worried about the thickness of the neck, then deal with the neck. The frets are a tiny, tiny portion of that measurement.

It may not make a neck feel thicker to you, because I imagine your fingers are longer than mine. So maybe this an issue you can't relate to? Such as my problems with testing guitars in shops?

No need to be so defensive here. If you aren't able to trust the answers you get, don't start questioning whether we can relate when you get an answer you don't like. I'm not left-handed either but I can figure out what needs to be swapped to make a guitar play lefty properly. I am trying to relate to your issue, but I have to work with the experience I have, and that includes playing a lot of necks and frets. I'm telling you that the neck matters much more than the fret when it comes to being too large for your hands. I've played absolutely huge necks, too big for my hands, and it doesn't matter what frets are on, if the neck is too wide or large for your hand, it's not going to work. That's why I'm suggesting you focus on the neck and then get a fret that feels good to you, because you will be able to make it work if the neck is good. You keep questioning that, I'm not sure why, because as you've said you haven't been able to figure it out for yourself.
#13
Quote by Roc8995
I'm sure your hands are small, but again these aren't things that should make it completely impossible to play. There are enough 10 year old kids out there playing on full sized guitars to tell me that it's not just your hand size, it's something else that you're reacting to.

Bigger frets might - might require you to raise the action a fraction of a centimeter. If that much of a difference is a problem for you, you need to be looking at Ibanez guitars or something with a really thin neck, not worrying about these tenths and hundredths of an inch that frets add. If you're actually worried about the thickness of the neck, then deal with the neck. The frets are a tiny, tiny portion of that measurement.


No need to be so defensive here. If you aren't able to trust the answers you get, don't start questioning whether we can relate when you get an answer you don't like. I'm not left-handed either but I can figure out what needs to be swapped to make a guitar play lefty properly. I am trying to relate to your issue, but I have to work with the experience I have, and that includes playing a lot of necks and frets. I'm telling you that the neck matters much more than the fret when it comes to being too large for your hands. I've played absolutely huge necks, and it doesn't matter what frets are on, if the neck is too wide or large for your hand, it's not going to work. That's why I'm suggesting you focus on the neck and then get a fret that feels good to you, because you will be able to make it work if the neck is good. You keep questioning that, I'm not sure why, because as you've said you haven't been able to figure it out for yourself.


Ah, ok. So taller frets don't require much higher string action. Got it. I've owned a wizard-neck Ibanez, before. I can't play it. The super thin neck hurts my wrist. I play better on C shaped guitar necks.

Huh? Being defensive? How do you draw that conclusion? I was merely questioning the reason, because testing guitars at shops is obviously a problem for me. That's all. If anything, I'm merely 'brain-storming' with you, to help figure out why that is. It's fair-play for me to ask questions, and if anything, I appreciate your truthful answers.

Perhaps I am over-thinking fret size. Are you familiar with the differences between 6105 frets and 6150 frets? Someone told me that 6105 frets effected their playing, because it felt like their fingers were "going over speed bumps" as they played.
#15
6105 is probably what you have on your squier and fender. It's the standard fret size for a lot of guitars, probably the most common size there is. 6150 is a big jumbo, gives you a bit more grip under the fret for bending and lasts longer (more fret = longer fret wear).

6105s could feel like speed bumps if you have the action high or fret very hard, but again they're standard frets so I wouldn't think they would give people problems in general.

If you fret really lightly, I'm not sure how much of a difference you're going to notice. My first thought would be to use something bigger like the 6150 because it gives you a bit more room for bending and vibrato, plus they'll last a tad longer. On the other hand, if you're find with what's on your guitars now, you can just get 6105 and not worry about it. More importantly, I'd suggest getting stainless steel frets, I think Warmoth only has a small upcharge for them and they're very smooth and last far longer than standard nickel silver frets.
#16
If you are not already using .9's or lighter, I would try that first. After that, I would tune down a half step.
#17
Quote by Roc8995
6105 is probably what you have on your squier and fender. It's the standard fret size for a lot of guitars, probably the most common size there is. 6150 is a big jumbo, gives you a bit more grip under the fret for bending and lasts longer (more fret = longer fret wear).

6105s could feel like speed bumps if you have the action high or fret very hard, but again they're standard frets so I wouldn't think they would give people problems in general.

