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View Full Version : 22 vs. 24 frets - How does it affect the tone?


stratzrus
08-19-2006, 12:59 PM
How does the difference in the neck pickup position affect the sound of 22 vs. 24 fret guitars? Which do you prefer?

stratzrus

Gradinger
08-19-2006, 03:06 PM
On a 22 fret guitar, the neck pickup is typically directly under the harmonic node at the 24th "fret". This affects the harmonic structure of the open strings. The neck positon on a 24-fret guitar will sound brighter for two reasons -- it's closer to the bridge and thus "sees" less of the fundamental vibration, and it will pick up the extra harmonic information on open strings.

Whether this is good or bad is solely up to you. Play a few of each.

Pete Galati
08-19-2006, 03:32 PM
I prefer 22fret necks. IMO, the neck PU is under a better harmonic, and the pickup isn't in the way as much.

Luke
08-19-2006, 05:12 PM
My experience is, it doesn't. I have read all the arguments and I have tried to notice a difference, asked band members if they hear a difference. We always come to the same conclusion, no difference. I have two identical guitars where the only difference is the two frets so I can make a legitimate comparision.

mdog114
08-20-2006, 12:07 AM
On a 22 fret guitar, the neck pickup is typically directly under the harmonic node at the 24th "fret". This affects the harmonic structure of the open strings. The neck positon on a 24-fret guitar will sound brighter for two reasons -- it's closer to the bridge and thus "sees" less of the fundamental vibration, and it will pick up the extra harmonic information on open strings.

Bingo!

Crunchyriff
08-20-2006, 12:18 AM
My experience is, it doesn't. I have read all the arguments and I have tried to notice a difference, asked band members if they hear a difference. We always come to the same conclusion, no difference. I have two identical guitars where the only difference is the two frets so I can make a legitimate comparision.
Funny, even a drummer friend of mine ( a killer, first-call musician) knows there is a difference between 22 and 24 fret guitars, and can hear it on the neck pickup...

There most certainly IS a difference. If you were to move the bridge pickup, conversely, AWAY from the bridge farther, this too will change it's tone. Simple Physics.

IMO, there are three camps regarding this subject

1. those that can't hear a difference (and usually don't care) and I honestly question their ability to 'hear' things.

2. Those that can hear a difference and like the sound (or find it useable for their style)

3. " " " can hear a difference, and DON'T like the sound.

I've owned a number of 21/22/24 fret guitars. & I've had oh, at least 6 or 7, 24-fret guitars

The first two don't change the physical location of the neck pickup- the 24-fret guitar DOES.

I do NOT use 24 fret guitars whatsoever anymore; I quit that 10 years ago. Guess that pretty much identifies which camp I'm in...

g.griffith
08-20-2006, 12:34 AM
I strongly prefer 22 fret tone. The fact that there is two more frets on a 24 is completely secondary; the difference in tone is the deciding factor and the reason there are two configurations. One of my past best players, a PRS CU24 Artist had to go eventually because of the the thinness of the neck pup. The difference in sound is nearly half as perceptible as a bridge to neck pickup to my ears; a big difference.

908SSP
08-20-2006, 08:12 AM
How does the difference in the neck pickup position affect the sound of 22 vs. 24 fret guitars? Which do you prefer?

stratzrus

Not enough to mater. 24

Shredcow
08-20-2006, 08:22 AM
24 fretters have a tighter neck tone, great for shred, but you lose that tubular, "hollow" tone that 22fretters have.

c_mac
08-20-2006, 09:01 AM
You know what kind of "Tone" thread I'm waiting for?

How different trem springs effect tone.
How different pickguard material effects tone.

They would be about as stupid as this. And feel free to question "my ability" to hear things" all you want.

Matt Gordon
08-20-2006, 09:06 AM
22 for me. But my 24 fret guitar has the PU's mounted directly to the body and adjustment is limited, so it's an apples/oranges comparison. All the split positions sound different to my ears.

datguytim
08-20-2006, 09:07 AM
I sold all my guitars with speed knobs - the diff in tone was substantial. Chrome knobs sound much better. So do amber jewel lights with amps. If you can't hear the difference - you should get a day job. :roll

g.griffith
08-20-2006, 09:25 AM
I really don't mean to be rude at all, but if you can't descern 22 from 24, it's almost back to Basics of Tone 102. The harmonic difference between the two are the only reason 22 and 24 fret configurations exist. Poke fun at that all you want with knobs and trem string jokes. Those are the same folks who don't think subtle and not-so-subtle choices of cables, tubes, pick materials, neck woods, et cetera make a difference in tone. I'm not saying my ear or ability is better than anyone else's, just pointing out the fact that they are indeed different, and those concerned about their tone beyond what kind of guitar and amp to buy (or will they play those extra two frets or not) should be able to tell the difference between the two so they can select the right guitar suited for the tone(s) they want to achieve.

