The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #111976   Message #2366428
Posted By: Uncle Phil
15-Jun-08 - 02:58 PM
Thread Name: Tech: fan fret guitars
Subject: RE: Tech: fan fret guitars
Thanks, Richard. Thanks pretty much what I thought. I hope to make my fortune by designing a capo for fan fret guitars and want to get my facts straight.

I read the "Technical Lecture" under the Information menu at the Novax guitar site, but couldn't make to leap from the lecture to a fan fret design. The actual data presented compared standard guitar scale lengths from 25 1/2 and 24 5/8, a 7/9 inch difference. The difference in string length between the longest and shortest string on the fan fret guitars looks greater than the 7/8 in the pictures. Also, unless I am reading the graphs wrong, the smoothest first four harmonics are for the treble string at the longest scale length; the treble strings are the shortest on the fan fret. That's not to say that fan fret instruments don't have a superior sound, it's just to say that the data data presented didn't seem very useful for designing one to me.

Reading back through the lecture I see that it makes a distinction between struck strings, e.g. piano, and plucked strings, e.g. guitar. That seems a little hinky. A more practical distinction for this discussion is between instuments played with open strings, e.g. piano and harp, and those played with stopped strings, e.g guitar and fiddle. If you are always playing with open strings it makes sense to optimize the length of each string - exactly the way pianos and harps are built. If you are playing with stopped strings there is less advantage to optimizing string length because it changes every time you stop a string anyway. In that case you may as well optimize for ease of construction.
- Phil