What is a Fanned Fret Guitar

If you’ve heard someone mention a fanned fret guitar, you’re obviously here because you want to know what the heck that is. But maybe you’ve seen one, and just wondered what’s so great about them. Wouldn’t it be harder to play with all those skew frets? What’s the point of fanned frets anyway?

You’re likely to come across these guitars more and more often. They’re becoming popular, although I think most guitarists will probably always prefer the traditional guitars with their straight frets. That said, you may find that if you ever get one, that it will become your favorite guitar. In this article, you’ll learn all about fanned fret guitars, and I’ve included a buying guide should you be in the market for one.

What is a Fanned Fret Guitar?

Fanned fret guitars have frets that are slanted and “fan out”. The frets, which are the little metal bars along the neck of the guitar, are at angles as opposed to straight across. The result is also that the spaces between the frets aren’t linear blocks, but are also at angles.

Why are the Frets Fanned?

2 Why are the Frets Fanned

Most often, you’ll see fanned frets on guitars with more than 6 strings, but less than 12 strings. It’s rare, but there are some 6-string and 12-string guitars that have fanned frets. Some 7-string guitars have the straight frets, but generally, when you get to guitars with 8 or 9, even 10 strings, you’ll see they have fanned frets.

This has to do with intonation, which hasn’t quite been deemed a fact, but that seems plausible. Others say that it’s easier to play these guitars with fanned frets, and I reckon that has merit due to how wide the necks are and the position of the fretting hand. But, when all’s said and done, it’s down to personal preference.

If you look at the bridge on your 6-string or 12-string guitar, you’ll see that the saddles on electric guitars, and the bridge pins on steel string acoustics, aren’t all in the same place. This is because to get the right notes, the strings need to be different lengths. They each require a specific amount of tension. You’ll see this measurement, the length of the strings from the nut (at the top of the neck), to the bridge, as scale length.

With the guitars that have between 6 and 12 strings, the scale length often varies. As mentioned, some 7-string guitars have a uniform scale length and the normal perpendicular frets. But more strings usually equals having a multiscale guitar for the sake of intonation. The additional strings need to be longer to reach the right note, and the fanned frets are said to help with this.

Why Don’t 12-String Guitars Have Fanned Frets?

Although I’ve already mentioned that you may come across some that do, the vast majority of 12-string guitars don’t have fanned frets. 12-string guitars have a second string for each string that you’d find on a 6-string guitar. The main strings and additional strings are positioned right next to each other, so the width of the neck only needs to be slightly wider.

The additional strings for the four lower strings are an octave higher, and the additional strings for the two highest strings are tuned to unison. That means they’re tuned to the same note. The result is a much fuller tone. But essentially, the scale length is the same as for 6-string guitars and there is no need really to have them be multiscale.

Fanned Fret Guitars

3 Fanned Fret Guitars

Here’s your buying guide to fanned fret guitars. I’ve included 6, 7, 8, and 9-string guitars that are multiscale.

6-String Multiscale Guitars

Although there aren’t many in this category, they do exist.

Ibanez Axe Design Lab SML721 Electric Guitar

If you’re looking for a more affordable option in this category, here you go. It’s one of the newer guitars on the market (at the time of writing). The Axe Design Lab guitar still has some premium features and is built for both smooth playing and high-gain crunch and distortion. You get two Custom Ibanez Q58 humbucker pickups, and tone and volume controls. Through the pickup switch and push-pull selector, you get 15 different pickup combinations.

You also get a rosewood fretboard with Jescar EVO gold frets, Ibanez mono-rail bridge, and Gotoh locking tuners. This gives you a combination of durability and excellent intonation. The scale length is 25” to 25.5”. The body is nyatoh and the neck is maple. Another bonus, the side dot inlays are luminescent, perfect for dark stages. Ibanez offers a 1-year warranty on their electric guitars.

Get it at Sweetwater.

Strandberg Boden Standard NX 6 Tremolo Electric Guitar

Strandberg is known for their high quality guitars, and although this is from their economic range, it’s still a quality guitar. This is a headless guitar in keeping with the rest of Strandberg’s offerings. You get two single coil pickups and a humbucker pickup with a 5-way pickup selector. There is also the usual master volume and tone control knobs too. The tuners are string lock tuners, so you can play hard without the strings going out of tune, even when you use the whammy bar.

