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Thread: Fretboard Frets Question

  1. #1
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    Default Fretboard Frets Question

    Is it possible to have a mandolin same scale length with 15-17 frets so that the frets would be further apart instead of 21-22 frets. Don't know how scale factors into such. Personally I very occasionally play past the 15th fret and fret width here is very narrow with volume dropping significantly and cleanliness of notes lessened.

    I'm sure there are folks that play high on fretboard at times but I would think the majority of players primarily or mainly play at most to 12-15th frets. Wider fret spacing between 12th to 15th fret would be nice at least for my likes as I would seldom or never play on last 4 frets, it's wasted real estate for my likings.

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    Default Re: Fretboard Frets Question

    If you change the fret locations, you change the notes on the fretboard, so Im going to say no (at least not without fundamentally changing the instrument). Maybe consider trying Mandola?

    That said, we have some creative builders on the forum, so well see if any of them correct me...

  3. #3
    Registered User poul hansen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fretboard Frets Question

    Try a mandola
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    Default Re: Fretboard Frets Question

    I understand the tonal differences of mandolin, octave mandolin, mandola, was just curious as to if it was possible to have less frets on a mandolin with wider spacing from 12-15 stopping there. I'm sure it's just a dumb question lol

  5. #5
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fretboard Frets Question

    “Too many notes. Take some of them out.”

    The only way to do it would be to remove the frets you don’t use (if there are such frets).
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Fretboard Frets Question

    Alternatively you could have it fretted to a key like a dulcimer. That would greatly reduce it's usefuness and bring it's resale value close to $0.00.

  7. #7
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fretboard Frets Question

    The spacing of the frets reflects the proper notes of the scale. If you put frets further apart, you get different notes. As John H says, you can remove the frets you don't intend to use, but then you'll lose the notes those frets produce.

    If you want wider fret spacing, you need to work with a longer scale. It's hard to get the GDAE notes of a mandolin if you lengthen the scale significantly; you have to go to thinner strings, or increase string tension, or both. Thinner strings at increased tension tend to break.

    Mandola could well be the answer for you, though you'd have to learn to "transpose" your chord fingerings. My longest-scale mandolin is a '30's National Triolian, and it's 15 inches nut to bridge saddle. Definitely longer than most mandolins, but still can be tuned GDAE with light strings -- and even with light strings it's deafeningly loud.
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    Default Re: Fretboard Frets Question

    It's obvious I don't know how to ask a simple question lol. I was just wondering if it was possible to have a 15-17 fret mandolin with wider fret spacing after 12th fret. I was not looking for a different type of instrument. I like my mandolin just fine, real fine. It was just a question no biggie

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    Default Re: Fretboard Frets Question

    To answer you question, no. The scale length to the 12th fret will have to stay the same and the frets need to be in the correct place. You can, as others have said, take some out to make it easier to play certain notes, or put smaller frets in to give you a little more room, but you can not change the scale length after the 12 fret and expect it to play in tune.
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  11. #11
    Dan Scullin dscullin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fretboard Frets Question

    Here is a page from StewMac explaining the relation of fret distance to scale length:
    https://www.stewmac.com/fretcalculator.html
    what you propose would eliminate some notes from the scale making it impossible to play some tunes!
    Dan Scullin
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    Default Re: Fretboard Frets Question

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    The spacing of the frets reflects the proper notes of the scale. If you put frets further apart, you get different notes. As John H says, you can remove the frets you don't intend to use, but then you'll lose the notes those frets produce.
    Its like what happens on the fretboard of a mountain dulcimer, where the wider frets give you a whole-step jump, rather than a half-step jump.

    Lets say that you take out the 13th fret on your mandolin. Youd make it easier to play the A, E, B, and F# notes on the 14th fret, but youd lose the G#, D#, A#, and F notes.
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