Handmade Music Clubhouse

Cigar Box Guitar Headquarters - CBG HQ

I want to build a dulci. But have been using wfret for my layout. It has a nice printable template. Anyways can I use the same template and just skip certain frets? If so what frets are skipped? And if not what frets aline differently?

Views: 1925

Replies to This Discussion

Go to the stewmac site, click on fretscales, put in your scale length, then underneath enter dulcimer and you will get all the info you need.
Hope this helps.
Hogs.
LJ,

I use a program called wfret that prints a template and a chart for the frets of whatever scale length you enter. It doesn't have a specific dulcimer (diatonic) scale setting, but you can compare it to the results from a dulcimer scale and only mark the frets you need. The beauty is in not having to measure anything--just mark and cut. You should be able to do a search for wfret and download it to y0ur PC. I've made 5 CBGs using wfret templates and they all had accurate fret placment.
Here's what I found on the "Everything Dulcimer" forums:

Here's a quick way to determine what frets to skip for configuring a dulcimer fretboard when using Wfret.
To begin with, print a template with 29 chromatic frets.

a. Basic diatonic: Skip frets 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27.
b. Diatonic with 6+: Skip frets 1, 3, 6, 8, 13, 15, 18, 20, 25, 27.
c. Diatonic with 1+ and 6+: Skip frets 1, 6, 8, 13, 18, 20, 25.

Here's the same thing, backwards:
a. Straight diatonic: Keep frets 0, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 29.
b. Diatonic with 6+: Add frets 10, and 22.
c. Diatonic with 1+ and 6+: Add frets 3, 10, 15, 22, 27.

I haven't had time to verify it all, but it seems right to my recollection. The complicating factor
is that mountain and stick dulcimers tend NOT TO BE purely diatonic. Some add a 6 1/2 fret which corrects for an early mistake that most dulcimer folks won't admit to, and that's the fact that the 6th fret is a half step low (flat) from what it should be in a purely diatonic fretboard. The frets in a purely diatonic fretboard are determined by what notes are in the Major scale that your instrument is designed to. If it is a stick dulcimer to be tuned DAD, the we're talking the Key of D Major, and member notes include { D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D' }. So if you tune a guitar's first string to "D" and go up the neck beginning with open string D, you can identify which notes (frets) to include and which ones to skip. From my experience, the ones (chromatic frets) to skip are "1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 18, 20, and 22". But most dulcimer makers include a 6 1/2 fret and maybe a 13 1/2 fret which makes determining the correct frets more difficult to remember or figure out. This is especially complicated when some stick dulcimer makers renumber all the frets, including fret 6 1/2 and throw off every thing (no wonder why people are so confused). So, for fret 6 1/2, keep chromatic fret 10 and for fret 13 1/2, keep chromatic fret 22.

What's nice about the diatonic fretboard layout is that it follows a generalized fret interval pattern identical to the one used by all the Major Scales: W-W-H-W-W-W-H (where W = whole step interval, H = half step interval). So, if you want to tune for another Major scale, all you do is re-tune your open strings and the notes of the new scale automatically appear on the fretboard. So, for a beginner, there is no need to worry about whether the note is sharp or flat, the fretboard takes care of the details for you.

Just my 2 cents worth.
Oh, I forgot to mention the dulcimer fret calculator I like to use to avoid the hassle of trying to figure out which frets to use or skip from a chromatic fret spacing table.

That URL is:

http://www.mimf.com/archives/dulcimer_fretcalc.htm

The right tool for the right job can eliminate a lot of headaches.

Hi, I'm new to the group so this may be old news but I have used stew-mac for the fret spacing on my dulcimers.



Rand Moore said:

Here's what I found on the "Everything Dulcimer" forums:

Here's a quick way to determine what frets to skip for configuring a dulcimer fretboard when using Wfret.
To begin with, print a template with 29 chromatic frets.

a. Basic diatonic: Skip frets 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27.
b. Diatonic with 6+: Skip frets 1, 3, 6, 8, 13, 15, 18, 20, 25, 27.
c. Diatonic with 1+ and 6+: Skip frets 1, 6, 8, 13, 18, 20, 25.

Here's the same thing, backwards:
a. Straight diatonic: Keep frets 0, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 29.
b. Diatonic with 6+: Add frets 10, and 22.
c. Diatonic with 1+ and 6+: Add frets 3, 10, 15, 22, 27.

I haven't had time to verify it all, but it seems right to my recollection. The complicating factor
is that mountain and stick dulcimers tend NOT TO BE purely diatonic. Some add a 6 1/2 fret which corrects for an early mistake that most dulcimer folks won't admit to, and that's the fact that the 6th fret is a half step low (flat) from what it should be in a purely diatonic fretboard. The frets in a purely diatonic fretboard are determined by what notes are in the Major scale that your instrument is designed to. If it is a stick dulcimer to be tuned DAD, the we're talking the Key of D Major, and member notes include { D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D' }. So if you tune a guitar's first string to "D" and go up the neck beginning with open string D, you can identify which notes (frets) to include and which ones to skip. From my experience, the ones (chromatic frets) to skip are "1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 18, 20, and 22". But most dulcimer makers include a 6 1/2 fret and maybe a 13 1/2 fret which makes determining the correct frets more difficult to remember or figure out. This is especially complicated when some stick dulcimer makers renumber all the frets, including fret 6 1/2 and throw off every thing (no wonder why people are so confused). So, for fret 6 1/2, keep chromatic fret 10 and for fret 13 1/2, keep chromatic fret 22.

