Do small frets have any advantage ?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Luis Mendo, Jun 22, 2019.

  1. Luis Mendo

    Luis Mendo TDPRI Member

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    I recently got a Player Series Telecaster and I'm very happy with it. It has medium-jumbo frets.

    My other guitar is a 2002 Mexican Stratocaster. Its frets are smaller, and a few months ago they got a little lower because I had them dressed/levelled.

    In the Strat I find hammer-ons and pull-offs more difficult, specially since I had the frets dressed. I think it is because with the lower frets my fingers touch the fretboard and that makes it more difficult to press the string hard.

    It's no big deal, but I think I prefer the bigger frets. So I am planning on refretting the Strat to have bigger frets, for example medium jumbo as in my Tele.

    Now, my question: is there any drawback to having larger frets, or any advantage in keeping the smaller frets? Should I keep them so I can choose larger/smaller depending on what I want to play, or would you generally advice refretting with larger frets?
     
  2. AlbertaGriff

    AlbertaGriff Tele-Afflicted

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    I've got a fairly strong string grip, and with larger frets I can hear individual strings going out of tune based on how hard I press. Of course, that could be adjusted if I actually owned any guitars with bigger frets.
     
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  3. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    As do I, a scalloped neck cured me of any sharp notes. Well, not at first. :cool:
     
  4. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    If you use sliding techniques - up or down - taller frets are like speed bumps.
     
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  5. Luis Mendo

    Luis Mendo TDPRI Member

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    Yes, I've noticed that. Smaller are easier to slide over
     
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  6. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Slides...
     
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  7. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Small frets make your hand look bigger :rolleyes:
     
  8. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    If you don’t bend strings much, and/or play lots of chordal stuff, small frets are fine, IMO.
    It’s only if you do lots of bending that they are a PITA, again, IMO.
     
  9. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I’ve got a Strat with vintage skinny frets and I’ve got a bunch of guitars with medium jumbo. I don’t find my medium jumbo frets harder to slide compared to the vintage skinny frets but I levelled and polished the frets so that they are really smooth. I think if you do a good level, Crown and polish on the new frets, you’ll get used to them fairly quickly.
     
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  10. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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    Big frets give a more pecussive attack when used w high gain. Sort of like having a Glockenspiel play along. Actually that is great alot of times, but not always.
    I ve put on Bass frets on a FB before and gotten the ( sharp if pressing too hard ) thing.
     
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  11. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I assume same for others as myself. Slurs/bends more controllable getting/keeping a grip on string.


    I think though if you are polished/seasoned playing all the time it probably matters naught.

    Remember the Fretless wonder LesPauls?
     
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  12. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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    They wear out faster...
     
  13. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    I prefer vintage size frets. I have a really light touch and just am used to them because I always played old guitars.

    If I wanted big frets I would rather have a scalloped neck.
     
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  14. FredDairy

    FredDairy Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah they work great with a light touch and light strings.
    Think James Burton.
    I love vintage style frets.
     
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  15. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    Everybody has their own preferences. I prefer 6150 stainless. That's .047 high X .104 wide. It's a bit taller than vintage, the same height as the Tall Wide used on Fender Elites, but wider. And stainless, which means you won't be getting a fret job for 15 years or more. I don't press hard, so intonation is not a factor for me, but I bend a lot, so vintage frets don't work for that.
     
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  16. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Frets are a personal choice, there is no right or wrong.
    Just what works best for you. Same as strings.

    I find it harder to get my fingers under the strings on small fret guitars.
    Not enough to make them unplayable but enough to notice the extra bit of effort required.
    Having less fret life is also a negative for me.

    I slide up and down the neck using super jumbos (largest frets available) and don't feel any bumps. I have tall thin and no probs. It's just what you get used to playing, play any frets and you will adjust with enough time spent on them.
    I also own a couple of small vintage fret guitars and they play fine too, just not ideal for large bends, fast legato runs for me.

    Play one type the majority of the time and it will become your favorite fret size.
    Play them all and you wont care so much.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
  17. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

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    Like others have said, there's less of a speed bump if you slide up and down the neck on the strings. I find that speed bump very noticeable on the Allparts neck with the "vintage tall" 6105 frets (which are quite different from the Warmoth 6105 frets, by the way). Also as others have said, there is less risk of pulling notes sharp as there is on taller frets.
     
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  18. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Great description! (...I'll be stealin' it at some point). :p
     
  19. Luis Mendo

    Luis Mendo TDPRI Member

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    Thank you, guys. So don't you find hammer-ons / pull-offs more difficult with lower frets? I mean, your hand touching the wood preventing you from pressing hard enough? I do find them more difficult now, but I'm not sure if that's the reason...
     
  20. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I don’t find anything to be more difficult on lower frets.

    I play in tune better on lower frets. I have the mighty Vulcan death grip in my left hand and it’s worst when I’m really excited. I don’t care for taller frets.

    The older that I get the better that I get with lightening up that left hand grip.
     
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