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Do Jumbo Frets or Medium Frets Play Easiest?

Question by Joe Strat

Question: This is a simple question. Do guitars play easier with jumbo frets or medium frets?


There's plenty of discussion in forums across the internet regarding jumbo vs medium frets, but what it all seems to boil down to is preference.

There is general agreement, however, that jumbo frets are a cheaper alternative to scalloped frets, which some guitarists like the feel of, especially with bends or wide vibratos. Again - personal preference!

You should try both jumbo and medium fretted guitars and go with what feels best for you.

If anyone has any comments on playing with different fret sizes/types, let us know by using the links below...

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Jumbo vs. standard frets
By: Anonymous

Might be my imagination, but jumbo frets seem to be thicker. I have them on my American Deluxe, and don't really care for them. It seems that when I chording, particularly at the nut end of the fret bar, if I squeeze too hard, I get off key. Again, may just be my imagination about the difference, but the sound sure seems to be affected.

Relieving Fret hand tension.
By: Anonymous

Any suggestions for relaxing and relieving tension in the fret hand?

I'm with you...
By: Anonymous

I, too, have an American Deluxe HSS with jumbos, and I'm not particularly enamored with them. I have a pretty strong grip, by habit, and if I get a little too rambunctious, I go off note. This seems particularly prevalent with the "A" chord and "B" barre chord.

Jumbo Frets, an adjustment
By: Dennis

I have been playing guitar for over 3 decades and I have never owned a guitar with Jumbo frets. I was able to get a great deal on a PRS custom 24 (10 Top) - a beautiful instrument - but it came with Jumbo Frets - I figured I could always have it re-fretted, if I could not get used to them - I have been playing it now for a while and I love it - I have to say that it has been an adjustment - I have to use a lighter touch when I play - I have always had a tendency of really digging into the neck and I can't do that with the Jumbo's - I still do not feel 100% comfortable with the play, but the more I play the better it feels - right now I am not going to change anything - but I think the jumbo frets will slowly become irrelevant

Better bending
By: Anonymous

With the American special i experienced the first time jumbo frets and for me there are 2 differences namely easy bending and more tone.

A good question
By: BGuitar

I had bought an inexpensive Ephiphone Les Paul II, at Guitar Center. From the start the guitar had issues. The humbucker was cold soldered. Ok so, I returned the guitar, and picked up an Ibanez GRG20Z. The tone wood is nothing impressive, alot of guitarist have said the sound is bland. It doesn't have great sustain, alot of entry level guitars use Popular, sometimes basswood, but you can find basswood in Intermerdiate guitars with good results.

My Ibanez GRG20Z has medium frets. It plays expressively, and musically. The fret size can at times make it very easy to chord, and play solos. So if your a lead/rhythm guitarist, and your hitting those solos right after rhythm medium will the do the job.

But alot of players including EVH (Recent Interview) said that he likes Jumbo frets and isnt'a fan of medium fret. I hear that bigger frets intonate like crazy.

If you know anything about Eddie's sound you get the picture. So if you want a fast track to more intonation, then Jumbo may be the soloution.

I would check it out, try out the difffernt guitars, especially test out your needs.

To each his own, I always say.

Larger frets are like ice skating compared to just walking...
By: Barry Sparks

If you are a beginner, or strictly a rhythm player, small to medium frets will do you great - easy chording and sliding from one barre chord to the next without feeling like your going over speed bumps. But if you are a lead player doing lots of bending and vibrato, the jumbo frets are the only way to go! As a lead player, you don't want to feel the wood of the fretboard on your finger tips every time you apply vibrato to a note (creates drag). The larger fretwire will lift your finger tips up off the wood and keep them from bottoming out. This means your fingers will not fatigue as quickly while soloing, and you will be able to get a better grip and control of bent notes with the meat of your finger tips. Pull-offs and hammer-ons will also ring out more clearly. I had my Gibson Explorer EX2 refretted with Dunlop 6110s and it brought it back to life! I am currently having my 2015 Les Paul Classic (which came stock with 27% lower fretwire than Gibson used on their previous year models) refretted with 6100 Stainless Steel fretwire. This will transform the guitar into a true beast of an instrument! It will play more effortlessly and should even have a better tone. Can't wait to get it back! I hope this info has helped someone out there who may be trying to decide on fret size. In any case, keep rockin' my friends!

