A fret experiment

Bill Arnold
01/05/15 03:15:12PM

I credit (or blame) my wife's uncle, Ray Chittum, for getting me started on building dulcimers. At the time I didn't know about fret calculators. Ray shared his fret placement patterns with me, measured in millimeters. Using his measurements, I made a full size pattern using AutoCAD. After doing some research, I found out about the rule of 18. Using the divisor of 17.817, I made an Excel spreadsheet to determine fret placement. Not surprised, Ray's pattern and mine were the same. Recently I learned about drawing a tangent line to draw a fret pattern. I used a fret calculator to determine the first fret,I drew a tangent line, and the patterns matched up. So now, mathematically and geometrically everything is good. Now I'm concerned with compensation. I know there are several factors affecting compensation, such as string action, string diameter, and string length. Should I be concerned with this, or am I going overboard?