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:D Hi, I was thinking of freting my bass neck down to the 14th fret with 6150 fret wire (.106 width x .046 height) and from the 14th fret to the 20th using 6130 fret wire (.103 X .036) since they are very close in width and .010 difference in height it might be hard to see but allow me to get my string action a bit lower by being more forgiving of fret buzz at the last few frets. Has anyone ever tried this or already know that it just is not a good idea? Just a thought. Edited by jazz3625tonic
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A good fret dressing for low action usually requires some kind of "fall away" in fret top height starting at ~#12 to #14 and extending to the end of the fretboard, to avoid exactly the kind of buzz you're talking about. 0.010" at the end of the fretboard is totally within the range of acceptability for a bass, and while a step-function drop in height at #14 is probably not necessary....I'm having a hard time coming up with a reason to NOT do it that way.

I know at least one person on the forum has done something similar on guitars.

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Way too kooky. You might need a "rising tongue" taken off the fret-board, if you are having such a buzz problem from upper frets. I'd rather have 'em all the same height, and if there was some buzz, I'd rather jack my 21st fret action .010" higher than have those frets .010" lower.

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i wouldnt do it, you should be aiming for level frets... it is ok to add a little drop right at the body end of the fretboard but it needs to be subtle. different heights of fretwire will make levelling much more difficult to get right.

i do use different widths of fretwire occasionally, something like 1-12 nice and jumbo, 13-24 narrowerto allow ore finger space... but still the same height!!

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A good fret dressing for low action usually requires some kind of "fall away" in fret top height starting at ~#12 to #14 and extending to the end of the fretboard, to avoid exactly the kind of buzz you're talking about. 0.010" at the end of the fretboard is totally within the range of acceptability for a bass, and while a step-function drop in height at #14 is probably not necessary....I'm having a hard time coming up with a reason to NOT do it that way.

I know at least one person on the forum has done something similar on guitars.

Well, it just makes sense to me and since the widths are so close and the height being within .010" I doubt most people would be able to see it. I like my action close as I play with a light touch so the relief in my neck is almost always slight and and to get real close action I even sometimes will shim the neck a tiny bit so having the fret heights at the end of the board a bit lower to start seems logical but I am a bit nervous to try it. :D

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The .010" seems slight to you, but in 'fret world' it's an extreme difference. The type of thing you are talking about here, has been done : a "down hill" fretting style. I think they always go with at least 3 sizes and they are are blended into each other. Never tried it, so can't say a whole lot about it. Just the idea of different sized frets makes it seem unappealing to me (Don't want to feel an increase in fret-board friction way up the neck, and the tips of my 1st and smallest finger are small enough to fit between most of the frets up there).

Anyway, even with 3 sizes, there's probably some significant re-crowning to do on many of the frets.

If you are thinking of not blending them together, and having .010" difference of height between frets 13 and 14, I'm suspecting it's going to be a problem when you fret the 14th or 15th fret and it makes hard contact with the previous fret before making good contact with the fret you are playing. Might get a serious case of that "back buzz" (where strings are laying too hard, or on too many frets, behind the fretting hand.

But, I'm just making semi-educated guesses here, since I have not actually done this.

If you're careful, it's quite a reversible mod to experiment with .

You could even experiment by finding pieces of guitar/bass strings (or metal wire) .010" higher than the frets and taping it next to the 13th or 14th fret and see what effect that has on playing positions around there. (I mean see if it causes the problems I wonder about)

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The .010" seems slight to you, but in 'fret world' it's an extreme difference. The type of thing you are talking about here, has been done : a "down hill" fretting style. I think they always go with at least 3 sizes and they are are blended into each other. Never tried it, so can't say a whole lot about it. Just the idea of different sized frets makes it seem unappealing to me (Don't want to feel an increase in fret-board friction way up the neck, and the tips of my 1st and smallest finger are small enough to fit between most of the frets up there).

Anyway, even with 3 sizes, there's probably some significant re-crowning to do on many of the frets.

