The following question has come up a number of times, and was recently asked after the post on Choose the Guitar Neck Scale Length That Fits. “Which guitar is better to buy: a 22 fret or a 24 fret? Does it really make a difference?”
What I believe is a more important question or one which must be asked in conjunction with the 22 versus 24 fret question is, what is the scale length of the instrument, 24.75 inches or 25.5 inches?
Both guidelines including the number of frets and neck scale length have a slim effect on playability in most cases. The most evident structural problem is how the number of frets and scale length affect pickup placement, this is very essential to the tone. Examine a Gibson Custom Limited Edition Les Paul Custom Electric Guitar versus a PRS Custom 24. Both instruments have the exact same scale length, but the Gibson has 22 frets and the PRS has 24. Since the neck pickup is mounted right at the end of the fingerboard, meaning that the location of the neck pickup’s pole-pieces will be in a different position in relation to the vibrating string’s length: On the Gibson they happen to be directly under the anti-node. Believe me, this has a tremendous effect on the tone of the guitar. On the 24 fret PRS, the pole-pieces do not line up with the string’s anti-node, because that’s where the 24th fret has to go. Therefore it is virtually out of the question for a 24 fret PRS to get a similar tone as a Les Paul neck pickup.
It is taken for granted to say that the part of the vibrating string exposed to the pickup’s pole-pieces determines timbre. No properly built 24 fret guitars can have the neck pickup’s pole-pieces under the string’s anti-node so they will necessarily sound different.
Most of the argument posed by Guitar Players Center is relative to the player. Much of what you enjoy can be attributed to what you are used to playing. For some folks the 2 extra frets are useless. The one thing not mentioned yet is that 24 frets give you two full octaves. Since frets one through twelve are one octave, frets thirteen through twenty four produce a full octave more, which is handy in order to produce certain vibes. Not essential though.
Think about it and Enjoy. Remember, play the guitar you may be interested in before you buy it.