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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. Mistahbrock

    Mistahbrock TDPRI Member

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    I accidentally bought some mandolin frets, but used them on a 7.5" radius bass neck and they are very comfortable to play, I guess every fret types have their pro's and cons.
     
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  2. peterpaul

    peterpaul TDPRI Member

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    First of all, no one should be jumping on you about anything. We are all artists and lovers of the guitar and music. Whether we are total hacks or virtuosos are tastes in gear are vastly different. Me personally, i feel we have far too many choices. We are spoiled as a musical culture with everything that is available. I always use Jeff Beck to make my point. When he picks up his beloved’54 Tele he only cares if it has 6 strings on it, and if they are in tune. I think as we develop as players we become more flexible at least i have. As i am now neck shape? Fret size? As long as the guitar does it for me I’ll be fine. I love my fenders with the 6105’s and 6130’s. But when i pick up a late 70’s Les Paul and the Frets are wide but barely there i love that feel sooo much. So yes I could adapt, and if i had to pick a number it would be 6105! Take Care......
     
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  3. tfillingi

    tfillingi TDPRI Member

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    Because I am a long time Les Paul player, I have a custom Tele that I copied a Les Paul neck in thickness, radius and fret size. Plays great!!
     
  4. red57strat

    red57strat Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I like tall frets but I’m comfortable with medium size frets. Some guitars play better with low frets than others. I especially don’t like low frets on a finished fretboard, especially if the fretboard is glossy.
     
  5. mtown

    mtown Tele-Meister

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    No I would not. The jumbo and tall narrow frets feel like speed bumps to me. That’s why I haven’t purchased any new American made Teles in awhile. Still prefer the medium jumbos.
     
  6. Audiowonderland

    Audiowonderland Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Could I? Except for the very shortest frets perhaps, but why would/should I? I will move on to the next or if everything else was just right, have it refretted. Frankly its the small frets that have no place to me. There is no upside to them.
     
  7. radar

    radar TDPRI Member

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    I’ll give some consideration to fretboard radius and fret gauge when I’m building a neck or ordering one from Warmoth, but I don’t really care otherwise, and I have very little idea what specs my guitars that I didn’t build have.

    Neck profile, string gauge and overall fit and finish are more important to me, but I can adapt - there are no deal breakers.
     
  8. Pick_n_Strum

    Pick_n_Strum Tele-Meister

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    I would buy it and adapt if I really like the guitar.

    At one point, I thought I liked a certain size fret only so I didn't really keep an open mind. Eventually bought a guitar with quite different sized frets and realized, I liked those even more. So for now, I keep an open mind.
     
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  9. wpod

    wpod TDPRI Member

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    After many years I switched from the original 6230 to 6105 size on my Esquire. Glad I did.
     
  10. JIMMY JAZZMAN

    JIMMY JAZZMAN Tele-Meister

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    It's like playing tennis with 5 or 6 different racquets. After awhile, you'll know which is best for you.
     
  11. Daddy Hojo

    Daddy Hojo Friend of Leo's

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    I don't even notice fret size.
     
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  12. Rick J

    Rick J Tele-Holic

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    I’ve been playing guitar for over years. If guitar is well set up (Tele or otherwise) then the frets are no more important to me than the steering wheel on a car. The wheels are all different , but when did you ever hear of anyone considering that in deciding whether or not to buy the car? So long as it’s round and turns the car in the right direction you wouldn’t usually take it into account.
    I know you can by replacement wheels, but it’s not very common
    Same with guitars in my opinion- so long as the frets fall within the accepted range for height or width, I really don’t care.

    Whatever they are, I don’t play as well as the frets will fret.

    Rick J
     
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  13. MrSea

    MrSea Tele-Meister

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    I don’t care for the small vintage fret wire. Height seems to be the critical factor for me. As long as their is some height to them I get along fine.
     
  14. Frankentronics

    Frankentronics TDPRI Member

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    I'm not too picky bout fret size, although I don't love jumbos, but what I am picky about is if the frets were properly crowned.

    I own a lot of Gibsons and when I buy a new Gibson the frets are usually quite flat on top. I recrown them all.

    OK, for me it's easy because I am a guitar tech, but I really suggest that people should get the right tools and learn how to do it. It costs a lot to pay a tech and you can save money by buying the right tools and spending time learning.

    If you own more than 6 guitars you want to do this.

    The other problem is that frets are not always perfectly leveled.

    Gibson now supposedly uses a Plek machine to do all the fret work. Well, I'm not impressed with what I'm seeing. Either those Plek machines are over rated, or the one at Gibson is not set up right. I find flat frets and I find high frets.

