fretboard dots

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fretboard dots

Postby Alan Bates » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:28 pm

I am looking for a posting or discussion about position of dots of fretboards. I ask because I made a banjo for my partner and mistakenly put a dot on the 9th fret and discovered that banjos seem to have that dot on the 10th fret. Guitars seem to be at the 9th fret. Mandolins seem to have it at the 10th. What gives here?
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Re: fretboard dots

Postby Christ Kacoyannakis » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:38 pm

Greek bouzoukis have the dot on the 10th fret. The Greek bouzouki is tuned CFAD (low - high) so the 10th fret is C.
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Re: fretboard dots

Postby Pete Halliday » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:44 am

Turn it into a tree of life inlay ;-)
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Re: fretboard dots

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:21 pm

If the wood is ebony you have a fair chance of hiding the repair. other woods you have to match the color and grain orientation and hope for some luck. Sometimes you can rout out the surface of the board between the two frets and inlay a matching piece of wood between them.
Tenor banjos were tuned in fifths between courses as were mandolins and violins. Guitars are tuned in fourths (and a third) between courses which may account for the difference in position markers. Why a 5 string banjo would use markers similar to a tenor - I have no idea!
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Re: fretboard dots

Postby Bill Raymond » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:53 pm

Selmer guitars, and I believe also some other guitars of European provenance have the dots at the 10th fret and not the 9th. American guitars seem to be consistent in placing the dot at the 9th fret.
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Re: fretboard dots

Postby Dan Smith » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:03 am

Been there too.
Fairly easy to inlay a piece as suggested.
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Re: fretboard dots

Postby Alan Carruth » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:38 pm

It may have to do with the tuning. Guitars are tuned with strings at intervals of 4ths and one 3d. Banjos and mandolins are normally tuned in fifths.
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Re: fretboard dots

Postby Todd Stock » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:03 am

If the board is well striped or a uniformly black ebony, the rout can be stopped just clear of the inlays instead of going all the way to the edge of the board...use some dust and epoxy to adhere and fill, using a naturally dark line as a boundary. With strings on, even a bad match is much tougher to see than you'd think - and better than having to endure the endless string of "You do realize that..blah, blah." comments.

This is also a common repair technique on arch tops with bad truss rod anchors, and a good reason to save fretboard end off-cuts...I have a dozen plastic shoeboxes of species-specific scraps for this sort of thing. As Alan mentioned, 5ths versus 4ths on the 10th versus 9th fret marker. Don't forget to change the edge marker out...DAMHIKT.
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