1. Mats Eriksson
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I wonder if there's something to this, as I haven't found any discussion of it, and neither have I seen any of this in the FAQ. When playing any fanned fret, guitar or bass, I've discovered slightly better intonation at the onset of any note. I e when you plug in to any decent tuner, when really digging in the low strings open strings - on any normal bass with pararell frets, regardless of string gauge - the tuner shows that the pitch goes sharp (very) at the beginning of the note, to settle down right after two seconds. On a fanned fret instrument, especially bass, this phenomen doesn't occur at all, it seems. For the lowest strings only that is.

According to one site http://www.setitupbetter.com (good site btw) there's a diagram of a regular guitar though, with pararell frets, and how the notes deviates slightly from pitch no matter how good it is intonated and properly set up and nut and bridge are dead on. See here:

[img:3aqo6x97]http://www.setitupbetter.com/images/TradSetup860.png[/img:3aqo6x97]

And he says that while his site and this diagram applies to guitars, it is for fretted basses too especially. Now when looking at that diagram, for when SOME strings starts to go flat in pitch, and some strings go a little sharp, and some strings QUITE sharp, I wonder, when looking at all the green and red marks along the line, if this not follows exactly the fanned fret design, and that fanned frets design completely eliminate this ? Although this intonation is on a quite nitpicking level, and you can adjust it by fingering pressure only, I wonder if this intonation thing is one of the foremost advantages of fanned fret design, I mean any?

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All this (above diagram) may be the reason to the latest market onslaught of different intonation remedies such as Earvana nut, BFTS (Buzz Feiten Tuning System), and especially, the True Temperament necks with - not fanned but - squiggly frets.

I e the diagram tells me that - of course - all stringed instruments, should be of a fanned fret design in some way or another. On guitars there's other problems like going from a spun string to an unwound strings B/E on acoustic and G/B/E on electrics which provides different intonation problems anyway.
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callum Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Surprised noone has had a crack at this after this long.

In general, I would say fanned frets would make little difference to intonation. The equal temperament intonation issues apply along a single string and the ratios of the frets/notes on that string, independent of the others. With fanned frets you're changing the length but I believe the ratios have to stay the same so that the equal temperament still works. That means you still have to have certain notes "slightly out" in order to match the well-tempered scale.
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Let me start by say I personally don't have the gift of perfect pitch, but perhaps I do have the closest thing possible as in I can tell a bass or a guitar which are out of tune and in my many years of owing all kinds of basses and guitars, I have come across some which were very accurate and some which were way out, believe it or not the worst I have ever encoutered was the EBMM Bongo, which any note past fret 14 was so sharp it was driving me insane.

However for even the most accurate of instrument the left hand is one of the biggest culprit of uneven tuning depending on your pressure when fretting, believe it or not, most of us have a tendency to pull a fretted note in either directions, i.e towards the bridge or towards the nut or even side to side, and ideally to avoid this, we should play with the lightest of touch, but in a real world, when we are digging in and playing our butt off, we forget about it and will cause the strings to be flat or sharp, simply by the way we play.

At the end of the day small alterations of tune will make little difference to the overal band context, the chance of us noticing it, only occurs when we play it in the privacy and quiteness of our homes, certainly not on a gig night.
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Mats Eriksson Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Oh thank you for resurrecting this thread, and for your replies. I didn't want to nag and wonder why no one has bothered.

I mean, of course the same theory applies to all strings, in theory, but the diagram above actually shows more deviation from the theory at the lowest strings. I e that deviation MAY OR MAY NOT be due to the strings speaking length and the scale.

I agree with the individual fretting of each person. I am on a warpath when all these "things" are brought to the market, like Earvana nuts, TrueTemperament Frets, and especially BFTS tuning system. Those small deviances within a few cents here and there are within different peoples fingering margins anyway. Say, press one note at one fret and run the signal through a strobe tuner, or any other perfect or picky tuner, you'll get different readings each time. Not to speak of what a barre finger will do (raise the pitch a few cents) when using fingers in front of it. On guitar that is, on bass, one rarely uses barre chords that much. When there's a system who can compensate and calculate for that in real time, I'd be impressed, but not until then. Ok, I digress a bit.

