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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / fret wire preferences?


Long Island City, NY

Aug 9th, 2016 05:31 PM   Edit   Profile  

I own a lot of basses and have my favorites for various reasons (as anyone would I suppose). Last year I put together a NOS MIM 2012 Fender Jazz body with an MIM '62 RI Fender Jazz neck. I swapped a vintage Fender bent-metal bridge (not high mass) and DiMarzio Model J pickups, which were recommended by my tech. I like V/V/DPDT push-pull tone with series-parallel switching, so I went with that.

The neck has vintage frets and I didn't give it much thought at the time; mainly I wanted a 7.25 radius.

Turns out after a year, the biggest surprise is the neck: I now wish some of my other basses had these frets.

Wondering how others feel about fret wire gauges.

2012 MIM Fender Jazz

(This message was last edited by dg27 at 07:33 PM, Aug 9th, 2016)

Contributing Member

California Escapee

Don't look at me with that tone of voice
Aug 9th, 2016 05:46 PM   Edit   Profile  

I much prefer 7.25" radius and vintage fretwire on my Fender basses.


Long Island City, NY

Aug 9th, 2016 06:09 PM   Edit   Profile  

OK, so I'm not alone!


Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Aug 10th, 2016 06:15 PM   Edit   Profile  

I love the thinner, vintage fretwire and I also have a 68P B-width neck with the fatter, jumbo wire and I like that one as well.

The fatter wire on the 68 provides ever so slightly more weight (to the neck) than thinner wire and this seems to give the bass really nice sustain.


(This message was last edited by edmonstg at 08:24 AM, Aug 11th, 2016)


Long Island City, NY

Aug 10th, 2016 06:45 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for weighing in, George.

I'm big on sustain and certainly don't detect any issues on this bass.

I just love the overall feel.

Contributing Member

Chico CA

If you rest, you rust.
Aug 10th, 2016 07:43 PM   Edit   Profile  

Not to hijack the thread dg27' but could you please expound on how this bass is wired? Thanks, Jack


Long Island City, NY

Aug 10th, 2016 07:52 PM   Edit   Profile  

No problem, Jack.

It's got one vol for each pickup plus a DPDT push-pull pot for series-parallel. That also functions as the tone.

When pulled up (series) the neck vol services both pickups, which function like one honking humbucker (as my tech likes to say). When pushed down (parallel) you use both vols and get more of traditional J growl. I have this wiring on 3 basses. The diagram is posted at the link.

series parallel wiring

(This message was last edited by dg27 at 09:53 PM, Aug 10th, 2016)


Lower Slobovia

Pass me the onions..Yeah, the green ones
Aug 10th, 2016 09:31 PM   Edit   Profile  

One of my first qualifications is vintage fret wire. Makes the neck and playability "faster" to me.

Nevertheless, I have a 5-er with jumbo frets and I like the overall feel of it. That's due mostly to the necks shape though.

Jeff Scott

On a spinning rock

Aug 10th, 2016 09:55 PM   Edit   Profile  

When Martin Keith and I were discussing a build he did for me in 2011 the subject of fret wire size came up. After talking about this I decided on vintage size wire, I am glad i did. The bass, an Elfin 5 with a gorgeous birdseye maple top and walnut body, has amazing sustain, and the bass is effortless to play. I am a fan of vintage size fret wire (my custom Martin also has vintage size frets).


Long Island City, NY

Aug 11th, 2016 04:31 AM   Edit   Profile  

I agree with iammr2:

"Makes the neck and playability "faster" to me."

uncle stack-knob
Contributing Member

united kingdom

Aug 11th, 2016 06:52 AM   Edit   Profile  

Something I've come to notice over the past few years,working on instruments,and re-fretting some,is the "vintage" fretwire found on the Mexican offerrings.It measures out as close to the original wire from the pre-cbs era as you can get.
Now this relates just not to the crown width and height,but also the tang width,the stud to stud width,and the depth of the tang also. It is closer than the American vintage stuff for some reason.
I sure as heck would like to get my hands on a supply of it.

And yes,I prefer a vintage wire personally.



Long Island City, NY

Aug 11th, 2016 10:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for the education, Stack-Knob.

The neck I got came from The Stratosphere (eBay seller). It's a '62 RI and like I said, I got it more for the 7.25 than anything else.

I also like how it looks :).

2012 MIM Fender Jazz (2)

(This message was last edited by dg27 at 12:16 PM, Aug 11th, 2016)

Contributing Member

North of Philly

Solid state = solid sound+light weight
Aug 31st, 2016 11:54 PM   Edit   Profile  

I think that if I were to ever go back to playing fretted basses the one thing I would like on my new toys would be the small fret wire that was on my '61 stack knob J. That thing was fast and furious to play!!!

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Sep 1st, 2016 09:42 AM   Edit   Profile  

I also prefer vintage wire or even Gibson-style (low & wide) wire on basses.

The argument for tall frets on guitars is that they allow you to get "under the string" for multi-step bends. Very little call for that on a bass.

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Sep 1st, 2016 12:34 PM   Edit   Profile  

The Model J pickups are very P like when they (individually) are wired in series, the normal wiring.

When one is wired in parallel, they get really close to some vintage J pickups, without the hum.

I highly recommend series/parallel switches on each pickup.

With the stock series wiring, I don't see much use for putting the pair in series. They are full enough. In series the pair would be too muddy for me.


Long Island City, NY

Sep 1st, 2016 07:34 PM   Edit   Profile  


Do mean a separate DPDT for each pickup?

I have this Jazz and my Squier Jazz both wired as per the diagram at the link above and absolutely love it. (The Squier has SD QPs.) I probably leave them in series 90% of the time. It gives me tons of bottom. I only switch to parallel when I want a bit more mids/highs, which is rarely.

FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / fret wire preferences?

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