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Old 10-25-2018, 12:40 PM
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Dot positions on a guitar fret board

I've been trying to find a coherent and factual answer to this for some time. The typical guitar fret board has dots located on the 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 17, 21 frets. One would think that this coincides with the major scale. One would be wrong. In this configuration they designate G, A, B, C# (Db), E, and repeat, as the 12th fret is the octave. It would seem to make more sense to have 4th dot on the 8th fret and another dot on the 10th fret, designating C and D, but I'm probably way out in left field on this.

Now, it's quite possible that I've seen a factual answer and just didn't understand what the hell it was telling me. I'm far from having any meaningful education in music theory. Answers online range from "it's just tradition" to confusingly technical answers.

Can anyone point to a definitive answer, or provide a factual answer to this?
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Old 10-25-2018, 01:04 PM
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Since this is about how music is made, even though it is a factual question, it is better suited to Cafe Society.

Moving thread from GQ to Cafe Society.
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Old 10-25-2018, 01:12 PM
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I don't have an answer for how this became the standard for dot positions, but I will note that if you play a major scale starting with the open string, the dots on the 5th, 7th, and 9th frets 4th, 5th, and 6th notes of the scale, respectively. The first dot on the 3rd fret does not fit this pattern though.

It should also be noted that over the span of one octave, the dots are symmetical (3-2-2-2-3) which some may find visually pleasing at least.
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Old 10-25-2018, 01:16 PM
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Hey Chefguy, I did a quick search and came up with this on stack exchange. It makes sense to me...sort of.

https://music.stackexchange.com/ques...itar-fretboard

"

The spacing is designed to offer useful milestones on the fretboard. Take the notes on the 6th string (in standard tuning), for example:

Open (0th fret) is E.
The F is only 1 fret away, why put a marker on the 1st fret? It's already marked by being the first fret
The G is on fret 3, so put a marker there.
The A is on fret 5, which is a perfect 4th from the open string, so it deserves a marker.
B follows on fret 7, which is a perfect 5th from the open string, so another marked fret.
Why there's a mark on fret 9, I'll never know, I wish it was on 10 for D instead of 9 for C#
But you need a marker on 12, for certain - it's the octave!
The 15, 17, and 19 are just 3, 5, and 7 + 12 (an octave), respectively."
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Old 10-25-2018, 01:22 PM
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The theory here is that they are the locations of significant harmonics: 3rd, 5ths and octaves.
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Old 10-25-2018, 01:32 PM
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I've been poking around on google a bit trying to figure out when the current layout became the standard. Most of the guitars from the late 1800s and early 1900s on a google image search do not follow the current layout, though some do. Some have no dot inlays at all. I found an 1890 Martin guitar with dots in 5, 7, and 9, and that's it (no 3 or 12), another guitar from 1890 with dots on 5, 7, 9, and 12, and a guitar from I think 1920 or so with two dots on 5, one on 7, and two on 9, and that's it.

So going back 100 years, the "standard" doesn't seem to be quite so standard.

Here are five Richter guitars from the 1920s to 1940s:
http://www.leavingthisworld.com/wp-c...er-Guitars.jpg

The first looks like it has one dot on 7, the second has one dot on 5, two on 7, one on 10 (not 9), and two on 12. I don't see any dots on the third. The fourth has the modern layout, and the fifth guitar has dots on 5, 7, and 9 only.

It may only be in the last 50 years or so that the standard has really become completely dominant.
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Old 10-25-2018, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Crotalus View Post
The theory here is that they are the locations of significant harmonics: 3rd, 5ths and octaves.
This. How else are you supposed to play "Red Barchetta"?
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Old 10-25-2018, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by swampspruce View Post
Hey Chefguy, I did a quick search and came up with this on stack exchange. It makes sense to me...sort of.

https://music.stackexchange.com/ques...itar-fretboard

"

The spacing is designed to offer useful milestones on the fretboard. Take the notes on the 6th string (in standard tuning), for example:

Open (0th fret) is E.
The F is only 1 fret away, why put a marker on the 1st fret? It's already marked by being the first fret
The G is on fret 3, so put a marker there.
The A is on fret 5, which is a perfect 4th from the open string, so it deserves a marker.
B follows on fret 7, which is a perfect 5th from the open string, so another marked fret.
Why there's a mark on fret 9, I'll never know, I wish it was on 10 for D instead of 9 for C#
But you need a marker on 12, for certain - it's the octave!
The 15, 17, and 19 are just 3, 5, and 7 + 12 (an octave), respectively."
I saw this site, but he/she basically says the same thing: no idea why there is a dot on #9. I also saw mention of these being harmonic frets, but #9 is not a harmonic.

