pristine2 wrote:Really the better question is as revised: when did half-width frets vanish? That's because even in the 19th century, some builders were stretching their brads or staples all the way across the fretboard and under all of the strings.
Robin the Busker wrote:I should have been clearer - I was talking about specifically the recordings made of mountain dulcimer players rather than the wealth of early recordings of American folk music in gerneral.
Dan Landrum wrote:Ralph Smith emailed me the following reply to this thread (thanks for pointing me to the right thread Pristine):
A serious historical effort to answer this question is overdue! So is a similar effort to learn about the introduction of the 6 1/2 fret and its relation to the increasing replacement of DAA with DAD, for basic tuning. From my own collection, I can push the horizon a bit further back. I own Edd Presnell dulcimer No. 53, made in 1958, which is fretted all the way across with standard instrument fretwire, and has a 6 1/2 fret. Obviously, the skinny from all those Eastern city slickers reached Edd sometime before that! Or was it those California hippies?
folkfan wrote:Just a thought, could the move have occurred when more dulcimers were being made by luthiers who also made fully fretted instruments like guitars etc. They would have been more used to a full width fret installation rather than fussing with putting in half frets? As I said, "Just a thought"
folkfan wrote:Paul Clayton in his information pamphlet that accompanied his record Dulcimer Songs and Solos (copyright 1962) says that he saw his first dulcimer in 1950 at the Virginia Folk Festival. He then says that he got an Amburguey instrument with 3 strings and half frets and he played that until he was presented with a full fretted 3 string by A.W. Jeffreys. He then says that he has used the Jeffreys instrument exclusively since. Later he gives the time frame for the Jeffreys acquisition when he states that he has carried his dulcimer with him for the past 10 years.
We can deduce then that Jeffreys was making full fretted dulcimers by 1952 at the latest.
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