Jumbo frets - pros and cons

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Super Locrian, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. Super Locrian

    Super Locrian Member

    Mar 4, 2006
    In muddy waters
    I'm considering to have jumbo frets in stainless steel installed on my guitar. How will this affect the sound and playability? Are there any downsides or pitfalls I need to be aware of?
  2. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

    Aug 23, 2003
    Fret size is a personal thing. Personally I wouldn't do that ever. I think the jumbos are just too much of a good thing. I lean towards 6105 wire. Tall and not too wide. Jumbos just feel like all metal and no wood, bends get out of hand and the feel of the guitar is a little too slick for me. I'm sure I could get used to it, but right now I prefer something a little smaller.

    I've got too say that SS frets sound a little harsh to me. Many people will tell you otherwise, again- personal choice. Do you find your sweat to be highly corrosive? If so, the SS might be a good choice. Tonally though I think thery're a little tinny. They're also rough on tools, but you don't need to dress them as often...50/50 on that one I guess? All in all- Not my 1st choice. I'm a traditionalist at heart and shy away from that new fangled stuff.

    If you have played a guitar similar to yours with that configuration, and the feel/sound was to your liking- great. But that said I think that jumbos are kind of a big statement on a fingerboard, and limits resale more than a medium jumbo wire like 6105. Kind of a more specialized feel, and since fretjobs are pricy, a more moderate choice might be wiser if resale is an option for this particular instrument.

    Be very careful who does the work. It should cost $200 and up for a good luthier to do the work- anything less, I'd say it's too good to be true.


  3. Mayflower

    Mayflower Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2004
    Jumbo's affect resale value.
    Some like them, but most don't.
    What advantage do you think you get buy using jumbo's other than they are wide?
    IMO, go for the stock size fret and get the tallest version.
    Plenty of room for leveling and lots of fret life.
    Jumbo's are just wider and really don't offer any extra benefit in bending or tone.
    Lot's of dough for a risky decision. Try sticking with the stock frets if they aren't worn out. You could learn to adapt to them ( unless they aren't tall enough for you), won't limit the sale of your guitar down the road, and save you $$$!
    It's like putting bass guitar frets in a 6 string. The visual alone is enough to turn most people off even if they are good or bad.
    Just my opinion, I am sure there are others. Just take it in stride!
    Good luck!
  4. pokey

    pokey Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2002
    Aurora, CO.
    The thing I hated about the 6100's I played on was I squeezed the notes sharp. Probably with heavier strings and/or a lighter touch this wouldn't be an issue, but I couldn't get used to it.
  5. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    On top a mountain of Chocolate Chips
    I don't like jumbo frets, they feel like speed bumps. A nice compromise are the 6105's I think, they are tall but narrow. I have these on my jap strat and like them a lot.
  6. prsflame

    prsflame Member

    Jan 13, 2002
    I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum. I love jumbo frets. I love the overall feel, and the ease with which I can bend the strings. I don't care much about the visual appeal. For me, they allow me play better, and dig in more. I really can't articulate it, as it is more of a "feel" thing for me. To my ears, the jumbo frest have done nothing to negatively impact my tone. Just a matter of personal taste:)
  7. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

    Aug 9, 2004
    When I started out, I thought thin necks, big frets and stainless were the answer. 12 years later I'm not so sure:
    1. Stainless-I've owned 3 or 4 Parkers with these. Your technique has to be very good so that you don't get fret buzz or clatter because it's louder than it is with regular frets. It's particularily bad with a piezo pickup! OTOH, I've played the same Nitefly as my "bash it around" guitar for 10 years with 0 fretwear, so that does make life a bit easier. It's expensive and hard to get stainless frets, so I'd definitely play some guitars with them before making the leap.

    2. Big frets. What guitar and what does it have now? I'm not a big fan of gigantic frets, so that your fingers never touch the fingerboard-they do seem to result in more out of tune notes unless your technique is really good or the guitar sound is buried in effects and distortion. A tallish, narrow fret like EVH had on the Wolfgangs seems a good compromise.
  8. Srini

    Srini Guest

    A perfect example of a neutral fact - I love 6100 frets for exactly the reason you have stated. Squeezing the notes lets you sharp them in a subtle manner; I imagine this is what people go after with scalloped frets, although huge frets are nowhere near as extreme.

  9. amper

    amper Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Love 'em! The bigger the better! I really like that ability to do vertical sitar-like bends with giant frets. That's why I'm going to get a scalloped neck with 6115 wire from Warmoth.

    Seriously, though, I have wide knuckles and skinny fingers. Tight radii and big frets mean easy playing for me.
  10. Crumblebum

    Crumblebum Member

    Jul 20, 2005
    Winchester, UK
    I have a John Cruz Relic Strat with 6100 frets. They're great. Admittedly I did take a while to adopt my technique to suit them but now I play that guitar all the time and have no trouble at all.
  11. slayer

    slayer Member

    Mar 28, 2004
    I love Jumbo 6100 frets as the bends are easier and you don`t have to play as hard. can you imagine, they make even larger frets than 6100 frets, but i can`t imagine neading that big!! I also like medium jumbos also as are on my Kramer Focus 1000 guitar. Jack.
  12. donbarzini

    donbarzini Member

    Nov 10, 2005
    Yes, the biggest frets are the Dunlop 6000's, I have them on both my guitars.
  13. JackD

    JackD Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    Rochester, MI
    Yes it is a personal thing. I love big frets. I am in the process of having all of my guitars redone with the Dunlop 6000 frets (4 guitars done so far). For me, I got hooked on the feel of big frets 25 years ago. Now, as I am older (44) I have found that the pads in my finger tips are softer than when I was young. As a result, I found that with lower frets, my fingernails were getting in the way of playing more complex chords. The higher the frets, the better it is for me.

    Try it out if you can find a guitar with big frets. If you like them, go for it!
  14. homerayvaughan

    homerayvaughan Member

    Aug 21, 2005
    I have been playing 6100's for 20 years or so. It does make it easier to
    bend, vibrato is smoother, and I find I don't have to put as much pressure on the strings. Makes hammers/pull offs easier. Especially useful if you use or would like to try heavier strings.
    If you can, try out a few guitars with different frets and see what feels best. The medium jumbo's that Fender uses in their American Std are a nice comprimise, if you don't want to go to 6100's or 6000's.
  15. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

    Jun 7, 2004
    playing in traffic...
    I have 6105 Dunlop wire on my Tele at the suggestion of the late Danny Gatton-it's the McChicken of fret wire,most everybody likes it...Nash guitars uses it on all his guitars at last check.All the guys I work with have redone their guitars with it after playing mine...Not real crazy about the stainless stuff as I hear it sort of different than the Nickel-Silver stuff...YMMV
  16. Robert1950

    Robert1950 Member

    Oct 2, 2005
    Edmonton, AB.
    I have cheap Ibanez EX140, strung with 12s and tuned to D. Bends and Vibratos work very nice due to the jumbo frets.

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