Nevertheless, that, that relationship is the same regardless of scale, the diagram seems to show some deviation from the norm, in real life. We all know what the theory is, but in practice and IRL it doesn't really apply just because of this.
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No only are people pressing differently ALONG the string, beginners and lame bassists/guitarists with thin gauges, and very low frets seems to BEND strings when chording too, like in the first position, either DOWNWARDS or upwards, and not listening to that some notes within the chord goes too sharp. This bores me silly. Well, not silly, it bores me silly when pointing it out to them, and they couldn't care less, and will not do some woodshedding to make that bad habit go away.
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I'm not convinced that fanned fret instruments possess better intonation. It's just a matter of time before sombody incorporates onboard digital pitch correction on a guitar or bass. I wont get one when they do.
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Seems like we're mixing two or three separate issues in one discussion. The first part of the first post mentions that when you pluck a note hard, it often starts sharp before settling down. I don't know the cause of this, but suspect that this is due to the fact that a note that is plucked hard has a longer average length (averaged over time) since the excursion of the string adds length. This increase in average length results in a higher average tension (again averaged over time). The increase in average tension (which would of course increase pitch) dominates the increase in average length (which would lower pitch). That is why when you bend a note (which is essentially what is happening instantaneously here) the pitch increases.

The second part of the question discusses the relative sharpness/flatness of individual notes on the fingerboard. This of course will depend on the instrument being correctly intonated, how much pressure is exerted by the finger, any inadvertent bending of the string, etc., as mentioned in subsequent posts in the thread. Another culprit in my experience, especially on cheap basses, is the nut being cut too high.

Finally, there is the ongoing debate on Buzzy Feitan tuning, alternate tuning standards (e.g., all the "sweetened" tuning options on our Peterson tuners), etc. I may be old school, but I don't see how any of these would consistently help out on an even-tempered fretted instrument. For example, the precise frequency of a B that will sound best will be different if that B is the third of a G chord than it would if that B is the fifth of an E chord. There is just no way to a priori set the tuning/intonation/fret placement to sound perfect in all cases. Fretless players can of course "fine-tune" so that the played note sounds best, but a fretted instrument (or a piano) is by nature a compromise.

Anyway, just my two cents.
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[quote="Franco Bollo":r0zvpyob] The first part of the first post mentions that when you pluck a note hard, it often starts sharp before settling down. [/quote:r0zvpyob]
Yes, the lowest strings only. Not the highest ones. Thus, it differs. That's why we're wondering. It must be due to something.

[quote="Franco Bollo":r0zvpyob]
I don't know the cause of this, but suspect that this is due to the fact that a note that is plucked hard has a longer average length (averaged over time) since the excursion of the string adds length. [/quote:r0zvpyob]
Well, no. I don't really know if we're talking different terms here, but as far as I know, is that when a string is plucked and it goes SHARP it means it gets shorter. If another string i plucked and it does not goes sharper initially, it doesn't turn shorter, thus, are in "tune" with its speaking length. I e tension, pitch and gauges match. I e has the optimal, or perfect (if there ever was such a thing) scale for that given gauge and pitch.

[quote="Franco Bollo":r0zvpyob]
This increase in average length results in a higher average tension (again averaged over time). The increase in average tension (which would of course increase pitch) dominates the increase in average length (which would lower pitch). That is why when you bend a note (which is essentially what is happening instantaneously here) the pitch increases.
[/quote:r0zvpyob] Seems that you mix up increasing tension and increasing length here.I do not know of any string that increases LENGTH whenever plucked anywhere on the fretboard. If you're not applying horisontal vibrato, i e whacking it back and forth with you fingers alongside the string which will make it go longer and shorter alternately.

[quote="Franco Bollo":r0zvpyob]
The second part of the question discusses the relative sharpness/flatness of individual notes on the fingerboard. [/quote:r0zvpyob]
Agreed, this is an all different matter still. This isn't remedied at all with any fret or mutliscale system, not even on completely fretless. We ought to limit ourselves to the first "problem".