Last edited by Chefguy; 10-25-2018 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 10-25-2018, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
I saw this site, but he/she basically says the same thing: no idea why there is a dot on #9. I also saw mention of these being harmonic frets, but #9 is not a harmonic.
It is a harmonic, two octaves plus a major third above the open string. Not as loud as 12, 5 and 7, but a harmonic all the same.
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Old 10-25-2018, 03:32 PM
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It is a harmonic, two octaves plus a major third above the open string. Not as loud as 12, 5 and 7, but a harmonic all the same.
Someone with better skillz than I have could probably coax a tone out of that, but I sure can't.
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Old 10-25-2018, 03:34 PM
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There are harmonics over almost every fret. I'm not buying harmonics as the reason for the placement of the dots.

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Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Someone with better skillz than I have could probably coax a tone out of that, but I sure can't.
Heh. I don't consider myself as having anything even close to mad skillz on a guitar, but I was able to coax out a harmonic over every fret except #11 without too much difficulty.

I can play Red Barchetta, for what that's worth.

Last edited by engineer_comp_geek; 10-25-2018 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 10-25-2018, 03:46 PM
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The more I research it the more I'm convinced their placement has no intended meaning, other than "that's just where they go." Everything I've found is conflicting, completely uncited, and reads a lot like people talking straight out of their ass.
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Old 10-25-2018, 04:00 PM
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Why there's a mark on fret 9, I'll never know, I wish it was on 10 for D instead of 9 for C#
On my banjo the 10th fret is marked. This seems this is standard for most every banjo manufacturer, particularly the 5-string standard like mine and the 4-string plectrum and tenor banjos.

Interestingly enough, it looks like the 6-string banjo, developed primarily to allow guitar players to directly transfer their skills to the instrument and likewise uses the same guitar tunings, have the mark on the 9th fret. It's the only kind of banjo I've ever seen that does that, presumably to not throw off the guitar players used to the standard guitar fret markings.

Other than just tradition, maybe there's another reason for the difference. Most 5-string banjos are based around open tuning, usually G or A (especially for bluegrass), and 4-string banjos are usually tuned to a circle of fifths. Perhaps the difference between marking the 9th or 10th frets evolved from those differences to the 6-string standard guitar tunings? I'm not immediately seeing it, but maybe some more advanced music theorists here have some thoughts.

Though I'll bet the primary reason for all the instruments is "that's the way it's usually done and nobody wants to change from what's familiar".
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Old 10-25-2018, 06:22 PM
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I play almost no lead guitar, so I'm probably going to get some theory/terminology wrong; bear with me:

You play a scale on, say, the first fret and want to use the same fingering further up the fretboard; the dots help to become oriented quicker. Source (sorta): Article I read on Roger (Heart) Fisher back in pioneer days; he had LEDs put in his fretboard (I believe on the side) so he could find his fingering in the dark and/or during an on-stage light show.

Feel free to clean this up.
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Old 10-25-2018, 06:23 PM
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If you take those dots, and you also include the metal frets themselves as dashes, it reads "This is a guitar" in Morse code. In Norwegian. But it's slang Norwegian, so it's hard to make out the spelling.
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Old 10-25-2018, 08:03 PM
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The more I research it the more I'm convinced their placement has no intended meaning, other than "that's just where they go." Everything I've found is conflicting, completely uncited, and reads a lot like people talking straight out of their ass.
I agree with your last sentence, for sure. It just doesn't seem like it would be done this way purely for aesthetics, though.
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Old 10-25-2018, 09:47 PM
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I only futz on the guitar, for the most part, but play a couple musical instruments. I never really thought about how those dots are laid out. My guitar has it on the 5, 7, 9, 12 fret. Twelfth fret seems obvious, because it tells you where the octave is. The others I just always thought of as just being easy to identify and see your way around the fretboard. 5 and 7 are the fourth and fifth, so that makes sense to me. Ninth fret is, well, I just figured it's there as a guidepost so you don't have too much a leap from the 7th to 12th fret, and it happens to be a sixth, so a major scale tone.

