Do wider/bigger frets mess with intonation?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by mjr428, Dec 10, 2018.

  1. mjr428

    mjr428 Tele-Meister

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    I was watching a video today about a refret and the persons guitar had bigger frets then usual and he said that he had more issues with intonation after getting the larger frets. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
     
  2. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted

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    They shouldn't be if they are crowned correctly. The centerline is still in the same spot regardless of size. If the crown is flat instead of round it could be perhaps a micro off.

    I install medium jumbo almost exclusively unless requested otherwise and have never had a problem.

    Eric
     
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  3. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Meister

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    A friend of mine, when he first started playing the guitar, pressed down so hard that he stretched the strings. His guitars that had taller frets would be wildly sharp.

    But guitars are generally very poor at being perfect because the fret locations have to be a compromise.

    "7 pure octaves and 12 pure fifths do not add upp the same:

    7 octaves = (2/1) ^7 = 128
    12 fifths = (3/2) ^12 = 129.74

    The discrepancy works out to 24 cents (almost exactly a quarter-tone), and is known as the "Pythagorean Comma". Finding a way around these problems has been the cause of much controversy and many bitter arguments among music theorists for two and a half millenia.

    To make a fixed-interval instrument with 12 notes in the octave useable in all the key signatures, the purity of the intervals has to be compromised."

    - https://www.guyguitars.com/eng/handbook/Tuning/tuning.html
     
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  4. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    The string action over the frets would cause the strings to stretch impacting intonation. Assuming that the frets are crowned properly and in the correct spot on the fretboard, fret height or width shouldn't impact anything, given the same action measurement from the top of the fret to the underside of the string, assuming the player has the same playing touch. The more the string stretches, the more it would impact intonation.
     
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  5. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    Same as the rest above - if you don't crown frets right, it'll probably be harder to get good intonation with wide frets. If you can crown frets properly, it shouldn't make any difference except if the jumbos are tall height and the player is a heavy handed string squasher.

    Crowing them to the center is not hard after leveling, just mark leveled frets and work in from both sides until the marker line left is a thin line down the center of the fret, and then remove it.
     
  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    One of the little things that I have learned to do is when I compensate a guitar for someone I have them hold it and fret it as they would when they were playing while I measure and adjust it. The amount of compensation often ends up considerably different than if I had just laid it on its back and pushed down on the string.
     
  7. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Intonation is an imperfect art... it is impossible to get a guitar intoned so that every note is dead on perfect.... Further exacerbating the issue is human hearing, we all hear differently... what's perfect to one guy, may sound like a cage of screaming banshees to the next...

    So no... wider frets have no real applicable impact on the intonation... However they MUSt crowned to achieve equilibrium within whatever parameters are in play.. including "you".

    rk
     
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  8. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Friend of Leo's

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    I had an older Tele refretted with big frets (wider not taller) and for the first day or two I thought ‘something ain’t right’ with intonation, or my ability to play in tune. I was worried I had made a bad choice with 6100s.
    It didn’t take long for me to get adjusted, it was definitely my technique that had me hearing things. I couldn’t say exactly what changed though.
     
  9. Piotr

    Piotr Tele-Afflicted

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    I believe this could happen. Still, I love taller frets (not too wide), because it allows me to play with less left hand pressure.
     
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  10. mjr428

    mjr428 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks all for the responses... My feeling is that it really doesn't affect intonation, but when I heard this guy talking about it, it made me think because I'm currently having an issue with a guitar that I put bass frets on. For some reason, I had to push the bridge back much father then I should have to get the intonation right on a wrap around bridge. Everything seemed to measure out correctly, but the saddles needed to be farther back then expected. It most likely has to do with the bridge used or possibly the nut... I don't know.
     
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah WRT complaints from players used to small frets that can't play in tune on big frets and state that those darn frets are bad, it's just player technique, and the mysterious mojo that gets blamed for basic physics.
    I wonder how the youtuber concluded that the out of tune thing was an intonation problem?

    WRT your guitar needing the bridge moved back for the new bass frets; while a fret job will invariably require resetting the intonation, it does seem a bit odd that the intonation was way off with the new frets.

    If you know you crowned all the frets dead center, I would guess that your intonation was off on the old worn out frets, and the current setting is how it should have been if the old worn out frets were not kinda flat on top.

    For years I did refrets with hardware store tools, and only recently got a newfangled diamond grit crowning file, which I presume was computer engineered and CNC machined to aerospace tolerances in a Chinese sweatshop.

    Crowning with a belt sander modified handsaw sharpening file in the old days, it was just as easy to crown off center as dead on, if the light was bad or you were in a hurry.

    I always wondered how the old Gibson "fretless wonder" style flat top frets on so many spensive Gibsons could possibly play in tune, given that there was basically no crown at all.
    Course, back then there were no pedal board tuners either, and amps often had such inadequate power section filtering that there were ghost notes playing along making the whole fuzzy mess sound wonderful despite the flaws.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  12. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

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    Perhaps it's just an issue if imprecise language in the video. "Bigger" frets could be wider (where the crown theoretically could change the takeoff point and the intonation, particularly if the frets wear down considerably) or they could be taller (where the player's finger pressure can pull the strings sharp). Given the confusion created by "bigger" I wouldn't be surprised if "intonation" was being tossed about to mean more than it does.
     
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