I’ve been looking at a lot of different guitars and ukes and I’ve noticed something I think is “Strange”…
It has to do with the positioning of the marker-dots.
Cumpiano & Natelson state that “Single dots must appear at the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th frets; a pair of dots denotes the octave at the 12th fret. Marker dots can be addet optionally at the 15th, 17th and 19th frets”.
Ok, there will be some kind of reason for these “fixed” positions, but: I’ve seen guitars and ukes with dots not at the 9th fret, but at the 10th…???
Does anyone here know why this is? Did some builder/ luthier once made a mistake that was coppied by others? Or is there something else going on?
I would realy like to know why there is this difference...
Bart van Weperen
Mandolins generally have 'em at 10th, guitars at 9th.
Early banjos have markers at 9, but later ones (post 1920) most often at 10.
Why? I dunno - life is tough in the music world, I guess. . .
I've got an Stewart guitar that my great grandfather purchased used ca. 1920, the bracing and size make me think it is about 1890. It too has a marker at 10. I've had a couple folks tell me that guitars made west of the Mississippi were made with the 10 marker because the flat 7 was more common than the 6. I don't know if that's apocryphal or not, but Western music and it's relatives, blues coming later, and all rely the flat 7, so... who knows? Anyone else hear of this theory?
This wonderful L-5 was probably custom-ordered with 10th marker to match the owner's banjo, a Gibson Granada, no doubt:
I always thought it had something to do with open string harmonics. I can get a harmonic on the 3rd 5th 7th 9th and 12th on the old Yamaha flat top sitting next to me. Can you get a harmonic at the 10th fret of a banjo or mandolin?
I do know that the first time I made a finger board for a banjo and for a mandolin they had a dot at the 9th not the 10th. It was pointed out to me right away.