For guitars that have a dot on the 3rd fret, I assume it's, once again, because it gives you an easily visually recognizable guidepost. I suppose you could have it on the second fret, as well, and it would work just as well. I don't think there's any deep meaning behind it.
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Old 10-25-2018, 11:25 PM
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This has been beaten to death on guitar message boards for many years - the "it's just tradition" answer is correct.

(You mention "the" major scale - apparently thinking about C - there are ~12 major scales, depending on how you count them, and guitarists are much more likely to play in something like G or D or A or E than C...)
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Old 10-26-2018, 04:09 AM
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I'm not buying the "it's just tradition" explanation.

I mean, sure, tradition certainly plays a role, but as has already been pointed out above, it's not like the dots fall on random notes. Forget about the C Major scale (or any scale actually) and think of it in terms of intervals. Like pulykamell has said : 5, 7 and 12 are the 4th, 5th and octave, in other words : notes that are absolutely essential to 90% of all music. 3 and 9 are the minor 3rd and major 6th respectively. Less essential notes but still pretty useful and frequently used. The only thing that bugs me is the fact that they chose the minor 3rd and not the major 3rd but that may be explained by the neighbouring 4th, which is already marked. No real need for a dot, there.

The distribution is far from random, all the notes marked by a dot have some real importance. Notes that are more difficult to work into a melody, or a solo like the minor 2nd, augmented 4th and major 7th are not highlighted. Surely, that can't be a coincidence.
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Old 10-26-2018, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by zombywoof View Post
This has been beaten to death on guitar message boards for many years - the "it's just tradition" answer is correct...
This. It might be time to just accept it as is.

In other words, fret not.


mmm
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Old 10-26-2018, 07:09 AM
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50 years ago I took one guitar lesson. The first question I asked was "what are the dots for?" The entire lesson ended up being a 50 minute blather about the importance of the dots that left me so confused I never went back. Until today I was convinced that I was too stupid for the guitar, but now understand this is an age-old dilemma...
Hell, maybe I'll just pick up the guitar in my retirement!
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Old 10-26-2018, 10:18 AM
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The distribution is far from random, all the notes marked by a dot have some real importance. Notes that are more difficult to work into a melody, or a solo like the minor 2nd, augmented 4th and major 7th are not highlighted. Surely, that can't be a coincidence.
The way I look at it is this: The dots are there obviously as a visual cue to let you know where you are on the fretboard. If I'm going to place one dot, where would it be? Clearly, the octave seems to be the logical place for the first guidepost. It also happens to be exactly halfway down the string, so there's that, too. So there goes a dot on fret 12, where the octave is located. Now we know where the notes start to repeat themselves.

Then where would we place the next one? For me, the next logical place would be the fifth, which happens to be the 7th fret. You can make an argument for the fourth, as well, but I'd go with the fifth because it's the diatonic scale degree that feels most like half an octave to me.

So now we have markers at the 12th and 7th frets. At this point, I would think you need to add at least two markers to help visually break up the fretboard and be easy to locate notes. Skip a fret and mark the 4th below the 5th, and skip a fret and mark the 6th above the fifth seems pretty logical to me. We're marking diatonic notes and avoiding having two marked frets next to each other, which should help us visually locate notes on the fretboard.

Now the last one, on the 3rd fret. My instinct probably would have been to place that marker on the 2nd fret, as it's a diatonic note and it works in visually breaking up the fretboard cleanly. On the other hand, I can see putting that marker there, as it creates a nice symmetry. There's two unmarked frets below the 3rd fret, and then, as you come up to the octave, there's two unmarked frets between the 9th fret and the 12th fret. So that one could have gone either way.