mprvise
08-20-2006, 09:45 AM
I really don't mean to be rude at all, but if you can't descern 22 from 24, it's almost back to Basics of Tone 102. The harmonic difference between the two are the only reason 22 and 24 fret configurations exist. Poke fun at that all you want with knobs and trem string jokes. Those are the same folks who don't think subtle and not-so-subtle choices of cables, tubes, pick materials, neck woods, et cetera make a difference in tone. I'm not saying my ear or ability is better than anyone else's, just pointing out the fact that they are indeed different, and those concerned about their tone beyond what kind of guitar and amp to buy (or will they play those extra two frets or not) should be able to tell the difference between the two so they can select the right guitar suited for the tone(s) they want to achieve.

Very well said Mr. Griffith! Good info in this thread. I play both depending on what kind of mood I'm in, but there definitely is a difference.

WahmBoomAh
08-20-2006, 09:54 AM
I have a 24 fret custom shop ESP .neck thru ...bought it for nothing . As a slide guitar with NO neck pickup It`s great ....the extra 2 frets help me better play slide in tune(visual help) and since there`s no neck pickup the bridge sees the same tone anyway . The only drawback about this and some other 24 fret designs is that there`s not enough of an anchor to the body to get the truss rod properly adjusted. There`s just so much neck disconnected from the body that it`s impossible to get the action/fingerboard curve correct for low action .Another reason why it`s my slide guitar !
I would never play a 24 fret guitar tone wise with a neck pickup .

LaXu
08-20-2006, 11:16 AM
I'm in the 22 fret camp as well. I now only own one 24 fret guitar and personally I don't need those extra frets. I rarely play that high. I prefer the neck pickup sound on a 22 fret guitar.

Crunchyriff
08-20-2006, 09:57 PM
You know what kind of "Tone" thread I'm waiting for?

How different trem springs effect tone.
How different pickguard material effects tone.

They would be about as stupid as this. And feel free to question "my ability" to hear things" all you want.
Stupid? Hardly. But I could care less about what you hear or not. I don't have to play the guitars you choose. If you are happy with them, great.

I know what I hear. How about if I tell you it just doesn't matter what pickups are in your personal guitars- that it all sounds the same to me.... yeah, uh-huh.
:crazy

Bluedawg
08-20-2006, 10:32 PM
My experience is, it doesn't. I have read all the arguments and I have tried to notice a difference, asked band members if they hear a difference. We always come to the same conclusion, no difference. I have two identical guitars where the only difference is the two frets so I can make a legitimate comparision.

I'd suspect that your two guitars just happen to be tonally very close despite the difference in the number of frets. I'd recommend playing as many 22 fretters as you can vs 24 fretters before you declare your final answer.

Your amp may also be coloring the sound as well. Have you compared them using different amps and are you comparing them without distortion?

I have a PRS CU 24 and a CU 22. IMHO the 22 is definately the sweeter of the two in the neck position.

All IMHO of course.

:)

PFCG
08-20-2006, 11:21 PM
my guitars are mostly 24 fretters, my parker prs and alembic are all 24s and i like the tone. i also like the tone of 22/21 fret guitars. Seems like every time i go to get a new axe i look for the sound of the guitar as a whole no matter how many frets, seems like the ones ive grabbed up are all 24s, but i wouldent count out a 22 fretter.

my real issue is finding a 25.5 scale with humbuckers and 22 frets that i really like the tone of. Im not a huge fan of the gibson scale guitars because my hands are bigger and they are kinda cramped for me. if they made something like a johhny a model 25.5 i just might be highly interested.

pep
08-20-2006, 11:34 PM
I can hear the difference, but it seems like most of the guitars with 24 frets are made for speed, where someone might be able to take advantage of 2 extra frets. Likewise, when shredding with distortion, the looser sound of a 22 fret neck pickup can get too muddy. Personally I prefer 21 or 22 fret necks since I don't play with a lot of distortion, but to each their own.

michaelprice83
08-21-2006, 06:25 AM
Stupid? Hardly. But I could care less about what you hear or not. I don't have to play the guitars you choose. If you are happy with them, great.

I know what I hear. How about if I tell you it just doesn't matter what pickups are in your personal guitars- that it all sounds the same to me.... yeah, uh-huh.
:crazy


It all sounds the same to u? Then what are you doing on this board anyway?

