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Tech: fan fret guitars

GUEST,Fogie 12 Jun 08 - 06:35 AM
Zen 12 Jun 08 - 06:41 AM
Mooh 12 Jun 08 - 08:25 AM
Richard Bridge 12 Jun 08 - 02:27 PM
Wesley S 12 Jun 08 - 02:33 PM
Grab 13 Jun 08 - 12:21 PM
Mooh 13 Jun 08 - 12:33 PM
Uncle Phil 14 Jun 08 - 12:01 PM
Richard Bridge 14 Jun 08 - 01:25 PM
Uncle Phil 15 Jun 08 - 02:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Jun 08 - 06:52 PM
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Subject: Tech: fan fret guitars
From: GUEST,Fogie
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 06:35 AM

Just heard about these strange instruments- do any cats play them? I'd like to try one out- I wonder if some chords are easier and some harder? You can google fan fret to see them. also worth seeing the gibson robot on you-tube. Is this the direction guitars are going? Speaking of curiosities have you seen Andy Manson's Mermaid guitar! ?


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Subject: RE: Tech: fan fret guitars
From: Zen
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 06:41 AM

Don't know... me no. Yes. No. Yes.

I know they have their advocates but I can't really see things generally evolving down that route myself. The Mermaid guitar is a nice piece of craftsmanship but I wouldn't like to gig with it!

Zen


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Subject: RE: Tech: fan fret guitars
From: Mooh
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 08:25 AM

Played many, owned none. I really dug a Dingwall 5 string electric bass with fan frets, and a friend has made a fan fret "fiddolin" (essentially a five string mandolin). Beneteau has made fan fret instruments and I believe Don Ross has one. Greenfield makes them too, and I tried one a while back.

I don't find the fan off-putting at all, though it may be easier to play on the longer scales I've tried, like the Dingwall.

The one instrument I'd like to try with fan frets would be a tenor banjo. Also, for baritone, and 7 string guitars there may be less compromise on scale length. If I didn't already have a baritone...

Having already got many fine instruments may mean that this innovation won't hit my collection, but if I was shopping for a new custom guitar, it would definately be a consideration. Maybe a 7 string?

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Tech: fan fret guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 02:27 PM

I'm not sure that I like the concept. The paper on the originator's site seems to me to cry out for some critical analysis (certainly, his summary of Hemholtz does not sound familiar), and I'm not sure that I would "like" the sound of the fan-scale length effect. Certainly I actively dislike the percussive and brittle effect of the relatively thick,short strings in a piano and I also dislike the high proporton (my ears tell me) of higher order harmonics on the bass notes of a piano.

I also prefer a guitar to meld its notes into chord rather than having each note stand out as a separate note. Personal taste I imagine.

Finally, it looks to me as if it would be very difficult to play some chords with the changing of angle as chorse went up and down and teh greater stretch to reach some parts of the lower notes of chords.


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Subject: RE: Tech: fan fret guitars
From: Wesley S
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 02:33 PM

The guy who made my mandola has recently made a 10 string mandolin/mandola hybrid for musician Mike Marshall. Here's a link so you can see it.

Smart Instruments


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Subject: RE: Tech: fan fret guitars
From: Grab
Date: 13 Jun 08 - 12:21 PM

Seems like barres on the lower frets would be practically impossible, which is a major turn-off for me. Might be a little easier playing on the higher frets though - the slanted frets might allow a more natural hand position.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Tech: fan fret guitars
From: Mooh
Date: 13 Jun 08 - 12:33 PM

Partial barres are easier than they look, particularly so with wide stretches. There are fans and then there are fans. The difference between the longest and shortest scales is too much on a few I've tried. There is a compromise to be reached between scale length, playability, tone, and a willing builder. I found them especially useful for non-standard tunings with 5ths or greater intervals between lower strings. For example, I feel a fan fret would be great for Robert Fripp's "new standard" tuning (CGDAEG, low to high).

Fwiw.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Tech: fan fret guitars
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 14 Jun 08 - 12:01 PM

It seems like you'd need a unusal set of string gauges, assuming for the moment that you want approximately egual tension on all the strings. The pictures look like a significant increase in scale length from longest to shortest. Relative to a standard set of strings wouuldn't you need lighter bass strings and heavier trebles to get equal tension. Just curious.
- Phil


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Subject: RE: Tech: fan fret guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jun 08 - 01:25 PM

I think that's part of the plan, Uncle Phil, in that the thicker strings used on standard scale lengths are stiffer and so have different proportions of the respective harmonics. Did you go and have a look at the website?


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Subject: RE: Tech: fan fret guitars
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 15 Jun 08 - 02:58 PM

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


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Subject: RE: Tech: fan fret guitars
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Jun 08 - 06:52 PM

Interesting. I have a feeling I'd be likely to enjoy this more with a with a mandolin or bouzouki rather than a guitar.


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