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View Full Version : Why fingerboard marker at 10th fret?



bluesukeguy
06-12-2014, 07:47 AM
I see this asked many times. Not really any answer. Here's how I think. Early Martin ukuleles have a single marker at 5, double at 7, and single at 10. With the first string of a uke tuned to A, the double 7th marker tells you where to be in sync with the 12th fret of a guitar. The next marker of a guitar at that point is G, or three frets up. Hence 3 up from 7 is 10, and not a marker dot at 9th fret. The same holds for a mandolin and a mandola...

stevepetergal
06-12-2014, 08:12 AM
Uhh..........because?

jackwhale
06-12-2014, 09:38 AM
I don't know the 'why' of it but mandolin and banjo forums are also puzzled why guitars adopted 3-5-7-9 rather than 3-5-7-10 which is standard for banjos, mandolins and ukuleles.

Jon Moody
06-12-2014, 09:49 AM
I don't know the 'why' of it but mandolin and banjo forums are also puzzled why guitars adopted 3-5-7-9 rather than 3-5-7-10 which is standard for banjos, mandolins and ukuleles.

I always heard that the 3-5-7-9-12 markers were more for showing where harmonic intervals are on the fretboard. No idea whether that's true or not, but they do line up.

SailQwest
06-12-2014, 10:23 AM
Pentatonic Minor Scale, aka Blues Scale

Dane
06-12-2014, 12:39 PM
3 5 7 10 12 15 <- My preference. I'd also like it if more companies would use a double marker at the 7th fret as well as the 12th.

I know that it's annoying when I pick up my Ohana TK-35g and it has a 9th marker when all my others have a 10th. Eventually they changed the TK-35g and the new ones have one at the 10th fret now. Strange.

I've resorted to putting fretboard decals on my instruments with no markers, or with markers in places I don't like.

kypfer
06-12-2014, 01:19 PM
Hmmmm ... neither my mandolin nor my mandola had any fret markers when new, soon fixed that ;)

My balalaika has a fret marker on the second fret, then 5, 7, 10 and 12

My Antoria J200 clone guitar has a marker on the first fret !!

I get the impression there's an amount of style and fashion as well as practicality involved here ;)

KnowsPickin
06-12-2014, 02:20 PM
The markers at the 5th, 7th and 12th frets make sense. They are the main harmonic points for the neck. 9th or 10th make little sense. 3rd, I'm not sure.

Down Up Dick
06-12-2014, 02:35 PM
I like the markers on top of the fretboard where I can see them. The ones on the front are just for looks.

OldePhart
06-12-2014, 02:44 PM
I just use the fret markers to locate a fret on a long slide (i.e. moving up or down several frets) at a glance. Other than that I don't think of them at all and try not to spend too much time looking at the neck at all.

John

ukemunga
06-12-2014, 02:54 PM
Because decimal system? :confused:

Dane
06-12-2014, 07:22 PM
I like the markers on top of the fretboard where I can see them. The ones on the front are just for looks.

It depends on your playstyle. I play with my instrument tilted back towards me quite a bit, or with my head leaned over towards the sound-hole (I like to hear it!) and I use fretboard markers constantly.

Jon Moody
06-13-2014, 02:10 AM
The markers at the 5th, 7th and 12th frets make sense. They are the main harmonic points for the neck. 9th or 10th make little sense. 3rd, I'm not sure.

9th fret is another harmonic interval, which is the same as the harmonics on the 4th fret. 3rd fret have harmonics an octave higher than the ones on the 7th fret.

10th fret has no harmonic content.

Kevin B
06-13-2014, 09:35 AM
Here is some historic information from the banjo perspective and the American Guild of Luthiers http://www.banjothimble.com/Fret_Markings.html

bluesukeguy
06-15-2014, 04:41 AM
My model 1906 Curtiss Parlor Guitar has 10th fret marker. At some point in the early part of the last century guitars switched to 9th fret...further adding to this mystery of marker mayhem...

CeeJay
06-15-2014, 03:35 PM
My balalaika has a fret marker on the second fret, then 5, 7, 10 and 12





My Balalaika has only 5 7 and 12...but I suspect that it is a bit ropey anyway.....