Violin Frets

October 4, 2020, 6:24 AM · Hi Everyone:

I apologize in advance for a question that may be offensive for some.

I am an adult learner who who has struggled with intonation fairly often. My struggles makes me wonder (often enough) what would be the harm in having permanent frets on my violin?

I was quickly shot down by my teacher when I made this suggestion, but I can't help but wonder..why not?

IMO - classical music can be a little rigid and not very open to innovation...especially when it comes to pedagogy for the older learner. This option would help me make a better sound (purely for my own enjoyment)..similarly for frets on a classical guitar...

Replies (33)

Edited: October 4, 2020, 6:45 AM · My violin is a Manby, which was built with frets in it. I think the brand is unique , and they’re most well known in Australia and possibly Ireland, although they were sold all over the world. Made in France early 1900s
They’re not actually frets, more indentations to act as a guide . I have no idea what they’d be like to play like that.
I’m sure more qualified violinists on here could explain why guitar-type frets would be a bad idea .

Most of them now have have the fingerboard replaced with a normal one but you can still find them in the original form on eBay . I was in a violin shop one day when a couple came in with one they’d found cleaning out an elderly relatives house, which is a typical story.
Have a look on eBay - there’ll be some pictures. There’s very little on the net that I could find.
As an adult beginners violin, they’re excellent. My teacher can make mine sound beautiful.

October 4, 2020, 9:42 AM · The problem with frets is that then you'll actually never be in tune. One of the difficult (but also splendid!) things about violin intonation is that you can move pitches around slightly to be more harmonious with the particular key you're playing in, or with other pitches (in the case of double stops).

I realize it may seem "rigid" and "traditionalistic" but there are good reasons (in addition to what I've mentioned above) why you really just don't see violins with frets. It might be okay if you're a fiddler who only plays tunes in three or four keys and you never play any double stops.

Intonation is hard for everyone. But honestly, the maddening challenges like intonation are what you're meant to be enjoying as part of your "journey" (yak) of studying the violin.

October 4, 2020, 10:18 AM · What Paul said - and you would also not be able to add vibrato (the stop is fixed) unless you added a tremolo stick as on the guitar. With all the ergonomic problems that would introduce!

If you want a violin with frets perhaps you should play the mandolin? I'm not being facetious but the mandolin is tuned the same as a violin - it is plucked of course but plays the same. Incidentally, for these reasons many violinists also play this instrument.

October 4, 2020, 10:53 AM · First, your question is not offensive. Anyone can choose to get offended by whatever they feel like, so, word of wisdom: don't care about other people feelings, care about what you truly mean and want to say. Your words will be distorted by someone anyways so... nothing you can do there.

Second, adding frets to a violin can add a lot of problems:
-You wont be able to do vibrato, essential violin technique, so unique, you really don't want to destroy that violin vibrato. So, just this reason is enough to stop you from doing it.
-You will sound out of tune constantly. Frets create fixed out of tune notes, just like a piano. One big advantage of fretless instruments is that they are always in tune, as long as the player is playing in tune and as long as each string is tuned correctly (and open strings are out of tune depending on what you play, so...)
-You will slide way worse with all those bumps

Many other things that I don't recall... but, hey, there are electric violins with frets, so you can try those. Whatever you do, don't ruin an acoustic perfectly sounding violin with frets. Besides becoming really ugly, it won't be a violin anymore.

By the way, there's nothing "classy" or "traditional" or "elitist" about not having frets, it's simply a fretless instrument by design. You know, if something is hard does NOT mean that it's elitist or traditional or conservative or rigid. That's a really rigid way of thinking, open up. Play the violin as it is. If the violin is something, that's an instrument with thousands of possibilities. Reinventing the violin does not mean at all that you should put frets or a 5th string, that's the most dumb, straight forward alteration you can do. Reinventing the violin comes through music, not physical alteration since it's already a very tested, developed design, even aesthetically it's impressive. So, no, a violin is a tool, and you should not think about changing the tool, but changing what you can do with the tool. That's the real deal, that's true innovation and evolution.

October 4, 2020, 11:33 AM · "TEMPERAMENT" - that is the word you want to google ("temperament in music"). You will learn about the different scale systems that are used and why our fretless bowed string instruments can play in any of them and why our fixed pitch instruments (such as pianos) cannot. You will learn why it is so difficult for string ensembles to play some harmonies in tune including why notes that seem in tune in melody may seem out of harmony when played as chords.