What's nice about the diatonic fretboard layout is that it follows a generalized fret interval pattern identical to the one used by all the Major Scales: W-W-H-W-W-W-H (where W = whole step interval, H = half step interval). So, if you want to tune for another Major scale, all you do is re-tune your open strings and the notes of the new scale automatically appear on the fretboard. So, for a beginner, there is no need to worry about whether the note is sharp or flat, the fretboard takes care of the details for you.

Just my 2 cents worth.

I have put this together, but I am so mightily confused i wonder if you might run your eye over it for me please.

Brian

Attachments:

Hi Brian.

Your chart is basically accurate. To nit pick, most dulcimers have only fret 6+ (and maybe 13+ if there are that many frets on the fretboard. The fret 1.5 (and it's equivalent and octave up, 8.5) are recent additions that only a few builder include as standard. If you want a 1.5, you usually have to have it special ordered (or install it yourself). The 1.5 fret allows for a few new note and chord options. I've not yet bothered to explore what's possible with the 1.5 and 8.5 frets. However, there have been some times with specific songs that I wished I had a 1.5 fret. I think its a bit of a slippery slope when you start adding frets to a diatonic fretboard. If you need more, then go chromatic. As for the number of frets, I have never seen more than 24 frets on a 12TET guitar, nor more than 24 frets on a mountain dulcimer (excluding any new ones and fret 0, which I do include on all the instruments I build). So, a fret 25 and a fret 26 are dubious. On most stick dulcimers, its rare to fine one with a fret numbered higher that 12, although I have build a few that have had the full compliment of 14 (plus 6.5 and 13.5). Th reason the frets above 12 are not often provided is the space between the frets is quite small and the notes seldom used with songs that have been arranged for the instrument (lowest note on fret 0, etc.).

Also, the format of the table is not that great, so I did another one in Excel... See the appended file.

-Rand.

Modified Excel spreadsheet to correct a format problem.

Attachments:

Oh Rand,

That is just great.  I am poorly music educated and have struggled with this.  The Jazz dulcimer (if there is such a thing) I made i left out the 8+ to my horror, but i have taken on board your thoughts on what frets should be included.  I too feel that there is a slippery slope between the added frets and becoming chromatic, which is what i do not really want to do.

I play uke, so if i want to go chromatic then I would prefer to leave the dulcimer and go uke.  I love your spread sheet... a great improvement on my effort... dare i ask if you have one for some other tunings?  Perhaps DAC and DF#A?  Am I pushing my luck???  Only if you have the time and inclination... but thanks if you do.

I really appreciate your help and thoughts and support and generous sharing of your knowledge..

PS  I am finding the cross over from uke to dulcimer from very daunting.  I hope i get there, it is such a nice instrument.

Brian

Cooranbong. Austalia

www.ukulelejass.com

I just want to say that i have studied the spread sheet and it meets so many of my needs.  It is a long time since i played dulcimer and 6+ was not around then so a few things have happened in the intervening time.

Since then I have taken to to Jazz rhythm ukulele and hope to play some jazz/swing on the dulcimer.  I made the dulcimer in my photo above to meet a need i have with my fret board hand (I cant use the middle finger) That modification has worked but there are few faults that i would share fr others who might want to follow my path:

 
1.  I need to have made a wider fret board  30 mm is not adequate or my poor technique is pushing off the bass side far to much.
 
2. I made it a short string length (350mm) mostly because of my finger problem and I did not want to stretch too far.  Well, for fingering that worked but the sound in the upper register which you meet quite quickly with a short string length are not at all  dulcimer like.  I do not really like it.
 
3 Side sound holes worked quite well as i knew they would, quite a bit of study (not academic)  has shown that they work well for the player and listener.
 
4. I fretted it wrongly... missed out the 8+  Grrr  I think i now have that side of things sorted out for the “next” one?
 
5 Volume fine, must use a plectrum for the upper register.
 
6, I love the shape Larry, so does everyone who sees it!  I might tell you the sad saga of my making of this instrument .... One day... when inebriated!!!  So many things went wrong!  I am glad it was an experimental instrument for me only!
 
7. I have watched closely and experimented; and the bridged sound board really does not bend visually despite the wide span
 
Soooo, what about the next one? 
 
Of course a wider fret board.
I will probably make one; it will almost for certain have a longer string length probably close to the traditional length.
I might add appropriate  “+” frets to my original dulcimer if i get lazy.  I should send you a picture of it as it is beautiful
I like the idea of a raised fret board with a violin bridge.  (flat of course)  I know the bowed dulci players use that... have you heard one strummed?  Should sound good?
 
Any ideas or idle thoughts will be appreciated.  The more way out the better... I am a keen experimenter.
 
Brian
 

Just some pics of my dulcimers made by me over the years.  The native Australian flower decoration was done by a friend.

Brian

Attachments:

RSS

© 2017   Created by Ted Crocker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service