A fret wrap is a simple yet ingenious guitar accessory that has gained popularity among guitarists and bassists. It is designed to control and dampen string noise, allowing players to achieve a more controlled and professional sound.
It’s essentially a band or strap, usually made of fabric or elastic material, that is placed around the neck of a guitar or bass, just behind the frets. It helps to minimize unwanted vibrations and sympathetic ringing, resulting in a cleaner and more focused sound. Controlling string noise is of paramount importance in guitar and bass playing, as unused strings can vibrate sympathetically and generate unwanted noise.
Fret wraps are a practical and effective solution to tackle string noise issues. By applying a fret wrap correctly, you can significantly reduce unwanted vibrations, allowing your notes to ring out clearly and articulately. Below we’ll cover some related topics & answer some commonly asked questions.
The primary advantage of using a fret wrap is that it effectively reduces string noise. The unused strings can vibrate sympathetically and produce unwanted noise when performing techniques such as tapping, slapping, or two-hand tapping. Something like a fret wrap helps to dampen these vibrations, resulting in a more controlled and cleaner sound. It allows your intended notes to be heard without being overshadowed by unnecessary string noise.
A fret wrap improves note clarity by reducing string noise. If there is too much string noise when playing intricate passages or fast licks, the individual notes can blend together. You can achieve a more distinct separation between notes with a dampening device, allowing your playing to sound more precise and articulate.
Fret wraps give you more control over string damping playing techniques. When performing palm muting, for example, the wrap helps to keep the muted strings firmly in place, resulting in a tighter and more defined sound. Similarly, when using artificial harmonics or fingerstyle techniques, a fret wrap can help to eliminate unwanted string vibrations and ensure that the desired notes ring out clearly.
These devices are adaptable instruments that can be used in a variety of musical genres and playing styles. Whether you play rock, metal, funk, or fusion, a fret wrap can help you control string noise in a variety of techniques and musical contexts. It provides a unified solution that can be applied to multiple guitars or basses.
For the most part, these are simple to use accessories. They are typically light, adjustable, and simple to put on and take off. Many models have adjustable straps or Velcro closures, allowing you to adjust the tension to your liking. This adjustability ensures a secure fit while not affecting intonation or playability.
A string dampener, such as a fret wrap, typically has minimal impact on guitar tone. It is designed to dampen unwanted string vibrations and sympathetic ringing behind the fretted notes while leaving the open strings and played notes unaffected. When properly applied, a dampener allows the natural tone of the instrument to remain largely unchanged, preserving the overall sound quality and character of the guitar.
A fret wrap is a commonly used term for a device that wraps around the neck of a guitar or bass, just behind the frets, to dampen or mute the strings slightly. It ‘s typically a band or strap made of fabric or elastic material with a soft cushion that presses onto the strings. Fret wraps are adjustable, easy to use, and widely available in different sizes & designs.
The term "string muter" can refer to various devices used to mute or dampen unwanted string noise. Primarily though, we mean devices that can clip onto the strings themselves which are especially popular with bass guitars. For example, the Gruv “Fump” which mimics palm muting that allows for a staccato effect.
Finally, a string dampener device can refer to any accessory such as foam or hook/loop strips installed right before or after the guitar nut. These are another great way to minimize unwanted overtones & string noise.
Related: What is fret sprout?
If you don’t want to spend the money on purchasing a dedicated product such as a fret wrap, you can still experience the benefits. Getting a hold of a hair tie (the thicker the better), you can simply wrap it around the stings near the guitar nut.
Using a bandana as a makeshift string dampener can also be a cost-effective solution if you don't have access to a specialized fret wrap or string muter. Simply tie it around the guitar neck as you would with a fret wrap & test out its effectiveness.
Finally, you can use a piece of foam, cut it to size, and place it under the strings behind the nut. Velcro can also come in handy by removing the rough “hook” side & keeping the soft “loop” side, you can also cut it to size & slide it under the first fret next to the guitar nut.
No, a fret wrap is not a capo. A fret wrap is used to dampen or mute the strings behind the frets, reducing unwanted string noise, while a capo is used to raise the pitch of the strings by clamping them down across a specific fret.
Yes, fret wraps effectively reduce string noise and sympathetic vibrations, improving note clarity and controlling unwanted noise during techniques like tapping, slapping, and two-hand tapping, widely adopted by professional musicians.
Yes, a scrunchie can serve as a makeshift fret wrap, dampening strings behind frets and reducing noise. Place it around the guitar or bass neck, ensuring it covers the strings without interfering with open or fretted notes. Adjust tightness as needed for desired dampening effect.
Yes, when used properly, fret wrap should still allow open strings to ring freely while reducing unwanted vibrations. This allows you to play open strings as well as fretted notes with less string noise.
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