There are a number of books available about musical temperament; in fact, if there is a real "music theory" (in contrast to the set of rules usually included under that title) its essence will be found therein.

October 4, 2020, 11:48 AM · When I tried to play Mandolin I was surprised how cramped the fingerboard felt, compared to violin. Electric Bass players now have a choice; they are made with or without frets.
Edited: October 4, 2020, 11:58 AM · Ditto what both of the Pauls above have said, in particular.

I came late to violin and have much more experience on fretted instruments, particularly the guitar family. For reasons which are rooted solidly in physics, and which at least half a dozen people in this forum can explain better than i can, frets aren't the magic pill for intonation issues. They're basically a compromise assuring that if you're lucky and not too picky every note you play will be close enough to reasonably in tune. It's also technically much easier to play 3- or more-note chords on a fretted instrument.

That's particularly true if you don't change keys much. Try this, though. Take a decent guitar and an electronic tuner. Tune the guitar such that every string on it is spot-on frequency according to the tuner. Next, play a song in G major. It'll probably sound okay. After that, try something in E major or C# minor. If it still sounds in tune, you have either a truly exceptional guitar or a higher tonal pain threshold than I do. The phenomenon is even more pronounced on an instrument tuned to higher frequencies--e.g., mandolin--at least to me. (That said, there's no truth to the persistent rumour that "mandolin" is Italian for "tune that damned thing already.")

That's where being fretless gives you blessed wiggle room. With enough practice you'll eventually learn to adjust your intonation to the key you're playing in. I'm still learning.

EDIT: Oh, and slides. I slide a lot, and loathe the current trend of making guitar frets higher and fatter with every marketing generation.

Edited: October 5, 2020, 1:48 AM · It's a bit like the argument about tapes on the fingerboard, except that one plays on a tape but behind a fret.

With beginners, I have only found around one in ten who spontaneously "hunt" for the right pitch with tiny shifts of the fingertips.

To save the others from playing out of tune between lessons I use a few small round flat stickers to set the hand visually before playing (usually 1st, 3rd and 4th fingers).

These stickers are also spies. If they stay bright and new, I suspect little practice! If the stickers move between lessons, this tells me that the finger pressure is not really perpendicular to the string.

When the stickers end up on the floor, nose, bow hair etc, they are often no longer needed.

The other problem with fixed, raised frets is that they are never in tune across all four strings: the fingers have to advance a little on the E-string to play true fifths with the others strings. Real string do not behave quite like the diagrammes in high school physics manuals.. This is less noticeable on the mandoline than in the sustained sounds of a bowed string.

Temperaments? While I love indulging in pure thirds and sixths in double-stops, string quartets, (and in a capella choral singing) I find that with a piano, or in an orchestra, that the dreaded Equal Temperament is not quite so horrible as some folks would have us believe...

Edited: October 4, 2020, 12:53 PM · Fretted “Viper” electric violins from the Mark Wood violin workshop are different from others because they’re designed with the intention that the player will place their fingers on the frets, and not behind them. The frets are lower than typical frets are, and they are progressively lower still under the treble strings than the bass strings. The frets are intended as tactile positioning guides. I have a fretless Viper, and no experience with fretted models, but their claim is that you can vibrato, glissando and vary the pitch. This is just FYI, because if you’re an acoustic player those frets are unavailable. Such an instrument might be helpful to learn finger placement that could be carried over to your acoustic. Note that Vipers have long wait lists to buy them, and they’re expensive too, so it’s probably not a reasonable near term solution to our OP’s problem.
Edited: October 4, 2020, 1:23 PM · Back in my (very) far-off classical guitar days I was able to do vibrato as necessary. Doing vibrato behind a fret alters the tension of the string and therefore its pitch. The G string on a guitar is an oddity intonation-wise. It's usually ok in the keys of G, E minor and C, for example, but F# on it in the key of D will sound out of tune. Guitarists who play renaissance music, a lot of which is in D, will often tune their G string down to F# to compensate for this and give better intonation on chords in the key of D. Lutenists and viol (sic) players of the period must have faced the same problem, but the position of a gut fret on a lute or viol can be easily adjusted manually.

