What Is The Advantage Of A Fanned Fret Bass Guitar: Why A Fanned Fret Instrument Is a Game-Changer

If you’re a bass enthusiast looking for the next big thing to enhance your playing experience, look no further than the fanned fret bass guitar. This intriguing innovation delivers incredible benefits in terms of tuning, sound quality, and playability.

But what exactly is a fanned fret bass guitar, and how does it differ from the traditional models? In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of fanned frets to uncover their unique advantages that can revolutionize your skills as a bassist.

Understanding Fanned Fret Bass Guitars

Fanned fret bass guitars, also known as multiscale guitars, are instruments whose fretboards have a unique design that incorporates multiple scale lengths for the different strings, resulting in improved intonation and tone.

Definition And History

Fanned fret bass guitars, also known as multi-scale or progressive scale instruments, were first introduced in the late 1970s by renowned luthier Ralph Novak. This innovative design features a staggered arrangement of frets that gradually fan out across the fingerboard, resulting in varying scale lengths for each string.

Initially considered an unconventional choice by many, fanned fret bass guitars have gained widespread recognition and acceptance in recent years due to their numerous benefits.

These instruments have been embraced by professional artists, such as Tosin Abasi of the band Animals As Leaders, who have showcased their versatility both on stage and in recordings.

Basic Functionality

Fanned fret bass guitars have a slightly unconventional design that gives them added functionality compared to their traditional counterparts. The basic functionality of a fanned fret guitar is centered around its multiscale layout, which means that the length of each string varies depending on its position on the fretboard.

This arrangement allows for even string tension and better intonation as well as more comfortable playing positions.

The high strings are shorter in length than the low strings, which creates a natural angle for your hand when playing chords or fingerpicking individual notes. Moreover, this design provides extended range bass notes without sacrificing sound quality or clarity.

As a result, you get a unique sound that stands out from other conventional instruments with enhanced tonal clarity and improved sustain overall.

Advantages Of Fanned Fret Bass Guitars

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Fanned fret bass guitars have a unique design that offers numerous advantages for musicians. The multiscale layout of the frets means that each string has its own specific scale length, allowing for optimal intonation and tuning accuracy across all strings.

Moreover, fanned fret bass guitars offer increased comfort and playability due to their ergonomic design. With varying string spacing on different parts of the neck, players can customize their playing style to suit their needs.

Benefits Of Playing A Fanned Fret Bass Guitar

Playing a fanned fret bass guitar offers numerous benefits, including enhanced tuning and intonation, increased comfort and playability, broadened sound quality and tonal range, and versatility in playing styles.

Enhanced Tuning And Intonation

Fanned fret bass guitars offer enhanced tuning and intonation compared to traditional straight-fretted basses. The multi-scale design accommodates the varying tension of each string, allowing for more accurate tuning across all strings.

This means that no matter where you play on the neck, your notes are in tune and sound clear.

Moreover, fanned frets allow for improved sustain as well. Due to their unique design, fanned fret basses have a longer scale length on the lower strings and shorter lengths on higher strings.

This results in better intonation accuracy with even string tension across all ranges of notes, leading to better playing comfort and tonal clarity from top to bottom.

Increased Comfort And Playability

One of the most significant advantages of playing a fanned fret bass guitar is its increased comfort and playability. With its unique design, this type of bass guitar allows for improved ergonomics that cater to the natural movement of your hands and fingers.

Moreover, unlike traditional straight-fretted guitars where string tension varies along with varying string lengths, multiscale designs allow even string tension throughout each individual string’s length.

This results in an incredibly balanced feel when playing on any fret or over different positions on the neck. Thus, players can play longer without suffering from fatigue in their hands or wrists.

Broadened Sound Quality And Tonal Range

One major advantage of playing a fanned fret bass guitar is the broadened sound quality and tonal range it offers. Due to the unique design of the fretboard, with varying scale lengths for each string, players can achieve distinct and richer sounds that are not possible with a traditional bass guitar.

Moreover, multiscale guitars are perfect for creating complex chord voicings that add depth to your music. With more string options at your disposal, you can experiment with new chord progressions or enhance your existing ones with an added layer of texture.

In conclusion, playing a fanned fret bass guitar opens up new possibilities in terms of sound exploration by providing enhanced tonal clarity and broader sonic horizons.

Versatility In Playing Styles

One of the major benefits of playing a fanned fret bass guitar is its versatility in playing styles. With multiple scale lengths and string gauges, these instruments can accommodate various genres, from jazz to metal.

Their unique design allows for even string tension across all strings, resulting in easier access to lower notes and improved intonation accuracy.