[quote="Franco Bollo":r0zvpyob]
Finally, there is the ongoing debate on Buzzy Feitan tuning, alternate tuning standards (e.g., all the "sweetened" tuning options on our Peterson tuners), etc. I may be old school, but I don't see how any of these would consistently help out on an even-tempered fretted instrument. Anyway, just my two cents.[/quote:r0zvpyob]

My two too. Agree with you completely.
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Sheldon Dingwall Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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I had a quick scan of this conversation so I apologize if I missed something. I think where Frank is going with this is that if you think of the fundamental frequency movement of the string by itself the string stretches and relaxes with each cycle. Tension and length go up slightly and back down with each cycle. This modulates the pitch of the harmonics above it. Since there is more harmonic content in a note than fundamental the harder you pluck a string the sharper it reads and sounds.

Longer scale lengths helps minimize this. Designing a string so that the core is closer to its breaking point will minimize this. Extending the string length past the nut and saddle will absorb some of this stretching and also minimize the modulation.

None of this has anything to do with the frets but contributes to relatively better intonation in the real world.
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I have not experienced this phenomenon of lower strings going sharp vs higher strings when plucked vigorously, or if I have, I haven't really noticed it, but I have a theory as to why that might be, and why you might not experience that as much in fanned frets - string tension.

For a non-fanned instrument, typically the lower strings are lower tension, so when you pluck them, the lateral excursion is greater, and the delta between 'plucked' and 'unplucked' tensions are greater, whereas for the higher strings, the excursion isn't as much, so the delta in tension isn't as high, so you don't notice the sharpness. On fanned frets, you can get a much more even tension distribution, so you don't see a difference between high and low strings.

been a while since I read the OP and first couple replies, so apologies if I'm repeating something that's been said already.
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[quote="Sheldon Dingwall":1gk4fuzg][b:1gk4fuzg]Longer scale lengths helps minimize this.[/b:1gk4fuzg] Designing a string so that the core is closer to its breaking point will minimize this. Extending the string length past the nut and saddle will absorb some of this stretching and also minimize the modulation.

[b:1gk4fuzg]None of this has anything to do with the frets but contributes to relatively better intonation in the real world[/b:1gk4fuzg].[/quote:1gk4fuzg]

So there, this is what I was asking in the first place (didn't know for sure). It just SEEMED like that when looking at that diagram. I was suspicious that it could have SOME merit, but wasn't sure. Thats' why I asked. Here we got an answer finally. Not that there's anything to this because of the actual fanned frets, but the multiscale, i e that this would apply even to all fretless instruments with a multiscale on.
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Mats Eriksson Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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BTW....hmm...the following ought to be another topic really. Has anyone got information on this. It seems that bass monster Stu Hamm has "left" Fender and started with Washburn instead. This I caught from fellow Dave LaRues site the other day:

http://www.davelarue.com/news.asp

"... I went down to Starbucks and got in line right behind Stu Hamm. It was great chatting with Stu, ...After we got our coffee, he brought me up to his room to show me his bass that has a new intonation system - the frets are cut at angles to keep the bass more in tune with itself as you go up the neck. Really interesting, seemed to work well."

Anyone care to pass judgement on this? Has some other manufacturer gone fanned frets, or is it a Dingwall? Or yet another "new" system?
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Franco Bollo Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Thanks Sheldon for explaining more clearly what I was trying to say.

Yes, as the string vibrates back and forth, the "instantaneous" length and tension vary, similar to the way it varies when you bend a string - which increases the pitch despite the longer length (since the tension increases as well). So yes, you can get a higher ptich from a longer length. :) Anyway, I hope what I was trying to convey is clear.
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[quote="Franco Bollo":3lm5m1c9]
... So yes, you can get a higher pitch from a longer length. :) Anyway, I hope what I was trying to convey is clear.[/quote:3lm5m1c9]

Well, erhh... no. Still don't get that "you can get a higher pitch from a longer length". Something is missing. In spite of longer length? The inharmonics minimizes with a longer length to a certain degree. I e that initial pitch rise, only present in the dynamic initial attack of the string, will go sharp for a short while, on the lowest tuned strings, not so on the high g-string. Or at least, much less so. I mean, that phenomenon occurs only on same scaled instruments, not on multiscale/fanned fret.

