Are you looking to learn more about fanned fret or multiscale guitars? If so, then this article is for you! We’ll provide you with a little bit of background information on just what they are and why or why not you should play one.
- 1 What Is A Fan Fret Or Multiscale Guitar?
- 2 Why Multiscale Guitar?
- 3 Fanned Fret Guitar Tuning
- 4 How Does A Fan Fret Guitar Sound In Regular Tuning?
- 5 Fan Fret Guitar Scale Length
- 6 Fanned Fret Guitar Strings
- 7 Guitar Intonation Fanned Frets
- 8 Should I Get A Fanned Fret Guitar?
- 9 Multiscale And Fanned Fret Guitar Brands
- 10 Conclusion
What Is A Fan Fret Or Multiscale Guitar?
A guitar with fanned frets or multiscale fanned fret guitar is a guitar with a multiscale fretboard with two or more scales on different parts of the fretboard. The goal for this guitar is to provide players with greater freedom in the way they can use their fingers on the strings.
A fanned fret guitar neck is easy to identify because the frets are “fanned” in a way that they are installed at a progressive angle, instead of a straight line across the neck.
Why Multiscale Guitar?
So you might be asking, what is the purpose of multiscale guitar? The main purpose is to get more accurate pitches to each note on the guitar.
A traditional guitar has frets that are straight up and down on the fretboard and are spaced based on the closest calculation using the guitar’s scale length. The problem with this is that most notes don’t actually end up being fully in tune. They are always going to be just a tiny bit off in tune.
A multiscale or fanned fret guitar is designed to fix this issue. The fanning of the frets basically makes it so that when you are fretting a note the part of the fret that is being used is in a more accurate position. This makes the guitar more accurate in its ability to play notes that are in tune.
Fanned Fret Guitar Tuning
The tuning of a multiscale guitar is no different than tuning a regular guitar and the fretting of notes is no different either. The only difference is that you can be more accurate with the way your fingers are located on the string.
How Does A Fan Fret Guitar Sound In Regular Tuning?
A fan fret guitar doesn’t sound that different from a regular guitar, but to hear it in action you can go to YouTube and search for videos of multi scale guitars. You will be able to hear the fan fret guitars in action.
Fan Fret Guitar Scale Length
Multiscale guitar scale lengths are actually different on each string.
The scale length is the length of the string from the nut to the bridge saddle, and is measured in inches for standard guitars. The scale length on multiscale guitars, however, can and usually does vary. On a guitar with a 27″ scale and a six-string multiscale system, the shortest string would have a scale length of 25.5″; the longest would be 27″. The concept of fanned frets present in this system allows for this classification as “multiscale”.
Fanned Fret Guitar Strings
Multiscale guitar strings are basically the same as standard guitar strings, but with a twist.
The strings are spaced out at different measurements on the fretboard based on the scale length of various parts of the fretboard. So when it is time to play a note, you can use whichever part of the string you would like to get closer to the in tune note.
Guitar Intonation Fanned Frets
Fanned frets also make it easier to get the intonation of the guitar to be in tune. With this method of getting the intonation to be in tune, it is important to know that each string does not have the same scale length.
This makes it easier to keep intonation in check as you are fretted notes across different parts of the guitar.
Should I Get A Fanned Fret Guitar?
As a general rule of thumb, fanned fret guitars are not designed for beginners. It takes the correct hand positioning and a decent amount of technical skill to handle playing a fanned fret guitar.
There is an extra learning curve when it comes to playing this version of guitar as well. The positioning that you need to get used to in order to play these guitars can make it difficult for some people to transition over from a standard style guitar.
If you are a beginner and are thinking about purchasing your first guitar, I would not recommend a fan fret or multiscale guitar. Stick with a standard style guitar!
But, if you are at least an intermediate player and are interested in multiscale guitars, go for it! Check out these best fanned fret guitar options here.
Multiscale Vs Regular Guitar
Multiscale guitars are different than regular guitars, but the main difference is in their “fanned fret” system.
Instead of having all the frets laid out flat across the fretboard, it has multiscale frets that are installed at a progressive angle. This makes it easier for players to get a consistent note when they apply pressure on the strings.
And because of its unique stringing, this type of guitar is able to play notes that are more in tune than traditional guitars.
Other than the different fretting system, a multiscale guitar has the same general properties as a regular guitar. It is up to you whether or not this extra feature is important to you.
Fanned Fret Guitar Benefits
As far as fanned fret guitar advantages go, the main advantage is the ability to produce notes and chords that are a lot more accurate in tuning and intonation.
There are also some other perks like the fact that they can be played no matter what position you are in or how you hold your hands. Also, they have a much richer tone than regular guitars because they provide a better resonance when notes are being played on them.
Fanned Fret Guitar Drawbacks
The main drawback with the fanned fret system is simply its complexity. You have to know how to get your fingers in the right position in order to play these guitars and that takes some time and practice.
You have to also keep in mind that a multiscale guitar has to be built with special care, especially if it is made by hand. They are more expensive, so you are going to have to decide for yourself if this extra expense is worth it.
Here is a more detailed post on fanned fret guitar pros and cons as well.
Playing A Fanned Fret Guitar
If you are wondering how to play fanned fret guitar, the process is actually pretty simple.
In order to play a regular guitar, you would have to know where each note is located on the fretboard. You would also have to know where your hands are as you are playing each note.
A fanned fret guitar operates on the same system, however. Instead of having every fret be laid out in a straight line, the fanned fret system has frets that are mounted at an angle across the fingerboard of the guitar.
So playing a multiscale guitar does slightly alter the position of you fingers. Basically, you just need to get used to that part of the playing and you should be fine.
How Do Bends Work On A Fanned Fret Guitar?
Bends are actually pretty difficult to get right when playing this type of guitar.
This is because you have to keep your fingers in the correct position while you are attempting to bend a string.
As far as standard bending goes, the process is actually pretty simple. You finger the note that you want to bend and then gently push your finger up on the string to make the bend.
Multiscale And Fanned Fret Guitar Brands
There are a number of different guitar brands that offer fanned fret or multiscale models.
ESP offers their multiscale guitars in solid and hollow body guitar models. They use either alder or basswood to craft their multiscale guitars, but they do not offer them with a custom design.
These guitars come in two different styles. They are both high end fan fret guitars that offer amazing tone and playability.
Schecter offers some of the best fan fret guitars that you can buy. They produce high quality guitars that are made to be durable and easy to play. These guitars are not cheap, and they offer amazing tone.
Jackson Guitars offers a few different models of fanned fret or multiscale guitars.
They have some really great guitars that you can choose from in their line. These guitars are made for players who want to be able to play with ease and also sound amazing while playing their guitar.
Like many guitar brands, Ibanez offers a few different models of fanned fret or multiscaled guitars.
As far as compact fan fret or multiscale guitars go, these are some of the best that you can find. They put a lot of time and effort into designing these guitars with quality in mind, so you will get a ton of value out of them if you choose to purchase one.
I hope that you have learned a bit more about the fanned fret guitar. I want to make it clear that this type of guitar is not meant for beginners or less experienced players.
If you are an intermediate player and are thinking about spending the extra money to get one, I would recommend doing so. For most people, they probably will not even notice much of a difference in the sound of their guitar, but it can be fun to experiment with this new type of design!