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Thread: Fret setup.

  1. #1
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Fret setup.

    Is it common or even possible to move the crown a bit to tweak for intonation at each fret? Do people do this? What I mean is when crowning moves a crown a bit forward or back depending on how that fret is when the open and 12th are set up well. If possible I would assume you would have a better chance on a board where you just leveled the frets because they would have a bit wider crown to work with?
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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret setup.

    Wow brother your being very picky-you know what mandolin stands for-out of tune! No, joking aside I love spot on intonation but I've never heard of this, I've heard of fret slots being cut wrong and that's about it sure if you have deep divots that'll throw intonation off a bit but if not too bad roll with it, if so a leveling and crowning should do the trick.

  3. #3
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret setup.

    I can get anal and this was just a thought. I wonder how many luthiers that are considered kings of setups get anal over frets.
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    Default Re: Fret setup.

    If you would do this, it would not work for every key anyway so why bother. I forget who designed the guitar with magnetic fingerboards that had the frets arranged for each key, and you changed the fingerboard for the key you wanted to play in. The fret changes were significant and would not be feasible on a mandolin with such limited space, not that they would be as much on such a short scale, but still may more than crowning could accomplish.
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  5. #5
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Fret setup.

    We live in time of equal temperament so that forces us to listen to intervals that are ALL (except octaves) out of tune, albeit very slightly. Annoying for folks with very fine ears but there's nothing you can do about that.
    If the fret slots are cut correctly and mandolin set up well and the player fingers notes sensitively ("lumberjack" grip can make each note well out of tune no matter how well the instrument is set up) then the notes will be precise enough (to equal temperament) way up the neck. If the frets are not in correct positions then moving slots is the solution, or replacing whole board with correct one.
    If you tune individual frets under individual strings (there are such guitars with "wavy frets" - I think it's called microtonal?) for exact natural tuning then your instrument may work perfectly in one key but will be quite bad in other keys.
    Adrian

  6. #6
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret setup.

    Guess that wasn't a very good idea. Thanks, everyone!
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Fret setup.

    Look up Magliari Macrostie scale.. to get better intonation, you have to actually move each fret significantly, farther than you can get by moving the crown. The problem is then, the fretboard will only work with one gauge of strings.

  8. #8
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    Look up Magliari Macrostie scale.. to get better intonation, you have to actually move each fret significantly, farther than you can get by moving the crown. The problem is then, the fretboard will only work with one gauge of strings.
    Sounds like an interesting read. I will look it up thanks!
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  9. #9
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret setup.

    Wow I was reading through the document that starts with a flow chart. There is a whole lot going on there, more than I will tackle at this point. I don’t have a problem with how my instruments sound so they are good enough for me!
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    Default Re: Fret setup.

    If you get bored....
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  12. #11
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fret setup.

    When I think about it I use a fairly light touch which I have tried to tighten a tad. That said I like that I have some leeway to squeeze tighter to get the tone of the strings to change. That board looks like a nightmare to set up. I saw a video of a guy playing with these extra little bits screwed in all over the fretboard for I assume microtonal adjustments.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  13. #12

    Default Re: Fret setup.

    I have found on my electric mandolas and octave mandolins that the forth string can sometimes be temperamental ringing slightly sharp at the first three frets despite having correct intonation at the 12th fret. Some of this has to do with undisciplined finger pressure while fretting notes and it really depends on what chord I'm playing as whether or not it is offensive. I'm not sure but I think I read somewhere that a major 5th is the worst if it is sharp. The reality is that no fret board can be perfect. I really got into this issue many years ago becoming a Feiten authorized tech and playing around with Earvana and such. There is more than smoke and mirrors to these things but really these ideas are not always needed. On two of my instruments, I grafted a 1/32nd extension to the nut slot of the 4th string (or string pair) bringing the nut slot break point 1/32" closer to the first fret. This gave a night and day improvement to the first three fretted notes. On a bone nut, CA is awesome and it isn't difficult to do a clean and tidy job.

  14. #13
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Fret setup.

    This made me spend some time surfing to refresh my memories.
    The true temperament boards are quite a trip. I noticed several things... they use simple straight nut and in some guitars also straight saddle placed perpendicular to strings so the frets do ALL the work in compensation. It is all calculated for one gauge of strings and one action. I don't know how you can bend strings on those frets with tight kinks smoothly. Could be hard to adjust left hand technique not to fret strings over the fret muting the tone...
    I prefer the model with standard frets and compensated nut and saddle. In tha past I've made couple nuts that overhang the end of board to tame banjos with really bad intonation and I made small bone inserts in front of some strings of Martin Dread for better intonation as well.
    On mandolins, I found out, moving the nut closer to first fret (without individual steps) and using more or less traditional bridge saddle is more than enough for good intonation. I did some calculations (I'm math teacher) and found out that using saddle compensation affects the higher strings more than lower in somewhat linear way up to 24th fret. So you'll get good intonation up the board but lower frets are still a bit sharp. The position of nut affects (I was surprised toget such results and double-checked my calculations to trust them) all frets equally (constant change in cents of tuning) so moving nut by "three cents" of the first fret distance (you can calculate it as three percents of the fret distance) will flatten all notes by three cents....
    By combination of these two you can get pitch within 2 cents or so on all frets. There's no need for all the exotics as the personal fingering can be quite different among folks and also one player can finger strings stronger one day and gently another day producing differences in tuning that no system can take care of.
    Adrian

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    Default Re: Fret setup.

    What he said, mandolin, aien't it a trip.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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