I hope that makes some sort of sense. Basically, it all seems logical to me from a musical and practical standpoint. The only marker I might have a question about is the one on the 3rd fret (which my guitar doesn't have), but I can see justification for because of the symmetry.
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Old 10-26-2018, 11:14 AM
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Then where would we place the next one? For me, the next logical place would be the fifth, which happens to be the 7th fret. You can make an argument for the fourth, as well, but I'd go with the fifth because it's the diatonic scale degree that feels most like half an octave to me.
I should say, at this point, it would also have made sense to me to mark the 4th fret (the major third) instead of the 5th fret (the perfect fourth.) But the sixth, I think, would have to be where it's at. So then, if we were to add one more dot, it would be at the second fret, for a pattern of 2, 4, 7, 9, 12 instead of 3, 5, 7, 9, 12. The latter seems somewhat aesthetically more clean to me, but either works.

Last edited by pulykamell; 10-26-2018 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 10-26-2018, 12:14 PM
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Arguments based on the scale would make sense if the guitar had one string, and all songs were played in the same (major) key based on that open string. But they're not.

Having the major scale marked out on on the fretboard isn't super helpful when the vast majority of the time, it's not actually marking the scale for the key you're playing in, on the string you're fretting.

Clearly, then, the main point of the markings is just as a visual aid for being able to quickly find the fifth versus the sixth fret (and look reasonably attractive while doing so); only at the margin do music-theory considerations matter.

I totally agree with pulykamell's thinking. Though, as he's not a guitarist, he may have not appreciated why guitarists find the fifth fret (a musical fourth-step up from the open string) more natural as the next major marking after the octave: first, because the guitar is tuned in fourths (well, 5/6ths of it anyway), so that's kind of a natural spot to mark, and second because for most forms of guitar music (except maybe blues/rock electric guitar leads and some rock rhythm guitar), the open strings are used a lot and so lower frets are more important than higher ones, making the fifth fret more important than the 7th.
But maybe more importantly, on the physical guitar neck, the fifth fret is exactly halfway between the nut and the 12th fret, so, on a purely visual level that's the next spot to mark.

The other spots kind of fall out from there: putting a marking two frets away from the major marking is enough so that you can find what you're looking for quickly, without too much clutter. So go up and down two from the fifth fret. The choice of the 9th (two up from the already -marked 7th) or 10th (two down from the 12th/octave) is pretty arbitrary. Maybe just the one closer to the nut was considered more important, given traditional guitar music, or maybe it just looked nicer, since the the 9th is just slightly closer to physically halfway between the 7th and the 12th frets than the 10th fret is.
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Old 10-26-2018, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
There are harmonics over almost every fret. I'm not buying harmonics as the reason for the placement of the dots.



Heh. I don't consider myself as having anything even close to mad skillz on a guitar, but I was able to coax out a harmonic over every fret except #11 without too much difficulty.

I can play Red Barchetta, for what that's worth.
So here I am, supposed to be working, and I trying to get a harmonic out of every fret on my bass guitar.

1 and 11 were the only real problems.
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Old 10-26-2018, 01:52 PM
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So here I am, supposed to be working, and I trying to get a harmonic out of every fret on my bass guitar.

1 and 11 were the only real problems.


Good discussion, all. I noticed at a recent gig by Mimi Fox (she of the harp harmonics) that her custom made guitar has zero dots. The arrogance! Or maybe they're just on the side of the fret board. Either way, I can hate on her for it, but not much because she's fucking awesome (and I mean that word in the old sense, not as in "This ice cream is awesome.")
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Old 10-26-2018, 02:29 PM
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Good discussion, all. I noticed at a recent gig by Mimi Fox (she of the harp harmonics) that her custom made guitar has zero dots. The arrogance! Or maybe they're just on the side of the fret board. Either way, I can hate on her for it, but not much because she's fucking awesome (and I mean that word in the old sense, not as in "This ice cream is awesome.")
I'm not an expert on acoustic guitars, but from what I see, many classical-style guitars don't have dots on the front of the fretboard (though they might well have them on the side). And, of course, on a custom guitar, the owner can have whatever they want done.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 10-26-2018 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 10-26-2018, 02:36 PM
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Clearly, then, the main point of the markings is just as a visual aid for being able to quickly find the fifth versus the sixth fret (and look reasonably attractive while doing so); only at the margin do music-theory considerations matter.
But then, why would it be so important to mark the fifth fret and not the sixth if the notes they indicated didn't matter ? As long as you had a few markings somewhere, anywhere actually, you'd be good to go. But that's not the case. All the dots mark notes that are very important harmonically relative to the open string. I can't believe that these "arbitrary" visual aids happen to coincide with these important notes.
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Last edited by Les Espaces Du Sommeil; 10-26-2018 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 10-26-2018, 03:52 PM
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Most of the markers are very helpful and I depend on them.

