"You can use different sized or shaped frets for different parts of the neck."
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Thread: "You can use different sized or shaped frets for different parts of the neck."

  1. #1


    Join Date: Feb 2010
    Location: Laramie, Wyoming
    ME: Jackson AT Pro
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    "You can use different sized or shaped frets for different parts of the neck."

    Guitar Player, a "reputable publication", ran this article.

    https://www.guitarplayer.com/gear/te...fret-checklist

    Terrible reckless advice? Life hack of the century? Strangely unsubstantiated claim for a respectable publication to put forth? Commonplace practice some people have never heard of til now? Discuss.



    Someone ask a high end luthier for a quote on a job in which the neck is divided into four sections each with different kinds of frets and post the response. Genuinely curious.

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  3. #2


    Join Date: Feb 2015
    Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
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    I don’t see why it wouldn’t work as long as the frets get smaller/shorter as you get closer to the bridge. I could see issues arising if you use taller frets in the upper register with lower notes fretting out and buzzing.

    Interesting though, I’d be curious to try out a guitar like that.

  4. #3


    Join Date: Jan 2013
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    I think it was either Washburn or Hamer that used mixed frets for their 3-octave guitars. The first 24 - 27 frets would be standard guitar frets, then everything after that would be narrow mandolin frets.

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  6. #4


    Join Date: Oct 2016
    Location: Greensburg, IN
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    What a trip. I've never heard of this until now. In theory you could do whatever you want of course but how would it actually work in practice? My first thought is that you'd have some frets which are too tall to the get action where you want it on the lower frets. it makes sense that the high end of the fretboard gets crowded and you'd want skinnier frets there but if they're taller wouldn't that come with the need to raise the action higher?

  7. #5


    Join Date: Feb 2010
    Location: Laramie, Wyoming
    ME: Jackson AT Pro
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzhands View Post
    I think it was either Washburn or Hamer that used mixed frets for their 3-octave guitars. The first 24 - 27 frets would be standard guitar frets, then everything after that would be narrow mandolin frets.
    That's because the extended ec29/ec36 is so jam packed up there they couldn't fit anything else though.

    I can see it in very uncommon specialty cases, and Mandolin is a fair point, since large/fat finger might make that really hard to play. But I think in standard electric guitar, it's uncommon to the point where I have no clue why he mentioned it.

    Paying for a refret like that seems the most direct route to crippling buyers remorse.

    Can it work in theory? Sure. How different is it really than scalloping the upper frets? That's up for the player to decide.

    In all seriousness though, I've never seen anyone else offer this advice in an article that is "basic things you should know about getting a refret".

    It seems like fucking terrible advice. That's not even getting into resale. I mean, he could have said, "Sometimes certain allowances have to be made in the upper frets depending on hand size for the most comfortable playing experience". I agree with that. I prefer tall skinny frets to jumbos, especially on gibsons. But it works best when the whole guitar is the same fretwire.

    He didn't say that though. He said, "You can use different sized or shaped frets for different parts of the neck."

    Which seems like fucking awful advice.

  8. #6


    Join Date: Feb 2010
    Location: Laramie, Wyoming
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    I'm going to check out his other articles and see if there's more outlandish claims. Is this a one time thing, or does he normally write stuff like,

    "People think you have to ground passive pickup setups, but grounds are for pussies. Many players don't run grounds on their passive guitars."

    "When replacing a bridge you can just buy two bridges and saw them in half and get a hybrid set up. Many players run a 50% Kahler/50% Bigsby."

    "Truss rods are like your appendix, once upon a time they were necessary, but guitars have evolved to not need them."

    "For many years I thought the phrase 'zero fret' meant the player commissioning my services wants literally zero frets. Which is why my original refretting service went out of business and there are two different class action lawsuits against me and my file with the Better Business Bureau is the size of a fucking Harry Potter novel."

    "One tip a lot of players don't know is that when stringing guitars the gauges don't have to go in the regular order. You are just limiting yourself if you follow the string manufacturers recommendations. There is nothing wrong with buying a 42-9 set and putting the 42 on the third string. In fact many players prefer it."

  9. #7


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: The B.L., WA.
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    I've done several necks for people with 2 different sizes of frets. Usually they just want them same height but narrow from the 13th on.

  10. #8


    Join Date: Feb 2010
    Location: Laramie, Wyoming
    ME: Jackson AT Pro
    Rig: Rivera K Tre

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    Quote Originally Posted by DonBot View Post
    I've done several necks for people with 2 different sizes of frets. Usually they just want them same height but narrow from the 13th on.
    Making concessions to make the upper register more accessible is pretty common, I don't think that's what he was referring too. I read it as something more than that.

    Although personally I say go narrow on all them. Classic Rhoads/Gibson style.

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