If you fret really lightly, I'm not sure how much of a difference you're going to notice. My first thought would be to use something bigger like the 6150 because it gives you a bit more room for bending and vibrato, plus they'll last a tad longer. On the other hand, if you're find with what's on your guitars now, you can just get 6105 and not worry about it. More importantly, I'd suggest getting stainless steel frets, I think Warmoth only has a small upcharge for them and they're very smooth and last far longer than standard nickel silver frets.


I have read and studied stainless steel frets. I hear they wear out strings faster? It this true? If one had stainless steel frets, could strings that are also stainless be the answer? Do such strings cause more friction on your fingers, and therefore don't feel as smooth? I wonder if you could buy them coated.

Hmm... are you sure about the fret size on my Squire? My Jackson and Ibanez frets are way bigger. I'm pretty sure medium-jumbo is the common size for Fender guitars.
#18
Fretting is not what usually wears out strings. Usually it's oxidation, or moisture and gunk from your fingers. So no, I wouldn't expect them to wear out strings faster. Plus, SS wire is very smooth so I'd actually expect it to be nicer on the strings just from less friction.

Stainless steel strings sound very bright, I would not use them just hoping for them to last longer. They are a little harder on the fingers.

Jackson and Ibanez frets tend to be big, they commonly use 6150 and 6100 wire. What models do you have? I think 6105 is standard for most Squiers.
#19
small hands have nothing to do with testing out the frets. perhaps you can play as well as you could, but you can still fret some chords and notes on different guitars and see how it feels. heck, you dont even need to plug in. i have very small hands as well and aside from playing comfort, i havent had much of an issue with the width, its mostly the scale length. i try to stay under the 25.5 standard like on most fenders. my carvin is 25, just like a prs. thats nice. or 24.75 like a les paul.
Carvin CT624
Walden G630ce Acoustic
Carvin V3M, Avatar 2x12 WGS Reaper, vet 30
(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)
#20
Quote by BrokedownPalace
I have read and studied stainless steel frets. I hear they wear out strings faster? It this true? If one had stainless steel frets, could strings that are also stainless be the answer? Do such strings cause more friction on your fingers, and therefore don't feel as smooth? I wonder if you could buy them coated.

Hmm... are you sure about the fret size on my Squire? My Jackson and Ibanez frets are way bigger. I'm pretty sure medium-jumbo is the common size for Fender guitars.


Medium Jumbo is the default for a lot of guitar manufacturers.
Besides the fret height, you'll probably also want to consider the scale (if you have small hands, then a 24.75" scale might be easier to get around on because the frets are closer together).
If you're specifying fretboards, you'll also want to decide on a fretboard radius. I like 16" radii on mine, 13.7" is the standard on a lot of offshore (Asian) guitars, 12" is what Gibsons are *supposed* to be (though a lot of them actually measure out closer to 10") and Fenders are anywhere from 7.25" ("vintage") to 12".

I'm not sure you're heading the right direction on fretboard width; that shouldn't be an issue if you're comfortable with the 25.5" scale of a Fender Squier *unless* you have issues with your technique or where you wear your guitar. If you're having wrist problems, chances are very good that you have your guitar slung low and horizontal. Try hiking up the guitar (a lot) and tilting the guitar neck up to about a 45 degree angle for a while. Your thumb should NOT (mostly not) wrap around the neck, but should be pretty close to centered in the back of the neck, and the edge of the guitar's fretboard shouldn't be touching the palm of your hand.

Stainless frets don't wear strings faster (this was a myth pushed by some techs early on in the history of stainless frets who also grumbled that stainless frets wore out their tools faster). Fact is, most stainless frets are VERY smooth; buttery, in fact. When standard nickel frets corrode, you get scratchy bends, and THOSE wear out strings faster. I'm sure you've seen those "green" frets? I've been using stainless frets a lot of years (Carvin was one of the early adopters, and had them available for a $40 surcharge on their new guitars), and I change strings pretty often anyway. Stainless hasn't accelerated that at all. If you're leaving a set of strings on your guitar six months or a year, you're way overdue for a new set.

Don't bother with stainless strings. Fact is, you're better off buying a lot of sets of cheap strings and changing more often than you are leaving expensive strings on the guitar for a long period of time. I generally toss GHS Boomers on mine on a regular basis unless I'm playing out somewhere or giving the guitar a treat. And then I'm usually tossing on a set of Dean Markley Blue Steels (the Five Buck Set, my friend calls them) -- they're a bit brighter. I like the D'Addarios and Slinkys as well as anyone, I suppose, but whether I buy them very often usually depends on whether they're on sale <G>.