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18 messages

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

11 Jun 99 - 07:29 AM (#85833)
Subject: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Tony Burns

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?


11 Jun 99 - 08:07 AM (#85840)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Steve Parkes

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


11 Jun 99 - 11:42 AM (#85883)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Easy Rider

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


11 Jun 99 - 02:16 PM (#85924)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Mark Roffe

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


12 Jun 99 - 01:11 AM (#86097)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Bev and Jerry

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.


12 Jun 99 - 10:23 PM (#86269)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Mark Roffe

Thanks, B&J.


12 Jun 99 - 11:31 PM (#86281)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Mudjack

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


13 Jun 99 - 01:43 AM (#86304)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: bseed(charleskratz)

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


13 Jun 99 - 01:48 AM (#86306)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: bseed(charleskratz)

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


13 Jun 99 - 01:54 AM (#86307)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: bseed(charleskratz)

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


13 Jun 99 - 09:01 PM (#86460)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au

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


14 Jun 99 - 02:19 AM (#86505)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Mark Roffe

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


14 Jun 99 - 12:38 PM (#86595)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Easy Rider

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


15 Jun 99 - 12:22 AM (#86764)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au

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


15 Jun 99 - 11:19 PM (#87030)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Guy Wolff

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


16 Jun 99 - 02:34 AM (#87056)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Mark Roffe

Good man, Murray. Thank you.

Mark


16 Jun 99 - 03:49 AM (#87066)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Steve Parkes

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


16 Jun 99 - 08:57 AM (#87112)
Subject: RE: Fretted instruments. Why (3), 5, 7, 9, 12?
From: Easy Rider

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.