PDA

View Full Version : Do you like larger or smaller frets on your tenor?



Doc_J
04-27-2013, 03:48 PM
I usually never gave it much thought. I always liked the smaller frets on sopranos. Larger sized fret just didn't seem to work on those. So, I thought I liked smaller frets in general.

Took me a while to realize that on my tenors I prefer the larger frets. I have tenors with small profile frets, like my sopranos and ones that must have frets as large as those on a guitar.

I unconsciously must have backed off on my death grip in fretting, playing tenors with these larger frets. No problem, until I went back to play my tenors with smaller frets. I had to crank up my fretting pressure to not have an occasional buzz. And that was when I realized that I preferred tenors with larger profile frets.

What about you? Any preference in tenor fret size?

Dan Uke
04-27-2013, 04:23 PM
For playing and comfort, I prefer larger frets. For instance, everything is easier for me on a Koaloha tenor than the other K tenors but the intonation becomes a slight issue when I press too hard on largers frets. With that said, I will sacrifice comfort to get better intonation.

mm stan
04-27-2013, 04:29 PM
Depends on the tone doc...to me it affects the tone too....I've noticed it I file them down to level them...they are sharper and cleaner sounding...well on my uke anyways... :)
I prefer smaller frets for playability and comfort while the larger frets a more enhanced fuller tone....

Doc_J
04-27-2013, 04:47 PM
For playing and comfort, I prefer larger frets. For instance, everything is easier for me on a Koaloha tenor than the other K tenors but the intonation becomes a slight issue when I press too hard on largers frets. With that said, I will sacrifice comfort to get better intonation.

I haven't noticed intonation problems with larger frets, but that might just be my ears. But I can see that shorter frets would require less compensation.


Depends on the tone doc...to me it affects the tone too....I've noticed it I file them down to level them...they are sharper and cleaner sounding...well on my uke anyways... :)
Interesting. I saw the video at Mya-Moe discussing their approach to making ukes, playability was definitely a higher priority than tone. I agree, if a uke doesn't feel good when I play it, I'm not going to play it much.

Dan Uke
04-27-2013, 04:54 PM
I haven't noticed intonation problems with larger frets, but that might just be my ears. But I can see that shorter frets would require less compensation.

You're right Doc...I'm good 70% of the time but when I play something hard, I start using my deathgrip and that's when I notice it. I guess the smaller frets are less affected...the funny thing is I hear it when I play but when I listen to my youtube video, it's usually unnoticeable. Instead of paying attention to the whole piece, I get caught up in a few notes.

The largers frets are definitely easier to play.

mm stan
04-27-2013, 05:10 PM
You're right Doc...I'm good 70% of the time but when I play something hard, I start using my deathgrip and that's when I notice it. I guess the smaller frets are less affected...the funny thing is I hear it when I play but when I listen to my youtube video, it's usually unnoticeable. Instead of paying attention to the whole piece, I get caught up in a few notes.

The largers frets are definitely easier to play.
Larger frets have greater surface area, than smaller frets...hence more whichever way you look at it....

OldePhart
04-28-2013, 07:55 AM
It's funny, up until a couple of weeks ago I would have answered unequivocally that I much prefer low, thin "vintage" style frets on any uke. In fact, my intention was that if I ever had a custom uke built I was going to specify that it must have those frets. I think I probably even have mentioned that a time or too here in the forum, albeit not recently. Anyway, for strumming basically easy stuff I think I'd still stand by that as it allows a very low action and is very difficult to pull out of tune by fingering too heavily.

However, since I've been doing more finger picking and pattern picking and also stretching out into some jazz stuff I've noticed something - my Kiwaya longneck soprano is less "friendly" to that type of play than any of my other ukes, even ones with soprano scale. Initially I thought it might be the width of the neck - but after someone prompted me to measure the neck I discovered somewhat to my chagrin that the string spacing on that Kiwaya longneck is actually a bit wider than that on my tenors, yet my fingers feel significantly more cramped. (And it's not a matter of fret spacing, because my soprano-scale instruments actually feel less cramped.)

After checking the necks of my ukes I can say that the only thing that I can determine with certainty sets the Kiwaya longneck off from all of my other ukes is the low, narrow, "vintage" style frets (the neck also appears to be slightly thinner front to back than most, but only by a very slight amount). I'm not certain that the frets are the culprit, but something makes me noticeably less able to "stick" tough chord changes on that uke than on any other of my ukes in any scale.

Now, for easy strumming stuff, I still prefer the feel of the Kiwaya because it plays like butter. But, whenever I start to push the limits then any of my other ukes, even my straight sopranos, are much easier to play cleanly on.

So, long story short, I answered "I don't know." I guess I should be glad I haven't yet had the money to buy a custom... :)

John

SailQwest
04-28-2013, 08:27 AM
I like really low action. Hence the preference for low profile frets. My most-played tenor is a zero-fret.

As string tension and uke size increase, playabllity becomes more of an issue for me. I can sacrifice a bit of tone for better playability.

connor013
04-28-2013, 09:58 AM
Hmmm. Lame non-answer, but I think it varies uke to uke for me. I like the smaller frets on the Timms, but didn't like the smaller frets on a BB. I like the larger frets on the Pono, too.

Guess I'm in the no preference gourd. (That should read group -- thanks, autocorrect -- but it somehow seems appropriate.)