3rd fret maker is the G and C barre chords.

5th fret marker is A and D barre chords.

7th is B and E barre chords

9th is the weird one. C# and F# barre chords.

Probably because most sharp keys use those notes. Start with Key G. It has one sharp, F#. Key of D has 2 (F#, C#). Continue around the circle of fifths and add more sharps. You'll use F#, C# sharp notes a lot.

Chord progression, F#m is the vi chord in key A. Key of E, C#m is the vi chord. Both on the 9th marker.

Ok, I don't find the 9th marker that useful for chords. But it's helpful occasionally.

12th fret marker is the octave.

So, in key of A. The I vi IV V progression uses A, F#m, D, E. All found on the markers, if you play barre chords. I play in key A a lot.

Key of E, same chord progression uses E, C#m, A, B chords. All found on the fret markers.

Were the fret markers purposefully designed that way? <shrug> Seems like some serious thought went into it.
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Old 10-26-2018, 03:59 PM
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That's how I learned the dots. I memorized the barre chords many years ago.

The dots get me on the natural root notes. In between the dots is sharp and flat chords.

Except for that weird 9th marker. That's an exception thst has to be remembered.

I don't play lead and haven't memorized the entire fretboard. I know where my chords live. It's worked for me since high school.

Last edited by aceplace57; 10-26-2018 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 10-26-2018, 04:23 PM
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I'm not an expert on acoustic guitars, but from what I see, many classical-style guitars don't have dots on the front of the fretboard (though they might well have them on the side). And, of course, on a custom guitar, the owner can have whatever they want done.
Classical guitars tend to have tiny dots on the side at frets 5,7, 10 and 12. They're basically seen as a training aid for students. Mine rubbed off years ago.

Last edited by lisiate; 10-26-2018 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 10-26-2018, 04:31 PM
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I have no idea if there is any correlation but the dots are spaced 3-2-2-2-3-3.

That is the same fretting for playing some blusey root scale (I have no idea what it is called)

6th string / 5th fret -> 6th string / 8th fret [3 fret span]
5th string / 5th fret -> 5th string / 7th fret [2 fret span]
4th string / 5th fret -> 4th string / 7th fret [2 fret span]
3rd string / 5th fret -> 3rd string / 7th fret [2 fret span]
2nd string / 5th fret -> 2nd string / 8th fret [3 fret span]
1st string / 5th fret -> 1st string / 8th fret [3 fret span]

I realize this is completely unrelated, but it was the only other time I've really used the 3-2-2-2-3-3. Anyway,as you were. I don't know anything about music but just enjoy playing guitar.

I'm really enjoying the thread.
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Old 10-26-2018, 04:41 PM
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Good discussion, all. I noticed at a recent gig by Mimi Fox (she of the harp harmonics) that her custom made guitar has zero dots. The arrogance! Or maybe they're just on the side of the fret board. Either way, I can hate on her for it, but not much because she's fucking awesome (and I mean that word in the old sense, not as in "This ice cream is awesome.")
My “regular carry” bass has no frets and no dots...it’s a beautiful instrument and a joy to play.

But you are on to the secret—un-lined fretless basses like mine typically have a set of tiny dots along the top edge of the fretboard, so people in front think we are absolutely playing the thing totally by ear like a boss, when we still have cheater dots out of sight. Make no mistake, if you play the one long enough, the dots don’t matter, but they sure are a nice safety net to have.
  #34  
Old 10-26-2018, 04:48 PM
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I think I misread. You are probably talking about a classical guitar, yes?
The good ones don’t have any dots.
But the octave is always right at the fret that is at the edge of the guitar body, so it’s pretty easy to find your bearings.
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Old 10-26-2018, 04:50 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by minor7flat5 View Post
My “regular carry” bass has no frets and no dots...it’s a beautiful instrument and a joy to play.

