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Has anyone ever taped on a temporary 1/12 fret with a paperclip or guitar string?

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Has anyone ever taped on a temporary 1/12 fret with a paperclip or guitar string? Someone recommended this to me and I think it's a great idea. Do you have a photo of how you did this? and where you put the tape? And how did you get the clip to work on all 3 strings?

Suggested Answer Number 1 (I'm thinking others will share their ideas too):

I wanted a fret under just the melody strings for one song. I filed a finish nail to the size of a fret and applied Scotch tape under the middle string. I removed the nail soon after so the tape didn't damage the finish on the fretboard.


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I did a workshop on using the 1+ fret with Karen Mueller a few years ago at the Redwood Dulcimer Day. I was the only one who had a dulcimer with a 1+ fret, but she pretty quickly taped paper clips to everyone else's for the purpose of the workshop.  I think she just eyeballed it around halfway between the 1st and 2nd frets for the purposes of the workshop, but if you were doing this for a gig or for a more permanent solution, you would want to use a fret spacing calculator or template and measure the exact placement.

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  • 6 months later...

Sorry Finger trouble...

I repeat

Couldnt you just use a bit of guitar or maybe Uke fret wire with the underneath filed to suite?

and  use a tuner to find the exact place to put it?

And a last stupid question     Why not make it permanent ??

Cheers Bob E....      


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Filing a piece of regular fretwire down is a LOT more trouble that just using a piece of paperclip or a small brad. 

 WHY not make it permanent?  Because permanent is permanent.  To experiment and see if you will really use a plus fret as much as you think you would; before actually  you spend the money to have a fret installed that you don't really want or need except occasionally. If you're like me and lots of others you might have two or three songs in your hundred or more song repertoire which absolutely requires that odd fret.  BUT you only ever play those songs once or twice a year.  So once or twice a year, for a performance,  I tape a temporary fret in place just to play those songs.


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  • 1 year later...

PIcture?  No.  However... 

 First make sure the bridge location on your dulcimer is marked, then remove all the strings.

Second, use a fret spacing table, input your VSL, then find the exact (to the nearest 1/64" or 1mm) location for the half-fret, and mark it on your fretboard in two place to establish the location t right angles to the edge of the fretboard.  A "half fret" is never precisely half way between the others. 

Third,  get a LARGE paper clip not one of those only an inch long, and cut off the long arm of the clip. 

Fourth, get clear "Scotch" tape ready. 

Fifth--  lay the paperclip exactly on the location you marked on your fretboard.  WITHOUT MOVING THE CLIP-FRET apply a small piece of tape to hold it in place. Alternatively, apply a small piece of tape to the clip-fret, then maneuver it into the precise location before sealing the tape down

Lastly, take another piece of tape and press it down to the half-fret closely along it's entire length.

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  • 11 months later...

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