The body is basswood with a flamed maple veneer, and the neck and fretboard are maple. Get the Standard NX 6 Tremolo in trans blue, charcoal, natural flamed maple, or trans red. Strandberg offers a 2-year warranty.

Get it at Sweetwater.

Strandberg Boden Classic NX 6 Electric Guitar

This model of the Boden NX 6 is a new and improved version of the older designs. You get two Suhr V60LP single coil pickups and one Suhr Thornbucker Plus humbucker pickup, master tone and volume knobs, and a 5-way pickup selector. As with the Standard, you get a Strandberg EGS Rev 7 tremolo bridge and string lock tuners. All this makes for a versatile guitar that stays in tune even when you’re thrashing it. The body is alder and the neck and fretboard, maple. The scale is 25” to 25.5”. Choose between Malta blue or Viridian green.

Get it at Sweetwater.

Strandberg Sälen Jazz NX Semi-hollowbody Electric Guitar

Semi-hollow guitars have an almost airy quality to their tone, though they can also have good depth. They also make good travel guitars, since they’re very quiet when played unplugged. The Sälen Jazz NX produces a tone described as warm and velvety thanks to the mahogany body and maple top. The neck is also mahogany with an Indian rosewood fretboard.

You get two humbucker pickups, master tone and volume knobs, and a 5-way pickup switch. The scale ranges from 25” to 25.5”. While it’s geared for a clear, articulate tone that suits clean playing very well, it sounds good when distorted too. It’s a good option if you’re primarily into jazz and blues, but want to venture into hard rock and metal from time to time too.

Get it at Sweetwater.

7-String Multiscale Guitars

With 7-string guitars, you usually have an additional B string or, in some cases, an F#. This is usually with the lower strings. I will include the radius of the neck so that you can determine whether you’d prefer a flatter or more rounded fretboard. The higher the radius number, the flatter the fretboard. For example, a 16” radius is only slightly curved where 8” has noticeably more pronounced curve. 20”is an almost completely flat fretboard. Fretboard radius only matters in terms of what you find comfortable.

Ibanez RGMS7 7-string Electric Guitar

If you’re on a tight budget and love to play metal or fusion, this guitar is for you. You get two humbucker pickups, master tone and volume knobs, and a 5-way pickup selector. The body is nyatoh with a maple/walnut neck and jatoba fretboard. The radius is 15.75”, so it’s got a gentle curve. The scale length is 25.5” to 27”. The mono-rail bridge lets each string ring out clearly and fosters good intonation despite hard playing.

Ibanez offers a 1-year warranty on their electric guitars.

Get it at Sweetwater.

Schecter Damien-7 Electric Guitar

The Damien-7 has a lot of character. From the satin black finish to the bat-shaped inlays, this is a great guitar for those who are fans of the spookier side of life. And it won’t even break the bank as 7-string guitars go. It’s one of the more affordable Schecter offerings. You get two Schecter Diamond Heretic humbucker pickups, master push-pull volume and tone knobs and a 3-way pickup selector. The Hipshot fixed bridge ensures good intonation.

The body is mahogany and the neck is maple with carbon fiber rods to prevent warping under different environmental conditions. The fretboard is rosewood with a radius of 16”. The scale length is 25.5” to 27”. Schecter provides a limited lifetime warranty on all their Diamond series guitars.

Get it at Sweetwater.

Schecter Reaper-7 Electric Guitar

Another one of their Diamond series guitars, the Reaper-7 guitars stand out visually. Sound-wise you have a resonant guitar that lends itself to rock, fusion, and metal. It also sounds great clean, so it makes for a versatile guitar. You get two Schecter Diamond Decimator humbuckers, a master volume knob, and a push-pull/split coil tone knob, and a 3-way pickup selector.

The body is swamp ash, the neck is maple and walnut with an ebony fretboard. The radius is 20” and the scale length is between 25.5” and 27”. Choose between satin charcoal burst, satin inferno burst, and satin sky burst.

