Fret Not: The Fret Knot is Back by Peter Hoover
"An idea centuries old has returned..."
PDF Scan from Mugwumps Magazine, Vol 3. No. 6, November 1974
A note from Shane: This tutorial comes from an old issue of Mugwumps magazine, a now-defunct publication that is getting harder and harder to find. This lesson on fret knots should hopefully inspire many new DIY instrument ideas from you all.
I first learned about tied fretting techniques when I purchased a tourist-grade Turkish saz during a trip to Israel back in 1989. The instrument is fretted up the neck with nylon filament frets, each one wrapped around four times.
I've scanned the original Mugwumps article and converted it into a PDF so you can download and print out for your own use.
A CALL FOR IMPROVEMENTS: If you have a better technique for traditional tied-and-knotted frets, please post them below! If you try any of these ideas, make sure to also take photos and post a builder's diary, too.
About these plans: In researching various obscure musical instruments, I have discovered the treasure trove of information from Mugwumps, a now defunct magazine originally published by Michael Holmes of Silver Spring, MD. The bi-monthly journal celebrated old time music, unusual folk instruments and served as a classifieds for the emerging bluegrass community of the 1970's.