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Publication numberUS357168 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 8, 1887
Filing dateJul 10, 1880
Publication numberUS 357168 A, US 357168A, US-A-357168, US357168 A, US357168A
InventorsValentine T. Baknwell
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Musical instrument
US 357168 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

(No Model.)


No. 357,168. Patented Feb.k8, 1887. FIEL-m. FEI- F If-Y W r'inesss5 v sented by capital letters primed.



SPECIFICATION forming part of Letters Patent No. 357,168, dated February 8, 1887.

- Application iiled July 16,1886. Serial No. 208,224. (No model.)

To all whom t may concern:

" Be it known that I, VALENTINE T. BARN- WELL, a citizen of the United States, residing at Atlanta, in the county of Fulton and State of Georgia, have invented a new and usefult Musical Instrument; and I do hereby declare the following to be a full, clear, and exact description of the invention, such as will enable others skilled in the art to which it appertains to make and use the saine, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, and to letters or vtigures of reference marked thereon, which form a part of this specification.

This invention relates to an iinproveinentin stringed musical instruments having fingerboards on which the strings are pressed by the ngers for a portion ot' the tones; and it consists of a linger-board having frets or fretlines and marks by which the tones ot' the diatonic scale may be readily distinguished from the other tones of the chromatic scale, and other distinguishing marks, as will be hereinafter fully described and then sp eciiically claimed.

In the accompanying drawings, Figure I represents a portion ol" the guitar, including the finger-board. Fig. II is a similar portion of a banjo, and Fig. III isa similar portion ol' -a violin. An illustration of the application of this invention is shown on these three instruments to show the principle of application. It may be applied to any instrument of the same class.

In these figures, il is a {Inger-board, 2 represents the frets, and the springs are repre- The positions on the finger-board of the tones ol" the diatonic scale are marked by the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, and G.

In the science of music there is known but one practical system of grading the diiierent degrees of tone-pitch-namely, that of dividing the monochord into twelve parts, which are called semi-tones7 o1half-steps.77 For the purpose ot' my present description I prefer to call these parts half-steps. This series of twelve half-steps forms what is called the chromatic scale.77 By omitting the second,

- fourth, seventh, ninth, and eleventh of these left only seven tones-namely, the rst, third, fifth, sixth, eighth, tenth, and t\velfth'-which constitute the diatonie scalethat is. to say, all the tones properly belonging to any given key in music of the major Inode.

v1t is exceedingly dilicnlt to learn the art of music upon the finger-boards oftstringed instruments as commonly constructed. This difficulty I overcome by marking, as shown, the tones of the diatonic scale to distinguish them from the other tones, and to furnish appropriate markings on the iinger-board, in groups, composed of any particular tone and those immediately surrounding it. No two groups in the saine octave are likely to be alike, by reason of which no two tones on the saine portion of the ringer-board will have surroundings of the same appearance to the eye.

I further distinguish the different tones of the diatonic scale by indicating them by spots of a different i'orm or color in groups of several,which groups will recur in all theoctaves. I also distinguish the diii'erent i'rets or fretlines by shading the ground-work between them in different colors or shades, which shading will be exactly repeated in each succeeding twelve frets or fret-lines, as the tones are exactly repeated after twelve frets or fretlines, but in a different octave.

It is obvious that the form or color of the spots, or the color of the groundwork, is not material, as the principle of the invention is to afford, by means of contrasts on the fingerboard, as above described, a means of iinding on the finger-board the exact position of all the tones ot the chromatic scale, the absence of which means of identiiication has heretofore been an obstacle to the playing of music correctly'on instruments of the above description.

I am aware that a series of studs projecting above the iingerboard of musical instruments, to indicate the diatonic scale, has been invented, as shown in English Patent No. 2,729 of 1863.

of indicating these scales. In my finger-board it will be observed that the spots used for indication do not project above the general surface of the board, and do not take the place of frets, and, further, that they are used to indicate not only the diatenic but other tones of the chromatic scales.n

I do not therefore claim all systemsr IOO lHaving thus described my invention, what I claim as new, and desire to secure by Letters Patent, is-

l. In a stringed musical instrument, a iinger-board on which the diatonic tones are indicated by spots of a different color from that of the nger-board and not projecting above its surface, to distinguish them from the other tones of the chromatic scales, substantially as shown and described.

2. In a musical instrument, a finger-board having a series of different shades or colors between the frets or fret-lines to indicate the tones of an octave, said series being repeated i

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US2489408 *Feb 23, 1946Nov 29, 1949Frost Allan BFinger board for stringed musical instruments
US3568560 *Dec 18, 1968Mar 9, 1971Mattel IncAuto chord device
US3978756 *Aug 25, 1975Sep 7, 1976Hi-Tech Industries, IncorporatedGuitar instruction system
US4483233 *Sep 30, 1982Nov 20, 1984Ron BensonCombined guitar and bass guitar having eight strings
US4559861 *Mar 28, 1983Dec 24, 1985Myron WeissMusical teaching device for expediting musical instruction
US5920023 *Dec 10, 1996Jul 6, 1999Ravagni; Steven F.Stringed instrument finger positioning guide and method for teaching students to read music
US5945618 *Aug 26, 1997Aug 31, 1999Bennett; MorganMethod and apparatus for musical training
US6218603 *Dec 7, 1999Apr 17, 2001Phillip R. CoonceNote locator for stringed instruments
US6452080Apr 16, 2001Sep 17, 2002Phillip R. CoonceNote locator for stringed instruments
US7750224 *Aug 7, 2008Jul 6, 2010Neocraft Ltd.Musical composition user interface representation
US8399756 *Oct 5, 2011Mar 19, 2013John TrentGuitar strip
US8772616 *Feb 11, 2013Jul 8, 2014Kurt JenningsEducation guitar and method of manufacture
US20130000462 *Jun 29, 2012Jan 3, 2013Freiberg David AGraphical teaching device
WO1987000952A1 *Aug 8, 1985Feb 12, 1987John Robert BeattieMusic teaching apparatus and method
WO1999057709A1 *Mar 22, 1999Nov 11, 1999Pasquale SpagnolettiMulti color guitar