Who likes small frets and why?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by sfletch, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. sfletch

    sfletch Member

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    Just wondering....I've always had guitars with fairly small to medium-jumbo frets. Every time I play something with BIG frets I think "wow, these are cool, by fingers don't catch on the wood, etc." I have one Parker with stainless frets that are fairly big but not huge. It's a very slinky feeling guitar to play.

    Anyway, I know lots of people like smaller frets, and I was wondering what you like about them? Do you like feeling the fingerboard? Easier chording? Vintage feel?

    Just wondering, as I said. I don't hate small frets, but the big ones certainly feel easier to play/bend on for me.
     
  2. Soapbarstrat

    Soapbarstrat Senior Member

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    I'm liking them more these days, because the scrap metal theives are less likely to steal them off my guitar
     
  3. jota

    jota Member

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    I think they just feel better...
    But I think that it depends on the guitar.
    I like my tele with vintage, my strat with med-jumbo and the bigger ones on the LP.
     
  4. bostonwal

    bostonwal Member

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    I like sliding around the neck at times and that's easier with smaller frets.
     
  5. nmiller

    nmiller Drowning in lap steels Silver Supporting Member

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    Same here.

    Additionally, I feel like I need to press a lot harder with big frets in order to keep from buzzing. Some people seem to feel the opposite, though. I also think it's harder to do chords with larger frets.
     
  6. jerseydrew

    jerseydrew Member

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    Me too. I've sold great guitars before because the frets were too large. Give me vintage frets.
     
  7. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    I'm seeing a trend to lean in the small fret direction in my shop in the last 2 to 3 years. Small frets are fine as long as there's enough height to allow string bends. Small stainless frets may be the next trend, allowing string bends equal to jumbos.
    Just a thought.
     
  8. nmiller

    nmiller Drowning in lap steels Silver Supporting Member

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    How could the composition of the fret affect bending ability? As far as I can see, it's all about the dimensions (particularly the height) of the fretwire. Do you mean that stainless could give better sustain to a bent string?
     
  9. openbar

    openbar Silver Supporting Member

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    For me, it's more that I don't like the feel of jumbo frets. The regular size frets just feel more normal, I feel more connected to the guitar.
     
  10. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    :agree

    I guess I learn towards more traditional style. The frets on my G&L are huge <in width moreso than height>. It plays really well, but just doesn't feel the same as my other guitars. I'm more careful about looking at fret size / neck style nowadays.
     
  11. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    Cause stainless is slicker than owl snot. Two frets same height, one ns and the other stainless, the bends will be easier on stainless.
     
  12. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    They feel good, and guitars have a slightly muted, or woodier, tone. very smooth sounding. I always refret with a bigger wire, but that's so I can get lots of levels before I have to refret again. But it's really noticeable on the same guitar if you go from small wire to big, or vice versa.
     
  13. Clrtxf

    Clrtxf Member

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    small frets are PERFECT for my style. Big frets hurt my fingers with the way I play, I like to think of myself as from the school of Satch if that helps you with how I play
     
  14. Clrtxf

    Clrtxf Member

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    BTW I meant small height wise. Width don't make a bit of difference for me although I sure do like a fat neck
     
  15. kldonegan

    kldonegan Member

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    I like smaller frets for the simple fact that they hold their intonation better when i wear them out. maybe that's just me...
     
  16. Bill Brasky

    Bill Brasky Senior Member

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    I can play faster, better, slide around the neck easier with small frets. Large frets act like speed bumps to my hand. I've never had any problem doing bends with small frets and don't find bending easier with large frets like is often claimed. Large frets = poor intonation, especially with chords. I feel that JUMBO frets are a stupid gimmick leftover from the poodle hair metal 80's, like when people loaded their guitars with brass hardware and thought heavy guitars=good tone/sustain. Back in the 70's when people were playing guitars with regular sized frets, I doubt anyone ever complained that they couldn't bend on their Strat because the frets were too small. Jumbo frets are a solution to a problem that didn't exist until guitar makers convinced some guitar players it was a problem.
     
  17. Todd Lynch

    Todd Lynch Member

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    I like Fender-type, vintage sized frets. I like to feel the wood and feel that the tone is different on the same guitar with small frets and wood/finger interaction vs larger/taller frets and less finger/wood contact.
     
  18. mocaster

    mocaster Silver Supporting Member

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    I like Fender 6230 frets the best, and prefer them over the 6105 frets that Wildwood, Daves, Music Gallery and others order for one- offs. The bigger frets hurt to press down on and the thing about small frets not being able to bend on is absolute BS.

    Pickup up a real 50's Strat and you can bend off the fretboard...

    On Gibsons I also prefer the the smaller height and my 58 VOS and 54 VOS both have smaller frets and play phenominal....

    SG' s seem to play fine with taller frets, maybe because of such a flat radius fretboard.....

    The only exception I haved noticed is on the Eric Johnson strats....they play great with the taller frets, but again maybe becuase of the flatter radius board...

    FWIW.
     
  19. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I recall Randy Rhoads preferring small frets on his Jacksons. Probably because he was used to the low Les Paul frets. God Bless Randy!
     
  20. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

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    Except for jumbos I find most other frets are fine for me.
    I am very comfortable on vintage frets but I do like to have something there height wise as to be able to dress them as many times as needed to avoid a refret.

    That said I am very easy on frets even though I bend the crap out of my stings and do a lot of vibrato.
    I have never needed a refret in my life no matter how long I've owned a guitar.

    Don't know what I do to not cause a lot of wear but I'm glad.
     

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