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What are jumbo frets?


davidg3333

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I have seen this said about certain guitars and don't understand what is meant. Or I read that they have medium or fat frets. Since I believe most electrics are usually one of two scale lengths, I can't think this refers to fret spacing since that is a pretty standard calculation. Anyone?

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size of the frets....old guitars usually have a smallrt shaper profile.... usa fenders are a more medium or med jumbo and i think my les p. is jumbo..they are bigg and round i preffer the larger frets fore tine and bends... my 75 guild blusebird has some really low fretts and i hate it for bends and fast fretting..

 

 

its all about prefference.

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From the Gibson web-site:

 

 

 

Beyond matters of age, stability, and condition, the size of fret wire (its width and height, or—taken together—its profile) will contribute a slight tonal variable. The three broad categories of fret profile are narrow, medium, and wide (or jumbo). Gibson moved from narrow gauge frets on its Les Pauls of 1952-’58 to wide frets in 1959 (as the full range of Custom Shop VOS models exemplifies), and the change delineates a preference for earlier or later examples with some players.

 

Many players are convinced that fatter wire equates with fatter tone, and there could be some logic here, considering that more metal in any fixed component usually means a greater vibrational coupling between string and guitar. Players such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Rory Gallagher, and plenty of others are known for preferring wide frets on guitars that were originally manufactured with narrow “vintage” gauge fret wire. In many cases, of course, this is a feel thing as much as a sound thing, and wider frets are indeed easier to bend without choking out. Wider frets also present somewhat blurrier, less distinct noting than narrow frets (all this under a powerful microscope, if you will, in tonal terms, but that’s what we’re here for). Narrow frets are more precise and can yield more shimmering harmonics. So determining which frets are right for you is a triangulation of sorts: you have to weigh the way the fret allows the string to determine pitch and to vibrate, against the way it might or might not transfer additional energy into the neck wood, against the way it bends and feels to the finger when played. In the end, the feel thing probably matters most to more players (followed closely by the “that’s the way SRV had his guitar…” factor).

 

In addition to a fret’s width, its height will also affect playability. Even wide frets become difficult to bend when they are worn down considerably from their original height, and low frets are far more difficult to achieve satisfactory finger vibrato with as well. Of course, you can get too high: frets that are too tall will lead some players to slip out of pitch, because any extra finger pressure actually bends the string into the back of the fret and raises the note slightly.

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From the Gibson web-site:

 

 

 

Beyond matters of age' date=' stability, and condition, the size of fret wire (its width and height, or—taken together—its profile) will contribute a slight tonal variable. The three broad categories of fret profile are narrow, medium, and wide (or jumbo). Gibson moved from narrow gauge frets on its Les Pauls of 1952-’58 to wide frets in 1959....

 

...snip.. "this is a feel thing as much as a sound thing, and wider frets are indeed easier to bend without choking out. Wider frets also present somewhat blurrier, less distinct noting than narrow frets...

[/quote']

 

I'm using the widest frets available from Stew-Mac on my project LP. (Wide Pyramid) Width=.110, Crown=.052

These allow me a lot of leeway for fret dressing, once the neck is adjusted and better sustain when bending the

strings.

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The fret wire on my Strat, which was my main guitar for year and years is very low compared to Gibson/Epi wire. That probably has something to do with the fact that I'm hooked on Fast Frets spray. When the wire is low, your finger rubs the fretboard on bends and vibratos. a dry fingerboard sticks to your fingers. I have carried the Fast Fret spray habit forward into my LP days...

 

Some people call the Gibby wire "22 speed bumps".

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Yeah, they feel like 'speed bumps' to me, too. One of the things I really like about my Gibby LP DC Pro is the low, narrow frets. I can slide without hurting myself. I'm considering having the wide, jumbo frets of my three tele specials replaced with the smaller frets since the large frets are the only thing I don't like about those guitars.

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Fret dressing helps ease the slides on the LP. Mine got a lot faster after I did a little leveling and polishing. It also feels more buttery on bends and vibrato. I still use Finger Ease religiously. It just makes the fingerboard and the neck feel "right". The other guitar player doesn't care for it when he picks up my LP. Although he's in love with the sound and action. He's talking about whether SD Pearly Gates pups will fit in his Ibanez.

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Some people call the Gibby wire "22 speed bumps".

 

Two schools of thoughts on this one Dave. I'm from the old

school..hence the "old man archtops" as one poster jokingly

mentioned in a previous post.

 

"Speed bumps" or not, jumbo frets when Gibson first introduced them on

their LPs,advertised them as "fretless wonders" (or some such thing), due

to the w-i-d-e frets. Because of the fret profile, you can't have

the width without the height..but like anything else,once you get

used to ..tapping or string bending is easily achieved.

 

"old man archtops" reminds me of the song "old man river"

 

Epiphone old man archtops, I gots dem old man archtops

with those jumbo frets, I'm really tryin'

I don't plant taters, and too old to plant cotton

but with dem EPi old man archtops, and I'm just rollin' along

 

Nows you younger dudes, you sweat and strain

till your bodies are wracked with pain

You just spend your paychecks, after taxes

..and what you got left can't afford to buy ONE of dem G*bson axes

........

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Gibson has shifted to a very high fret wire in the past decade. Too high for a lot of players. The interesting thing is that since the Custom LP no longer has the ultra flat/wide frets that bought it the nickname 'fretless wonder', it no longer is any great shakes in the action department, and has pretty much lost the distinction that made it so desirable IMO.

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I haven't gone lighter or heavier than 10-46 on my LPs, but I think that the scale length of the LP would be about right with 11s. In fact, my 10s are starting to feel too slinky on the LP. I think that larger strings might just be faster on the big frets, coupled with the easier bends associated with the scale length.

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Last week, I changed my strings and had a strange thing happen. There were a couple of higher frets that I had noticed a scratchy feel when I bent notes, so I took all the strings off and did a polish with some "fish paper" that I use at work to polish various metal parts. This paper is yellow and feels like it's equal to 1000 grit sandpaperor higher. I polished all the frets and went back over them with a used piece to add a high gloss. Then I installed a new set of DR 10-46 Pure Blues. The D string sounded like a sitar on frets 10-13. I thought I had lowered a fret with my polish job. I sighted down the neck looking for high or low frets. All were perfectly height aligned with each other (I did a fret dressing job on this guitar about 6 months ago). I checked the frets with a business card verified against a level for flatness and found no rocking. I fretted every fret in that area and pushed down on the next to check for clearance. All checked out.

 

I finally replaced the D string with one from another set. Voila! No more sitar. I guess there were loose windings on that string...

 

Bending after the polish job is almost too easy. The strings bend like they are lubricated.

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