View Full Version : Relevance of frets to body number?

10-04-2015, 02:23 AM
I'm curious about the relevance of how many frets an instrument has on the neck before the neck meets the body.

For example, Barron River and Glyph tenors typically only have 12 frets to the body, whereas KoAloha's and others have 15 or more, with the majority of tenors having 14 frets to the body. The scale length is the same in all cases.

I understand that more frets to the body may help with playability, especially if there's no cutaway, but what is (in either case) the impact on the sound? If I understand correctly, the placement of the bridge is relative to where the neck meets the body of the instrument. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach?

10-04-2015, 03:33 AM
Sopranos are almost all 12th fret. I think partly because of tradition. Classical guitars are mostly 12th fret. Also traditionally, they were mostly used for open chording, which doesn't really need to go that high up the neck, and the shorter scale kinda discourages it. And with the shorter neck, the body would need to be built shorter to still get the bridge in a good place.

The other scales came later. 14th fret join, besides range, lets you reach the 4th inversion of many chords without a cutout, because you only have to reach over the body 1 or 2. If you think about open chords from the nut, they're within the first 3-4 frets. 12th fret is the octave of the nut, so 3-4 puts you in 14-15 fret. Reaching over 1-2 frets isn't bad. Reaching over more is alot more. Standard tuning is C scale, and barre on 12th and first string 14 is the 4th inversion of C, which is pretty comfortable.

15th fret, you don't even have to go over for much chord wise.

As far as sound.. I don't think it's for sound. The scale length changes sound and the body volume changes sound. The volume is somewhat ruled by the join, but you could just make it deeper. The sound board farthest from the bridge doesn't really vibrate that much, so that space seems to be more for body volume, which can be changed by making it deeper, or making the lower bout bigger.

So.. in a nutshell.. the join is more for play-ability i think.