22 vs. 24 frets - How does it affect the tone?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by stratzrus, Aug 19, 2006.

  1. stratzrus

    stratzrus Silver Supporting Member

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    How does the difference in the neck pickup position affect the sound of 22 vs. 24 fret guitars? Which do you prefer?

    stratzrus
     
  2. Gradinger

    Gradinger Member

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    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.
     
  3. Pete Galati

    Pete Galati Member

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    I prefer 22fret necks. IMO, the neck PU is under a better harmonic, and the pickup isn't in the way as much.
     
  4. Luke

    Luke Senior Member

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    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.
     
  5. mdog114

    mdog114 Member

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    Bingo!
     
  6. Crunchyriff

    Crunchyriff Member

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    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...
     
  7. g.griffith

    g.griffith Member

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    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.
     
  8. 908SSP

    908SSP Gold Supporting Member

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    Not enough to mater. 24
     
  9. Shredcow

    Shredcow Member

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    24 fretters have a tighter neck tone, great for shred, but you lose that tubular, "hollow" tone that 22fretters have.
     
  10. c_mac

    c_mac Supporting Member

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    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.
     
  11. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Senior Member

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    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.
     
  12. datguytim

    datguytim Member

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    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
     
  13. g.griffith

    g.griffith Member

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    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.
     
  14. mprvise

    mprvise Member

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    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.
     
  15. WahmBoomAh

    WahmBoomAh World Crass Guitarist Silver Supporting Member

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    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 .
     
  16. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    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.
     
  17. Crunchyriff

    Crunchyriff Member

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    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
     
  18. Bluedawg

    Bluedawg Member

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    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.

    :)
     
  19. PFCG

    PFCG Supporting Member

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    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.
     
  20. pep

    pep Member

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    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.
     

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