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Fanned frets. What!

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  • Fanned frets. What!

    I was having a guitar browse (on zero frets as it happens) and came across references to fanned fret guitars.
    I can see the theory behind it but it looks to me like a co ordination crisis to play. But an interesting concept none the less. Anybody handled one?
    Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    I've not tried a 6-string but a close friend of mine had a couple of 5-string basses with fanned frets. It's difficult if one looks at the neck too closely while playing, but just forgetting about the frets and playing made it quite easy. I like the idea for basses as it gives a more balanced tone across the strings due to varying lengths IMHO.
    Eschew Obfuscation.

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    • #3
      There are fanned frets on twisted necks as well. As long as the individual strings scale properly, it works. Looks like an intonation nightmare regardless. I have small hands so chording on widening spacing would be out of the question.
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      • #4
        great idea for those wanting deepness on the bottom and a guitar that looks skewiff to suit ,i suppose now you can get to B comfortably people will now tune it down even further ,the further down you go the nearer to beyond our hearing you get so that may not be a bad thing ,anyway i want one i think they look great.

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        • #5
          I have played several "fanned fret" (aka multi scale) guitars. (the terms are registered I believe) The idea is that you can achieve more balanced tension across the strings if you make the bass scale length longer than the trebles. There are some obvious design considerations (now you have to select two different scales) and an important one is which fret do you make the "neutral" one (perpendicular to the strings). Also, of course, cutting the frets slots is not trivial but I've seen some pretty cool manual setups and of course with a cnc it becomes trivial.

          The one that I played the most had the neutral fret somewhere in the middle of the board and did not have a radical nut angle. It felt reasonable - I had to watch my hands while I was forming chords - I play a lot of barre chords and it was a little tricky but I think I could get used to it. The guitar itself was a stunning jazz style archtop - probably a $20K instrument and the worksmanship was beautiful.

          I'll just say that like all of the unusual configurations (7 or more strings, harp guitars), it probably has its place and in another life I might want one. As it is, I'll just wait until someone commissions one...

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          • #6
            Way less getting used to than you'd think. I've tried 2 of them and it just works. Less difficult to me than switching between steel string acoustic and classical, which I do all the time.

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