I found a damn good reason for the 4 dot's on the fretboard.

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Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:58 pm

I just found a fantastic reason for the 4 dot's on a guitar's fretboard. I've searched the web and can find no discussion of what I've found anywhere, But plenty of discussion on some other reasons for the dot's, that serve far less of a purpose than what I've found.further more, the history of the guitar is actually quite sketchy, and the current layout and tuning of a standard modern guitar, is more of an evolution over a hundred years or so. But I believe there was a design intention to the dot's that's been forgotten over time, until now...

The other reasons are good one's for sure. But no one remotely came close to describing what I've found.

How about any note any maj/min chord, and Mode, anytime? using these dots as the reference points they were probably intended to be?

If I'm not mistaken... even the fretboards with the Tree of life inlay have the 4 dot's outlined on the side of the fretboard. Why include it if it didn't serve a good purpose?
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Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:21 pm

My opinion:

The inventor could not cut a cake for 3 people. He better cut half and half and let the 4th piece of cake to the sweetiest person .

Dots in 3,6,9,12 frets would have been symmetry but since we tend to use open low string to create pedal bass key root,
and because of we tend to use more the notes with spot
and because the b5 interval (fret number 6) is the most ugly, I think that:

The invertors chose the intervals 4th (fret number 5) and 5th (fret 7) because they are nicer
and because they might thought that transposing the same movement to those distances would sound better.

So maybe the easiest to be remembered progresion I-IV-V could have been affected the emplacement.

The logic seems to be the sequence (with / without) resulting 1,3,5,7,9 that are odd numbers
but it is really an even sequence.

The first fret is not necessary and i think it is included to follow the sequence of beauty filling emptyness.

The problem is how to connect the even number sequence with the odd obvious 12 fret of repeated pattern.

I've seen old guitar with 10th dot instead of 9th.
Using 10th fret dot you are thinking on interval 7minor which is easier to be understood than the 6th Mayor distance of the 9th fret used nowadays.

With the invention of playable long necks builders doesn't include the 13th fret dot skiping it because the double dot that marks the 12th fret is enough.
They could have used the 13th instead of the 12th so the logical sequence 1-3-5-7-9-11-13 would fit.

But again the choices of 11th fret (interval hard to accept 7th Mayor) and the 13th which is also hard to understand interval 2nd minor compared to other more easy intervals makes it complicated. frets 5,7 and 12 has good volume natural harmonics,
but they don't want to use two dots together.

So the 4th fret has no mark but the same harmonic note is placed on the 9th in a low octave with big volume.

Then probably this distance sound which is a 3rd Mayor which is an easy to sing interval.
may be the reason why they choose it instead of 10th fret that played normal (without harmonic) is a 7th minor sound which is easier and could have been used.

Another solution is Nordegg's friend's black & white painted fretboard.

The dots when using a capo can make you mistake.

Short fretboard guitars could use only the 7th fret because of the harmonic
but also could use only the 6th fret to make it symmetrical
but even though we all can use 12 notes, a sign on a b5 (diabulus in music) emplacement would make begginers hit that point where it sounds worst so don't buy.

Another explanation would be to join the simple equal distance proportion and the algorithmic proportion of the notes in a string.
If you cut a papel going from nut to 12th fret and you bent it twice you get aproximately the positions 3,5,9,12 and the missing 7 is in between 5 and 9.
Maybe this proportion had influenced the design to help in the laberynth of numbers and notes.

It seems to be useful on contrary of qwerty writing machines in order to type slower,
but can be overused with players neck problems staring at the dots instead of closing eyes and feel searching the notes blindly.

Upper dots are ok, but the front ones are barely seen in correct body position
so builders would have to place them closer to the low strings to not force beginers to hurt their back.

In spanish guitars it is like including hurting far frets that should be improved not including it if they don't want cutaway.

Led dots are funny but you need batteries and the cavity for cable reduces sustain.

We all learnt qwerty it is too late to try and use a better letter emplacement in keyboards.
It became an standard and whoever invented guitar dots (puntos de guía) has made whole world copy same dots in fretboards.

I can't replace them now, nor kids will be able either because market will be full of old guitars with these dots.

