Jumbo fret guitars are popular among modern guitarists due to their improved playability, making it easier to bend strings and play fast lead lines.
However, choosing the right jumbo-fret guitar can be challenging with the many options available.
This blog post will explore jumbo frets’ advantages and potential disadvantages, so you can better decide if they fit your playing style. Additionally, we will provide a list of some of the most popular jumbo fret guitars and their specs, along with reviews of the top 4 options to consider.
Let’s jump in!
Table of Contents
Understanding Jumbo Frets
Jumbo frets refer to the fret wire used on the neck of a guitar.
This section will explore jumbo frets’ advantages and potential disadvantages, so you can better decide if they fit your playing style.
Advantages of Jumbo Frets
One of the main benefits of jumbo frets is that they provide improved playability for many guitarists. Their increased width and height make bending strings and playing fast lead lines easier. This is especially helpful for guitarists with larger hands or those that want to play more aggressive styles like metal [source].
Jumbo frets also require less finger pressure to fret the strings. You won’t need to press as hard, leading to less hand fatigue and better overall performance [source].
Jumbo frets also last longer than other-sized frets. They are an excellent option for players who want heavier gauged strings on their instruments.
While jumbo frets have many advantages, there are some potential drawbacks. One of the main issues is that if you’re accustomed to playing with smaller frets, there will be a slight learning curve. Since your fingers may not touch the fingerboard with jumbo frets, it creates a different feel.
One of the challenges of the “floating” string feel of jumbo frets is that it’s easier to push too hard and make a note go sharp. You’ll have to adjust your technique if you don’t want to consistently sound out of tune.
Furthermore, with jumbo frets, achieving a lower action may be more challenging than guitars with smaller fret sizes. The increased distance between the strings and the frets could result in fret buzzing if the action is too low.
It’s essential to weigh both jumbo frets’ advantages and potential disadvantages to determine if they suit your preferences and playing style.
Top 4 Jumbo Fret Guitars Overview
Thousands of guitars feature jumbo frets, so narrowing down the “best jumbo fret guitars” is impossible.
However, there are some popular options available that are reliable, consistent, and great sounding.
Because of the “shredding” nature of a Jumbo fretted guitar, I’ve boiled this Top 4 into mainly metal and progressive guitars. I also threw in a more classic blues, rock, and country guitar for those not looking for an extreme axe.
Guitar 1 (Best Budget 7-String): Jackson Dinky Arch Top JS22Q
The Jackson Dinky is one of the best 7-string electric guitars for those who don’t want to break the bank. It has a compound radius neck for comfortable transitions up and down the neck, a beautiful quilted maple body, and a more subdued metal option from the Jackson line.
- Compound radius neck improves playability
- Comes with a beautiful quilted maple body
- Modern body contours make it comfortable to play
Guitar 2 (Best Budget 6-String): Ibanez RG Gio
The Ibanez Gio electric guitar is the perfect choice for guitarists looking for a high-value, budget-friendly six-string guitar with jumbo frets. With its versatile humbuckers, lightweight body, and plenty of finishes (check Sweetwater), the Gio offers a wide range of tones and comfortable playability.
- Lightweight and easy to play
- Has a fantastic, modern look
- A flat radius fretboard is perfect for fast lead lines
Guitar 3 (Best Overall for Metal): PRS Mark Holcomb Signature
Mark Holcomb is well-known for playing in the progressive metal band Periphery. If you’re familiar with Periphery’s music, you’ll know they play with loads of dynamics, styles, and tones. The combination of Mark Holcomb’s versatile playing with PRS’s insane consistency and playability makes this signature jumbo fret guitar a must-have for shredders.
- PRS are great guitars to buy online because of their high-quality assurance process
- Great for progressive and modern styles that range from clean to all-out distortion
- Extremely flat fingerboard with jumbo frets makes fast playing a breeze
Guitar 4 (Editor’s Choice): Reverend Greg Koch Gristle 90
My favorite in this mini-roundup is the Reverend Greg Koch Gristle 90. This guitar has two P90 pickups, a chambered t-style body, and a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece. Reverend guitars are known for their consistency and attention to detail. If you’re looking for a fantastic playing guitar that isn’t part of the “metal persuasion,” check the Gristle 90 out!
- A modified traditional guitar for those who want to play blues and rock
- Reverend makes consistent and high-quality guitars for everyday players
- Shorter-scale guitars increase the “slinky” vibe of the guitar, making it a lot of fun to play
What are the benefits of jumbo frets?
Jumbo frets reduce the pressure needed to fret a note, enhancing playing comfort and minimizing hand fatigue.
Additionally, they make string bending and vibrato techniques easier to perform. If you have a lighter touch and prefer speed, jumbo frets may be the right call for your next guitar.
Are jumbo frets good for beginners?
Some beginner guitarists may find fretting easier with bigger frets. However, pushing notes sharp with jumbo frets is easier than with medium frets. So beginners may not have the necessary technique to ensure the guitar sounds as best as possible.
As a beginner, trying out various fret sizes and finding the most comfortable for you is essential in developing proper playing technique.
What’s the difference between medium jumbo frets and jumbo frets?
Medium jumbo frets will be less wide and tall compared to jumbos. Tonally, you won’t notice much of a difference between smaller and more narrow frets. However, you will notice a different “feel” in the fingers.
The medium fret size will still have a slick and “glassy” feel. Still, it will be less squirrely and is a good compromise between small frets’ stability and larger frets’ maneuverability.
As a guitarist, it’s essential to consider the specific combination of features that work best for you, such as neck width, fret size, and pickups. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the feel and the player’s technique.
Taller and wider frets aren’t going to make you a great guitar player instantly. You’ll have to practice, and as you develop your style, you will build preferences for what you want your guitar to have.
I hope this information has helped you understand the benefits and things to look out for when shopping for jumbo fret guitars.