Why do some basses have angled frets? (Everything you need to know)

Do you have a bass with angled frets? If so, you’re in good company! Many famous bass players, such as John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and Cliff Burton of Metallica, have played instruments with angled frets. But why are they there? What do they do? In this article, we will explore the history and benefits of angled frets on bass guitars.

Some basses have angled frets, which are frets that are angled towards the player instead of being perpendicular to the strings. This is so that when a player bends notes, the strings have more room to move around without hitting other parts of their hand. Angled frets are sometimes called “cliff frets” because Metallica’s Cliff Burton used them on his basses. He liked how they made it easier for him to play fast licks by allowing more string space before the fret.

Many famous bass players, such as John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and Cliff Burton of Metallica, have played instruments with angled frets.

Benefits of angled frets

This design was first used on acoustic guitars in the early 19th century, and it eventually made its way over to electric basses in the 1950s. There are several benefits to using angled frets on a bass guitar.

They make it easier to play fast licks by allowing more string space before the fret.

They allow for better intonation of chords since you don’t have to worry about hitting other strings with your fingers while playing them.

The angled frets also make it easier on your hands when bending notes because they give you more room between each one without having to lift up any of them at all.

They give the player more control over the strings and make for better accuracy when playing chords.

A bass player can use the angled frets to slide their fingers up and down the neck of an electric guitar, which is called fretting.

This technique gives them more control over what notes they are playing by allowing them to play different parts at once without having one hand tied behind their back because it’s busy holding onto another string while trying not to hit any other strings with its index finger.

They help keep the fingers close to where they should be when playing chords.

Angled frets also allow a player access higher up on the fret board without having any problems hitting other strings due to how far apart they are from each other compared with straight-up ones that tend towards being closer together than angled ones do – this means there will be less pressure put on your hands and fingers when playing chords and solos on a bass guitar with angled frets.

Help in hand dexterity

It also helps with hand dexterity since your fingers are more evenly distributed across strings when playing chords and solos versus having them bunched up together like they would be straight-necked guitars where some players find themselves accidentally hitting adjacent notes instead of what’s intended due to this proximity issue.

How long does it take to get used to angled/fanned bass frets?

It does not take long to get used to angled frets, but it may feel awkward at first. You will eventually get used to the new angle and be able to play faster and with more accuracy. Depending on your practice routine, it might even take a week or two before you’re comfortable enough to play at full speed without having any issues due to the new angle of your fingers on strings.

How do you play the bass guitar with angled frets?

There are some differences between playing on a straight-up fret board versus an angled one. The strings will be closer together, and there may be less room for your fingers to move around without hitting other parts of their hand (which is why it’s crucial not to strum too hard).

You should also try not pressing down all the way when you’re trying out new techniques like hammering off or chugging because that may cause damage over time if done consistently enough – instead, just put pressure where needed as this will help protect both your hands from injury while allowing them adequate space between each note being played.

It takes practice but once mastered, the movements can become second nature.

How do you tune an angled bass guitar?

The tuning is different on an angled bass guitar. The easiest way to tune it would be using a chromatic tuner that has been designed specifically for this purpose (or by ear). This type of tuner will show you exactly how far flat or sharp your strings are from what they should be tuned at – which means there won’t be any guessing games during practice sessions.

You can tune by ear if you’re comfortable with that, but it takes a bit more practice and finesse to be able to do so without any outside help.

How do you change strings on an angled fret board?

Changing strings on an angled fret board can be done in the same way as with a straight one. It’s just important not to over-tighten them, or they might break due to excessive tension that isn’t needed when playing your instrument at normal levels.

You also don’t want any loose tuning pegs because these will cause problems later down the road if left unchecked now so take care while tightening/loosening all parts appropriately before putting everything back together again after changing out each string individually (or set).

If necessary, check that there are no other issues with your bass guitar before reassembling it after replacing damaged strings on an angled fret board.

How much do angled fretted basses cost?

Angled fretted basses are generally more expensive than straight ones because there’s a lot of work involved in making them, but not so high as not being worth the extra money spent if needed. You can also find cheaper options online for those who do choose to purchase their instruments secondhand instead of new ones from music stores like Music & Arts or Guitar Center.

A new one may cost about $3000 USD, which is a bit expensive but still within reach of most people who want to get into playing bass guitar.

Are angled basses available in 4, 5, 6, 7- string?

There are angled basses available in different string configurations, depending on the preference of the musician. Some people might only want a four-string bass guitar, for example, while others might prefer something with more range, like a six or seven-string option.

This gives players more flexibility when it comes to choosing what they want to play and can be advantageous during live performances or recording sessions.

Manufacturers are starting to offer these variations more often as there seems to be an increase in demand for them, so finding one that meets your needs shouldn’t be too difficult – although they may not be as readily available at local music stores as their standard counterparts.

What is the difference between angled frets and curved frets?

Angled frets are precisely what they sound like – they are an angle that is set into the fret board of the instrument. This means that when you run your fingers down them, they will have a slight curve to them as opposed to being completely straight in line with one another (like on a guitar).

Curved frets are less common than angled ones and can usually only be found on bass guitars that have been built explicitly for left-handed players (since their right hand would naturally rest at this angle while playing).

Curved frets follow the natural curvature of a player’s hand while they’re playing, which some people prefer as it feels more comfortable.

Can you use curved or angled bass strings?

You can use either curved or angled bass strings – there is no right or wrong answer. Some people find that they have an easier time adapting to curved strings because they are following the natural shape of their hand, while others find that angled strings allow for better movement and flexibility when fretting chords and notes.

It really comes down to personal preference in the end.

Should I, as a beginner bassist, get an angled fret bass?

That really depends on your level of experience and what you’re hoping to get out of playing bass guitar. Angled fret basses can be more difficult to play for beginners as they require some adjustment, but the benefits (such as better intonation) can be worth it in the long run.

If you’re not sure whether or not an angled fret board is right for you, try asking a local music store if they have any instruments with this feature that you can test out before making a purchase. That way, you’ll know for sure whether or not it’s something that will work well for your individual playing style.


Do you have a bass with angled frets? If so, you’re in good company! Many famous bass players, such as John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and Cliff Burton of Metallica, have played instruments with angled frets.

So, if you’re looking for an edge in your next jam session or want to make life a little bit easier on yourself while playing those intricate bass lines, try out a bass guitar with angled frets – you won’t be disappointed.

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