Frets are metal wires embedded into the fretboard of the fretted instrument and held in place by the slight bowing of the neck under the string's tension. Their purpose is to facilitate the accurate playing of notes and chords. When the string is pressed between them it vibrates from the fret rather than the finger's position on the fingerboard, as with the violin, viola and orchestral bass

They are usually placed 1 half tone apart down the neck, so the eighth note (or octave) is often referred to as the twelfth fret by guitar players.

It's possible that if one removes the strings from, say for example, a guitar or banjo entirely, the frets will become slightly dislodged and shift sideways, making the playing of said guitar a lot less comfortable.

Highly necessary on guitars and like instruments, both acoustic and electric, (because either would be completely unplayable without them), they are slightly less necessary on the bass guitar, unless you want the sound of steel slapped against steel.

Other fretted instruments include the:

There is also the family of viols (an antiquated form of violin or cello) which used "cat gut" tied around the neck rather that the more modern bronze or steel wire.

FRET, or Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer, is a method by which molecular and cellular biologists can determine the close physical proximity of two molecules.

Fluorescent molecules are fluorescent because, when excited by a certain wavelength of light (an excititation wavelength, specific to each fluorescent molecule), emit light at a different wavelength (emission wavelength; again, specific to the molecule). Basically, the light hits the molecule, boosts the energy of the electrons on the molecule, and as the electron drops back to the lower energy state, emits a photon. This process isn't perfectly efficient, and the molecule can bleed off energy in other ways besides emitting a photon.

It just so happens that one of these other ways involves transmitting the energy to another, nearby fluorescent molecule. So let's say you have fluorescent molecule 1 and 2, each with distinct excitation and emission wavelengths. Normally, hitting molecule 1 with it's excitation wavelength gives you back molecule 1's emission wavelength. Same for molecule 2. But if you have the two molecules close enough, when you hit the pair with molecule 1's excitation wavelength, you get some of molecule 2's emission wavelength back (with a corresponding decrease in molecule 1's emission wavelength brightness).

It just so happens that you get this effect in the range of 10 Angstroms, which is pretty much touching each other as far as biological molecules go. This physical phenomenon has been utilized by researchers to prove the direct physical interaction of a number of biologically important molecules.

You can do FRET-type experiments both with a fluorescence microscope, as well as with a flow cytometer (FACS).

Fret (?), n. [Obs.]

See 1st Frith.


© Webster 1913.

Fret (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Fretted; p. pr. & vb. n. Fretting.] [OE. freten to eat, consume; AS. fretan, for foretan; pref. for- + etan to eat; akin to D. vreten, OHG. frezzan, G. fressen, Sw. frata, Goth. fra-itan. See For, and Eat, v. t.]


To devour.


The sow frete the child right in the cradle. Chaucer.


To rub; to wear away by friction; to chafe; to gall; hence, to eat away; to gnaw; as, to fret cloth; to fret a piece of gold or other metal; a worm frets the plants of a ship.

With many a curve my banks I fret. Tennyson.


To impair; to wear away; to diminish.

By starts His fretted fortunes give him hope and fear. Shak.


To make rough, agitate, or disturb; to cause to ripple; as, to fret the surface of water.


To tease; to irritate; to vex.

Fret not thyself because of evil doers. Ps. xxxvii. 1.


© Webster 1913.

Fret, v. i.


To be worn away; to chafe; to fray; as, a wristband frets on the edges.


To eat in; to make way by corrosion.

Many wheals arose, and fretted one into another with great excoriation. Wiseman.


To be agitated; to be in violent commotion; to rankle; as, rancor frets in the malignant breast.


To be vexed; to be chafed or irritated; to be angry; to utter peevish expressions.

He frets, he fumes, he stares, he stamps the ground. Dryden.


© Webster 1913.

Fret, n.


The agitation of the surface of a fluid by fermentation or other cause; a rippling on the surface of water.



Agitation of mind marked by complaint and impatience; disturbance of temper; irritation; as, he keeps his mind in a continual fret.

Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret. Pope.


Herpes; tetter.


4. pl. Mining

The worn sides of river banks, where ores, or stones containing them, accumulate by being washed down from the hills, and thus indicate to the miners the locality of the veins.


© Webster 1913.

Fret, v. t. [OE. fretten to adorn, AS. fraetwan, fraetwian; akin to OS. fratahn, cf. Goth. us-fratwjan to make wise, also AS. fraetwe ornaments, OS. fratahi adornment.]

To ornament with raised work; to variegate; to diversify.

Whose skirt with gold was fretted all about. Spenser.

Yon gray lines, That fret the clouds, are messengers of day. Shak.


© Webster 1913.

Fret, n.


Ornamental work in relief, as carving or embossing. See Fretwork.

2. Arch.

An ornament consisting of smmall fillets or slats intersecting each other or bent at right angles, as in classical designs, or at obilique angles, as often in Oriental art.

His lady's cabinet is a adorned on the fret, ceiling, and chimney-piece with . . . carving. Evelyn.


The reticulated headdress or net, made of gold or silver wire, in which ladies in the Middle Ages confined their hair.

A fret of gold she had next her hair. Chaucer.

Fret saw, a saw with a long, narrow blade, used in cutting frets, scrolls, etc.; a scroll saw; a keyhole saw; a compass saw.


© Webster 1913.

Fret (?), n. [F. frette a saltire, also a hoop, ferrule, prob. a dim. of L. ferrum iron. For sense 2, cf. also E. fret to rub.]

1. Her.

A saltire interlaced with a mascle.

2. Mus.

A short piece of wire, or other material fixed across the finger board of a guitar or a similar instrument, to indicate where the finger is to be placed.


© Webster 1913.

Fret, v. t.

To furnish with frets, as an instrument of music.


© Webster 1913.

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