Excuse my ignorance, but I come from a diatonic (stick dulcimer) background and we don't use fret markers. Now that I'm trying to cross over to the chromatic world, I notice that there seems to be a lot of inconsistency when it comes to fret markers, especial with regards to fret 9 verses fret 10. A lot of folks seem to prefer to put a fret marker at fret position 9, while others put it at fret 10. Which is correct, and what is the "logic" behind it? I'm getting ready to put fret marks on a chromatic fretboard and I want to do it right.
In most cases, fret markers go at 3,5,7,9,12,15,17,19,21,24 frets for chromatic fretted fingerboards. Ukuleles are sometimes different.
Not sure if there is a right or wrong way for 9th fret (vs. 10th fret), except that I will say most guitars will have marks at the frets I listed above.
I put all mine at the 10th, mainly because almost everything I play includes the 10th fret. Almost all songs with a slide that I play use the 10th. But that's just me.
As do I. I made my first 2 builds with the traditional layout, but I quickly wished I had put them on the 10th as part of the pentatonic scale. Now I have enough practice to switch back and forth effortlessly, but I still mark the 10th rather than 9th. Also of note, my guitars are 3 strings tuned 1 5 1.
I have a factory-made banjo and a factory-made ukulele and both have the fret mark on fret 10 instead of fret 9. So, it might be that I'm confused because I've been looking at instruments that are not guitars. I'll have to stop by a guitar shop and see how they do it. I did search CBN and more builders seem to use a fret marker at fret 9, although a few put that fret mark at fret 10. I also got a good idea from the CBN search for making the fret marks easily by drilling holes, filling them with solder and sanding flush. I think I'll give this method a try.
I like that system. I am making big marks at 5, 7, 12 and small ones at 3, 9, 15, 17
Thanks for the feed back.
Ron, I think I only partly understood what you are trying to say. It does seem the fret markers are placed at odd increments relative to the open note (3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th) plus the octave. Placing them 2 half steps apart seems a good strategy if you want to find a note that's a whole note above the current one. I'm not sure I fully comprehend this, but I guess I'll just need to accept it.
On my few earlier chromatic builds I used my own fret marking system which was to color the diatonic frets (finger positions) differently than the accidentals and then marking fret 11 (that pesky diatonic fret 6.5) differently. But, while this scheme works for folks coming from a diatonic (dulcimer) background, it's not what the rest of the world is using.
I think that if a fret marking system were developed "from the key of C Major", then they should mark the frets that map to the "w-w-h-w-w-w-h" (major scale whole and half step) pattern, which would be frets 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 12 (and perhaps repeating for the next octave). This would be like the diatonic fret scheme I used but would be Ionic mode instead of Mixolydian mode (meaning I'd have to mark chromatic fret 11 (diatonic fret 6.5) "normally" and then maybe specially marking fret 10 (diatonic fret 6) so I could easily find it for Mixolydian mode music).
But, I think I'll go ahead with the standard guitar fret marking for this build and if I find it too confusing, I'll add diatonic fret markings to the top side of the the neck. Hopefully by playing a bunch of diatonic songs I know on a chromatic neck I can begin to transition to chromatic. My fingering style will have to change, as I currently play with just my index finger on the melody string and I need to learn to play with multiple fingers and finding notes across multiple strings. This new instrument is a 4-stringer chromatic box guitar with a 4-pole bass magnetic pickup.
Wow, I thought I knew the answer as 9th right away. But then I read Bad Finger's post about the pentatonic scale and that makes a lot of sense. I have some thinking to do.