Thank you for reading.
Posts: 1535
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 2:18 am

the only reason there are dots at 3 5 7 9
is so you can glance at it- and see what fret you're at-
its to speed up counting what fret you're at - so you can figure it out quickly

12- is the octave

it has nothing to do with scales/modes or even the tuning of the guitar

...play a guitar without inlays- it's kind of harder
(even on the side)
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:58 pm

Victor thanks for all your input.

Jeries Thanks to you too. What your saying is right. It's exactly the reasoning that I found when I searched. What I've found is a way that connects them to some deeper reasons that really resonate with me.

As a reply to your statement that the dot's have nothing to do with scales or modes... 8)

For me, to find a particular scale or mode (or chord) quickly, I reference the root note. The dot's can help a beginner guitarist find any root note in a fraction of a second. Then scales/modes get built from there.

I say 'beginner' because most practicing guitarists have already learned how to find A through G in some form or another.

Here is a video I made to explain my finding's...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XQRyVvUF34" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.

Also...I do play a guitar without the dots...it has the tree of life inlay. Well actually it has the dots on the binding anyways. I believe they go through the trouble because they serve a worthwhile purpose.

But your right, you don't need them to play and learn the instrument.
Much the same way I know when I drive a car, to keep to the right (USA :wink: ) on a neighborhood street, even though there isn't a painted yellow line in the middle.

So, here's what I'm saying in a nutshell, without having to sit through 5 minutes worth of all of the reasons. insight's and opinions I provide in the video.... I'll list them below.

It's the D string. On this string the 4 dot's just happen to land on 4 whole notes (from the C maj scale) . But not just any 4 whole notes.. the same 4 notes you can "see" on a keyboard. The same 4 whole-step apart notes that occur in the C Major scale. F G A B. This seems more on purpose to me than an accident of the Standard E tuning. There's the nutshell.

In the video, I go on to give a few good reasons this helps guitarists. I'll go on here with a few...

Keep in mind, if anyone have some decent experience on the guitar, this will all be redundant...
Consider this like theory for 'dummies' or beginner's that have that confused feeling when it comes to grasping theory.

Ok, so once you know FGAB you will only need to know the "CDE" to have a full grasp of ABCDEFG, in a microsecond.
Just like on a keyboard... CDE buts up next to FGAB. On the D string CDE can be visualized in a few ways I describe in the video. The 2 dots at the octave pin CDE where? Right in the center. Connecting the other FGAB groups.
So from here thats just 7 notes...what about the 5 sharp/flats?

Those are easy!!! :D Someone shout's "F#" And you just simply find the F in FGAB and slide up one fret Gb! first think G and go down to the headstock one fret. Simple simple simple. C#!!?...
Thats gonna be in the "CDE" zone. Bam.
Are there any further values of thinking this way? I think so... Here are 7 more bits of my reasoning:

1st: Maj / min / Dom 7/ diminished shapes and more, are simple to learn and don't require multiple shapes for the same chord like when you learn the typical Barre Chord'son the 5th (A) and 6th (E) strings.
So, Recall times for the most-used shapes should therefore be faster (at least for me..I'm slow,lol).
For me, now that I know this, someone ca say A# Dim, and I'm strumming it -without having to think for a second.

2: Chord spellings lay out more clearly..with the root on the 4th string.
You get the R 3 5 7 on strings 4 3 2 1 respectively.

3: Chord shapes fingered here cut into a mix of live, mid range instruments like piano and horn's a little more clearly than the bigger 'cowboy' or Barre guitar chords do.
Those big chord's serve to make the guitar a nice solo instrument or accompaniment to vocals.

4:I believe learning chords from the 4th string could make it easier to understand using a walking
bass line over chord's.

5: Chord inversions could be easier to understand.

6: Learning the fretboard from the center..from the guts out would have been better for me. waay back when I started. Learning the octave pattern. and your E string brings the "all over the fretboard" knowledge that seems impossible when your starting out.
As a bonus... CDE also line up with the dots on the 3rd and 6th strings
The way I got taught on the E and A string's, left me with a very limited area of the fretboard in my minds eye. and severely limited my chord knowledge.

7:This knowledge doesn't replace anything else it just fits over the top. For example the "CAGED" system get's easy to "see" over the chords on the 4th string.

Anywho...thats enough for now.. Edited for Clarity..Hope this helps someone!!! Comments or criticism thanks.
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