Bear Meadow Fret Calculator lives again

Dwain Wilder
Dwain Wilder
@dwain-wilder
3 weeks ago
12 posts

The fret calculator on the Bear Meadow website is live again, thanks to Google! You can find it under the "Calculators" menu. I haven't gotten the others converted yet.

This calculator has a few features of special interest to mountain dulcimer builders:

1.You can change the scale length (of course! duh...)

2. You can get an idea of what kind of error (in cents) is being introduced by your cutting method. This is particularly helpful for those who hand-cut fret slots. To get that estimated error, enter a number for "Saw Error." A good beginning estimate is the width of your saw.

3. Positions of every "extra fret" is shown, and its distance from the previous diatonic fret. Very useful for knowing where extra frets go on your scale

4. In addition to "Nut to Fret" distance, "Fret-to-fret" distance is shown. This is helpful if you don't have an accurate ruler long enough to range all the way to the highest fret position. Though measuring fret-to-fret will accumulate errors, at least you have a better chance at getting it right if you have an accurate distance (these are shown in the closest 5 ten-thousandths of an inch, the upper limit of digital calipers on the market.

5. "Fret-to-Saddle" distance is also shown, giving you a way to double-check your fret-to-fret measurements at the high frets (but that depends on how accurately you can mark your nominal saddle position). CAUTION: Don't use this on existing fretboards, as it will not account for any intonation or compensation offset!

My next chore will be to add a choice of measurement units. Right now, the display and "rounding-off" is appropriate for English units (inches). I hope to get to proper display and rounding for milimeters, and a selectable user's choice for that.

Another thing I'd like to add is the math for the calculations of fret positions and error. Haven't figured out how to present math symbols on Google Drive yet!


updated by @dwain-wilder: 10/15/19 11:30:21AM