For instance, fanned fret bass guitars are perfect for slap bass style often used in funk music because they deliver enhanced sustain under high strings while maintaining balanced string tension under low strings.

Additionally, their ergonomic design improves playing comfort and offers better access to the entire fretboard.

How To Choose The Right Fanned Fret Bass Guitar

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To ensure that you choose the right fanned fret bass guitar, it is important to consider factors such as your playing style and needs, quality of materials and craftsmanship, scale length and number of strings, and the manufacturer’s reputation.

Consider Your Playing Style And Needs

Before investing in a fanned fret bass guitar, it’s essential to consider your playing style and needs. For instance, if you’re an experienced player who is looking for a more complex sound or interested in expanding into different genres of music, then a fanned fret bass guitar could be perfect.

It’s also important to think about the number of strings on the instrument and its scale length. A higher string count offers broader range possibilities while providing versatility for various styles such as tapping and slapping.

At the same time, longer scale lengths offer more comfortable playability with heavier gauges and better intonation accuracy.

Check Quality Of Materials And Craftsmanship

When choosing a fanned fret bass guitar, it’s crucial to take into consideration the quality of materials and craftsmanship. These aspects affect not only the overall sound but also the durability and longevity of your instrument.

Craftsmanship is also an important factor that affects playability and tonal quality. A well-crafted fanned fret bass guitar will have smooth fret edges, precise fret spacing, and accurate intonation across all strings.

Additionally, pay attention to details like finish work to ensure a flawless look for your instrument.

Select The Right Scale Length And Number Of Strings

Choosing the right scale length and number of strings for your fanned fret bass guitar is crucial to ensure optimal playability and sound quality. Scale length refers to the distance between the nut and the bridge, which determines string tension and pitch.

Fanned fret bass guitars typically have a longer scale on the low strings and shorter scale on higher strings for even string tension, improved intonation, and better tonal clarity.

When it comes to selecting the number of strings, you should consider your playing style and musical preferences. A five-string fanned fret bass guitar provides extended range with lower notes while a six-string allows more versatility in terms of playing options.

However, keep in mind that more strings mean thicker necks and potentially heavier instruments, which may require some adjusting if you’re used to four-stringed bass guitars.

Evaluate The Manufacturer’s Reputation

Before investing in a fanned fret bass guitar, it’s crucial to research the manufacturer’s reputation. A reputable manufacturer should have a history of producing high-quality instruments and using premium materials.

Take time to read reviews from other musicians who have played their instruments and consider feedback on their build quality, playability, sonic capabilities, and customer service.

It’s also essential to ensure that you’re buying from a trustworthy dealer or retailer. Buying from an authorized dealer can provide peace of mind, knowing that your instrument hasn’t been tampered with, and is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the manufacturer directly if you have any questions or concerns about their products before making a purchase decision.

Conclusion: Enjoy The Advantages Of A Fanned Fret Bass Guitar

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a bass guitar that offers enhanced tuning and intonation, increased comfort and playability, broadened sound quality and tonal range, as well as versatility in playing styles, then a fanned fret bass guitar is definitely worth considering.

When choosing the right one for you, be sure to consider your playing style and needs, check the quality of materials and craftsmanship, select the right scale length and number of strings, and evaluate the manufacturer’s reputation.

With its unique visual appeal and improved performance capabilities such as better bass response , multiscale guitars are an excellent choice for both novice players looking to upgrade their skills or seasoned musicians seeking new sound horizons.


1. What is a fanned fret bass guitar and how does it differ from a traditional bass guitar?

A fanned fret bass guitar features angled frets that are arranged in a fan shape, which allows for greater accuracy in intonation across all the strings. Traditional bass guitars have straight frets that can cause some notes to sound slightly out of tune.

2. What are the advantages of playing a fanned fret bass guitar?

The primary advantage of playing a fanned fret bass guitar is improved intonation and more accurate note placement, which leads to better overall tone and clarity. Additionally, some players find the fan shape more comfortable to play than traditional straight necks.

3. Are there any downsides to playing a fanned fret bass guitar?

One potential downside is that it may take some time for players accustomed to traditional straight necks to adjust to the fan shape of the Fret Bass Guitar. Additionally, buying one can be more expensive than purchasing a regular six-string given its specialized design.

4. Who would benefit most from playing a Fret Bass Guitar?

Bassists who frequently play extended-range instruments with low-register extra strings could see increased benefits compared with those using standard-length scale models due mainly because this design encourages even string tension across all strings resulting in easier finger stretching when “bending” each note as needed during performance or practice sessions giving them an edge when exploring new musical or creative possibilities without sacrificing quality over quantity of notes played.

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