Fretted fingerboards

Fretted fingerboards

Why do some violins have fretted fingerboards? I’ve seen 2 in the last 4 years. It’s weird…

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Re: Fretted fingerboards

They’re just for lazy buggers

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would suit me then

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I reckon they’d wear out the strings in next to no time. Intonation would be a problem too; you’d find it difficult to make slight adjustments on the fly to accomodate other instruments. The "trick" F#’s and C#’s found in some styles would also be next to impossible. People with thick fingers would have a problem. The list goes on …
Trevor

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It’s just plain weird….

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Are you sure they weren’t mandolins !
Maybe they’re for beginners.

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I got this description off a website a while back.

"Fretted violins allow guitarists (and other instrumentalists used to having frets) to more easily explore the violin with good intonation. By placing the fingers just behind the fret, the correct note is played without the extensive memorization of exact position required on a conventional violin fingerboard. Certain techniques, especially slurs and glissandos, are totally different with frets. And vibrato requires different technique than on a conventional fingerboard. While fretted
violins are not for everyone, they are used by some noteworthy players like our customer,Tracy Silverman, formerly of the Turtle Island String Quartet and now recording as a solo artist for Windham Hill Records."


Tracy is an outstanding violinist. I would assume that he is using it for stylistic reasons rather than the ease of transition from guitar.

I think generally its because playing the fiddle is tough, everyone has his or her own competence. Fretting an instrument takes out one variable (intonation) so that people can concentrate on the other variables (bowing etc.).

But you are right, it does limit fexibility, but no more than say a guitar, mandolin, piano, button box, tin whistle etc.

Generally, I think it’s a good thing, but may limit people musically. To each his own.

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really guys, come on - is there any need? It’s just cheating.

What next - a flute with bellows?


FMF

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Fretting a fiddle would indeed take out variable intonation. It would be invaraibly out of tune

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I love the flute with bellows idea!

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Fretting a fiddle would cause no problems with tuning. It just means you would have to tune the 4 strings so that their intervals are slightly short of a perfect 5th. Guitars, melodeons, concertinas etc all have to be tuned tempered. A mandolin is fretted and that doesn’t cause tuning problems. In reality, most of the time fiddlers will be playing tempered anyway without realising it, so that they sound in tune with the other musos.

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Isn’t that what pipes are?
Are pipes just a cheater’s way of playing flute?

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The only problem would be when you play 2 open strings at once. The sound of the fiddle might make it jar a little bit to the ear. I guess you’d just have to avoid doing it.

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Oh actually if you fretted the octave against an open string it would also be noticeable. I suppose on a mandolin it’s less noticeable because it’s plinky-plonky. Concertinas sound alright though and they have a sustained sound. I notice it on mine a bit, but I think that’s cuz it needs tuning 🙂

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Why not instead of frets have tiny mother of pearl inlays permantly set into the fingerboard so you can see where all the notes are. I know its a bit like sticking paper dots on the fretboard in the case of a beginner, but if it makes playing one that bit easier , why not?
And oh bribanjo, I’d like a SMALL capo for my mandolin, all the ones i’ve seen are over designed and bigger than they need to be, and so get in the way of your playing.

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The sooner a fiddle player stops using their eyes and starts using their ears to sense where their fingers are on the fingerboard and where the bow is on the string, then the quicker their progress will be.
If you’re a classical player you’ve got no option but to look at the music or the conductor; if you’re playing in sessions you should be watching and listening to other players and sensing cues from them, not staring down the fingerboard at your fingers. Ever seen a flute-player looking at their fingers when playing ? 🙂
Trevor