Sorry, it's not that I am trying to be cute with you, or rude. It's just that it is a bit elusive, and can be tricky to explain thoroughly for others to understand. Sheldons explanation was more clearly put, imho.
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Franco Bollo Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Mats,

When you bend a note does the pitch go up or down? It goes up. So what is happening here. When you do this, the length of the string increases. The length of the string from the nut to stopped fret is slightly greater than the respective length between nut and the same fret on a relaxed string. Similarly, the distance between the stopped fret and the bridge, measured from the point on the fret where you have moved the string by bending it, to the bridge is also greater than the respective length on the relaxed string. This second length is the part of the string that is vibrating.

So, why does the longer length cause the pitch to go up? Because by bending the string, the tension in the string increases, which of course increases the pitch (crank your tuning peg and you get a higher pitch). So two things are happening: 1) the length increases (would normally lower the pitch) and 2) the tension is increasing (which increases the pitch). As it turns out, this second effect dominates the first, resulting in a higher pitch.

This is why when we set the intonation at the bridge, we end up moving the saddles closer to the nut, to compensate for the "bending" of the string caused by pressing it to the fret.

So, going back to the original question, when you pluck a note, the string moves back and forth. Thinking of the fundamental frequency, the string moves from one side to the other, passing through the "relaxed point" on the way. So as it vibrates, the string's length changes instantaneously, but the average length is a bit greater, and the average tension is a bit greater as well. The harder the string is plucked, the greater the effect. One can make a similar argument regarding the harmonics, where the string vibrates in halves, thirds, etc.

I hope that this helps with understanding what is happening.
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Mats Eriksson Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Well, now I get it slightly better, but it seems you explain it all backwards, in a mirror kind of way so to speak. I've never heard or seen anyone see it as that. Higher pitch to me, is only established by either a) shortening the string b) adding tension to it. As it is, when you bend you add both tension and shorten the strings length from the fret to bridge point of view. What happens behind the fretting point up to the nut is not that important to me. Of course, the TOTAL length of the string becomes slighty stretched out, and slightly longer, but the tension increases as well. I still have very much problem in thinking that tension increases as the string gets actually longer. I don't mix up and calculate what happens behind the fretting fret point. I would - personally and IMHO - refrain from such pedagogic reasoning when explaining, say, fanned frets and advantages of multiscale instruments in front of a novice. But there's no right or wrong way, explaining it, the end result ends up the same in the end. Now, I know where you're going... sort of.

I think guitar builder Todd Keehn (or Keehne?) of TK instruments had a similar explanation on his TK instruments. He builds posh high end instruments guitars/basses with unique features. His site is full of good and useful information. But when he tried to put down ALL advantages with the fanned fret design IN ONE GO, he seemed to paint himself into a corner, with his logic. Reading it all through thrice and twice, one finally - sort of - got it, but I think Dingwall first FAQ, tells it all: Q: Why fanned frets? A: It makes all basses better, period.
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Franco Bollo Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Mats,

I took the time to try to explain (twice) something to you that is, really, a pretty simple concept. It is unfortunate that you still have a hard time understanding it, and I basically resent that you are blaming my explanations. Nonetheless, I will leave you with one additional question to help you understand how the string length affects tension: When you turn the tuning peg to increase tension and raise pitch, what are you doing to the string?

Over and out. :)
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[quote="Franco Bollo":2kiw1ss6]Mats,

I took the time to try to explain (twice) something to you that is, really, a pretty simple concept. It is unfortunate that you still have a hard time understanding it, and I basically resent that you are blaming my explanations. Nonetheless, I will leave you with one additional question to help you understand how the string length affects tension: When you turn the tuning peg to increase tension and raise pitch, what are you doing to the string?

Over and out. :)[/quote:2kiw1ss6]

Frank, I dug you
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Yeah, I followed you. I never thought of my bass that way before.
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