1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Would you buy a Tele if it only came with one fret size (a size you don't like) and adapt to it?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Digiplay, Sep 12, 2020.

  1. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,464
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    I highly prefer 6230s, and a 7 1/4" radius on the board. That's what feels "just right" to me.

    I have Fender guitars without these things. On them, I compromised for some reason, e.g. price, or unique features.

    My 60th Anniversary Classic Lacquer Jazzmaster is an example. 9 1/2" radius, medium frets. But everything else about the guitar was right, it was only being made for one year, I was able to find a 7.5 lb. example (very light for a Jazzmaster), and it was only $1,000 delivered, brand new. If I really wanted to, I could replace the frets and add some more radius to the board during the process...and still not have much more into it than the original sticker price of $1,200.

    I have a new Lead II as well. 9 1/2" radius and medium frets. If I wanted a slime green Lead II with a maple board for only $450, then a compromise had to be made.

    I have several G&Ls with 9 1/2" radius and medium frets, a few with medium jumbos (yuck). Even have a few with a 12" radius. But there were other things about them, and the prices were right. The most expensive of them ($1,500 delivered) was a rare, limited edition model in nitrocellulose lacquer finish. Two others were the same (nitro models, one of which is a Rustic – my only "relic" guitar). Another was a one-of-a-kind factory prototype. The other was a to-spec build in like-new condition – beautiful bass for only $1,000.

    OTOTH, I decided not to purchase a 70th Anniversary Esquire because of the fret size (6105s). For $2,000, and talking about a guitar that can easily be assembled to my desired specs, and end up BETTER than the Fender, for less money...no. If the guitar had just had 6230s, I would have bought one right away, and maybe another one in a different color, down the road. But I was already compromising on the lack of Flash Coat; the fret size just sealed the "no" for me in the end.

    In other words, there are some situations in which I will compromise, and some in which I will not. If the guitar is expensive, and I can easily assemble a better one myself, with all the specs I want, then it's a no on compromising. If it's a guitar I can't easily reproduce, and/or the price isn't super high, then it's usually a yes to compromising.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2020
    El Tele Lobo and Digiplay like this.
  2. John E

    John E Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,062
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Nope. I got rid of an absolutely beautiful 50's Classic for that very reason. I HATED that neck... lol
     
  3. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,464
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    I have the first version of that model, the 35th Anniversary. It was an edition of 150 per model (ML, Z, and V), then the same specs were put into standard production as the Chicago Flame Series.

    After two gigs, I couldn't stand it any more. I had the stock frets pulled and replaced with 6230s. Had a little bit more radius added to the board while I was at it. :D

    The guitar sounded incredible and looked like a million bucks...but it played so stiffly and clumsily that I decided it was worth the cost of a fret job to "fix." The discount I had got when buying it covered a large part of the cost anyhow.

    The combination of the shorter Gibson scale length with ginormous frets is just a no-go for me. I can kind of adjust to it on Fender scale, but on a Gibson length, it makes things way too cramped for me, to the point of making it hard to play what I want to play.

    Point being, to each his own. That's why different frets are made.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
  4. MAXXFIELD

    MAXXFIELD Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    221
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2020
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    I'd try anything as a secondary guitar if it perked my interest. Though have recently discovered its way easier for my playing style to have jumbo frets and flat radius.
     
  5. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    897
    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2014
    Location:
    Wokingham England
    Yes I would.


    My Avatar Esquire has a fat U neck, medium tall frets and a 9.5" radius. It's quite different from my Classic 50s Tele and my Strat which both have very low vintage frets and 7.25" radius and a skinny necks (especially the Strat) by comparison.

    I find the change between them helps my hands and some aches and pains I used to get are less frequent now. If my hands start to ache a bit I just change guitar and it's OK again. I adapt and I also think it has helped improve my playing too.

    I don't feel like I want another Tele, but I looked at the question as if I hadn't got one at all, but still know what I know now. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
  6. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    675
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2020
    Location:
    USA
    You can get it refretted?
     
