Steve Vai & True Temperament: A new type of guitar fretboard?

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Originally published on dolphinmusic.co.uk Fri February 06, 2009

true temperament So here is, what is discribed on the manufacturers website as being a ‘quantum leap in guitar technology’….and their not far wrong!

The necks fit bodies with neck pocket and bridge position adhering to industry standard Fender® Stratocaster® specifications, with no modifications.

(They will also fit a “T” style body, but will leave small gaps in the corners of the neck pocket. These are hidden by the extended fingerboard.)

Curved Frets™ fine-tune the intonation of every single note on the guitar, without affecting playability. This is the way a piano is tuned - one note at a time. This is impossible with one-piece, straight frets.
Curved Frets™ play just like standard frets. You do not need to modify your playing technique. Bending is not affected.


Dynamic Intonation™ fret positions are NOT calculated mathematically.
They are derived from analysis of thousands upon thousands of exacting physical measurements made on real-world strings, vibrating under real-world conditions. We call this process Dynamic Intonation™.
Each unique Curved Frets™ pattern is designed to specifications derived from our exacting Dynamic Intonation™ process.

Every note is adjusted and fine-adjusted, and then re-checked and re-adjusted dozens of times, until it produces the required pitch, measured both by ear and with a sensitive strobe tuner. This is repeated with new strings until we have unequivocal and stable results. This requires enormous patience and concentratio.
Each unique Curved Frets™ pattern is designed to specifications derived from our exacting Dynamic Intonation™ process.

Curved Frets

What’s wrong with straight frets?

Standard equal tempered fret spacing is calculated from one single piece of information about the instrument - the scale length (the theoretical speaking length of the open strings). A divisor constant is used to determine the locations of the frets. The scale length divided by the constant gives the position of the first fret. The remaining length after subtracting the first fret, divided by the same constant, gives the position of the second fret, and so on.

Just intonation is not linear- there are no even differences between tones. In a simplified way, you could just say that it is very difficult to create instruments that can render this scale in a large variety of keys. Therefore, the scale of equal temperament is used instead, which is a pragmatic compromise. The advantage is that it does not favor any tones harmonic-wise. No half notes are perfectly in tune when compared to just intonation, but they are equally out of tune throughout the whole scale, which makes it possible to play all intervals in all keys with the same relative accuracy. True Temperament produces a guitar for the equal temperament scaled which is called 12-tone Equal Temperament.

56frets 56 Frets!

Long-scale (30”) guitar56 individually curved and dynamically intonated frets. ” Plays beautifully in Just Intonation, and has received many accolades at music shows in Sweden and Germany”.

Steve Vai Ibanez Jem Signature Guitars

Well, we can't talk about Steve Vai without mentioning his Jem Series guitars can we? Ibanez craft a full range of gorgeous looking and sounding electric guitars designed by the man himself! Check out a few of our favourites below...

Ibanez 2017 JEM77WDP JEM Premium, Charcoal Brown Low Gloss

Ibanez 2017 JEM77WDP JEM Premium, Charcoal Brown Low Gloss

Ibanez JEM77P Guitar with Blue Floral Pattern

Ibanez JEM77P Guitar with Blue Floral Pattern

Ibanez Steve Vai Jem Junior Guitar in White

Ibanez Steve Vai Jem Junior Guitar in White

Ibanez JEM70V Steve Vai Signature Electric Guitar Surf Green

Ibanez JEM70V Steve Vai Signature Electric Guitar Surf Green

Ibanez JEM7EAFX Steve Vai Signature Electric Guitar in Black

Ibanez JEM7EAFX Steve Vai Signature Electric Guitar in Black

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