Jumbo frets
By: Anonymous

Without a doubt jumbo frets are the best, i don’t care who you are or what style you play, they are just easier to play, I’ve been playing for 40 years and going back and forth from standard frets to jumbo jumbo feels better and easier every time and if you are used to standard or medium jumbo frets and think they feel better then just play a guitar with jumbo frets for a few days then go back to the standard frets and you will see they are better

I love Jumbo Frets
By: Anonymous

I have been playing guitars with medium jumbo frets for 20 years and loved it. But then I bought a PRS NF3 which had jumbo frets. Initially, I did not realize that they were jumbo but I noticed right away it was easier to play this guitar. I absolutely love this guitar, the soloing and the vibrato is effortless. I feel like it is easier to express myself.
The PRS NF3 is an amazing instrument because at half volume (5), it sounds like a strat, at 8 it sounds like a P90 and with the guitar volume at 10 it sounds like a humbucker. Just awesome tones.

I love Jumbos too-Why do so many new guitars...
By: Marcus C

have medium jumbo frets? Unfortunately I have two new guitars with medium jumbos and yes, I've sort of gotten used to them but they aren't really my cup of tea. I had an old Les Paul that I had refretted with 6150 jumbos that was absolutely like butter, loved it! So now I'm dealing with the possibility of having to have the new ones refretted and spending a kings ransom in doing so! Man oh man... I bought a used Highway One Strat with jumbos but they aren't even close to the 6150's and I'm not totally loving those either. I guess some players like to feel the wood alot and I'm like another poster here. Once you play true jumbos you really feel how easy it is to bend and play chords after awhile. It is a matter of preference though I know. Back in the day I paid $200 for a fretjob now I've seen quotes for twice as much and more! I suppose it comes down to just how much I want to deal with the medium jumbos. What a drag...Anyone know why they put medium jumbos on everything without even an option for jumbos?

Strat frets
By: Anonymous

What is Jumbo?
If it is 6100…..these are awesome frets. They allow a great fret dress with a very low action with a correct neck angle.
These are the only frets for a strat that I find playable and comfortable. Matters not if a Maple or Rosewood neck. 6100’s are awesome. They can be modified and dressed for years for playability.

jumbo frets ?maybe for but you not for me
By: Aadrian

i play guitar for 50 years and search for my guitar for 20 years . i had many instuments , so what is my guitar now? i play with strat type and strings 08 .with gibson i may use 09 but not with fender .but the most importand thing is the frets.i can t play with jumbo .they r not for me//not for solo and not for harmony .my jackson and my ibanez become nice for me only after i worked few weaks on each to file the frets , to make them small . i have a vantage guitar and a dillion avalanche guitar that are wonderful instruments , of course they have small frets . need only an expensive guitar to play ? and with jumbo frets? ok ok..

Jumbo frets NEW
By: bo

I never noticed the subtle differences between the two and what they mean until I started practicing bending up and applying vibrato at the bent pitch. Turns out, every time I've ever practiced that, I was practicing on a guitar with small or med frets and quit trying, discouraged.

Last year, I tried again, This time, someone suggested that I practice on a guitar w/jumbos and 10 gauge strings (I usually play 9s).

I did as suggested and IMMEDIATELY found it accessible! By the end of the 3rd day practicing, I knew I'd have a handle on it before long. Over the last year, I've practiced the technique up and down the neck, bending upwards and downwards and I've now mastered the technique. It's easier achieved with a whammy bar to be sure, but it's a great trick to have in your bag!

Of course, once you learn with the tools you need, it's easier to move to a guitar with small frets and lighter gauge strings. It's just a matter of adjusting at that point.

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