Brett Valentine
08-21-2006, 11:38 AM
The difference is the distance of the pickup from the bridge. The farther from the bridge, the warmer the sound. The closer to the bridge, the brighter the sound and the smaller the amplitude of the string's vibration.

That the p/u happens to fall "on the node" may be true, but only for the open strings. Once you fret the string, the length shortens and that node moves proportionately closer to the bridge and away from the pole pieces of the pickup. To follow the theory, if you could hollow out part of the fretboard at about the 20th fret and place a p/u underneath, the tone would most likely be even warmer.

Brett

BIGGERSTAFF
08-21-2006, 12:23 PM
It all sounds the same to u? Then what are you doing on this board anyway?

Did you bother to read what he said? He said that saying there was no difference between the sound of 22 vs 24, was akin to saying there was no difference in sound between pickups.

michaelprice83
08-21-2006, 12:50 PM
My bad, rather confusing post there. There certainly is a difference between 22 and 24 fret guitars sound wise. If you can tell the difference between the bridge and neck pup, you should know that the 24 fret is closer to the bridge than the 22 and would have to be different. Two guitars could sound similar with different pickup placement due to the huge number of factors in overall guitar sound. Sorry for the off the wall comment guy......

Bluedawg
08-21-2006, 12:54 PM
The difference is the distance of the pickup from the bridge. The farther from the bridge, the warmer the sound. The closer to the bridge, the brighter the sound and the smaller the amplitude of the string's vibration.

That the p/u happens to fall "on the node" may be true, but only for the open strings. Once you fret the string, the length shortens and that node moves proportionately closer to the bridge and away from the pole pieces of the pickup. To follow the theory, if you could hollow out part of the fretboard at about the 20th fret and place a p/u underneath, the tone would most likely be even warmer.

Brett

It seems to me, though, that even while fretting the neck pickup is still further away from the bridge and more likely to deliver a "warmer" sound.

As for nodes, the pickup may actually be moving into "warmer" modes as your fretting hand moves down the neck.

Just my thoughts for what that's worth.

:YinYang

Luke
08-21-2006, 02:05 PM
I'd suspect that your two guitars just happen to be tonally very close despite the difference in the number of frets. I'd recommend playing as many 22 fretters as you can vs 24 fretters before you declare your final answer.

Huh? We did an apple versus apples comparision, with a Mythbusters mindset. You are recommending we take random guitars and compare them? How would that improve the science of the experiment? A single variable, blind test is the only way you can confirm what you are claiming is accurate. We did it and we did not hear a differnece, so either we are all tone deaf or this premise is not accurate.

George Johnson
08-21-2006, 02:26 PM
I've tried for years to get on with 24 fretters and I just can't get the neck p/u tones I want out of them.

PRS is going to be pretty disappointed to learn that they went to all the trouble of
introducing 22 fret guitars only to find out that there isn't any difference. :eek::D

VanStone
08-21-2006, 04:39 PM
Do I hear a tonal difference between the 22 and 24, yes. Which do I prefer? Probably the 24, I like a little brighter/tighter neck tone. Do I really give a rat's petootie? No, because I'm on the bridge pup 95% of the time anyway. :p

V

billyguitar
08-21-2006, 04:42 PM
7stringthing: The Johnny A is a 25-1/2" scale guitar.

mdog114
08-22-2006, 09:15 AM
I prefer the tone on 22/21 fret guitars, the neck PU is more in "my" sweet spot.

It's pretty easy to hear the difference too!

BBQLS1
08-22-2006, 09:47 AM
There is definitely a difference in tone on the 22 Fret verses 24 Fret guitars when using the neck pup. The 22 fret neck pup will be farther away from the bridge than the 24 fret neck pup. Stating that there is no difference infers there is no difference in sound between the bridge and neck pups.

Play both, try them out, decide for yourself. I prefer the 22 and I use the neck for almost everything but hard rocking stuff.

stratzrus
08-22-2006, 10:05 AM
Clearly there should be a difference in tone if the pickup is moved toward the bridge. From the responses above whether or not the difference can be heard or not depends on the individual.

It is worthy of note however, that a number of responses from people who use the neck pickup primarily say that the diffeence is notable, and the loss of lower mid-range accompanied by the 24 fret pickup position is unacceptable.

Shredders, and people who lean toward the bridge pickup may prefer the 24 position since when cranked, less (or no) bass attenuation is required on the amp (...my interpretation).

Since I use the neck pickup for everything but playing leads, and like a full and robust sound, it would make sense for me to stay with the 22 fret necks, except on instruments that I would plan to use for lead work and power chords exclusively.

I seldom miss the extra two frets, but neck pickup tone is an issue. Your comments have been quite helpful.

Greetz,
stratzrus