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  1. #1
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    How About a Fanned Fret Archtop?

    Might be fun!

    How About a Fanned Fret Archtop?-20180907_143027-jpg
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

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  3. #2
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    Nice spalting! What’s your method of cutting the fret slots.
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  4. #3
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    Yeah, it's a wild lookin' piece. My method is pretty low-tech... once the locations are carefully marked, it's just a straight edge and a fret-slotting backsaw.
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  5. #4
    What's the motivation? 7-8 strings?

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    What's the motivation? 7-8 strings?
    Chicks, mostly. But failing that:

    - Exploring the tonal possibilities of combining the crisp, clear bass of the longer (25.5) scale with the sweet, warm trebles of the shorter (24.7) scale
    - Exploring the ergonomic possibilities of a subtle multiscale design
    - Expanding my skill set while having good, clean fun

    6 strings... the fretboard hasn't been trimmed to width in that photo.
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  7. #6
    Cool.

    Of course you're no doubt well aware that it won't catch on with 6 string players. I don't know much about them but was under the impression that fanned fret was necessary for addressing intonation and/or ergonomic issues associated with playing wide fretboard 8-string guitars.

    EDIT: after further "research" it seems to be more about accommodating better tone quality for wider ranged tuning. i.e. very low bass and higher treble strings, benefitting from longer and shorter scale lengths, respectively. As you said.

    For 6 strings it just doesn't seem necessary though.

    Have you heard Charlie Hunter? He's an interesting player but I think his handling of bass chores constrains his melodic expression, and as a result I find that I ultimately check out, after listening for awhile.

  8. #7
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    Lots of fanned fret guitars in the flat top world. Not at all limited to 7-8 string guitars.

    What kind of guitar is this for? A Tele?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Cool.

    Of course you're no doubt well aware that it won't catch on with 6 string players. I don't know much about them but was under the impression that fanned fret was necessary for addressing intonation and/or ergonomic issues associated with playing wide fretboard 8-string guitars.

    EDIT: after further "research" it seems to be more about accommodating better tone quality for wider ranged tuning. i.e. very low bass and higher treble strings, benefitting from longer and shorter scale lengths, respectively. As you said.

    For 6 strings it just doesn't seem necessary though.

    Have you heard Charlie Hunter? He's an interesting player but I think his handling of bass chores constrains his melodic expression, and as a result I find that I ultimately check out, after listening for awhile.
    Our friend Jehu is one who builds guitars mainly for the sheer pleasure of doing it, trying materials and features that are not on the beaten track. Whether it "catches on" or not I doubt will be a matter of much concern in Jehu's workshop. Exploration and enjoyment from expanding skills and knowledge seem to be the dominant aims in that artisanal abode.

    Miss you on the Raney threads, Jehu! We're soldiering on with "Bout You and Me!"
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  10. #9
    Jehu, Go for it. You will enjoy it. Below is a picture of my Chris Forshage multiscale Orion. I really enjoy playing this guitar. My scale is 24.75 to 25.75. I'm glad that I didn't go beyond that on the low E side. I like the tight bass and the sweeter treble. While on archtops one won't find many multiscale guitars, one can find quite a number of acoustic and solid body 6 strings.

    My next guitar from Chris will be a nylon Orion but a much thicker body. I haven't decided if I want to go multiscale on that guitar as the "ergo" shape places the guitar in an elevated position much like a classical guitar which negates some of the ergonomic positives about the multiscale neck i.e. if I play this guitar in a level position the slant of the frets conforms to your hand better than a conventional fretted neck but the higher it is raised the less so.

    How About a Fanned Fret Archtop?-forshage-multiscale-small-jpg

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Our friend Jehu is one who builds guitars mainly for the sheer pleasure of doing it, trying materials and features that are not on the beaten track. Whether it "catches on" or not I doubt will be a matter of much concern in Jehu's workshop. Exploration and enjoyment from expanding skills and knowledge seem to be the dominant aims in that artisanal abode.

    Miss you on the Raney threads, Jehu! We're soldiering on with "Bout You and Me!"
    fine by me. like i said "cool".

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    Lots of fanned fret guitars in the flat top world. Not at all limited to 7-8 string guitars.

