After reading the article (quoted by folkfan), I made such a mean-toned fretted instrument (VSL 27", with 6 1/2 fret) and have played it in many situations with other instruments and have never had the sound of the instrument adversly remarked upon. ( I recently made a TMB with so called half frets to the same scale). It may be that I have been lucky in only ever playing with well mannered folk, or that my playing is so bad that they accept the sound of the instrument as the best they are going to get, and put up with it, LOL, but should remark that those many playing situations referred to did not include any where top level recording equipment was involved. The dulcimer and its sound has been admired by many, at least one of whom makes regular contibutions to this site, and it really comes into its own when used to sing with, it somehow compliments the human voice. I am presently in the process of constructing a similar instrument, sans 6 1/2 fret, specificaly for use as my main noter/drone dulcimer, a concession as I see it to those old makers who 'fretted 'em by ear.