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I have recently come into possession of a Tar.

But I have no idea how to place the frets on this instrument, which are made of gut (feels a bit like twine) tied around the neck. How do I determine the intervals? Which fret goes where? I've tried checking out YouTube, but the few tutorials that I found were all in Farsi.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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The instrument is string tied around its own neck? Please clarify the beginning of the main paragraph. Also, "fretting" would be the act of placing frets on the neck in the correct scale. Perhaps you mean stringing? Or tuning/setting up? – NReilingh Jun 4 '11 at 1:04
Fretting could also mean placing your fingers on the board over a string at a specific position to create a chord or play a note. Fretting a G chord for example. It's ambiguous but we like it that way ;). The question is still a little unclear though. – Jduv Jun 4 '11 at 1:07
@NReilingh He means that it's an instrument with movable frets, made from gut tied around the neck. Thus, you need to attach them yourself, and position them so that they form the correct intervals. This is how early fretted string instruments were constructed, such as the lute and the viola de gamba. – Brian Campbell Jun 4 '11 at 15:22
@Brian Thanks, good edit. – NReilingh Jun 4 '11 at 18:02
I can't resist. "Don't Fret, someone will be helpful eventually." – bmargulies Jul 24 '11 at 1:38

If you intend to play more western music on this eastern instrument, you could start by using the "rule of 18", which guides the placement of frets on guitars.

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Positions and mappings of frets in Tar is similar to Setar. In this two images positions and mapping of frets in Setar is shown. In Tar instrument two right most strings are usually tuned as Do. Two middle strings are usually tuned as Sol. From two left most strings, the right one is usually tuned as Do like the two most right strings, and the left one (the thicker one) is usually tuned as Do but in a lower octave.

In these images note that:

  • (سل = Sol), (لا = La), (سی = Si), (دو = Do), (ر = Re), (می = Mi), (فا = Fa)
  • (بمل = Flat), (دیز = Sharp)
  • (کرن = Koron), (سری [/sori/] = less than higher in pitch)
  • (چهارلا = fourfold threaded fret), (سه لا = threefold threaded fret)
  • (یا = or)

Setar frets Setar frets

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