- Max Kuehn
Looking to find out how many frets on a guitar? Guitars typically have either 22 or 24 frets. The extra frets give the player more range, allowing them to play higher notes. Check out this quick and easy guide that will tell you everything you need to know!
What Is A Guitar Fret?
The high metal bars along the neck of a guitar are known as frets. They make areas for your fingers to rest when pressing the strings. When you pluck or strum the strings, the frets modify the pitch of the sound produced.
What Is The Function?
When you push or hold a guitar string, it rests against the fretbar, where your fingers ‘fret’. Depending on where on the guitar neck you are holding the string down, you are effectively shortening the length of the string.
The string now vibrates when you strum or pluck it. This is what makes the noise. If you hold down a fret, the amount of string that vibrates is reduced, influencing the pitch. When you fret higher up the neck (towards the body), a smaller amount of string vibrates, resulting in a higher pitch, while fretting further down the neck results in a lower pitch.
Is The Number Of Frets On A Guitar Important?
The number of frets on a guitar impacts its sound and playability. Because of its construction, a 22 fret electric guitar offers a much deeper and warmer sound. 22 fret guitars have a shorter neck and further apart bridge and neck pickups. This brings the neck pickup closer to the guitar’s nut, altering the tone and giving it a warmer sound.
However, if you want to play metal, you’ll probably require a guitar with 24 frets (at least). Metal, as a genre, is significantly more likely to require the usage of higher frets than, say, country music. In that case, a guitar with 24 frets is preferable.
You’ll also find that 24 fret guitars have much greater access to the top frets due to their construction.
How Many Frets On Guitar
When we talk about frets, we’re talking about the amount of fret wires that run from the nut to the end of the fretboard.
The number of frets on a guitar varies depending on the type of guitar (electrics vs. acoustics) and the model (Strat vs. Les Paul, for example).
Most modern guitars have between 19 and 24 frets as a rule of thumb. Acoustic guitars have fewer frets (typically around 20), while electric guitars have slightly more (generally around 22 to 24).
There are certain exceptions, for example, some old skool acoustic guitars from the 1800s had only 14 frets! While some current shredding guitars have as many as 39!
How Many Frets On An Acoustic Guitar
The number of fretboards on an acoustic guitar is usually less than on an electric guitar. The guitar neck meets the body at the 12th fret on standard classical and flamenco guitars, with 19 frets (at the heel).
On classical guitars, the soundhole positioning usually implies the fingerboard stops around fret 18 or 19.
Steel-stringed acoustic guitars typically have roughly 18 to 20, with 12 to 14 frets above the body (there will usually be 6 to 8 frets between where the neck meets the body and the soundhole).
The terms ’12 fret’ and ’14 fret’ commonly describe guitars. This refers to the number of frets between the nut and the guitar’s body, and players often favor one over the other.
However, not all steel-string acoustics are the same. There are fewer frets on parlor guitars (one of the smaller guitar kinds).
Why aren’t there more frets on acoustic guitars? Well, frets beyond 12 become extremely difficult to play, especially for chords. Yes, cutaways assist, but the guitar’s body still restricts you.
Some instances include:
- 3/4 size Ortega (classical guitar) – 18 frets
- 18 fret Washburn R314KK antique parlour guitar
- 20 frets on the Taylor Big Baby
- 20 frets on the Martin D-28
- 20 fret Gibson Hummingbird
How Many Frets On An Electric Guitar
Modern electric guitars, especially baritone guitars, have 21 to 24 fretboards (most commonly 22) and connect to the body around the 17th fret. Short-scale guitars, such as the Les Paul, typically have fewer frets.
Some instances include:
- Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster — depending on the year and model, 21 or 22 frets
- 22 frets on Fender Jaguar and Jazzmaster guitars
- Gibson Les Paul – 22 frets, with the 16th fret joining the body.
- Gibson SG – 22 frets, with the 19th fret connecting the body.
- Limited Edition Epiphone ES 335 – 22 frets
- 24 frets PRS S2 Custom 24
- 27 frets Superstrat (25 frets at the 6th string)
- 30 frets Ibanez RG550XH
- EC36 Washburn – 36 frets
- Jinmoid by BassLab – 39 frets + 1 zero fret
Why Are There Fewer Frets On Acoustic Guitars Than On Electric Guitars?
Acoustic guitars have fewer frets than electric guitars for a variety of reasons. Because an acoustic guitar’s body is significantly larger than an electric guitar’s, it’s much more difficult to reach and play those higher frets. There’s no point in having them around if you can’t play them.
Because of the way acoustic guitars are built, the strings on the upper frets don’t vibrate as much as the strings on the lower frets. This affects the sound, making it less resonant.
Furthermore, the sort of music performed on acoustic guitars does not necessitate the use of higher frets. Acoustic guitars are better for chords and fingerpicking, which rarely surpass the 12th fret. The upper fretboards are used in various types of music played on the electric guitar.
A good example is guitar solos. On an acoustic guitar, you don’t get the big, quick guitar solos associated with electric guitars. It simply would not work. And many guitar solos extend beyond the 12th fret to the 18th, 19th, or 20th frets, or even higher.
What Makes Fretted Guitars Different From Other Instruments?
The fact that the same note can be generated on multiple guitar parts distinguishes the guitar from other instruments.