If you have a guitar quintet - guitar + string quartet - you can look forward to interesting intonation problems for that ensemble. For example there was a recording made decades ago of several of Boccherini's guitar quintets. The string quartet consisted of players from the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, so you can take it for granted they were PDG. The guitarist, who name eludes me at the moment (no, it wasn't Segovia, Bream or Williams), was of international stature and likewise PDG. However, there are several instances on the CD where there is an audible clash of intonation temperaments between the quartet and guitar, usually where chords were involved, and there was probably nothing either party could do about it.

Classical guitar with violin is ok, as Paganini illustrates in his numerous duets for those instruments. He was also the outstanding guitarist of his era, knew how to write well for both instruments, and consequently there are no intonation clashes that I've heard in performances of those duets. Anyway, the violinist would easily be able to accommodate his intonation with that of the guitar in those rare instances where it may have been necessary.

It is also worth pointing out that every violinist frets on occasion when they fail to play in tune ;)

October 4, 2020, 2:05 PM · Vivaldi Four Seasons on Mandolin with string orchestra (for example as played by Avi Avital) sounds great!
October 4, 2020, 2:13 PM · Thanks Trevor, just wanted to write essentially the same.
October 4, 2020, 2:33 PM · I think it is a perfectly reasonable idea, for adult beginners or other people who are OK with playing simple tunes and being in tune like a mandolin is in tune. The instrument should not be called a violin, but that's not a problem. Also, note it would sound different from a violin: that we stop the strings with our fingers makes part of the sound. With frets, every note would sound as if it was an open string. But again, many people would be fine with that. So, really, such an instrument does not exist yet?
October 4, 2020, 2:51 PM · The main thing to realize that if you do learn with frets you will NOT be on the way to learning to play without them. As mentioned above, the critical aspect of the violin is to position the finger so that you stop the string exactly at the right length to provide the particular note. The critical aspect of a fretted instrument is that you have to stop the string behind the fret. It really doesn't matter where behind the fret as long as the string then vibrates from the fret up.

Obviously, if you then shifted back to a conventional violin you would still have to start from scratch - all your practice with the fretted instrument would be in vain, at least for playing in tune. I guess you could learn bowing that way but you would also have to learn to recoordinate your left and right hands (the precise timing of the left hand would be slightly different as playing with frets is considerably easier).

October 4, 2020, 3:19 PM · Hi, Phil.

I'm an older adult beginner also struggling hard with intonation. Like you, I've wondered about frets. Very much appreciate the information shared above.

As a result of ulnar nerve compression exascerbated by playing my viola, last week I made the decision to play my viola vertically like a cello on my lap. At the same time I changed my strings from steel Helicores to synthetic Tonicas.

It's been SO hard! Not only was my bowing all over the place, my intonation was completely non-existant. Plus the Tonicas are MUCH more sensitive to pitch than Helicores. Like Adrian says, I have to "hunt" for the right note with tiny shifts of my fingertips. At least now I'm able to practice three hours a day in comfort (before the change to vertical my left had was going numb within 30 minutes).

I've yearned for frets (and longed to go back to Helicores), but like Elise and others have said, that would be a crutch. Getting my intonation right on the Tonicas will make me a better player in the long run.

I got a Korg tuner and began yet again on page one of the lesson book, playing just one note over and over. Then two notes over and over. Then three. Trying to make each note as perfect as possible before moving on. When I get the note exactly right according to the Korg, I close my eyes to better hear and feel it. I'm spending a few hours a day on scales, using the Korg to check myself, then closing my eyes to feel the notes in my hand.

I've learned that after a day when nothing comes together, the next day is usually easier. What's happening is in the brain, creating new neural pathways...

When impatience rears its head I remind myself that A. I'm doing this for fun, B. there's absolutely no need to be in a hurry, and C. the main fun is in the journey, not the destination.


Edited: October 4, 2020, 6:04 PM · The teacher seems to mean well.

The violin is not a fretted instrument, whether you play Brahms, country, charanga, gypsy styles, or jazz. It has nothing to do with the particular classical roots of any teacher-indeed, many non-classical genres use the violin's fretless nature for many special effects which classical rarely uses.

In short, I would suggest for you to take up the challenge of the violin as-is, rather than seeking the quickest "answer" to your technical issues. Every violonist has to work hard for their intonation regardless genre, and it is worth the journey.

There are of course wonderful classical instruments such as the spanish guitar that do use frets. The violin is just not that. It is not as simple as fretless vs fretted bass guitar. Our instrument is its own thing, and as such a fretted violin would not be a violin (unlike the aforementioned fretless bass guitar vs fretted bass guitar.)