    Whatever they might say about Plek machines being great, I know what I am seeing on brand new Gibson guitars. Last week I had to do spot leveling and crowning the entire fretboard on two new Gibsons. One was a $2700 Les Paul that a customer just bought and the other one was a Les Paul that I bought for myself.

    I once bought a 335 (brand new) that had the frets so flat they felt like a rasp. There was only one way to fix the problem.

    But if I really hate the frets and love the guitar I would get the guitar and if I couldn't get used to the frets I would refret.

    Again, I know that I am at a great advantage, being a guitar tech, but even from a non tech perspective, if you love the guitar and hate the frets you can set aside money within a year to refret it.

    I know some say refretting lowers the value, but I don't agree. And what does it matter if it's a guitar for you. Let others figure out the value after you die.
     
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  15. teletail

    teletail Tele-Afflicted

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    There's about 10,000,000 guitars out there for sale. If I don't like something about it I move on to the next one. Why would anyone "settle" in this market?
     
  16. Ricoblues

    Ricoblues TDPRI Member

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    Normally I prefer jumbo o medium jumbo, easy bending IMHO. But I think that every guitar tell his story and if a guitar returns good vibrations with small frets no problem.
     
  17. Wound_Up

    Wound_Up TDPRI Member

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    I don't think he was asking what's your favorite if you had to use it on everything. He's asking if there was one size, even if it's a size that wasn't your favorite, would you take it or leave it?

    Not..."if you could only have one size, what would it be?" or I'm sure he'd have asked that lol


    Personally, I don't care what size frets are on a guitar. Fret size wouldn't affect my decision to buy one at all. If it was only available in narrow, short frets then so be it. Only in medium jumbo? Who cares. Ring it up. There is no "leave it". I'll take it. Fret size be damned. Lol

    IMO, that's what was being asked. Not "if you could only have 1 size what would it be" like a lot of people seem to be answering.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
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  18. Tark1

    Tark1 TDPRI Member

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    I think there are two issues with fret size; intentional versus unintentional bending and fret life. Taller frets make it easier to bend the strings intentionally, however some people may experience unintentional bending if they grip too hard. Small frets can solve this because the finger pad has more contact with the fretboard and doesn't slip around so easily. Scalloped fretboards can be hard to play in tune because it is just too easy for the fingers to slide sideways. Small frets have less material and so probably won't last through as many cycles of fret levelling as larger frets. Personally I don't like the small 'vintage' frets and prefer medium jumbos.
     
  19. DBDM

    DBDM TDPRI Member

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    Unfortunately, I likely would buy one that is not perfect for me then try to adapt as suggested in the original post. "Younger me" (now late 40's) did that kind of thing all the time. Now older me has learned--the hard way--that buying something sub-optimal is not wise and that it loses "older me" a lot of money to take a bath on these guitars for resale. I am now firmly in the camp of "buy once, cry once". Get exactly what you want, wince about the price, then play it and love it till I die. That is way better than wincing, hating it for years, fretting (pun intended) over how I cannot adapt, selling it for a loss, then wincing again when I buy the one I should have bought the first time.

    Advice (ask me how I know?) to anyone who cares--get the guitar that you want, in the configuration you desire (as close as possible to how you want it) and play it. (Obviously this advice does not include project guitars that you intend on changing). Again, "buy once, cry once!"

    On a related note--how many guys post (watch for it) how they cannot afford xxx guitar that costs xxx thousand of dollars, then go on to post how they own 5 yyy (cheaper) guitars that cost $500 each. Had they bought one really good $3k guitar instead of 6 $500 guitars, they would not only have saved money, they would have the one they really wanted. Few of us have ever "scratched the itch" of a really good guitar buy buying 6 lesser guitars. (not to imply those 6 are not great, nor that they did not find one that works great, just that they are still going to end up buying the $3k model).
     
  20. SomeGuyNamedRob

    SomeGuyNamedRob Tele-Meister

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    I once had a neck set up to use 6100 frets from the 1st to the 12th fret, and 6105 for everything past the 12th.

    Was an awesome playing guitar. I'll probably have another neck set up like that at some point.

    But to answer the initial question, fret wire would be one of the last considerations for if I buy a guitar or not. I'd sooner be turned off by things like an uncomfortable neck profile, a body that's too heavy, shoddy construction, or really bad hardware where the cost of replacements needed to make a guitar playable far outstrip the cost of moving up to a better quality guitar.



     
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