But you are on to the secret—un-lined fretless basses like mine typically have a set of tiny dots along the top edge of the fretboard, so people in front think we are absolutely playing the thing totally by ear like a boss, when we still have cheater dots out of sight. Make no mistake, if you play the one long enough, the dots don’t matter, but they sure are a nice safety net to have.
I was going to say--I don't play a lot of guitar, but I guess I've played enough that I don't need the dots to help me along. It's not that difficult with a fretted instrument to get the lay of the land. Fretless, though...I would be out of tune in a sec!
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Old 11-02-2018, 12:01 PM
Steven_Maven Steven_Maven is offline
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Belaboring the obvious for the uninformed

Does anybody on this thread actually play the guitar?

First, fret markers come in many shapes, although dots are the most common.

Next, there are fret markers only on steel string guitars (both acoustic and electric), but never on nylon (formerly gut) string guitars. Gretch puts dots on the upper edge of the neck, but not on the fretboard.

Fret markers are not helpful for playing scales on a single string, because nobody plays on a single string. Furthermore, playing scales is just practice.

When you play a melody, you can start on any string and any fret in any key. Well almost. The markers help you find a place to start.

Fret markers also help when you’re strumming barre chords.

SHEESH!
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Old 11-02-2018, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Steven_Maven View Post
Does anybody on this thread actually play the guitar?

First, fret markers come in many shapes, although dots are the most common.

Next, there are fret markers only on steel string guitars (both acoustic and electric), but never on nylon (formerly gut) string guitars. Gretch puts dots on the upper edge of the neck, but not on the fretboard.

Fret markers are not helpful for playing scales on a single string, because nobody plays on a single string. Furthermore, playing scales is just practice.

When you play a melody, you can start on any string and any fret in any key. Well almost. The markers help you find a place to start.

Fret markers also help when you’re strumming barre chords.

SHEESH!
So, you don't know the answer either. Got it.
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Old 11-02-2018, 03:21 PM
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Does anybody on this thread actually play the guitar? . .
I don't know, but I do know how to spell Gretsch.
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Old 11-02-2018, 05:31 PM
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There aren't markers on modern nylon stringed guitars, but they did exist on some early versions of guitars


Treble clef notation replaced tablature in the mid 1700's and the 6 string guitar basically existed after 1790.

While the actual reason for the front dots and the inventor is lost to history, seeing as they are on the front of an instrument (not visible to the player) that played chords, and the dots help other instrument players quickly and visually see what a compatible note would be.

As the link above pointed out the dots mostly mark the harmonic comprising of a major chord but the 9th is related to the partials. It is simply just four marks and three spaces which is the a small number of markers to convey a lot of information.

If you look at even Martin guitars from the 1800's they will only have the harmonics on the 5th and 7th fret marked like the link above too.

Last edited by rat avatar; 11-02-2018 at 05:33 PM.
  #40  
Old 11-02-2018, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven_Maven View Post
Does anybody on this thread actually play the guitar?

First, fret markers come in many shapes, although dots are the most common.

Next, there are fret markers only on steel string guitars (both acoustic and electric), but never on nylon (formerly gut) string guitars. Gretch puts dots on the upper edge of the neck, but not on the fretboard.

Fret markers are not helpful for playing scales on a single string, because nobody plays on a single string. Furthermore, playing scales is just practice.

When you play a melody, you can start on any string and any fret in any key. Well almost. The markers help you find a place to start.

Fret markers also help when you’re strumming barre chords.

SHEESH!
The least helpful post in this thread. Seems like you went out of your way to NOT answer the question. "Fret markers come in many shapes"? No shit? Next you'll be telling me that there are different makes and models.
  #41  
Old 11-02-2018, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by rat avatar View Post
There aren't markers on modern nylon stringed guitars, but they did exist on some early versions of guitars.
Huh!