I do not mean to sound arrogant to be sure, and if I did, I apologize. The violin is just hard, and the point is to train ourselves to make its many challenges second nature to both brain and body. It has been done, and can still be achieved, regardless musical genres.

(And compared to intonation... IMHO the most difficult aspect of violin playing for both older adults and younger students is a great bow arm. So yes, it takes time to play well. Be patient if you can.)

October 4, 2020, 6:28 PM · Phil, if old music appeals to you, you may be happier learning to play the viola da gama, a fretted bowed instrument with a magnificently rich repertoire.
October 4, 2020, 6:39 PM · Okay I'm going to jump in here because I made a video on frets. First, i'm not really an advocate but believe everything has its place. I made a video because I had acquired the Fiddle-Fretter stick on frets as an experiment. The stick on chords were fairly cheap and I wondered what it would be like for playing chords on a spare instrument. Also, I had a particularly unusual student. He was in his late 80's, it had been his life dream to learn the violin and he was very determined. He asked if he could make progress so late in life, I said sure. Maybe he wouldn't become a concert violinist but he could certainly play some basic tunes and enjoy it. We started the lessons and he announced that he was left handed! "Was it a problem?" he says... Next lesson he tells me how he had an accident back in the war time where he had shot his hand, leaving his left hand mobility impaired. He was still determined but really not getting anywhere. There were some other problems too and eventually he stopped coming for lessons. I don't know what happened to him but his dream of playing the violin never came to fruition. After this I wondered if indeed the frets would have been a good idea for somebody like him. So, I tried them as an experiment...
Some time ago there was a discussion similar to this where people who had not tried frets were talking with authority about what they do and don't do. The same kind of assumptions came up: You cannot slide, you cannot vibrato, you can't play in just temperament, I was kind of frustrated as I had tried them (the stick on ones at least but from all accounts the fitted ones work in a similar fashion) and had found from experience that the assumptions I and others had were false. A bowed string reacts differently to a plucked string. I made the video to give accurate information to those who may want them, knowing that the violin community is generally discouraging and at worst shaming of people who try such things.
I understand that the violin community is a conservative one and worries that there is a risk of something they hold dear being replaced (wouldn't happen I'm sure). I even got booted from a Facebook violin group for stating what I have stated above about frets!! Most of the replies on the video were positive but I did have a couple of scathing messages, including one that said it was an embarrassing admission to need frets! I don't actually, my intonation is good! However, playing more challenging chords was certainly easier as I demonstrate in the video, and I found it an interesting way to analyze the fingerboard or even point out scale structures to a student. I've taken off the frets long ago and play my chords on mandolin. The electric violin community has embraced frets for other reasons such as security when the monitoring goes down or the rest of the band gets too loud. Fretted violins can live alongside fretless violins.
I've still yet to give them to a student but if another comes along, like the elderly gentleman mentioned, I will certainly suggest them as an option. It's a harmless experiment to try them at about $25 for two.
Here is the video:
Edited: October 5, 2020, 2:35 AM · Christopher's violin clearly has nearly flat frets, compared to those on guitar or mandolin, and the usual condemnations are invalid in this case.

I have never needed frets, neither do my more "gifted" students, but I don't see why all this cultural snobbery should deprive some others of "useable", and therefore perfectible, intonation..

If there are visual clues, we can spend our practice refining our intonation, rather than "groping" for our notes. Some contributors maintain that visual clues will prevent true listening and correction. Decades of eager but less apparently gifted students have shown me otherwise.

However, can I insist on the Power of Attentive Listening!
Recordings of fine players should "nourish" our inner ear daily.

October 5, 2020, 7:09 AM · I wouldn't say nearly flat - it's been a while but I would say they were only slightly flatter than my mandolins. I'm sure most properly fretted violins are on the low side. However, there are other videos that state the same thing as regards to glissandos etc. with fully fitted frets. It may take a lighter pressure by all accounts. (I just tried bowing my mandolin - it works!). To say it's invalid is only valid if you have tried it and not just guessed at.
I agree Adrian that for most amateurs equal temperament is fine. We all have to adjust to equal temperament if we are playing with pianos or guitars anyway!
Phil, you go for it if you want! This doesn't have to be a touchy subject. Enjoy playing the violin as an adult learner and don't be shamed if playing with frets brings you more pleasure than struggling with intonation.
Edited: October 5, 2020, 10:00 AM · Edit: This is really a question for the OP - as perhaps he has not considered tapes or stickers yet.

