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pt66
12-06-2015, 10:20 PM
Can anyone tell me what the proper placement is for ukulele position markers is? Guitars have a dot at the 9th fret, mandolin at the 10th. Does it mater what size? I am currently building an octave ukulele (tuned a full octave lower then a tenor). I was thinking 9th like guitar but I see a lot of soprano ukulele with the 10th.

pt66
12-06-2015, 10:24 PM
I did 9th fret on the first Contra Ukulele (octave Ukulele) I built. Just wondering if that was right.

Wildestcat
12-06-2015, 10:30 PM
If it a ukulele-type instrument likely to be played by people with other ukuleles, then my advice is to go for the ukulele norm of 10th fret. I opted for a 9th fret marker on my first ukulele (against my tutors advice) and have regretted it ever since. For me it makes switching ukuleles too confusing, because I do play up at that end of the board and rely on fret markers.

I have also experienced the reverse as I once owned a vintage Regal Le Domino archtop guitar, which since Le Domino were principally a ukulele maker, had a 10th fret dot. Confused - you bet.

fynger
12-06-2015, 10:50 PM
It is confusing....I have some with the dot at 9th and some at 10th.

pt66
12-07-2015, 01:56 AM
Is there any logic behind the 10th fret vs. 9th fret? Or is it just tradition?

Down Up Dick
12-07-2015, 03:01 AM
I wish they would put the side ones where the fret is and not in the middle between the two frets. :old:

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
12-07-2015, 03:34 AM
Some European guitars have the dot on the 10th instead of the 9th.

ON ukes I put it in the 10th fret but if i know they are guitar players i ask if they would prefer it on the 9th.

70sSanO
12-07-2015, 05:31 AM
I added side fret markers on a couple of ukuleles a number of years ago and keeping in line with my guitar roots. I placed them on the 9th fret.

I have read some musical rationale for the 10th over 9th for a ukulele, but that rationale didn't really make sense in light of guitar 9th fret side markers. My personal opinion was that it was a way to differentiate a ukulele from a guitar. But, as Beau has pointed out, some European guitars use the 10th, making the possibility that an instrument originating in Portugal may traditionally had the markers on the 10th. It is more likely that that is just wishful thinking on my part and there is no real reason. Who knows, the real reason could have been a mistake on the first ukulele side markers.

Since then all of the ukuleles I have bought had side markers at the 10th fret. One day I will probably add a marker at the 10th on those 2 ukuleles, resulting in 9th and 10th markers. From a visual perspective of having a marker 2 frets below the 12th, it may make sense, or may just clutter up the side of the fretboard.

John

Allen
12-07-2015, 09:18 AM
I put them on the 10th for ukes as a default, but always ask on custom builds if they have a preference.

bigphil
12-08-2015, 04:42 AM
I wish they would put the side ones where the fret is and not in the middle between the two frets. :old:

I'm just wondering why you say this? Since your finger goes between the frets when playing, the typical dot location between the frets seems like it would give the best target position to me.

chuck in ny
12-10-2015, 03:40 AM
I'm just wondering why you say this? Since your finger goes between the frets when playing, the typical dot location between the frets seems like it would give the best target position to me.

my guess is that it's a tomatoes/tomahtoes type of thing. i would go for the optimal target position same as you. people process information in different ways.

Pukulele Pete
12-10-2015, 04:17 AM
I'm a Martin soprano fan , and one of my favorites is the SO . It has no fretmarkers , no side markers , 12 frets and to make it easier for me to figure where I am I put a
side marker on the 5th fret . It's working fine for me. I wanted the least amount of markers.

Hluth
12-11-2015, 07:25 AM
I got a pretty strong negative reaction from uke players when I placed the marker at the 9th fret on the first few ukes I built. Now I actually kind of like the overall dot symmetry better with it on the 10th.
Another way to look at it is the marker follows function approach. Frets 5, 7 and 12 are the only ones that relate to the wave length if the string. The 5th fret is at the 4th fundamental where the string vibrates in four sections when you briefly touch it at the 5th fret. The 7th is at the third fundamental where it vibrates in three sections, and the 12th is where it vibrates in two sections. Frets 3, 9 or 10 are only reference points and if you play guitar you’re probably used to 9, if you play ukulele you’re used to 10, but everyone agrees on 3.

