On-Line Fret Placement Calculators

Beginning dulcimer makers are often perplexed about knowing where to place the frets.

The first step towards getting a dulcimer to play in tune  is to have the frets placed properly.

A freshly fretted dulcimer by Doug Berch

There are many discussions about temperament, scale length, etc.

Most current fretted instruments in the Western world are fretted to play in equal temperament. A dulcimer that is fretted to play using the equal tempered scale will play in tune with most other (Western) instruments.

When I began making dulcimers I was taught to divide the string length by 17.81715385 and the resulting number would be the distance from the nut to the first fret.  I would then subtract the distance from the nut to the first fret and divide the remaining string length by 17.81715385.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I would calculate all the frets for a chromatic fingerboard but only use the ones I needed for a dulcimer. This way I had the measurements for any extra frets I might be installing while making the dulcimer or adding to it in the future.

After doing this for a while someone mentioned that no one would hear the difference if I simply used 17.817. They were right. It saved lots of keystrokes on the calculator.

Now you can easily generate fret positions automagicaly!

Here is a list of some on-line fret placement calculators I have found either useful or interesting.







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