Is there a reason to prefer frets over tapes? And why permanent instead of temporary?
It's common for young children to begin with tapes, which are then removed. For many violinists, tapes are not just "visual" - you can feel them.

Edited: October 5, 2020, 2:06 PM · Frets are more tactile than stickers. The frets I reviewed are stick-on and can be easily removed.
October 6, 2020, 7:01 AM · I've read that "when you have frets, you must just put your finger behind". That's not true at all, you should not put it "anywhere as long as it's behind". When you have frets, the best, most efficient way of playing is putting your finger just behind the fret.

The only exception are chords, which have complex shapes and force some of your fingers to stay way behind the fret, but you compensate it using more force so the contact is correct and the sound is clean.

October 8, 2020, 9:22 AM · Hi Phil, your question opened an interesting discourse. I'm an adult learner too and I understand your struggle with intonation.
I don't know how long you've been playing, but when I started familiarizing with the fingerboard and faced the problem of intonation for the first time, my teacher said he lets his younger students use stickers, if needed. Still, he wanted me to avoid them, as for some reason he trusted me to be able to "train my ear" well...that didn't make sense to me at first, but his method has been working so far.
Whenever I learn a new finger pattern though, the issue of intonation pops up again, and I can only fix it through daily practice and repetition. When I play new notes/scales I use a digital tuner, so I can memorize what the pitches are supposed to sound like. I still make mistakes here and there.

What I mean to say is that acquiring good intonation takes time. It will always be something you must work on and doesn't get resolved within a specific timeframe. The violin is built in such a way that you have to train and maintain a correct muscle memory and develop an active, receptive ear.
I know you're playing for personal enjoyment (same here) and you shouldn't be pressured to follow "traditional" standards, but you'll have to face frustrating moments nonetheless: it's a part of learning. Also, if frets work very well on guitar, it doesn't mean they're suited for violin.

To cut it shortly, my question is: have you tried other solutions before resorting to frets? And as far as advice goes: when discussing your goals and issues with your teacher, could you ask them to give you a specific practice routine to improve intonation? Eventually, would your teacher agree to let you use stickers, instead of changing directly to frets, with all the cons they involve?
Either way, I hope you find what you need. Good luck!

Edited: October 8, 2020, 12:25 PM · You can vibrato, but it's guitar vibrato. Violin vibrato and guitar vibrato are not the same thing. Guitar vibrato is elegant but far less intense than violin vibrato, which can enrich the sound greatly with the FM sidebands. There were violins with frets - they were called viols.
October 8, 2020, 1:10 PM · I disagree Gordon. Guitar vibrato is a side to side movement. Check my video to see how it sounds.
October 8, 2020, 11:15 PM · I play guitar. I know how it sounds.
Guitar vibrato is a change to the guitar string's tension. It results in gentle pitch change.
Violin vibrato is a change to the violin string's length. It can result in much greater pitch change and much greater richness of sidebands.
If you fret a violin, you will only get guitar vibrato.
They are not the same thing.
October 8, 2020, 11:50 PM · I am a complete noobie at the violin, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I agree with Christopher above. I bought the fiddle fretters for like $30 and I love them. It’s really not all that different than having a sticker with the notes underneath as you learn, but instead of having to look, there’s some tactile feedback. You 100% definitely can play out of tune with them (and as a beginner I often do) but I’m learning where the notes are so much faster than before - you really do still have to train your ear to hear if you’re hitting the exact right note (so I play with a tuner, close my eyes and test myself), but this gives you a general sense of where your finger needs to be. They also take a lot of the frustration out of learning, I love how much more motivated I am to practice every night. I go back and forth between my violin that has them on and the one that doesn’t, and I really don’t think they’re making me reliant on them either. I think when people say things like you can’t vibrato or that you can place your finger anywhere behind the fret and the note will be in tune, I don’t know if they realize that these things barely come up a millimeter or two off the fingerboard. Anyhoo, I guess you can buy an electric violin that has permanent frets, but I’d highly recommend the (removable) fiddle fretters... speaking as an adult total beginner learning purely for pleasure :)
Edited: October 9, 2020, 10:06 AM · Trevor and Gordon have referred to it, but you, Phil may have missed it. 16th Century Elizabethan string music was played on viols, which had frets. As the violin became popular, use of the higher pitched viols became much rarer (Purcell's birthday ode for Queen Anne includes the phrase "Strike the viol", but the upper strings he scored for are violins), but you might still be able to get hold of one if you need a high pitched bowed instrument with frets. The viola da gamba, referred to above by Bill Carinius, lasted a lot longer (e.g., Bach used it), but it is played vertically and held on the knees, hence its name. In the UK, the cello only started replacing viols when Giacobbe Cervetto started popularising it in the 1730s (His descendent, Josef Jozsik owns portraits of him and of his son, James).
October 9, 2020, 10:54 AM · There are a lot of misconceptions about fretted violins posted here.