    What kind of guitar is this for? A Tele?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

    "Lots of" is relative of course.

    I'll take a rough guess that fewer than one tenth of one percent of flat top acoustic guitars on earth are fanned fret.

    I have worked off and on in the business intelligence and analytics field for Fortune 100 companies. 0.1% is not typically characterized as "a lot" with regards to expensive/moderately expensive consumer products.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    "Lots of" is relative of course.

    I'll take a rough guess that fewer than one tenth of one percent of flat top acoustic guitars on earth are fanned fret.

    I have worked off and on in the business intelligence and analytics field for Fortune 100 companies. 0.1% is not typically characterized as "a lot" with regards to expensive/moderately expensive consumer products.
    I’ve been making guitars for twenty years, been going to guitar shows the whole time, and I will usually see a significant number of builders offering fanned fret guitars (I guess 10%) I cant think of a show I’ve been to where there weren’t at least a few. I am also active on several luthiers forums and regularly see people post their fanned fret builds. Finally, I have seen several dozen such instruments in person over the years. To me that’s lots of guitars. But I have no hard numbers and was unaware of an established definition of “a lot” by international corporations. I didn’t even know we were required to follow corporate norms.

    Of course, I don’t work for Fortune 100 companies, so I’m not sure how I could actually know anything. You must have hard numbers, though. Otherwise your experience in analytics is irrelevant and you are just another Joe making guesses based on your personal experiences outside of your work.

  14. #13
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    Bat-Man blows on this when he's kickin' back between calls. I think he's on Utube somewhere but I can't find the link just now.
    Attached Images Attached Images How About a Fanned Fret Archtop?-fan-fret-archtop-jpg 

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    I’ve been making guitars for twenty years, been going to guitar shows the whole time, and I will usually see a significant number of builders offering fanned fret guitars (I guess 10%) I cant think of a show I’ve been to where there weren’t at least a few. I am also active on several luthiers forums and regularly see people post their fanned fret builds. Finally, I have seen several dozen such instruments in person over the years. To me that’s lots of guitars. But I have no hard numbers and was unaware of an established definition of “a lot” by international corporations. I didn’t even know we were required to follow corporate norms.

    Of course, I don’t work for Fortune 100 companies, so I’m not sure how I could actually know anything. You must have hard numbers, though. Otherwise your experience in analytics is irrelevant and you are just another Joe making guesses based on your personal experiences outside of your work.
    I thought so. You've seen a few, and are aware that a person can order one. That's all good and is precisely what I thought you meant.

    And my estimate was listed as just that, an estimate. I believe that less than .01% of flat top acoustic guitars on earth are fanned fret ones, and I'm further guessing that you agree. But if you have a different guess, by all means share. Peace out.

  16. #15
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    I love this Koll.

    Build bridges, not walls.

  17. #16
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    I'm enjoying the spirited discussion, folks! As Lawson noted, I do this mainly for my own interest and enjoyment, so I'm not terribly concerned about alienating my adoring customer base.


    Quote Originally Posted by rob taft View Post
    Jehu, Go for it. You will enjoy it. Below is a picture of my Chris Forshage multiscale Orion. I really enjoy playing this guitar. My scale is 24.75 to 25.75. I'm glad that I didn't go beyond that on the low E side. I like the tight bass and the sweeter treble. While on archtops one won't find many multiscale guitars, one can find quite a number of acoustic and solid body 6 strings.

    My next guitar from Chris will be a nylon Orion but a much thicker body. I haven't decided if I want to go multiscale on that guitar as the "ergo" shape places the guitar in an elevated position much like a classical guitar which negates some of the ergonomic positives about the multiscale neck i.e. if I play this guitar in a level position the slant of the frets conforms to your hand better than a conventional fretted neck but the higher it is raised the less so.

    How About a Fanned Fret Archtop?-forshage-multiscale-small-jpg
    Sweet Forshage! I haven't had a chance to play one, but I've seen lots of pictures of his work and it is always impressive. But yes, I have wondered about whether the ergo neck position would jive with the multiscale. Mine will be a more conventional body shape.
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  18. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft View Post
    Bat-Man blows on this when he's kickin' back between calls. I think he's on Utube somewhere but I can't find the link just now.
    Wow, that is pretty awesome. Who is the builder?