  7. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,930
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Charlotte NC
    no , I would not adapt. I would not buy a guitar that I didn't enjoy playing and then try to adapt, especially Fenders, there are countless variants. For me fret heights in the .040 +/- range is my desire. It's what my left hand is accustomed to. Its what the strings I use are accustomed to. Left hand execution , pressure etc,

    I have only dressed frets DOWN from a taller height on one guitar in may entire life of over 4 decades of playing, a specific Gibson model where the frets were .050 or so. It is a specific model , only ONE choice, no options. Either acquire it , dress the frets, or walk.


    Players who use lighter gauge strings such as 9's and have been for a very long time, will have a difficult time with fret heights above .045.

    We will be trying to retune a guitar all night that's already in tune ! :) We will be trying to correct for left hand pressure, :(

    "ain't gonna happen" ! :eek:
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
  8. JWH7

    JWH7 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    102
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2020
    Location:
    Dallas Texas
    All Telecaster guitars you have to adapt to. some better than others. My tele is a love /hate relationship.
     
  9. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,930
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Charlotte NC
    Kool , but there is actual physics involved here ! :)

    We can go from TALL frets to short frets, that's not an issue, its the other direction , short frets with light gauge strings to TALLER frets with the same light gauge strings that causes the grief ! Now add your left hand style, technique etc...

    If you can do that, God Bless you ! I can't !:(

    DOMINANT Gibson players can go to Fenders on a gig, but many DOMINANT Fender players may have a difficult time going the other direction. This is probably why so many newer Fenders have taller frets such as .047 which approach Les Paul territory. Going from a .036 Tele to a .055 Gibson is dramatic, they are not even the same instruments ! Take whatever left hand technique you have on the .036 and its GONE on the .055.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
  10. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    3,238
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2017
    Location:
    Harvest, Alabama
    To be clear, I wasn't bragging, and there's no particular skill involved here.

    Rather, it's an issue of ignorance and/or adaptability.

    a. I'm ignorant of the notion of jumbo versus standard frets and tall versus short frets.
    I literally have no idea of what sort of frets there are on any of my guitars and basses, and have never given it a single thought. (Same with neck shape. Don't know, don't care.)
    and,
    b. I just adapt to whatever guitar I pick up, and I play it.

    There are only a few show-stoppers for me, after 45+ years of playing;
    * I don't like heavy guitars. I can play 'em, don't get me wrong. But I don't wish to own any guitar that would kill my back after two or three songs into a set. Lighter is better for me.
    * Rough fret ends are a no-go. A smooth, silky neck is what I need. If the fret ends snag the flesh, I don't buy that guitar.
    * A guitar has to stay in tune. If I spend more time tuning and re-tuning than I do playing, there's something wrong with that guitar.

    That's about it, I reckon.

    :(
     
    Digiplay, Owenmoney and T Prior like this.
  11. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,930
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Charlotte NC
    I hear ya ! The issue with guitars not being in tune ( if strung correctly) can easily be tall frets and light gauge strings. Many don't actually know fret heights, or thereabouts. They put light gauge strings on a guitar and say it won't stay in tune. It may very well be in tune, but left hand downward pressure with tall frets + light strings cause PITCH issues. This is not uncommon, its physics !

    We read so many times that players say, "my guitar doesn't like light strings, I'm always tuning " , and they would be correct ! There is nothing wrong with the guitar, its a combination of multiple factors. We may very well be trying to adjust the tuning because of left hand pressure on the fretboard. So in this scenario, they need to do what YOU DO, recognize and adapt, if its possible. :)

    Personally, I don't want to adapt. I want each of my 'PLAYING GUITARS" to have very similar fret heights so I can use the same gauge strings and NOT have to worry about it !

    My daily practice is with a 7.25 or 9.25 radius with frets approx .040. tall. Strings are 9's, If I gig with a guitar with taller frets and 9's, I know it in the first song !