For example, one CAN play slides and vibrato that sound the same as on a fretless violin. It is also possible to finger a fretted violin to do quarter steps so some genres of non-western music can be played.

Also, it is straight forward to setup the instrument so intonation is consistent across all the strings. It requires a combination of adjusting the string heights slightly, and sometimes adjusting the bridge angle from side to side (as opposed to tilted front to back).

I fretted one of my violins ages ago and it played just fine, although I currently play a fretless violin.

A youtube search can find lots of demos of fretted violins. Here is one that demonstrates the most frequently used "fretless" violin techniques on a fretted violin.

The fretted systems basically setup the violin to play an equal tempered scale on each string, just like a piano or guitar. So intonation and chord restrictions are no worse than those on a piano or guitar. And with some fingering practice, many of those restrictions can be overcome with a fretted violin because one does not need to always press the string completely to the fret.

I found two distractions with frets:

1. Playing truly harmonic chords required careful fingering which would be much less of a challenge with a fretless violin, and

2. All those frets were a visual distraction until fingering placement became more or less automatic. And once the fingering placement became automatic, there was no longer a big advantage to having frets.

Some fret addons have circular marks to give they eye a quick reference for placing fingers. If the challenge you are having on a fretless violin is getting the fingers "close" to the desired note, consider placing four small, white stickers down the center of the fingerboard at the following positions:

2nd, 4th, 5th and 8th(octave) scale degrees.

With some scale practice, one should be able to quickly place fingers to handle all the finger patterns needed to play across the strings from 1st position, or one full octave on any string by playing the first tetrachord from first position, and the second tetrachord with a shift to 4th position.

Edited: October 9, 2020, 6:18 PM ·
Wish I had those 'sticker-frets' when I began learning, and only if marking the finger positions had occurred to me, but I would not have known where to put them. I persevered with trying to position my fingers in tune, I suddenly realized these two notes sounded like the beginning of a tune I knew from childhood; 'Oh Tanenbaum'....' So, when I imagined this tune my fingers would go to the correct placement. This must be how the pros do it, I began to learn the sound of all the intervals and if I played notes out of tune I simply was not imagining or anticipating the sounds.
October 11, 2020, 6:29 AM · I don’t even think tapes are a good idea, I am a beginner as well by the way, but for me if you get used to having markers were to place your fingers, and the string goes out of tune you will struggle to compensate, your ears will never develop. I was Shocked when I first started to learn violin, that after thirty years of playing guitar professionally and semi professionally , I couldn’t really tell if a note was sharp or flat, by that I mean just a couple of cents out, quite humbling really, my ears are after a year and a half starting to improve though. For what it’s worth in my opinion the only thing that I would add to a violin are geared pegs for tuning, I just can not understand why they are no more widely used, apart from the price. I would love to have them on my violin but can’t afford them. I can tune the violin but it’s a real pain with wooden pegs, I think if Stradivari had access to them he would have used them
October 11, 2020, 5:16 PM · Gordon. I'm guessing you haven't tried frets on a violin? I found they responded differently to how you stop a string on a guitar and violin vibrato worked the same way. I can't speak for every fret type as I just tried the stick on ones but I did try it for myself rather than have an opinion based on how I think it would be. I'm not trying to push frets and as far as I'm concerned it's a take it or leave it thing with a small, specialized place in the world for them. However, I find it frustrating when people put in their two cents when they haven't actually tried them.
Ron, I teach violin and mostly don't start people off with markers (I haven't prescribed frets at all yet but, as I mentioned above, I've come across very old beginners who want to do something with the instrument and I feel it could have worked for them) but I do find that very young students often need them after trying without. Some people just don't have such a good ear and it can be a choice of markers (frets even??) or not playing at all. I think most teachers would agree with me that you get a sense of where the student is going to go with the instrument.

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