Frets...big or small?

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Frets...big or small?

Post by colt933 on Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:20 am

For the last 30+ years I've felt that when it comes to frets, bigger is better.  And those Pantera X-390 guitars have the biggest damn frets I've ever seen.  They're bigger than Dunlop 6100 wire.

But I recently acquired an '83 Gibson Explorer with a lot of play wear.  I bought it from the original owner and the original receipt came in the case with some other candy.  That guy played the guitar live and on tour for 10 years and then hung it on his wall for 20 years.  But when he played it he must have loved it because those frets, while being very wide, are VERY low.  It's not a fretless wonder - but they're pretty dang low.  And it plays GREAT!  It's so buttery smooth and the pickups - well - rich and smooth are words that come to mind.  It's just the best sounding, best playing guitar I own.  And I bought it for what he paid for it 30 years ago less sales tax.

After playing this guitar for a while I have realized that my playing has improved and that my tone and intonation are much better - on this guitar - than on others.  I don't have a particularly light touch - the opposite is true.  So apparently when the frets are really tall, I pull 1/2 or more of my notes sharp especially in chords.  But not on this guitar!

This has me seriously thinking about bringing the frets down on another guitar or two...

Thoughts?

colt933
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Re: Frets...big or small?

Post by hoax on Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:13 am

I love wide high frets. I always use jumbos when doing a refret

Right now I have a couple of guitars with frets as you describe and I will eventually refret them.

For me the problem with low frets is when you try to do serious bends you just can't get a decent dig under the string.

I believe I could get used to this if I had to, but personally, I'd rather just refret.

Hoax

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Re: Frets...big or small?

Post by The Chad on Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:49 pm

hoax wrote:
For me the problem with low frets is when you try to do serious bends you just can't get a decent dig under the string.
 
My thoughts exactly.  The Electra X240 has low frets ("vintage frets" I hear a lot of guys call them), I love how it plays, but would like to have jumbo's instead.  Laughing   Again, it's the bends that are the reason. 

Large frets do make you have a lighter touch.

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Re: Frets...big or small?

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