PeterF
12-11-2015, 08:48 AM
I'm mainly a guitar player, but to me the 9th makes more sense. That way you have a marker every 2 frets except when you get to the 12th, which has a 3 fret gap either side. That just seems neater and more logical in my opinion.

Sven
12-11-2015, 09:29 AM
Yup but 3-5-7-10-12 is a minor pentatonic scale. On one uke I put large dots on those and a small one on 6, so you had a blues scale on every string.

Croaky Keith
12-12-2015, 01:18 AM
Yup but 3-5-7-10-12 is a minor pentatonic scale. On one uke I put large dots on those and a small one on 6, so you had a blues scale on every string.

That explains it nicely. :)

Neon22
12-06-2016, 01:09 PM
In case anyone is still reading this. (why marker on 10 and not 9).
The most likely reason is not related to harmonics, which is one of the main reasons why instruments use markers.

I propose the answer is simpler. The primary positioning of markers is related to spatial memory and how to jump around the fretboard between notes.
Here is an image of the ukulele neck showing the jumps between finger postions for root notes on all strings.
(GCEA, ADF#B and DGBE tunings all have the same shape (unlike on the Guitar where tunings can vary widely))

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-MZO321FNtjI/WDgD8Y0J3EI/AAAAAAAAAO0/HXLF_5-u0FMMlu4dT587G39Ru_OuE7e7ACEw/s1600/UT_Neck%2BGCEA.png

I have drawn the fretboard on both sides and the line that connects each subsequent note down(up) the fretboard. In my diagram its on the A string.

The first "+1 Root" diagram indicates how to navigate down to the next occurence of the same note if you are on a note on a string. Follow the line
E.g. to get from any note on the 4th string(in this case G) - go down 3 frets and across 2 strings.

The "+2 Root" diagram shows you how to jump down two notes. You can see how the +5 and +7 distances are critical.
You can use the visual references of the fretboard markers to spatially move from where you are now, down +5 or +7.

The "+3 Root" jump shows that +10 is the distance for the 4th(G) string. Its as far as you jump in one octave. Of course the +1 loops into the next octave from here.

Try this method to play all over the fretboard instead of just at the top. Of course you'll need to adjust your fingering to the shape for that string and chord. For diagrams on all of this check out https://ukulelethoughts.blogspot.co.nz/
I contend there is no good reason to stay with only a few memorised chords when you need to remember only a few specific spatial shapes and offsets to play all notes anywhere on the neck...

Masonguitars
12-06-2016, 02:20 PM
I put the marker at the tenth fret because, with the usual tuning (top string is an "a") the note at the tenth fret is a "g." At the ninth fret, it is an "f#."

pahu
12-06-2016, 03:02 PM
Neon, Thanks for the Chart.
I have a very early Martin soprano that has markers at 5,7,9
Apparently they only used this for a couple of years(1918-1919)

anthonyg
12-06-2016, 11:53 PM
Horses for courses. If your playing chords up the neck then the 7th fret and 9th fret dots work. Take a guitar Dmaj chord (ukulele Gmaj chord) 0,2,3,2. Slide the 232 triad up to 787 and you have the 4th maj chord of the scale . Slide it up to 9,10,9 and you have the 5th maj chord of the scale. Whether you slide the bass note up the board is optional. It works just fine leaving it open. You could slide other chord shapes up the board like this too although you probably have to just play a triad or ensure that you slide a full bar chord up the neck.

Sometimes when I'm picking a melody line then its the 10th fret that I want to fret at.

Anthony

Neon22
12-07-2016, 02:15 AM
... If your playing chords up the neck then the 7th fret and 9th fret dots work. Take a guitar Dmaj chord (ukulele Gmaj chord) 0,2,3,2. Slide the 232 triad up to 787 and you have the 4th maj chord of the scale . Slide it up to 9,10,9 and you have the 5th maj chord of the scale. Whether you slide the bass note up the board is optional. It works just fine leaving it open. You could slide other chord shapes up the board like this too although you probably have to just play a triad or ensure that you slide a full bar chord up the neck.
..

