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Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?

Tony Burns 11 Jun 99 - 07:29 AM
Steve Parkes 11 Jun 99 - 08:07 AM
Easy Rider 11 Jun 99 - 11:42 AM
Mark Roffe 11 Jun 99 - 02:16 PM
Bev and Jerry 12 Jun 99 - 01:11 AM
Mark Roffe 12 Jun 99 - 10:23 PM
Mudjack 12 Jun 99 - 11:31 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 13 Jun 99 - 01:43 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 13 Jun 99 - 01:48 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 13 Jun 99 - 01:54 AM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 13 Jun 99 - 09:01 PM
Mark Roffe 14 Jun 99 - 02:19 AM
Easy Rider 14 Jun 99 - 12:38 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 15 Jun 99 - 12:22 AM
Guy Wolff 15 Jun 99 - 11:19 PM
Mark Roffe 16 Jun 99 - 02:34 AM
Steve Parkes 16 Jun 99 - 03:49 AM
Easy Rider 16 Jun 99 - 08:57 AM
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Subject: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Tony Burns
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 07:29 AM

Most fretted instruments have markings at the 5th, 7th, 9th and 12th frets and sometimes at the 3rd. I know that 12 and above are there because they are an octave from the preceeding set but why are these the frets selected for special attention?


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 08:07 AM

It all goes back to capos. In mediaeval times (or even before), lutinists used capos that fitted on by being bolted through the neck and fixed at the back with a sort of butterfly nut. This meant holes had to be drilled through the neck & fingerboard; when not in use they were plugged, whence the spots. I guess that they nly had holes in some of the frets because it weakened the neck. Later, and with the introduction of instrument-friendly capos, the spots were used to indicate positions on the fingerboard.

Notice that classical guitarists don't use them, and get a bit sneery about people who do. Fiddlers are even worse; in the 18th century, the viol da gamba was a gentlemans's instrument (with frets); the 'cello (without frets) was a mere musician's instrument.

I don't know what the significance is of the actual positions of the spots today, if there is any; certainly the 12th and 5th are important on the guitar. I've seen some with a spot at the 10th fret instead of the 9th, and some with no spot at the 3rd or 7th.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Easy Rider
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 11:42 AM

If you capo at the second fret, the spots all work the same as if you had no capo. My favorite capo position is the second fret, just for this reason. I also play in Drop-D (Really E) by capoing only the first five strings (Thank you, Shubb) at the second fret, very convenient.

EZR


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Mark Roffe
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 02:16 PM

Wow, EZR! Does that Shubb capo adjust to cover whichever strings you choose, or is it fixed at covering 5 strings...or what? I've never seen what you describe -- please tell me more.

Bark


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 12 Jun 99 - 01:11 AM

There's a thing called a "Third Hand Capo" made by Third Hand Capo Company, P.O. Box 1134, Portsmouth, NH, 03802. It has six cams on it and you place it on the fret of your choice and it capos whichever strings suit your fancy.


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Mark Roffe
Date: 12 Jun 99 - 10:23 PM

Thanks, B&J.


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Mudjack
Date: 12 Jun 99 - 11:31 PM

Bev and Jerry,
Might you be the Bev and Jerry that did the Oregon Trail Intrpetve Center out of Baker City several years back? If so, please e-mail me through the Mudcat mail system. Mj


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 13 Jun 99 - 01:43 AM

Of course there's also the harmonic relationshapes--the note at the fifth fret is the fourth note in the string's scale, at the seventh is the fifth note: an E played above a barre at the fifth fret is an A; above the seventh fret, a B (the subdominant and dominant chords in the E Scale). This works for all other first position chords as well. The twelfth is the octave fret.

Another purpose of them, of course, is to help the player note and chord positions on the fingerboard (the spots are visual guides to positions near them as well as on them).

--seed


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 13 Jun 99 - 01:48 AM

Of course there's also the harmonic relationshapes--the note at the fifth fret is the fourth note in the string's scale, at the seventh is the fifth note: an E played above a barre at the fifth fret is an A; above the seventh fret, a B (the subdominant and dominant chords in the E Scale). This works for all other first position chords as well. The twelfth is the octave fret.

Another purpose of them, of course, is to help the player note and chord positions on the fingerboard (the spots are visual guides to positions near them as well as on them).

--seed


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 13 Jun 99 - 01:54 AM

Of course there's also the harmonic relationships--the note at the fifth fret is the fourth note in the string's scale, at the seventh is the fifth note: an E played above a barre at the fifth fret is an A; above the seventh fret, a B (the subdominant and dominant chords in the E Scale). This works for all other first position chords as well. The twelfth is the octave fret.

Another purpose of them, of course, is to help the player note and chord positions on the fingerboard (the spots are visual guides to positions near them as well as on them).

--seed


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 13 Jun 99 - 09:01 PM

Mark, the Shubb has the approximate curvature of a radiused fingerboard so although you can hold down the top five strings with it, I am not sure you wouldn't be putting too much twist on it if you try to capo, say the top three strings.

I think Seed is right about why the dots are where they are.

I have always thought that, besides for decoration, the dots on the fingerboard itself are to help other musicians see where you are, whereas those little dots on the edge of the neck are the ones that really help you. I have an old cheapo guitar made in Italy which has the dots on the fingerboard, but not the ones on the edge. <kidding> That's the Italians for you, all beauty and no brains.</kidding>. My new LaPatrie has the dots on the edge but not on the fingerboard. Since it is a nylon stringed guitar, it probably means you can play with your snotty classical friends without them realizing you have those little "helper wheels". That's the Canadians for you....

Murray


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Mark Roffe
Date: 14 Jun 99 - 02:19 AM

Thanks Murray and B&J. I did some web surfing and find that the Shubb Partial Capo will do contiguous stings only. The neck of the guitar I want to use this capo on seems pretty flat, maybe not radiused enought to fit a radiused capo. The 3rd Hand Capo seems more versatile - I haven't found them online yet, but B&J included the mailing address for the 3rd Hand Capo company, so I'll contact the company directly.

Bark Woof


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Easy Rider
Date: 14 Jun 99 - 12:38 PM

You can play harmonics on the frets where the dots are located, but I wouldn't use harmonics, except for the octaves, to tune the guitar. It's too complicated to explain here, but an article on equal tempered tuning, that I found on Mark Hanson's Web site,
www.blueclickeything.com
might help.

Shubb makes a capo for flat, classical style fingerboards too. To capo only five strings, you just put the capo on a little off center.

EZR


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 15 Jun 99 - 12:22 AM

Mark, the "third hand" capo is in my Elderly's catalogue. They want all of $9.00 for it. It is listed amongst the "6 string curved fretboard" capos. If you don't know them, they have an online catalogue at .

Murray


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 15 Jun 99 - 11:19 PM

Hey you guys<<<<<<>>>>>>>>


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Mark Roffe
Date: 16 Jun 99 - 02:34 AM

Good man, Murray. Thank you.

Mark


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 16 Jun 99 - 03:49 AM

Eek! Elderly are selling the Shubb capo I bought last week at the same price in $ that I paid in £!! I wonder if they'd open a branch over here?

EZ, I tried your dop-D trick, and I'm gong to keep in in the act. Bit of a problem if you want to play an actual F#, though.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Easy Rider
Date: 16 Jun 99 - 08:57 AM

Glad you like my little "trick", Steve. I have actually seen where somebody took a Shubb capo and cut it with a hacksaw, so that it would only cover the first five strings in the normal mounting position. It fit the neck better than my way, but it means having to carry two capos.


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