I just recently finished a 3 string and it seems like the strings are a little hard to fret. I have it set up on a 25 inch scale, if I move the bridge toward the neck will it make the strings easier to fret without sacrificing tone quality? It plays great with a slide. I am also wondering if I might have the frets set too low. I am using an 8/32 bolt for the bridge and a bit smaller bolt for the nut.

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Comment by Taffy Evans on April 17, 2018 at 4:37pm

Hi Dan, it may not be the strings causing the problem, it could be the width of the fingerboard, height of the frets or lack thereof, depth and profile of the neck. Or the way you grip the neck with thumb and finger. Try a different wrist angle or guitar position.

Shorter scale length gives less tension as does lighter string gauges or even tuning down a tone or two.

Lower strings = lower volume and tone.

Taff

Comment by Danny Gordon on April 13, 2018 at 1:29am

I did find a smaller diameter bolt for the nut and along with redoing the frets the problem is solved. Thanks so much for your help.

Comment by Danny Gordon on April 13, 2018 at 1:26am

Thanks, I found the problem I had set the frets too deep causing a big space to push the string down. The problem was only when  chording and getting a good sound. Playing lead hasn't been a problem. I redid the frets a little and now I can chord like I should be able to. I have some thin pieces of walnut that I am going to glue to the neck and make a fret board out of with some type of metal fret.

Comment by Kigar on April 12, 2018 at 7:50pm

The string spacing does matter. Too close and the strings next to the one you are fretting can buzz, too far is a matter of reach. Neck size and shape impact this too.

Comment by Dave Lynas on April 12, 2018 at 10:02am

I suggest you look close at the nut. I’d think about bone or wood for the nut. Then you can have a square edge to file slots for the action at the nut. You want a low action at the first fret. That gives you the correct intonation for fretting the notes close to the nut. This action should be around 1/16 inch or a little less. Then when you fret near the nut it won’t go sharp. It will be easy to fret with your fingers. Sliding however will take a soft touch. You’ll bottom out on the frets if you mash the slide down. You’ll get clicks from the frets. The action at the bottom of the fretboard can be higher than at the nut. Up to a quarter inch so you can slide the high notes and still finger fret the low notes. I set the action so I can finger fret the notes up to the 7th fret and slide fret the 4th to 12th frets without being too light handed. Don’t move the bridge toward the nut. It won’t help ease of play. It will screw up the intonation big time. It will sound out of tune when you fret. The higher notes will be  way out of tune. Setting the intonation at the designated scale length is a firm rule. Too high a string at the nut will also screw up the intonation for finger fretting and make play hard.

Comment by Danny Gordon on April 12, 2018 at 7:30am

Would the spacing between the strings have an effect on fretting. It seems like the worst problem is playing chords, single notes are not a problem.

Comment by Don Stachovak on April 12, 2018 at 6:03am

If you move the bridge towards the neck you will throw off the intonation, and it won't be easier to fret. If you want to do both fretting and slide, you will have to compromise a bit on the fretting. You could try a smaller bridge bolt, lowering the action, and making it easier to fret. Or slightly lighter strings, that might make fretting easier. Good luck!

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