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Fret

A fret is a raised marker on the neck of a stringed instrument, typically fixed in place and made of hard-wearing material such as metal. They divide the neck into fixed segments, relating to a musical framework. For example, on instruments such as mandolins, each fret represents one semitone relating to standard western system where one octave is divided into twelve semitones.

Pressing the string against the neck reduces the vibrating length of the string to that between the bridge and the next fret between the fretting finger and the bridge, thus changing the pitch of the note produced.

The advantage of frets is that they make it much easier to achieve an acceptable standard of intonation. However, those who favour fretless stringed instruments will be quick to point out that this means accepting certain compromises. However, for those without the blessing/curse of perfect pitch they provide an easier way to make relatively harmonious music.

Many fretted instruments are also available in fretless versions. For example, the electric bass comes in both varieties. The majority are fretted, like the vast majority of guitars, but a significant number of fretless basses are also played, in part drawing on the influence of the double bass (itself, virtually always fretless).



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