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What Are Frets on a Guitar? (Lesson 7 of 19)

Learn guitar chords for FREE through our new game Chord Master: Lesson 7: What Are Guitar Frets? --------------------------------------------------------------------- Frets are the silver strips of metal that run up and down the entire length of (most) guitar fretboards, or the front face of the guitar neck. If you hold down a string between different frets while plucking that same string throughout, you'll notice the pitch of your notes change each time you go over a new fret wire. This is because the main job of frets is to control the intonation of each string, helping guitarists select which notes and chords they play.? Below our instructor Thomas explains how the word "fret" actually has two meanings. Watch closely and learn how these tiny wires help define this versatile instrument. Guitar Frets --------------------------------------------------------------------- Guitar frets are thin strips of metal that are embedded in the neck of the guitar. They are raised up from the face of the fretboard in order to separate the neck into different semi-tonal intervals. This basically means that each fret indicates a different note. Frets are numbered just like the strings are. They are not, however, numbered by the metal pieces themselves but by the space in between the metal pieces. For instance, the "first" fret on the guitar is the space between the nut and the first metal piece. The fret wire is commonly made of a nickel/silver alloy, but stainless steel wire, although more expensive, produces longer lasting benefits. c?Frets can wear out over time, meaning they flatten and lose their accuracy in producing consistent notes, however guitarists can often have frets re-shaped (known as "re-crowned) or replaced entirely.Fret numbers ascend as you get further up the neck and closer to you, the player.?Notice how the frets get smaller as you move down the neck from the first to the tenth fret. This makes it more difficult to play cleanly between the smaller spaces in higher frets.Most classical guitar players play with their fingers close to the fret, without actually touching it, for the best quality sound. When you cover the fret with your finger, you get a muted sound, which is a common mistake by many beginners. Always put your fingers between the metal bars while playing, never on top of them.The inlaid dots on the fretboard are fret markers that indicate specific fret numbers. The double dot indicates that it is one octave above the open string, therefore restarting the notes in the series. Typically, these dots follow this pattern: * 1st single dot = 3rd fret * 2nd single dot = 5th fret * 3rd single dot = 7th fret * 4th single dot = 9th fret * Double dot = 12th fret * 5th single dot = 15th fret * 6th single dot = 17th fret * 7th single dot = 19th fret * 8th single dot = 21st fret Fret Practice Exercise --------------------------------------------------------------------- 1) Place your hand behind the guitar neck near the top of the neck, as shown in the picture to the right. Keep your .2) Place your fingers comfortably on the front side of the neck. Your index finger should easily reach the low E string (the thickest string). Practice moving your hand up and down the length of the neck.3) Play the simple finger-exercise pattern of 1, 2, 3, 4. Start by placing your first finger on the first fret (between the nut and first wire) on the thickest E string. Pluck the note and make sure it sounds clean without any buzz. Now place your second finger (middle finger) down on the second fret (in-between the next set of wires after your pointer) and pluck down, ensuring another clean note.?Continue this pattern with fingers 1, 2, 3, and 4 over the first, second, third and fourth frets. Do this across all six strings and repeat until you hear clean notes throughout. You can either use downstrokes of the pick throughout, or up-and-down picking, which is known as alternate picking. Read more by visiting our page at:
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