Guitar Tech Article By Ed Roman 22 Frets VS 24 Frets

22 Frets VS 24 Frets

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Much More Than Just 2 Frets Difference !!!!

This is a debate that many people avoid, In fact many companies just look the other way. Normally a progressive company looking to make a name for themselves will tool up so that they can do 24 fret necks.  (PRS did it back in 1985). I have alienated some players away from me with commentary and reviews like this. But facts are facts, and facts don't lie, and this is not conjecture, it is scientific proven fact.

Itís a shame, that it's a little known fact that ALL PRS GUITARS up to 1993 were all 24 fret. PRS made the best guitars they ever produced as 24 fret models.

The Laws Of Physics are Absolute click here.

It is my opinion that PRS wanted to appeal to the older crowd when they started offering a 22 fret neck in 1994. They wanted a Jeff Beck or an Eric Clapton. These older geezers (I say that respectfully) are all still using 22 fret guitars.  I mean, when do these guys ever get to go into a music store and check out gear. It just doesnít happen.
Usually they are behind the times and nobody will tell them because they are so famous and considered Guitar Gods.  I went to see the Rolling Stones recently. I would love to spend an afternoon with Keith Richards, He is using the most antiquated gear on the planet. I understand that maybe he has a retro image to uphold, but that's no reason to play a guitar that is obviously limiting his capabilities.

I personally have talked to at least 15 of these guys over the years and I have concluded that most of them have acquired their last guitars. Many of these guys simply arenít concerned as much about gear as they once were. So PRS briefly had Dickie Betts, Eventually Dickie went back to his old faithful Kalamazoo made Gibson. They never did get a Page, Beck or a Clapton and as far as Iím concerned they probably never will. Unless of course Fender buys PRS and introduces these guys to the intelligent reasons to play 24 Frets. 

I have personally talked to Ace Frehley about it at least 50 times. It's almost a joke between us at this time. Ace has the attitude that he "doesn't want to be confused with the facts, He's already made up his mind," and that's that.

I can't fight that logic!!!!   I spoke to Zakk Wylde about exactly the same thing and I was met with a similar mindset.  For this reason I believe PRS decided to build their single cut, Their McCarty and Custom 22.  There are a lot of diehard, dyed in the wool, Les Paul fans out there. I personally believe that a Les Paul has it's place, just not in my hands.  (Unless I am cutting into it)

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Quicksilver 25" Scale 24 Frets

It is costlier to do 24 fret necks, Most companies that sell pre slotted fret boards will only supply 22 fret necks,  If you purchase any fret slotting machinery you will immediately notice that the arbors are usually set up for 22 frets and if you want any oddball scales you will probably have a devil of a time trying to buy it. (oddball means anything other than Fender or Gibson).       The Laws Of Physics are Absolute click here.

Ed Roman Centurion Guitar
Custom Made Right On The Premises
 The Laws Of Physics are Absolute click here.

 

I prefer 24 frets, for a lot of reasons, the most important being, the rhythm pickup has to be installed off axis where the 24th fret would normally fall.  On a 22 fret neck the pickup sits directly over the 24th fret harmonic node. Simply explained a node is a dead spot or a massive phase cancellation.     The Laws Of Physics are Absolute click here.

These nodes occur on the 7th fret, 12th fret, 19th fret and 24th fret. If you place a pickup directly on a node the midrange frequencies will cancel themselves out. Make sure you avoid a guitar that the node falls on the pickup.  Unless of course you want a muddy distorted rhythm sound like you would normally experience with a Les Paul or any Les Paul type guitar.  Most intelligent people will agree on the fact that a Les Paul has a nice meaty lead tone but chords sound like dung.    (Check out the 24 Fret Maximus or the 24 Fret Turner Model 1) Nothing out there in a single cut guitar comes close.

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The Laws Of Physics are Absolute click here.

I prefer to play a guitar that will give me the best of both worlds. If you take a well made 24 Fret guitar PRS, Baker, Quicksilver,  or otherwise. If the pickups, bridge & neck are acoustically coupled you will be able to achieve an even fatter, meatier, browner, darker, creamier sound by turning the tone to zero on the neck pickup and turning the volume control on the guitar all the way up.

I guarantee I can make an early 24 fret PRS Classic sound just like a Les Paul plus get the added attraction of a 335 a Strat, a Tele and even a Jazz Guitar. PRS has taken that guitar off the market around 1995. I believe they did it on purpose so they could sell more guitars. It is self defeating to make a guitar that does everything.      

Factoid 1: A typical Les Paul will always sound muddy when you play chords !!!!!

Factoid 2: A Typical Les Paul is NEVER capable of sounding like a Strat or a Tele. !!!!!

Factoid 3: PRS broke that barrier in 1984 with the introduction of their 24 Fret, 25" Scale handcrafted guitar,

Factoid 4: PRS further improved on it in 1989 with the introduction of the Classic 24. 

Factoid 5: PRS redesigned the Classic 24 in 1995 and basically destroyed the best guitar ever made to date.

Factoid 6: I don't think they will ever bring that one back. So I designed the Quicksilver a guitar that was built based on many of the influences of the now defunct Classic 24.

 So far I have only given one reason
why I like the 24 fret models better.

Of course, I like the added reach of the two extra frets and the easier facilitation of all the high notes. Plus the visual aid of the double octave marking is a big help in playing. 

The neck angle is better on the PRS models with 24 frets than with 22, the string tension is slinkier and the overall playability is far better.

24 frets is the wave of the future, 22 frets is the older way. All the new cool guitars have 24 frets.  Gibson has finally jumped on the band wagon. Gibson has offered a double cutaway Les Paul with 24 frets. for under $2,000.00!!!   Sadly it still uses a Rosewood fingerboard, plastic inlays, and a limited reach. They have stayed with their same old tired 24 3/4 scale. Gibson is your Grandfather's Guitar !!!!!!!

 Important Note

Some companies are now trying to pull the wool over your eyes by simply taking a 22 fret neck and adding 2 more frets to it.  I will be exposing them in a new Expose' section coming soon on the website. At this writing I suspect that Gibson simply extended the board a little longer, The scale is still the same.

Don't be fooled look for a 25" scale and a true double octave 24 fret neck that is not just an overhang on the neck.

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