If you are thinking of not blending them together, and having .010" difference of height between frets 13 and 14, I'm suspecting it's going to be a problem when you fret the 14th or 15th fret and it makes hard contact with the previous fret before making good contact with the fret you are playing. Might get a serious case of that "back buzz" (where strings are laying too hard, or on too many frets, behind the fretting hand.

But, I'm just making semi-educated guesses here, since I have not actually done this.

If you're careful, it's quite a reversible mod to experiment with .

You could even experiment by finding pieces of guitar/bass strings (or metal wire) .010" higher than the frets and taping it next to the 13th or 14th fret and see what effect that has on playing positions around there. (I mean see if it causes the problems I wonder about)

Well, it's only a 4 string 20 fret fingerboard and I hardly if ever play above the 14 fret, not because I can't but because it really isn't something that is needed for 99% of the music I play. (Blues, Jazz, ect.) Most bass players that do a lot of chording and solo work more often than not play a 6 string bass. Having said that and after some more thought I don't think I have to start my drop off at the 14 fret, the 16th or even the 18th fret may be best. After a level, crown and polish from the 16th or 18th fret to the nut and even if I end up with a differance of .005 - .008 lower in height at the end of the fretboard I'm thinking it would be a benefit to me for getting my action were I like it. I doubt I would ever be able to feel the difference since trying to play a bass line on the 18th fret on the E string let alone the G on a Fender style body just does not make sense and is hardly if ever called for. I guess the reason I even thought of throwing this out there is to see if there is a reason not to do it that I'm not thinking about like not being able to tune or intonate the bass, or It would look unsightly, or not being able to level the rest of the frets down to the nut.

And I'm not thinking of mixing up the fret size's or having lower in height frets at the 14th through the 16th and then going to higher frets again to the end of the fretboard, just a slight drop off on the last few is all and since the width's on the fret wire's are almost the same I doubt someone could see the difference without a close inspection.

I really do appreciate your's and any (and all) input also since I want to give enough time in this thread for somone to let me know if there is really some fundamental reason why it should not be done. It's an idea that I won't just jump into. :D

Edited by jazz3625tonic
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let me know if there is really some fundamental reason why it should not be done.

personally when i set up an instrument i do it so every fret on every string produces a nice buzz free and intonated note... you never know when you might need that note.

1st fundamental reason not to do it - by having two fret heights you are making fret levelling very difficult, you created two planes - you will have to treat each plane seperatly - that seems like madness to me but you might get away with it if your really lucky or really good.

2nd fundamental reason not to do it - you just mentioned intonation. if you set the intonation to the 12th fret which is in the higher plane of your fret heights then the notes in the lower plane will be sharp because you have to push them further to fret them - i admit this may be pretty minor but it doesnt seem ideal to me

3rd fundamental reason not to do it - a properly set up bass should not need two different fret heights... at most all it needs is a subtle and more importantly gradual drop off on the last few frets.. this can be done as part of the levelling process - see eriks post above. this is one of the correct ways to solve your problem - dont create a step

4th.... ah sod it.... its just plain wrong :D

:D

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i admit this may be pretty minor but it doesnt seem ideal to me

Given the other variables in intonation caused by your finger (downward pressure, how much you deflect the string across the fingerboard), it may not be an issue. Of course, your ear may automatically correct those things (e.g. your finger quickly gets the string back in line if deflected in a slight unwanted bend); in which case your ear may not know what to do with intonation that can't be corrected by less pressure or straightening of the string...

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Hi, yes, that's why I deceided if I do go ahead with it it would be only the last couple of frets. I would level, crown, ect. the 1st through the 18th frets. But most folks here are right... leveling the whole board (20 frets) and just taking the last two or three frets down themselves after leveling, ect. sounds just as easy as (or easier) than leveling frets 1 - 18. :D

But no matter how I did it intonating at the 12th fret (frets 1 - 18 being level anyway) would work and is neither here nor there.

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