    Interestingly the f hole shapes I am playing with would not be totally out of place in a batarang collection. It won't be quite as wild a body shape, though... 15" lower bout, 2.25" rims, florentine cutaway.
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Miss you on the Raney threads, Jehu! We're soldiering on with "Bout You and Me!"
    Hey LS -- yeah, I saw that you sparked those up again. Great to see. I considered jumping in but we have our first child due in about two weeks, so not a good time to commit to a study group. (Great time to start a new guitar build, though!)
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  20. #19
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    That bat-axe was made by Joe Egan, right here on Vancouver Island. Not had a chance to see his stuff in person yet. That pic was sent to me by a player friend.

    Egan Guitars

  21. #20
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    I think it's a great idea!

    Clay Conner:
    How About a Fanned Fret Archtop?-clay-510-jpg

    German Guitars:
    How About a Fanned Fret Archtop?-german-jpg

    And Ralph Novak (Novax Guitars):
    How About a Fanned Fret Archtop?-novax-slimlinejazz-jpg

  22. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft View Post
    That bat-axe was made by Joe Egan, right here on Vancouver Island. Not had a chance to see his stuff in person yet. That pic was sent to me by a player friend.

    Egan Guitars
    Cool, thanks! He's got some interesting pics on his site.
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles View Post
    I love this Koll.

    Wow!!

  24. #23
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    Look out Jehu. Judging by the pics, it seems once you fan the frets almost anything can happen!

  25. #24
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    Multi-scale guitars are actually quite easy to get use to. Only a few minutes into playing one most forget about the crooked frets. I have two; one with a 1/4” E to E disparity and the other with a 1/2” E to E disparity. You get a bit more solidity in the bass and sweetness in the trebles. Below is my oval holed OM built by luthier Howard Klepper. It has a 24.9” to 25.4” scale length.

    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  26. #25
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    Roughneckin'

    While my wife and I are on Babywatch, I thought getting the neck roughed out would be a good way to pass the time!

    This is a 3-piece neck made from a NZ native called Totara, which should finish up to a lovely deep golden colour. The front and back headplates are Walnut, as will be the binding when it arrives. The fretboard is another NZ native called Rewarewa (or sometimes New Zealand Honeysuckle). Aside from the wild spalting, you can see that it has a crazy, snakeskin-like grain.
    How About a Fanned Fret Archtop?-20181005_133415-jpg

    I'm attempting a straight string pull on this one, which demands a rather acrobatic approach to headstock design in order to get the tuning machines to fit. The result certainly won't be for the aesthetic traditionalist, but I think it's kind of cool!

    In case you're wondering where all of this is heading, this should give you an idea of my general plan...
    How About a Fanned Fret Archtop?-20181002_111956-jpg
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  27. #26
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    Love it! Thanks for posting!

    Is the fan what you mentioned above: 24.7 - 25.5?

  28. #27
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    Thanks, Marc -- yep, 24.7 to 25.5.
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  29. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jehu View Post
    Thanks, Marc -- yep, 24.7 to 25.5.
    Cool. I like the head-stock shape, too!

  30. #29
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    My local luthier and favorite guitar tech guy makes these Model 7B-MS

    Instruments for Sale — Beardsell Guitar Workshop

    Will

  31. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by WillMbCdn5 View Post
    My local luthier and favorite guitar tech guy makes these Model 7B-MS

    Instruments for Sale — Beardsell Guitar Workshop

    Will
    I've been attracted to Allan Beardsell's guitar for quite a while and came very close to purchasing a 3G model but came to the conclusion that I'm just not a flattop steel string lover. I'm in the archtop and nylon camp. That said, he makes some fantastic looking guitars that are outside the norms. As one who appreciates builder's who stray from the traditional archtop designs, I would love to try out one of his archtops or nylon strings.

  32. #31
    Can anyone pls post some links to audio that demonstrates the tonal differences that fanned frets provide? Ideally, the same person playing the same tune on the same make and model of axe, just with fanned vs standard fretboard...