Get it at Sweetwater.

Schecter C-7 Rob Scallon Electric Guitar

If you’re into YouTube guitarists, you’ve likely come across Rob Scallon. This guitar was made with him in mind. His creativity when it comes to rock and metal is well-known. For that, he needs a versatile guitar. The C-7 is that guitar. You get two Schecter Diamond ‘78 Rob Scallon humbuckers, push-pull master tone and volume knobs, and a 3-way pickup selector.

The Hipshot hardtail bridge and Hipshot Grip-lock tuners ensure good intonation. The body is swamp ash, the neck is mahogany, and ebony fretboard with a 16” radius. The scale length is 25.5” to 26.25”.

Get it at Sweetwater.

ESP LTD M-1007 Electric Guitar

The LTD M-1007 has good quality hardware that is evident in the tone. You get two humbuckers (a Seymour Duncan Sentient and a Seymour Duncan Nazgul), a 3-way pickup selector, and master and tone knobs. The tone knob is a push-pull split coil knob. The body is mahogany with a flamed maple top. The neck is maple and purple heart, and the fretboard is Macassar ebony. It has a radius of 15.7” and the scale length is 25.5” to 27”. The bridge is a Hipshot hardtail and the tuners are LTD locking tuners for good intonation.

ESP provides a limited lifetime warranty on their original guitars.

Get it at Sweetwater.

Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK Modern HT7 MS Electric Guitar

If you’re looking for a guitar with a compound radius neck, here you go. The Modern HT7 MS has a radius of 16” at the top of the fretboard and 12” at the bottom. Overall, the scale is 25.5” to 27”. The neck is maple and wenge with an ebony fretboard. The body is basswood. You get two Fishman Fluence Modern PRF MH8 humbuckers, with a 3-way pickup selector, a master volume knob, and a push-pull tone knob. The Hipshot tailpiece and Gotoh locking tuners provide great intonation.

Jackson is owned by Fender who provides a 2-year warranty on Jackson guitars.

Get it at Sweetwater.

Ernie Ball Music Man Kaizen 7 Electric Guitar

The Kaizen 7 is the result of a collaboration between Tosin Abasi and Music Man. Another innovative guitar when it comes to fretboard radius, it has a fretboard that’s thicker towards the treble side (higher-pitched strings) and thinner towards the bass strings and is known as Infinity Radius. The overall scale is from 24.75” to 25.65”. The fretboard is ebony, the neck is roasted figure maple, and the body is alder. Choose between Apollo black, chalk white, mint, or indigo blue.

You get two humbuckers, a 3-way pickup selector, and volume and tone knobs. Enjoy the tremolo bridge and good intonation thanks to the Steinberger locking gearless tuners. Ernie Ball offers a 1-year warranty on their guitars.

Get it at Sweetwater.

8-String Multiscale Guitars

8-string guitars have additional B and F# strings.

Ibanez RGMS8 8-String Electric Guitar

The RGMS8 is pretty much just like the RGMS7, just with an eighth string and everything that goes along with accommodating it. In terms of the scale length, you get an extra .2 inches (25.5” to 27.2”). Other than that, hardware is the same type and as is the tonewood.

Get it at Sweetwater.

Schecter Damien-8 Electric Guitar

The Damien-8 is almost just like the Damien-7, but just with 8 strings. You even get the same pearloid bats along the fretboard. Where it differs is the scale length and radius. Unlike the Damien-7, the Damien-8 has a scale length of 25.5” to 27.5” and a fretboard radius of 20”.

Get it at Sweetwater.

Jackson X Series Dinky Arch Top DKAF8 MS Electric Guitar

Just like the DK Modern, the DKAF8 MS has a compound radius fretboard of 12” to 16”. In terms of scale length, you’re looking at 26” to 28”. The fretboard is laurel and the neck maple, with a mahogany body. It’s worth a mention that the neck is graphite enforced for extra strength. You get two high-output humbuckers, push-pull master volume and tone knobs, and a 3-way pickup selector. The staggered individual saddles provide good intonation. Overall, this guitar is well-suited to rock and metal.

