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I'm used to playing an Avian f/f now, and going back my to old classical (which now lives with my Sis') over the Easter weekend, felt marginally more difficult on the straight frets. Not sure it makes a difference to the sound in the way the board, bracing, body and strings do. Find the intonation is sweeter to my ear than anything else I've played. But never had anything in the price bracket, either. Surely the biggest pal Fanfret has on his team is Physics, extending the bass range of 6-string tunings and keeping the trebles sweet? [Songbird scale lengths 645 mm - 660 mm.]Coming up to my first string change, so can't comment on maintenance yet.
I am hugely biased - I have 20 clients out there with my fanfret (variable scale) guitars. Great for dropped tunings, intonation is better and powerful sound from the bass end. Mine have 40 mm extra on the bottom string.
Intonation can be used in more than one sense.My understanding is that it's to do with keeping string tension approximately the same, whilst reducing variation in string diameter, across the range of the instrument. Blah blah, something about overtones and string tension, but here my physics gets misty... Pianos and harps more obviously use this variation of string length to preserve "tone" across the scale.Does it matter? I'm with the Wiki view;"With regard to tone, a longer scale (e.g. Fender Telecasters with 25.5 inch (648 mm) scale length) favors "brightness" or cleaner overtones and more separated harmonics versus a shorter scale (e.g., Gibson Les Paul with 24.75 in (628 mm) scale length), which favors "warmth" or more muddy overtones"With Gibson scale length, I find myself wanting to dodge the first 4 or 5 frets on the bottom E string for what perhaps feels, as much as sounds, "flabby."The wider availability of string sets for dropped tunings nowadays is another way round the challenge, but length does matter. How much it matters is personal.
I'm scheduled to go over to Glastonbury luthier Alan Miller shortly to give his new lefty fan-fret acoustic model a test run. I'll let you know how it goes.I had a brief trial with one before and was surprised how easy it was to adjust to. I can't remember there being much difference in the tone to a conventional parallel fret guitar - but I think I may have been pre-occupied with the fan-fret novelty and the sheer craftsmanship at the time