My first build is a banjo ukulele based on a rectangular cookie tin. I want to fret it, because I want to use this instrument to learn to play the uke.
I originally planned to do zip tie frets, but my test runs reveal that they are wide, don't lie flat, and are just plain ugly. I've read some threads on CBN about fret alternatives, and given several ideas some thought. I don't want to buy fret wire because I'm cheap. :-)
I have some 18ga wire, and I'm thinking about spiraling it around the neck. I'd make V-shaped grooves on either side of the fingerboard at the proper position, so the wire would lie flat across the board, but would run diagonally across the back of the neck to the next fret.
Has anyone tried something like this? I can't imagine I'm the first to think of it. Pros? Cons?
There's a so-called 'lute fret lute fret knot.
I chose to copy the cord frets of my dombra and did this:
and it works. The downsize is - it wears off. The advantages: it's cheap, it's customizable - you want other fretting (e.g. a dulcimer-like one, or chinese) - you just "re-wire" the instrument. If your action is too high -- you can fine-adjust the calculated fret spacing. And when you're mentally ready for "real" frets - remove your wire/cord and fret it.
But wait, don't listen to me. What Kid said is the "One and Only Proper Way to Fret a Cigar Box Guitar"(tm) ;-)
Got to agree with the Phrygian kid. It's not hard. I did a test with some old frets from an old guitar, just slotted them into a fretless cbg I had, where I'd marked the frets ages before. It worked fine even though I'd only marked it as a fretless (not with much accuracy).
My latest worked well too. No special calculations (I just marked it against my telecaster neck.) No special saw (just a £2 hacksaw from our hardware store) a rubber mallet, some glue where needed, some tin snippers to cut the frets and I used my wetstone to file it down. Nowhere near as scary as some people make out.
Alot of middle eastern countrys use that same fretwire design on their stringed instruments, it`s an old way of attaching the wire. Some are wire, cording, gut, if you research those instruments you can see for yourself.
I'd like to hear how the bobby pins work. I like the idea.
Check out the anonymous pick's vid on the bobby pin method:
Be prepared for some CBN weirdness as you read through the responses.
Thanks. I'll have to try this.