Fan Frets for Lap Steels

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Steve Graves
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Fan Frets for Lap Steels

Post by Steve Graves »

Fan Frets for Lap Steels.
Any one familiar with others building or playing fan fretted steels ? Slide techniques are issues. Ergonomics are better or at least they seem more natural to play. I'm building my first single seven and I'm thinking about fanning the frets. Am I nuts? Yes the fretboard will be opposite a standard fan fretted guitar.

David King
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Re: Fan Frets for Lap Steels

Post by David King »

It takes "nuts" to move the technology past the 1930s. I say go for it.

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Mark Swanson
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Re: Fan Frets for Lap Steels

Post by Mark Swanson »

Yes, it is good to try new things....but, I'm not sure it would be helpful. For me, it would make intonating the notes more difficult, and there is a "slanting the bar" technique that is used sometimes and it may make that really hard. But then, I've not tried it and people said the same things about fanned fretted instruments.
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Steve Graves
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Re: Fan Frets for Lap Steels

Post by Steve Graves »

Mark,
Most of the slants become the original perpendicular position, very easy I thinks. This is all theory at this point. I have the guitar built but I'm waiting on the fret and tuning setups.

Jason Rodgers
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Re: Fan Frets for Lap Steels

Post by Jason Rodgers »

I asked Harry Fleishman in an email once about his fanned fretless bass (that is, the nut and bridge are fanned, but no frets or fret markers). He said it was no different than playing any other fretless bass, as you become accustomed to fingering for intonation, not necessarily positions. I'm no slide player, but maybeso it would be a similar experience.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

Steve Graves
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Re: Fan Frets for Lap Steels

Post by Steve Graves »

Anyone know any formulas for determining the fanned nut and saddle angles? The scale length and the string size must make a difference, correct? Does tuning have to be adjusted?

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Greg Robinson
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Re: Fan Frets for Lap Steels

Post by Greg Robinson »

Hi Steve,
Most people just choose two scale lengths, one for treble, one for bass, and a perpendicular fret, then lay out the two scales, matching them up at the perpendicular fret, and then just saw between the matching frets. This saves a lot of complicated maths and trying to lay out precise angles which would not be practical.
You may choose to use an exaggerated string set (thinner than normal on the longer scale, thicker than normal on the shorter), but you can also just use a standard set if you want, although it may feel weird and the tension will not be as well balanced string-to-string.
No need to adjust tuning.
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Patrick Kirkham
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Re: Fan Frets for Lap Steels

Post by Patrick Kirkham »

Not to purposefully add a sour note, but, try not to refer to a Multi-scale instrument as having fanned frets. Novax takes exception to their Fanned-Fret® system which they claim is rendered differently than when we use Fret-find 2d or whatever. I had this discussion via email a few years ago with them. Turns out, if I sell an instrument with fanned frets, I must pay a large licensing fee, but I can sell all the multi-scale instruments that I like. I call mine opharions after the original prior art pictured in historical publications.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: Fan Frets for Lap Steels

Post by Barry Daniels »

I thought his patent had expired.
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Greg Robinson
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Re: Fan Frets for Lap Steels

Post by Greg Robinson »

Patent, yes. Trademark (registered), no.
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Steve Graves
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Re: Fan Frets for Lap Steels

Post by Steve Graves »

Thanks Greg for the common sense answer. It make sense and sometimes we way over think things.

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