GUITAR FRET SIZES
The market offers today a number of fret types suitable for any kind of feel and playing style.
The height of the fret strongly influences the feel and also in some way the tone of the instrument.
Sound is influenced by the distance between the string and the fretboard surface. The higher the distance the more we will
perceive an increase of volume in the plucked string.
Below is a description of the most diffuse types of frets in terms of playing feel and costruction.
HIGHER AND LARGER FRETS
For a dedicated solo use a higher and larger fret is recommended.
This kind of fret allows great speed due to the absence of any friction between the fingerboard and your finger tips while also facilitates bendings "hammer on" and "pull off" as fingertips better "grip" the strings.
A higher fret will also deliver a bit more of extra sustain due to its higher mass and will offer more frets dressing before the frets has to be entirely replaced.
Wider frets will result in being more comfortable moving on the fretboard than high and narrow ones. On the other side, especially for beginners, taller frets will result in deeper ridges on the playing fingers. Higher frets also lead to a generally lighter touch as more pressure would lead to intonation problems sort of a scalloped.
This lighter touch sometimes lead to develop more speed on the fretboard which is a part of some of us style but also often brings to a reduced playing dimamic
which some player suffer.
A larger fret may cause intonation problems due to wearing if not dreessed often. The larger the fret the more it will tend to flatten with time moving the real string contact point away from where it should be (see picture above).
For this reason we recommend you monitor your frets wearing if you play a lot and have your guitar technician dress your frets (and round and polish them) often.
Usually higher frets are used for heavy rock and solo players.
LARGE AND LOW FRETS
Large and low fretwire will result in being more comfortable for sliding over the fretboard but less comfortable for bendings due to the higher friction between the fingers and the fretboard. They will also allow less frets dressing (less material to dress) so will require to be replaced more often if you play a lot.
SMALL AND LOWER FRETS
In the early 50ies and 60ies the electric guitar played essentially a rhythmic role and was equipped with very small and low frets. This kind of fretwire is therefore typical of vintage instruments and rarely diffused on modern ones which need taller and larger frets for both a matter of updated playing techniques and also to resist to more wear.
MEDIUM JUMBO FRETS
A medium high and medium large frets offers many advantages if your not a radical solo player. Basically they eliminate all the disadvantages of higher frets still offering a very nice bending feel and are more comfortable when sliding over the fretboard. The narrower construction delivers a better intonation still offering a certain number of dressing options before replacement.
Medium frets are ideal for the versatile musician who plays both rhythm and solos
HINTS AND TIPS
If you are experiencing a buzz on a particular fret, chances are this fret is too low of the next one is too high.
Before you and your guitar doctor attempt apply a fret dressing ALWAYS check if the buzz is originating by a raised fret which is no longer glued in place and moves up and down. If you attempt to dress the frets to solve the problem the fret dressing plane may simply press the fret in place when passing over it but the fret will return to its original raised position after the fret dressing job is finished frustrate your work.