What You Need to Know About Guitar Fret Size

What You Need to Know About Guitar Fret Size

Frets are an integral part of the design of modern six strings. Without them, guitars (especially electrics) would be much more difficult to make sound musical. Especially with things like distortion or percussive playing, having those little metal rods are a must. So, what is there to talk about when it comes to frets? Well, the main thing is the size. We often hear of the terms jumbo or medium-jumbo, but there are several others that are commonly found on necks today.   

Common Fret Wire Sizes -       

6230 (.078″ Wide x .043″ Tall) :

The smallest fret wire found on many vintage Fender necks. In fact, many guitars pre-1960’s use fairly thin fret wire. Anything with a vintage (rounder) radius fretboard is going to likely have 6230. You won’t find many modern style guitars sporting vintage wire.

6105 (.090″ Wide x .055″ Tall) :

I like to think of 6105 as being the modern version of a smaller fret, which makes sense considering this size popularity. If you have never paid much attention to fret size, you likely have been playing on 6105 most of the time. Additionally, if you ever have a choice of fret size and don’t know what to go with, this size is the safest bet (probably still a good idea to actually try playing on it first though!).

6150 (.102″ Wide x .042″ Tall) :

You might have heard of this size referred to as vintage jumbo. This size is the least common out of all the one on this list and with good reason. This one kind of takes a totally opposite approach to the quite popular 6105, being rather wide and short. Not to say that this size isn’t for you, just that it is not the size of fret the average player would choose to use.  

6130 (.106″ Wide x .036″ Tall) :

Coming to another rather familiar one here, Medium jumbo is another common size that you will come across. For many, this can be seen as the standard for Gibson style modern guitars. This can be one of the big differences in feel when transitioning from a Strat/Tele to a Les Paul.     

6100 (.110″ Wide x .055″ Tall) :

This is the big one, Jumbo. Being the largest fret size available, 6100 might not be suited for all players. However, greats like S.R.V and Rory Gallagher have been known for fretting their guitars with Jumbos. Most people would attribute jumbos with a nice warm sound and easy bending. Yet others would say that they can cause our playing to get pitchy. As with all sizes of frets wire, preference plays a huge role here. Every player needs to give 6100’s a try and see if it suits their playing.

Hopefully, this list cleared a few things up for you regarding fret wires sizes. While the differences between these might not have the largest impact on your tone, they still matter. To many of us, switching sizes can mean a substantial change to the way you play certain licks, songs, and genres. No matter how long you’ve been playing, finding the fret size that fits your style can make an impact. Ask any player and you’ll find that guitar is just as much physical as it is mental. So, find the fret wire that works best for you!

Previous article Best Preamps for the Home Studio (Under $1000)