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One thing you will probably know when learning to play the guitar is frets and their functions. Another thing you will learn in basic guitar tutorials is the number of frets that come with each guitar type.
Guitars have different types of frets. Standard guitars have 19 frets. However, electric guitars have between 21 and 24 frets. Nevertheless, modern guitars can have up to 27 frets.
A guitar’s design determines the number of frets on it. As a budding guitarist, you will probably want to know the types of frets your guitar comes with. In addition, consider learning about the frets used on different types of guitars, including acoustic and electric.
Table of Contents
How Many Frets Are In Electric Guitars?
Electric guitars have three main fret counts, with the 21-fret guitar vintage stringed instrument being one of the most common. This type of guitar existed long before 24-fret guitars were introduced in the 80s. A unique feature of the 21-fret guitar is its detachable pickguard.
The most popular electric guitar is the 22-fret version. A favorite among many guitarists, the 22-fret guitar produces vintage and classic sounds with ease. A unique feature about this guitar is the pentatonic sits above the octave, which allows you to achieve warmer mellow tones while playing. In addition, the high pentatonic up makes it easy for you to achieve a high E tone.
22-fret guitars suit mellow genres of music such as light jazz. In fact, this guitar has been a staple of famous guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen. Many guitarists prefer its setup because it provides a larger moving space and allows you to place your neck pickup near the bridge.
A 24-fret guitar is ideal for playing darker mellow tones such as rock music instead of light jazz. A significant benefit of this type of guitar is it offers you the freedom to move between tones. This means you can easily change from a calm tone to a stratocaster pickup without making your tune muddy. The 24 fret guitar has been made popular by renowned guitarist John Petrucci.
How Many Frets Are In Acoustic Guitars?
Standard acoustic guitars have 19 frets, but some acoustic guitars may have between 18 and 20 frets. Frets on an acoustic guitar are divided into two:
- 12 to 14 frets running from the nut to the start of the guitar's body
- 6 to 8 frets from the sound hole to the end of the guitar's neck
Some acoustic guitar manufacturers may have more or fewer frets on their guitars. However, unique acoustic guitars like the Parlor guitar may have less than 19 frets on the fingerboard.
How Many Frets Are On A Classic Guitar?
Classic guitars typically have the lowest number of frets. A nylon-stringed classical guitar has 12 frets. It is unusual for a classic guitar to have more than 12 because acoustic guitarists seldom play beyond 12 or 14 frets. Today, some acoustic guitar brands feature 6 to 7 extra frets to enable you to play higher notes.
How Many Frets Are On A Bass Guitar?
Bass guitars have the same number of frets as electric guitars and may come with 21, 22, or 24 frets, with each fret playing a special note. Bass guitarists rarely play on the upper frets except during solo performances when the guitarist has the freedom to move to upper frets to achieve varying sounds. A standard bass guitar has 22 frets with the two extra frets on a 24 bass guitar designed provide more freedom to move up the fret ladder when necessary.
How Many Frets Do You Need In Your Guitar?
When it comes to playing the guitar, fret count matter significantly. For instance, if you are looking for a guitar that provides a punchier feel like in a reggae concert, consider using the 24-fret bass guitar. However, if you are looking for a guitar with a dark and bright tone for a metal rock concert, consider using a 24-fret electric guitar.
The amount of placement freedom you want determines your guitar fret-count. For example, an acoustic guitarist only plays on the 12th note. Therefore, consider going with the 17 fret acoustic guitar if you need more string placement.
Significance of Guitar Fret Count
Many people rarely consider guitar frets when buying the instrument. However, fret count is extremely important because it determines the number of musical notes you can play on a guitar. Guitar fret count can give you a good idea of its suitability.
You should not confuse frets with the square boxes running along the neck of a guitar. Frets are the raised metallic strips, often made of metal alloys such as brass and nickel, placed at intervals on the guitar's fingerboard.
A fret alters the vibration length of a guitar string when it is plucked. It allows the guitarist to play high or low tones. A single fret-wire can raise a guitar pitch by a half step or semitone.
Guitar Fret Size
The height and length of a guitar fret is called a crown. The size of the crown determines the length of the frets on a guitar. Size 6230 typically found in older Fender guitars is the smallest fret wire, measuring .078” by .043”. On the other hand, size 6150, a vintage Jumbo fret measuring .102” by .042”, is wider but shorter than a 6230 fret.
Modern frets are size 6105. They are tall narrow frets measuring .090” by 0.55”. On the other spectrum is fret size 6100 or jumbo fret measuring .110” by 0.55” considered the largest fret wire.
Size 6130 or medium jumbo fret wire is slightly smaller than the 6100, and it measures .106” by 0.36”. Choosing fret size is mostly a matter of personal preference because fret size can affect your playing style.
Shorter frets like the 6150 are ideal for guitarists who love to touch the fingerboard while plucking the guitar strings. Larger frets like 6100 are perfect for string bending guitarists because they allow you to play the strings without pressing hard on the fingerboard.
Is Re-Fretting A Guitar Necessary?
Guitar frets wear out with repeated use, which is why guitar re-fretting is necessary to replace worn-out frets and restore the guitar's original sounds. Re-fretting a guitar requires skill because one mistake can ruin the frets or fretboard. Therefore, consider hiring a professional if you cannot re-fret your guitar.
The process of re-fretting a guitar is a bit complicated.
- First, remove the guitar strings to access the frets. To do so, gently pull out the guitar strings from the fretboard with a sharp object.
- Sand down the fretboard to level its surface.
- Chisel out the fret grooves to create space for new frets.
- Cut the fret wire to the required sizes
- Glue the new frets are glued onto the freshly made grooves
- Add wax to the base where the fret attaches to the groove to prevent glue from leaking on the fretboard
- Once the glue dries, file the frets are filed to the same smoothness as the fretboard
- Cut or chisel down leftover metal sticking out of the grooves
- Sanding the frets to rid them of scratches
How Many Frets Does A Guitar Have? Conclusion
Overall, the model and type of guitar determines the number of frets on it. Fret count is mostly determined by the type of guitar and its intended use. Bass and electric guitars have between 21 and 24 frets. Make sure to keep in mind that getting your guitar re-fretted may be needed after extensive usage.
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