Get it at Sweetwater.

Jackson X Series Soloist Arch Top SLAT8 Electric Guitar

The SLAT8 at first glance may seem like the DKAF8, but it’s not quite there. It rocks EMG 909 Treble (bridge), and Bass (neck) humbuckers. You also get the usual tone and volume knobs along with a 3-way pickup selector. The body is basswood with a maple neck and laurel fretboard. As with the other two Jackson guitars on this list, the fretboard radius is a compound radius at 12” to 16”. The scale length is 26” to 28”. For good intonation, this guitar also has the staggered individual saddles.

Get it at Sweetwater.

ESP LTD M-1008 Electric Guitar

The M-1008 is virtually identical to the M-1007, just with 8 strings. The body, neck, and fretboard materials are the same, as are the pickups, bridge, and tuners.

Get it at Sweetwater.

Strandberg Boden Original NX 8 Electric Guitar

Another Strandberg for those who are fans of headless guitars and want 8 strings. Part of their Original series, this is a remake and upgrade of the original Strandberg guitars and is part of their flagship guitar range. You get a Fishman Fluence Modern Alnico humbucker and a Fishman Fluence Modern Ceramic humbucker. This combination makes for a versatile, giving you smooth tones when you need it and grit when you need an aggressive tone.

You also get your master push-pull volume and tone knobs with a 3-way pickup selector. The intonation holds up well thanks to the Rev 7 fixed bridge and the string lock tuners. The body is swamp ash with a maple top, the neck is maple with a birdseye maple fretboard. The radius is a pretty flat 20” and the scale length is 26.5” to 28”.

Get it at Sweetwater.

9-String Multiscale Guitars

There are only two on this list at the time of writing. Well, at least 9-string guitars with fanned frets. They’re still quite rare, but they are also gaining popularity, so we’ll probably see more in the coming years. In addition to the standard strings, you get an addition B string, F# string, and a C# string.

Legator Ninja N9 Electric Guitar

The Ninja N9 has quite a bit of character, with the natural pattern of the wood showing through and the dots starting closer to the bass side of the fretboard and then switching to the treble side at the 15th fret. You get two Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckers with push-pull voicing and a 3-way pickup selector. Unlike most electric guitars, you only get a master volume knob. The bridge is fixed, and the tuners are locking tuners.

The body is ash, the neck is roasted maple, and the fretboard is ebony. The fretboard has a radius of 18” and the scale is 28.5” to 30”. Choose from snowfall, crimson, smoke, or iris fade. Legator Guitars provide a 1-year warranty on their guitars.

Preorder it from Legator Guitars.

Legator Ninja N9FX Electric Guitar

The Ninja N9FX is like the N9, but with extra goodies. Really, that just means you get a Tesi LED killswitch along with the master volume knob (push-pull) and the 3-way pickup selector. The other variations include the unique neck, which is made of wenge and maple, but features a palemoon bony fretboard with the pattern of the wood clearly visible. The body is ash with a California Buckeye burl top. There is a note that the tops may vary, which may be due to the wood being visible and the nature of wood.

You get Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckers with push-pull voicing. Compared to the N9, the N9FX is a little less sparse looking in terms of knobs. If your frets matter, both have 24 medium jumbo frets, but where the N9 has nickel frets, the N9FX has stainless steel frets. Good intonation is ensured by the fixed bridge and locking tuners. The N9FX comes with a gig bag.

Preorder it from Legator Guitars.


At first glance, fanned frets can seem strange and perhaps even overwhelming. But many guitarists who’ve started playing fanned fret guitars don’t want to look back. It does seem like these slanted frets may be more natural for the fretting hand and once you get used to it, you may find it the most comfortable way to play. The only way to know is to try. It’s good practice to play a guitar before buying, although there are gems online too.

Whichever guitar you want, whether the standard 6-strings or something different with more range like the extended range guitars, there is something for you on this list. And while these guitars can be a bit more expensive than the guitars with straight frets, saving up to get one is worth it in my opinion.

Happy jamming!

1 What is a Fanned Fret Guitar