Doug Berch

Dulcimer Maker And Musician

cropped Dulcimer Builders and Makers 1 23

Is That Fret Slot Deep Enough?

More than once I had found myself perplexed by a fret that would not gracefully seat itself completely in a fret slot.

More often than not the problem was the slot being too shallow for the tang on the fretwire. I saw the slots to an appropriate depth when making a dulcimer fingerboard but by the time the fingerboard is trued and leveled the slots sometimes become too shallow.

Fret anatomy

After having this happen a few times I came up with a very simple tool to solve the problem.

Tool for measuring depth of a fret slot

I took a piece of fretwire and filed the barbs off the tang so it will easily fit into a fret slot. if the slot is deep enough the crown of the fret will seat well on the fingerboard. If not then I need to deepen the slots.

The tape on the end of the fretwire it to remind me that this is a tool and not a stray fret that escaped the blow of a hammer.



Music I’d Like To Hear #78


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  1. Susie

    What a great idea! Being a luthier, I can see where developing these specialty tools is important and very handy. Oh, and I love your “dulcimer model” in that photo :). Very pretty and sounds wonderful!

    • Doug Berch

      Susie: Yup, it’s your dulcimer! So glad you are enjoying it!

  2. Tico vogt

    Getting wise in your old age.

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