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valde002
02-27-2017, 11:38 AM
Does anyone know the history about the fret markers? And why they are where they are? I think they follow the guitar, but isn't the guitar tuned differently and with different intervals (esp with re-entrant tuning). Doesn't make sense to me.

Anyone develop a better system for the ukulele?

kypfer
02-27-2017, 03:00 PM
I've seen reference to the fret markers being a left-over from when capos where a bolt-on device that actually screwed through the neck ... the fret markers were hole-blanks! How true that is I don't know!

The tuning intervals on a conventionally strung ukulele are the same as a conventionally tuned guitar.

What I do find confusing is how my ukuleles have markings at 3, 5, 7 and 10 but my guitars have their marks at 3, 5, 7 and 9 ... then there's my balalaika with it's marks at 2, 5, 7 and 10 ... no-one said it was going to be easy :confused:

Theblackegg
02-27-2017, 03:18 PM
Yes, the pitches on guitar are different from the (C) ukulele, but the intervals between the top strings of the guitar are exactly the same as on an ukulele in linear fleas tuning.

As for the markers, there's a fair bit of variation. Most standard are markers at least at the 5th, 7th and 12th frets; the 12th fret is sometimes marked with double dots or a more distinctive marker, and the 7th may be treated this way as well. Guitars tend to have a marker at the 9th fret whereas on ukuleles (now) a marker at the 10th fret is more common. Some guitars and ukes will also have a marker at the 15th fret and, less commonly, at the 3rd fret. Guitars may also mark the 17th and 19th frets. This pattern is also used for a number of other fretted instruments: my banjo has markers at the 3rd, 5th 7th, 10th, 13th, 15th, 17th and 19th frets. Note that banjo tunings typically have little relation to guitar tunings; it's not the tuning pattern that dictates the marker placement as much as the intervals above the open string pitch: the 5th fret marks an interval of a perfect fourth, the 7th marker corresponds to a perfect 5th, the 12th marker corresponds to the octave—the note names above the 12th marker exactly duplicate those on the lower fretboard. The other markers are more arbitrary, providing supplemental reference points between these main positions—unnecessarily, in my opinion; and in fact, I find that the increased visual clutter and uniformity confuses me rather than helps me to navigate.

My ideal marker set for an ukulele would be 5th, 7th, 12th (doubled), 17th, with 10th optional (I'd omit it on a custom), with side markers or left-edge markers mandatory. I've ruled out buying some very good uke brands because they omit the side markers, making all but pros lean over the fretboard or tilt their ukes out of best playing position. Egregious.

I can't help you with the history.


Same for me. I choose a kanilea over a kamaka for that reason. I don't use the front markers at all, I'd like to see them gone altogether, i think it looks better and would reinforce good playing habits for new players.
When i can afford a custom plain ebony all the way down, hubba hubba.

zztush
02-27-2017, 10:48 PM
Hi, valde002!

The 5th, 7th and 12th fret markers are given in this manner shown below.

https://s19.postimg.org/5hz6ccetf/lichty_long_neck_tenor_ukulele_magazine.png (https://postimg.org/image/91l425hj3/)20mb image hosting (https://postimage.org/)

These locations are given by ratio. Hence ukulele and guitar have similar fret markers.

They are useful for tuning (perfect 4th) and locations of notes, scales and chords. And guitar and ukulele share these methods.

Croaky Keith
02-27-2017, 11:20 PM
I also think they are more useful on the side than on the front, & would go so far as to say they should be fairly prominent on both sides of the fretboard edge - for left & right handed players.

PeteyHoudini
02-28-2017, 01:53 PM
Funny, my new Martin sopranos and concert ukes have fret markers at 5, 7, and 10, but the side dots are 5, 7, 10, 12, and 15.

My tenors however have fret markers at 5, 7, 10, 12 and 15! Side dots are 5, 7, 10, 12, and 15.

Strange minor differences.

Petey

bratsche
02-28-2017, 01:59 PM
I don't use the front markers at all, I'd like to see them gone altogether, i think it looks better and would reinforce good playing habits for new players. When i can afford a custom plain ebony all the way down, hubba hubba.

Ditto - nothing as nice as a plain, unadorned smooth ebony fingerboard!

bratsche

valde002
02-28-2017, 03:21 PM
Ditto - nothing as nice as a plain, unadorned smooth ebony fingerboard!

bratsche

I put a bunch of turtle decals over the fret markers on my kids ukuleles!

70sSanO
02-28-2017, 03:34 PM
Fretboard top: 5-7-12. Fretboard side: 3-5-7-9/10-12(double)-15.

I would like to see a good explanation for the 9/10 marker. I've read unconvincing explanations, but nothing compelling.

John

zztush
02-28-2017, 05:45 PM
Hi, John!


I would like to see a good explanation for the 9/10 marker. I've read unconvincing explanations, but nothing compelling.

John

https://s19.postimg.org/vvn92vkzn/koaloha_ukulele.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/o2wlawf0f/)image hosting over 5mb (https://postimage.org/)

12th is sometimes given by joints. In this case we have 9 or 10th markers.