I guess the fret markers have totally gone out of fashion on classical guitars.
My first classical guitar was the bottom of the line Yamaha, and it has inlaid dots like a steel string. My first relatively decent classical guitar, an Alvarez, introduced me to the world of the totally unmarked fretboard.

I tried to find images of classical guitars with dots, even looking at all of Yamaha's entry level lineup, and the fretboard dots on nylon string guitars seem to have gone the way of the dodo.
  #42  
Old 11-02-2018, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by minor7flat5 View Post
Huh!

I guess the fret markers have totally gone out of fashion on classical guitars.
My first classical guitar was the bottom of the line Yamaha, and it has inlaid dots like a steel string. My first relatively decent classical guitar, an Alvarez, introduced me to the world of the totally unmarked fretboard.

I tried to find images of classical guitars with dots, even looking at all of Yamaha's entry level lineup, and the fretboard dots on nylon string guitars seem to have gone the way of the dodo.
Modern classical guitars are basic copies of Antonio de Torres Jurado guitars from the late 1800's.

They are basically the same thing as today's strat copies but from this earlier style of Spanish guitar.

The older baroque guitars had gut frets and thus probably wouldn't have had markers.

Last edited by rat avatar; 11-02-2018 at 08:05 PM.
  #43  
Old 11-02-2018, 10:02 PM
Steven_Maven Steven_Maven is offline
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Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard View Post
This. It might be time to just accept it as is.

In other words, fret not.


mmm
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Originally Posted by Greathouse View Post
So, you don't know the answer either. Got it.

How’s this for a non-answer?
Because they look good there.

Or to quote the punchline of an old joke: Everybody has to be someplace.

If I were limited to one sentence, I would say, “All those theories about scales and intervals are meaningless, because (as I said), you don’t have to start with an open string.”
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Old 11-02-2018, 10:16 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by Steven_Maven View Post
If I were limited to one sentence, I would say, “All those theories about scales and intervals are meaningless, because (as I said), you don’t have to start with an open string.”
Well, duh, but do you really think it's coincidence there's dots at the 12th fret (octave)? It's clearly not completely arbitrary. I don't think there's a need to follow scale degrees--all you need is visual guideposts that help you determine where you are on the fretboard. But they do happen to align with important intervals like the fourth and the fifth of that particular string, which makes some sort of sense to me. Obviously, you don't necessarily care about where the fourth and fifth are of any particular string because you're not necessarily playing in that key, but if you're laying out dots on a fretboard, those seem to be like logical places to put dots.

Last edited by pulykamell; 11-02-2018 at 10:19 PM.
  #45  
Old 11-03-2018, 10:24 AM
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My classical guitars, Ovation, Alvarez, La Patrie, and Aria Sinsonido all have markers along the upper edge of the neck. I have seen some $10,000+ Spanish made guitars that do not have any fret markers.
  #46  
Old 11-03-2018, 12:02 PM
Steven_Maven Steven_Maven is offline
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Well, duh, but do you really think it's coincidence there's dots at the 12th fret (octave)? It's clearly not completely arbitrary. I don't think there's a need to follow scale degrees--all you need is visual guideposts that help you determine where you are on the fretboard. But they do happen to align with important intervals like the fourth and the fifth of that particular string, which makes some sort of sense to me. Obviously, you don't necessarily care about where the fourth and fifth are of any particular string because you're not necessarily playing in that key, but if you're laying out dots on a fretboard, those seem to be like logical places to put dots.
PULYKAMELL:

I agree that “all you need are visual guideposts...”

I agree that it’s logical to mark the 12th fret octave, even on guitars where that’s where the fingerboard meets the body. I also think it’s helpful for that one to look a little different, for example 2 dots instead of one.
  #47  
Old 11-03-2018, 12:12 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by Steven_Maven View Post
PULYKAMELL:

I agree that “all you need are visual guideposts...”

I agree that it’s logical to mark the 12th fret octave, even on guitars where that’s where the fingerboard meets the body. I also think it’s helpful for that one to look a little different, for example 2 dots instead of one.
OK, sounds like we're all on the same page, then.
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