01:10Frets are little metal wire bars that cross the fingerboard with a cross section not unlike a mushroom. They are pressed into slots in the fretboard and serve as hard contact points for the strings when they are pressed down.
Modern fret wire is made of a nickel alloy or stainless steel. Fret slots are cut into the fingerboard at precise locations to maintain proper intonation. The rounded upper edge of the frets provide a single point of contact for the string. These modern frets are sometimes called "t-frets" to distinguish them from the simple bars of metal used before 1900 (called "bar frets.")
The function of frets is very simple: as the string is pressed downward it touches a fret, effectively shortening the vibrating length of the string and producing the different notes.
Frets are found on a variety of instruments and almost always on banjos, guitars, mandolins, zithers, dulcimers, and other folk instruments.
The very earliest instruments such as lutes, and some ethnic instruments have frets that are simply made of cords,or "ligatures" tied around the neck at the appropriate intervals.
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LAST UPDATED 05-15-2016 07:53