For example, if a pianist wants to play a D3 note (which is the sound generated by a 146.83 Hz wavelength in scientific words), there is only one piano key that can do so. On a guitar, though, there are numerous ways to achieve this tone. This note can be generated using standard tuning (also known as E-A-D-G-B-E or EADGBE) by:
- The 6th string is played at the 10th fret.
- The 5th string is played at the 5th fret.
- The 4th string is struck as an open string (i.e., not pressing down on any frets).
Although all three ways create a vibration of 146.83 Hz, each position has a little tonal difference, and expert guitarists will choose one over the other to get a specific auditory effect.
Three Methods for Finding Notes on a Fretboard
Unlike a piano, where different notes have different-shaped keys, all guitar frets appear the same. At first glance, it may seem that finding notes up and down the guitar neck is more complicated. There are, nevertheless, a few ways guitarists utilize to locate specific notes.
Markers for frets
This approach involves counting how high on the fretboard one is by utilizing fret markers (also known as fret inlays). These fret markers are usually portrayed as dots, but they can also be in the form of blocks or even drawings.
Most guitars come with:
- Single dot fret markers are used at the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th frets.
- At the 12th fret, a double dot
- Single dots appear on every odd-numbered fret until the guitar neck meets the guitar body at the 15th fret.
Intervals of Natural Notes
Sharp and flat notes appear between natural notes on a guitar, just as they do on other instruments. Most natural notes on a guitar are two frets apart in general. So, if you need to change from an A to a B note, move two frets up on your fretboard.
Single-fret intervals between E and F notes (e.g., between an open string and the first fret on your 6th and 1st strings) and between B and C notes are the only exceptions (between the seventh and eighth frets).
Here’s a straightforward approach to finding the proper fret if you need to move up a whole octave: Move up two frets on your new string after jumping up two strings. For example, if you’re playing a low F note on your guitar’s 6th string and want to climb up an octave, switch to your 4th string and move up two frets to the 3rd fret.
How to Play Scales and Chords On a Fretboard
You can progress to scales and chords once you’ve mastered individual notes on the guitar.
Scales are notes that connect two notes that are an octave apart (usually in whole-step and half-step intervals). The good thing about learning scale patterns on a guitar is that you can start them from any place on the neck. For example:
Once you’ve mastered the A minor scale, you can play any minor scale. Repeat the sequence, beginning on a different note.
This theory holds for all scales, including primary, pentatonic, diminished, and whole-tone scales.
Multiple notes are struck simultaneously to generate a harmonically thick sound.
Most chords are triads, which are three-note clusters in music theory.
Many guitar chords contain notes that are repeated in multiple ranges. A G major triad, for example, is made up of three pitches: G, B, and D. On a six-string guitar, though, it’s simple to play a G chord with three G notes, two B notes, and one D note (as opposed to just one of each).
How to Use the Fretboard to Improve Your Guitar Skills
The more you exercise fretboard knowledge, as with any ability, it becomes second nature. Professional guitarists don’t waste time on stage trying to figure out which string to pluck at which fret. Years of practice have taught them the answer, and they can summon any note without even thinking about it. You can, too, with focused practice and dedication.
Learn to play scales in a variety of positions. Every scale starts with a specific root note in a particular key. When soloing, you don’t want to limit yourself to the first scale position you learned when learning the blues or pentatonic scale. You’ll need to learn how to play the scale in all of its positions if you want to solo freely up and down the neck.
Seek out patterns. Only the note where the position begins changes the exact pattern of notes inside the scale. The cycle repeats when you reach the last conceivable position in the sequence, returning to the identical root note you played in the first position, only one octave higher.
Include modes in your soundscape. Every note in a scale has a mode that corresponds to it. The more you play around with each one’s distinct sounds and emotions, the more you’ll see how they might influence your songwriting.
Are 24 Frets Required?
Because the neck is shorter, you don’t have to reach as far down the fretboard, making them easier to play. If you want to be able to play more notes without moving down a string, a 24 fret guitar is a good choice. Some songs, particularly in the metal genre, necessitate the use of 24 frets.
What Is The Number Of Frets On A Les Paul?
It has an impact on how you play and how the guitar feels. The majority of the time, the answer is 22 frets. Most Gibson and Epiphone guitars come with 22 frets as standard.
Why Aren’t There More 24 Fret Guitars?
It’s all about personal taste. The neck pickup is located where the 24th fret would be on a 21 or 22 fret guitar. Many people enjoy the pickup’s sound, and they miss it when it is relocated to a 24 fret guitar.
For many guitarists, the higher frets are also unnecessary. Many genres and styles of music never employ anything higher than the 20th fret; therefore, having 24 is simply unneeded.
As a result, there are guitars for everyone. If you want 24 frets, you can easily find one, and if you prefer 21 or 22 frets, there are plenty of possibilities.
Why Are There Only 21 Frets On Some Guitars?
When Leo Fender was trying to mass-produce Fender guitars, he discovered that 21 fret necks were significantly easier to put together. Fender guitars with 21 fretboards became the standard.
In the 1980s, a growing number of performers began using guitars with 22 frets, prompting Fender to abandon the conventional 21. Some versions now have 21 fretboards, while others have 22.
You are now aware that the standard number of frets on a guitar can range from 19 to 24. You might be surprised at what you find if you count the strings on your guitar and see how many you have. Fidlar hope you found this article beneficial, and let us know if you have any questions!