    PEACE !
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
  12. Owenmoney

    Owenmoney Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,793
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Location:
    Perkiomenville Pa
    I prefer medium jumbo but I think guitar players get away too picky, if you didn't have any guitars and someone was nice enough to give you one you'd just adapt to that guitar.
     
    Digiplay likes this.
  13. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    3,238
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2017
    Location:
    Harvest, Alabama
    Yeah, I kept 9's on most of my guitars for years, now I'm generally going with 9.5 (Ernie Ball Primo Slinky's) or 10's nowadays.

    My brother loves to keep 8's on his electric guitars, and it takes a crazy-light touch to keep from sounding sharp when you pick up and play his guitars.

    :(
     
  14. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    3,052
    Joined:
    May 7, 2010
    Location:
    Man of the World
    If you are asking if I MUST have a guitar, and the ONLY one available had frets I don't like, then of course I would get it, and make do until I could find another with frets that suited me. Your question is like asking " Would you drink your own piss to survive in the desert ? "
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
  15. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    19,383
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    The North Coast
    I have a pretty strong dislike of vintage fret wire. That said, the radius matters more to me. A guitar with vintage wire and a 12” radius can be made very playable. A guitar with vintage wire and a 7.25” radius will never find its way home with me.
     
  16. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,159
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2019
    Location:
    Hoover, Alabama
    Hi PC :)

    Whereas I'm sure you and I would both drink our own piss to survive in the desert, I prefer to put the question as:

    "Would you drink a Twisted Mango Diet Coke instead of a Classic Coca-Cola to survive in the desert?" :)
     
  17. KW1977

    KW1977 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    432
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Location:
    Virginia
    Pretty much adaptable across the board but I prefer somewhere in the neighborhood of 6105. I do find that bar chords ring much clearer on larger frets as opposed to vintage size. However, too jumbo a fret feels like speed bumps when you’re sliding up & down the board.
     
  18. Mgeek

    Mgeek TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    63
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2012
    Location:
    London
    Cosine to everyone who says it doesn't matter.

    any radius between 5 and flat is fine, any type of frets, any string gauge really. Vive la Differénce!
     
  19. loudmouthbass

    loudmouthbass TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    29
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
    Location:
    Indiana
    Its kinda like boobs. People have their preferences but I appreciate all of them. If she's been around the block and is fun to hang around with I will appreciate her as is. If I find one that feels exceptionally good on my fingertips, all the better. After 35 years I've learned they are all great from cheap Asian imports to spoiled case queens. Just appreciate her for what she is not what she has or does for you. If there is no love connection move on.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
    Digiplay likes this.
  20. rbbrnck

    rbbrnck TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    13
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Location:
    Southern Europe
    my hands not big enough [for the intervals i'd often like to use] make tall frets not my faves, being also quite a stickler for tuning accuracy - and shorter rhymes with me definitely better, when found on vintage wire width.

    on the other hand, .010 is the lightest gauge of strings i'd ever go, and never without a reason – if the guitar can take it, .011 is my first stop, and .012 ideally the next, which not all necks / bridges / guitars can necessarily handle with grace.

    probably because i have no use for bending, then, radius means to me a lot less than fret size - any just does it nice and easy, for me.

    but, to answer the original question:

    yes, i'd take one with any type of frets (and any type of neck, and bridge, to an extent) if the guitar resonates with me.

    and yes, i'd spend quality time with it, building on the differences from my ideal choices, i.e. adapting. to some, i did adapt, and to others i didn't - but it's not the single element, it's the instrument in its whole that i may not feel inspired by, and i often find out why, too.

    refret being an inexorable condition of life itself, though, that's the crossroad at which i sometime stand a chance to a second lease of love – or the first one, if things didn't click in place right from the start.

    and, the ones that went straight to my head from my heart and hands, they often were so far from my ideal options and choices, that i believe it's good to have many opinions i don't necessarily agree with (myself) in the first place.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.