Measuring and marking frets

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Pat.Hawkins
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Measuring and marking frets

Post by Pat.Hawkins » Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:36 am

A friend is about to make his first fret board and asks "What resolution do you measure fret positions to and what do you use to mark them out"?

As a beginner I felt it prudent to seek some advice here (rather than mis-lead him) :)

I know "The Books" say 0.1mm but is that typical of most makers?

I'm not a player so don't really appreciate how much tolerance is acceptable.

Cheers

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kiwigeo
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Re: Measuring and marking frets

Post by kiwigeo » Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:31 am

Pat.Hawkins wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:36 am
A friend is about to make his first fret board and asks "What resolution do you measure fret positions to and what do you use to mark them out"?

As a beginner I felt it prudent to seek some advice here (rather than mis-lead him) :)

I know "The Books" say 0.1mm but is that typical of most makers?

I'm not a player so don't really appreciate how much tolerance is acceptable.

Cheers

My thoughts:

If you're doing the marking and cutting by hand start by listing all the possible sources of error. 1) accuracy of the ruler, 2) type, thickness and sharpness of the blade you're using to mark the fret board, 3) your eyesight, 4) your level of impatience....and that's just the marking out. Errors during cutting...1) thickness of the cutting blade, 2) positioning of the centre of the blade exactly on the mark....etc etc.

Also consider what happens to the string when it's fretted....all the factors that will influence intonation.

I know for a fact I never reach 0.1mm accuracy when cutting fret slots....for me it's a case of "micrometering the brick".
Martin

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Allen
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Re: Measuring and marking frets

Post by Allen » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:09 pm

Mine are to 0.001mm. :-)

But they are cut on my CNC.
Allen R. McFarlen
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kiwigeo
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Re: Measuring and marking frets

Post by kiwigeo » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:33 pm

Allen wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:09 pm
Mine are to 0.001mm. :-)

But they are cut on my CNC.
Definitely micrometering the brick!! :D
Martin

Jeremy D
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Re: Measuring and marking frets

Post by Jeremy D » Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:33 pm

I am no expert but one tip you may or may not already know.

Make sure you do not measure fret to fret. Making tiny mistakes this way compounds the errors further down the fretboard. Only use this type of measuring to check your work.

The stewmac calculator is good for this and shows both from nut and fret to fret measurements.

https://www.stewmac.com/FretCalculator.html
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Dave M
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Re: Measuring and marking frets

Post by Dave M » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:06 pm

Not quite what you asked but when marking out clamp your ruler to the board so you only zero it once, and use a magnifying glass of some sort (I have an illuminated magnifier) to help read the ruler.

And don't get too worked up about it. The small errors here are probably not going to matter too much.
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Dave

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