I agree and here's how I see it.
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-IHS39ZC7YJ4/WDbKqfcD5II/AAAAAAAAANw/co2OPiyoCQseeyG2Mg6ZecZt0Qt_uiYpwCLcB/s1600/UT_Major-120.png
You can see with the DMaj - it uses the 0222 chord shape at the top of the fretboard. Under that you can see the 4 other possible shapes before the octave repeat at fret 12.
This fret map is for the four shapes which can be repeated down the fretboard.
This diagram is designed to show all the shapes for repeating patterns for all the notes in a chord. In this case the Major chord.
(Each chord has different hand shapes).

But this can be compressed further into this simple diagram. The four shapes are indicated and the root note is identified.
If you play that shape on that (root) note on a string - you get the Major chord.
Learning this one diagram allows you to play the Major chord "anywhere" (I mean everywhere) on the neck.
http://i66.tinypic.com/wk0ai8.jpg

Rrgramps
12-11-2016, 04:04 AM
What about bar chords?

Rrgramps
12-11-2016, 04:46 AM
Horses for courses. If your playing chords up the neck then the 7th fret and 9th fret dots work. Take a guitar Dmaj chord (ukulele Gmaj chord) 0,2,3,2. Slide the 232 triad up to 787 and you have the 4th maj chord of the scale . Slide it up to 9,10,9 and you have the 5th maj chord of the scale. Whether you slide the bass note up the board is optional. It works just fine leaving it open. You could slide other chord shapes up the board like this too although you probably have to just play a triad or ensure that you slide a full bar chord up the neck.

Sometimes when I'm picking a melody line then its the 10th fret that I want to fret at.

Anthony
I agree, that is, when playing melody/leads, a 10th fret marker makes sense because the 9th is a flatted/sharpened note whereby none of the other dots are. It really is not a big deal to cope with.

If playing chords, then the accidental note at 9th fret probably may make more sense, when chords are played there.

Playing an instrument as a paid professional in a band, almost requires not looking at the keyboard. Learning fret positions as an ingrained response, will become important as the musician gains experience whether singing or playing, especially due to the poor lighting found on stage gigs.

Occasional reliance on sliding-into the note/chord, and a few other means of finding your place is helpful, for those times when you can't see the keyboard. If you sing, look at the audience, not your instrument.

So for me, fret markers and dots are somewhat irrelevant for playing an instrument, and can even be a distraction. Head-down staring at the neck doesn't communicate with the audience as well as eye contact and smiles.

Neon22
12-11-2016, 11:10 AM
FWIW I agree with you completely. I expect its useful when learning, or in a pinch, if swapping to a new instrument. Like going from a soprano to tenor Ukulele a quick glance get you the correct distance down the Neck. But most people don't swap instruments very often, even when performing.

Timbuck
12-11-2016, 11:19 AM
A lot of early Martin Sopranos had no fret markers including the one Joe Brown played at The Concert for George..It didn't seem to be a problem for him ;)

anthonyg
12-11-2016, 07:34 PM
There are plenty of new ukuleles being sold without side position markers or maybe just one dot at the 5th fret. I agree that when your performing you shouldn't rely n them but they are great for learning or for finding your position in a hurry if you lose it.

Anthony

Rrgramps
12-12-2016, 04:44 AM
but they are great for learning or for finding your position in a hurry if you lose it.

Anthony

Maybe, if they start out playing lead on the fifth fret, and doing Tequila chords, etc. then side markers may help define the intervals for some folks. But even songs "Somewhere over the Rainbow," and "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You;" except maybe for the Em (21 Pilots version) can be played in all open chords, without looking at markers, ...

...and hundreds of songs are in CFG, I–IV–V is a skeleton key for countless songs in folk, country, rock, blues, and beyond, revealing the basic similarities of, say, “Louie Louie,” “Ring of Fire,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Helpless,” “Three Little Birds,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “This Land Is Your Land,” “Man of Constant Sorrow,” and “I Fought the Law.” Hundreds more. Beginners can play for months without looking at markers, until they gravitate to playing and swapping riffs. By that time, with practice, the keyboard will become so familiar that it is rare circumstance to look; well maybe an occasional peek. LOL.

Fret markers are and can be Uke porn, adornments, and cosmetic things to admire. I've still got some abalone stars in various sizes that I bought in 2001 for a guitar I never built. Maybe I'll get around to installing them for a ukulele sometime. Also in my stash are vinyl rods about 1/8" diameter, that you can drill a small hole in the side, insert the rod, and snip it off slightly proud, then level it.