How Many Frets Are Standard on an Electric Guitar?

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How Many Frets Are Standard on an Electric Guitar
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While the number of frets on an electric guitar can vary, 21, 22, and 24 frets are the most common configurations. Each offers distinct advantages and caters to different playing styles and musical genres:

21 Frets

21 Frets On An Electric Guitar

The 21-fret configuration is iconic, especially in vintage guitars from the 1950s and 1960s.


  • Limited Upper Range: With only 21 frets, players have fewer notes available in the upper register, which can be a limitation for more complex solos.
  • Less Versatility: Modern genres that require extensive soloing and higher note access might find this configuration less accommodating.

Iconic 21 Fret Model: The Fender Classic Series ’50s Stratocaster is a tribute to the iconic early Stratocasters that helped define rock and roll. This guitar captures the look, feel, and sound of the original 1950s Stratocaster models, renowned for their bright, clear tones and vintage aesthetics.

22 Frets

The 22-fret setup became popular as players demanded more range without drastically changing the feel of the neck. This became a new standard for many guitar manufacturers in the late 20th century.


  • Slight Pickup Adjustment: The neck pickup is slightly closer to the bridge compared to a 21-fret guitar, which can alter the tonal characteristics. However, this change is often minimal and not a major concern for most players.

Iconic 22 Fret Model:The Gibson Les Paul Standard ’60s is a modern homage to one of the most beloved guitar designs ever. Known for its rich, warm tones and sustain, the Les Paul Standard ’60s combines classic aesthetics with contemporary playability.

24 Frets

24 Frets On An Electric Guitar

The 24-fret guitar gained prominence in the 1980s with the rise of shred guitarists and progressive rock/metal players who required greater access to higher notes. Brands like Ibanez, Jackson, and PRS popularized this configuration.

Iconic 24 Fret Model:The Ibanez JEM Steve Vai Signature is an iconic 24-fret guitar designed in collaboration with virtuoso guitarist Steve Vai. Known for its extensive range, versatile tones, and distinctive design, the JEM has become a favorite among shred guitarists and progressive rock players.


  • Different Pickup Placement: The neck pickup’s placement shifts due to the additional frets, which can alter its tonal response. Some players might miss the warmer tone typically found in 21 or 22-fret guitars.
  • Learning Curve: Players transitioning from 21 or 22-fret guitars might need time to adjust to the extended range and different neck feel.

When Should You Change Your Frets?

Fret Wear and Tear:  After a while, frets are going to show signs of wear—flat spots, grooves, you name it. When you start noticing buzzes or your notes don’t ring out as clearly, it’s a sign those frets might need some love.

Uneven Frets: Ever played and felt like some notes just don’t sound right? Maybe they buzz or just sound muted? That’s likely due to uneven frets. Over time, frets can get out of alignment, making your playing experience less than stellar.

New Fret Material: Sometimes, it’s all about that tone. Maybe you want to switch to stainless steel frets for their durability and bright sound. Or maybe you’re after that classic nickel-silver feel. Either way, changing frets can be a way to personalize your guitar even more.

CAUTION: refretting is not a DIY job for the faint of heart. It’s a meticulous process that requires specialized tools and a lot of skill. If you’re thinking about tackling this yourself, consider the risks:

  • Damage to the Fingerboard: One wrong move and you could damage the fingerboard, which can be costly to repair.
  • Poor Fret Installation: If frets aren’t installed correctly, you’ll end up with more problems than you started with—buzzing, uneven frets, and poor playability.
  • Time and Effort: It’s a time-consuming process. Professionals have the experience to do it right and efficiently.

Changing frets should only be left to a professional. Unless you’re a seasoned luthier, DIY refretting can turn your prized guitar into a nightmare. Trust me, it’s worth the investment to take it to a pro.

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