How Many Frets Are on a Guitar? The Definitive Answer

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If you’re wondering how many frets are on a guitar, you’ve come to the right post!

In short:

  • acoustic guitars usually have 20 frets,
  • Fender-style electric guitars typically have 21 frets,
  • and Gibson-style electric guitars usually have 22 frets.

But I’ll unpack this more (and the exceptions to these standards) in the sections below!

What Kind of Guitar Are We Looking At?

Unfortunately, there isn’t one simple answer to this question.

The main problem here is that the guitar is such a diverse instrument, and it’s even getting difficult to define.

On the other hand, there are a few standards within the guitar industry regarding the number of frets.

For this guide, we’ll cover acoustic and electric guitars individually.

I’ll also mention some non-standard configurations since there are so many options on the market today.

Acoustic Guitars

20th FRET access?! My NEW Martin acoustic guitar!

When it comes to steel-string acoustic guitars, the most common fret count is 20.

You’ll also find some acoustic guitars with 19 frets and these are usually shorter-scale variants.

What I also need to point out is the number of frets that are “free” or outside of the body.

There are two standards for acoustic guitars, and the body can meet the neck either at the 12th or 14th fret.

When it comes to the classical nylon-string guitar, we have a bit of a weird setup.

Technically, we could say that a classical guitar comes with 19 frets.

However, the last fret and the very end of the fretboard lay on the edge of the soundhole.

So the fret is divided into two parts and only usable on the top two and bottom two strings.

Of course, there are also other variants in the fret count of acoustic guitars.

But these are usually some very specific, high-end, custom-made instruments.

Electric Guitars

There also isn’t a specific number of frets with electric guitars.

The feature still has its root in the old-school division in the guitar world.

So we’ll look at this through the lens of Fender-style and Gibson-style electric guitars.

After all, most electric guitars are made with these two main directions in mind.

Traditional Fender-style

This video compares a 21 vs 22 fret Fender Strat

A traditional Fender-style guitar has 21 frets.

This also comes with a scale length of 25.5 inches, at least for most of their models.

However, Stratocasters and Telecasters can also come with 22 frets.

This is often the case with more affordable, cheaper alternatives that still resemble Fender guitars.

However, high-end custom-made Fender guitars can come with 22 or more frets.

Jaguar and Mustang models may come with 21 or 22 frets and shorter scale lengths.

Traditional Gibson-style

Here’s a standard 22 fret Gibson

When it comes to Gibson and Gibson-style guitars, they usually have 22 frets.

Along with that comes a scale length of 24.75 inches, which is kind of interesting knowing that you have more frets but a slightly shorter scale.

Either way, 22 is a pretty common number of frets these days.

Almost all Gibson-style guitars are like that.

24-fret Guitars

Gibson Exclusive SG Standard 24 Fret Electric Guitar - Gibson SG
Here’s a Gibson with 24 frets.

Plenty of brands and manufacturers have 24-fret guitars.

And yes, both Gibson and Fender have made guitars with 24 frets, usually as custom shop models.

In most cases, 24-fret guitars come with a scale length of 25.5 inches.

But, of course, you’ll also find other variations to this setup.

What’s important to note is that 24-fret guitars give each string a total of 2 octaves.

There Are No Limits

What makes the question ultimately somewhat difficult to answer is that there aren’t any particular limitations to the fret number.

This goes for both acoustic and electric guitars.

However, having a lot of frets is more of an electric guitar thing.

So you can’t often expect to see some crazy number of frets on acoustic guitars.

As long as the instrument plays well and sounds the way it’s supposed to, then you can have as many frets as you want.

For instance, Ibanez has made some 30-fret Super-Strat-style guitars in the past.

With that out of the way, there are so many variations to this.

The only thing I’m yet to see, however, is a guitar with 23 frets, but that would be weird.

If you find a good custom builder, you can go over 24 frets as well, although it won’t be cheap.  

That said, here’s a pretty odd yet effective acoustic guitar with a total of 30 frets.

Cuntz Oveng Custom 34-fret Acoustic Guitar

How Many Frets Are on a Guitar: Conclusion

I hope this article has answered this question for you and given you some interesting background on the guitar!

And if you have more questions about the guitar, then check out:

Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have more questions about this or another guitar-related topic!

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