Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Steve Ganz
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by Steve Ganz » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:54 pm

RichardUno wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:29 pm
Has anyone actually tried a microtonal guitar? My instinct tells me that while it might be perfectly in tune in some keys, in others it will sound terrible.
Excellent question! Theoretical advances are one thing, real implementations are another. While the movable microtonal frets make some sense to me, (player can adjust for the key, intonation, strings ) the fixed fret version does not make sense to me. I'd like to play it and see for myself... willing to let it convince me in reality.
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by SteveL123 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:29 pm

I like to keep an open mind and would like to try one before making any comments or jokes about it.

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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:22 pm

UKsteve wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:42 am
Pretty standard fare currently for some electrics, especially 7 and 8 strings.
Search "Strandberg true temperament" or http://www.truetemperament.com
I have played an electric with individual fret compensation, i.e., wiggly frets. Stretches are mildly weird to get used to, but work just fine. My concern initially was that a stretch would terminate at a transition point of two wiggles. But in use, that did not happen. I did not buy that instrument.

My main issue is that, as someone above said, you are stuck with the same type of strings or all the wigglyness is useless.

What interests me is how to make them. How do you cut the channel? I can see how you could bend and squish the fret material after careful measurements. Then when you need a fret job, oh my! The cost might be something to consider. And on an electric with lots of stretches, you will wear out the frets sooner rather than later.
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by UKsteve » Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:34 pm

Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:22 pm
And on an electric with lots of stretches, you will wear out the frets sooner rather than later.
An awful lot of what wears frets out on electrics is string bending / side-to-side vibrato etc.

Try vibrato on a true temperament guitar while listening to what it sounds like. You won't be doing it for much longer I'll wager.

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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by Alan Carruth » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:05 pm

Some of the available wiggly frets are cast to shape; they probably work like a staple. You could, of course, use small staples for each string, plugged into properly spaced holes.

One of the big advantages of Equal Temperament is that all of the semitones are the same size in terms of cents. This allows you to use straight frets. If you're using wiggly frets you're not playing in ET. That's not a problem if you only play solo and like the way it sounds. If you're playing with other folks you can run into all sorts of dissonance.

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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by fast eddie » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:55 pm

I saw a very high end guitar on e - b a y several months with frets like this. Don't recall the name but I think the price was about $20 K.
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by Michael.N. » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:44 pm

franks59 wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:11 pm
How are you supposed to play barre chords with that, especially at the 3rd fret?

Frank
I suppose with an electric guitar you can get away with a very small amount of buzz. Less so on a classical. I certainly think it makes playing buzz free barre chords pretty tricky at frets 1 and fret 3. Of course those frets tend to be used a lot but it would be interesting to hear from someone who has played a very wiggly fret classical.
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by UnstoppableGuitar » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:25 pm

Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:22 pm
UKsteve wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:42 am
Pretty standard fare currently for some electrics, especially 7 and 8 strings.
Search "Strandberg true temperament" or http://www.truetemperament.com
I like very much the link that u gave us. Many many Thanks. I read something about John Schneider microtonal guitar and Turkish microtonal guitar music, and it become very interesting to me. Makes perfect sense, if we want some sort of deep contact with music, to find our notes. Nature, the way I see it is not perfect, there is always some sort of imperfection to add that extra beauty to it. I mean, why the frets have to be so mathematical exact, it's boring. There must to be another way. This is how I assume it, I am just an amateur by the way, but I will experiment at least with a fretless guitar to feel how it looks and sounds like. thanks
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:16 pm

UnstoppableGuitar wrote:
Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:25 pm
... Nature, the way I see it is not perfect, there is always some sort of imperfection to add that extra beauty to it. I mean, why the frets have to be so mathematical exact, it's boring. There must to be another way...
Referencing my Rodriguez FF Sabicas - I was talking to a Bay Area luthier, Lewis Santer, a protege of Ervin Somogyi. That school of thinking indicates "another way" as you put it. He pointed out that the bridge on my Rodriguez is actually in the wrong place, and if you follow the math, you cannot properly intonate that guitar. Lewis then pointed out that the Rodriguez sounds fine because they ignore the math, and set it up for best musicality based upon artful consideration of the many factors that defy clean mathematical precision. This can be called "artistry", or the way I think of excellent lutherie, "craftsmanship at the level of art."

As a pragmatic exercise, if you measure the intonation on that guitar, it's wrong. But if you play that guitar, it all works out quite well with overall musicality across the length of the fretboard. Now, "boring" is a loaded term. It could be "not boring" in a bad, worst possible kind of way. And say what you want about a factory guitar, but the luthiers at Rodriguez got the FF Sabicas right by ignoring the exact math.

Having said all of that, I trust the math of scale length and intonation on well build guitars, and would not trust "artistry" to ensure excellent intonation consistently. It also helps greatly to be less fussy about perfect intonation! :D
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by UnstoppableGuitar » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:44 pm

I sinmply don't have arguments to counter your exposition, maybe one day I'll have, not now. But anyway many thanks for the elegant and clarifying reply.
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by Brian M » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:40 pm

We would all need a set of wiggly capos.

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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by amezcua » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:33 am

This is a point where Steel guitars and Classicals should part company . Intonation choices should not be pushed aside because ultra hard steel frets are all that we need for perfect happiness. A few tiny tweaks to reduce unevenness will cure the problem . Mr Simogyi has written that Classicals have followed the Steel guitars with all the tops shoved through a sander machine. And he says the current Steel instruments are copies of copies of copies of copies etc. So unfasten your straight jackets and give us room to breathe again . The photo of the adjustable guitar has a temperament that is well known to be useable in only a few keys. That does not affect the temperaments that can be used in most or all keys . The point about sticking to exactly the same strings will apply equally to Equal Temperament . Ignoring the different properties of strings is where we are at present .

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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by JohnH » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:38 am

This "wiggly" fretting appears to depart from equal temperament so there is a key it favors. I am assuming it favors key of C whose key signature has no sharps or flats. As you add sharps or flats to the key signature the more dissonant it becomes.

I did not see any description of the temperament this system implements.

I guess if you want pure temperament for a key you would have to have removable fretboards so you could use a fretboard for a specific key.

Instruments in the violin family don't use frets so it is up to the performer to play in tune. That sidesteps the issue of fret placement.

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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:55 pm

hesson11 wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:11 am
Maybe this has been done before, but I've never seen it. The frets are "wiggly" in an effort to improve intonation. I can't link to it because Kenny's site sells guitars direct, but if you go to his site and click on the "performance intonation" blurb on the home page, you'll see it. Just wondering what everyone thinks of this approach.
-Bob
No string bending with such frets so it is limited to classicals and steel strings like folk. I've played that style of fret and it just won't work on an electric. That being said, with bridges like the Floyd Rose II, you don't really need exotic wiggly frets. But in fixed bridge guitars, like our classicals, it works great.

As someone mentioned above, you have to stick with the original type of strings or intonation will suffer. In actual practice, it won't change all that much. So you can play around with different strings and you may get away some changes. I love the science of this and appreciate luthiers who can actually do the math and execute it.
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