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> Smooth Action, Guitar Fretboards
Travelin' Man
post Jul 19 2007, 01:10 PM
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I hear or read alot about the action of a board, but I guess I dont really know what it means. Aren't all boards made the same? Aren't all frets made the same? Don't all guitar makers adhere the frets onto the boards using a certain formula for height? What makes one board smoother or faster than another? And what guitar brands are these verse others that are slow?


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blindwillie
post Jul 19 2007, 01:37 PM
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As I understand it.
The action of the board is how high above the frets the strings are adjusted. Lower action (strings closer to the fretboard) gives a faster play. Evan is working on a guide for intonation which explains the scale length / fret space. Shorter fretspacing would also (I guess) make for faster play. The width of the fretboard / neck effects it too.

There are downsides to the "fastness". Wider, longer fretspacing would be more "comfortable" to play (more space for clumpsy fingers). Low action can introduce fret buzz and having a bit higher action could make it easier to bend, allowing for fingers to slide in under the above strings. To play bottleneck / slide you'd want the action even higher.

Oh, I forgot. And the widht, height and shape of the frets themselves can differ.

This post has been edited by blindwillie: Jul 19 2007, 01:41 PM


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MickeM
post Jul 19 2007, 01:45 PM
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QUOTE (Travelin' Man @ Jul 19 2007, 02:10 PM) *
I hear or read alot about the action of a board, but I guess I dont really know what it means. Aren't all boards made the same? Aren't all frets made the same? Don't all guitar makers adhere the frets onto the boards using a certain formula for height? What makes one board smoother or faster than another? And what guitar brands are these verse others that are slow?


Action = string height. Low action, faster playability. High action, better tone.

Frets. They come in several different sizes. It's the metal pice itself that's measured. Tall frets means you don't have to press so hard before it's a tone, it gives a scalloped feeling.

So there's different sizes in height and width and they go by different names like Jumbo frets, 6105 etc. I don't know the sizes by heart.

Wide frets, well... for sausage fingers maybe? laugh.gif


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Jul 19 2007, 06:43 PM
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The feel of a fret changes according to its height and width, or gauge. Also the fret may be profiled/crowned so as to be flatter on the top or more conical. What you like is really quite subjective. Also most guitars use the same gauge the length of the board, some use graduated frets where the gauge is slowly altered as you go along the board. As MickeM says tall frets give a scalloped type feel (bit like Malmsteem's partly scalloped neck though he has the neck shaved behind the top frets to achieve this). As I remember it scalloping though can lead to the note going sharp if you press to hard?

The feel of the neck can change according to the type of wood used for the fretboard and any finish. I prefer ebony with an open/untreated grain (but its nowadays hard to get) but many guitarists seem to favour the Fender type laquered maple and some claim its faster.

For faster though I'd think its more to do with the profile of the neck than its finish. Lots of players say that Ibanez have great neck profiles for speed. My guitars have a more Gibson profile - not as fast as an Ibanez neck but it's what I've got used to. I find it difficult to switch to a non-Gibson neck, have to take time to adjust to the different scale length, neck width etc. Interestingly I read that Vai thinks he's so used to his Jems that he struggles to play a guitar with a different neck profile (his words not mine though I think his idea of struggling may be different to my actual struggling). Could be the only bit of guitar technique that I come close to him on though biggrin.gif .

Cheers,
Tony


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