    I'm sure it's out there, prolly on the same server that has verified video of Bigfoot and chicken's teeth for purchase :-)

    Seriously, though, unless as many variables as possible are eliminated, it seems like it would be hard to pin down exactly what the difference in sound would be. Maybe I'm clueless and it's totally obvious. Anyhoo, if all-y'all can post some links to examples of the glorious sound of fanned frets, that would be great!

    My friend Google passed this along; IDK whether it is representative. It seems to underscore that lots of things, including personal preferences of the player for tone/pickups/amp can influence the sound:

    Last edited by starjasmine; 10-12-2018 at 01:30 AM.

  33. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob taft View Post
    I've been attracted to Allan Beardsell's guitar for quite a while and came very close to purchasing a 3G model but came to the conclusion that I'm just not a flattop steel string lover. I'm in the archtop and nylon camp. That said, he makes some fantastic looking guitars that are outside the norms. As one who appreciates builder's who stray from the traditional archtop designs, I would love to try out one of his archtops or nylon strings.
    Yeah Allan's guitars are art works that display the very best of the luthiers skills. Visually and through careful material combination choice I find his guitars have a wonderful balance that few other modern luthiers achieve. Custom bronze cast parts/handwound pickups etc Visiting his workshop is always a joy he was working on a harp guitar last time I was in He is also a delightful man and crazy knowledgeable . At the moment I can't afford a new custom guitar but he has been my go to for repair and maintenance on my 1951 Gibson Super 300 if he says fix it we fix it if he says let it be and go play we do that too)

    Will

  34. #33
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    People play fanned frets for many reasons. Some folks who play in DADGAD or other dropped tunings want the extra scale length on the bass strings. I have seen as much as 1” (25.4 mm) differentials. Others like myself, appreciate the subtle timbral enhancement of a smaller differential such as 1/4” - 1/2” (6.4 - 12.7 mm) in standard tuning.

    I think the tonal enhancement while subtle, is clear when playing the instrument, but is unlikely to be captured in a Youtube video. The best way I can describe it is those of you who have played 24.9” and 25.4” scaled guitars. To my ear the shorter scale excels in the sweetness of their treble strings but are usually missing a bit in the power of the low E and A strings. A long scale has great power in the bass strings but lacks the timbral sweetness of a short scale.

    A multi-scale (the term fan fret is owned by Novax) can offer the best of both worlds. While the slanted frets look like they will be difficult to adjust to when playing, they actually are easy to get used to. It really takes a few minutes and you forget it.

    My $.02
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  35. #34
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    There is good info from The Man (including a highly technical lecture).

    I had the opportunity to rehearse (and later perform) with one of the first-call bassists in my area a while back. After we ended a tune, he stopped and looked at my Novax, and said, "Man, that is one of the clearest guitars I've ever heard!" I pointed to my amp, "You mean a clean sound?" "No," he said, "the guitar -- I can hear every note in the chords!" Although anecdotal, it supports Novak's discussion.

  36. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillMbCdn5 View Post
    My local luthier and favorite guitar tech guy makes these Model 7B-MS

    Instruments for Sale — Beardsell Guitar Workshop

    Will
    Wow, stunning guitars! I've actually thought that a CC would work well on mine as well. On this one it would need to be a floater or non-routed mount, but maybe on a future build I will adjust the bracing for an inset CC.
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  37. #36
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    It has been a very busy week so apart from a bit of work on the body forms, no exciting pics to share at the moment, folks.

    My wife and I brought home a new apprentice late last week, and she's adorable.
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  38. #37
    My wife and I brought home a new apprentice late last week, and she's adorable. [/QUOTE]

    CONGRATULATIONS!

  39. #38
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    Hey, thanks Albert!

    I must say that so far she is not great at sweeping floors, but I guess I'll keep her around.
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  40. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
    Some folks who play in DADGAD or other dropped tunings want the extra scale length on the bass strings.
    This is why I purchased a Greenfield flattop with a 1" differential. The effect really shows up in this tuning. The basses are cavernous.

    Cincy
    Attached Images Attached Images How About a Fanned Fret Archtop?-20180421_093558-jpg 
    2002 Gibson L5 CES

  41. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincy2 View Post
    This is why I purchased a Greenfield flattop with a 1" differential. The effect really shows up in this tuning. The basses are cavernous.
    Beauty! I like the rosette and dual bevels.
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

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