Fretless Fretboard Fret Markers

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Cellwelder, Jan 5, 2014.


  1. Cellwelder

    Cellwelder

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2012
    Location:
    Bangkok, Thailand
    Disclosures:
    Gee, I wish I had a commercial affiliation. I could use a little more spending money...
    First, I'd like to apologize for barraging you guys with questions. I just want to make sure I do it all right. I promise to post pictures of my build!

    Anyways, I plan to use Siamese Rosewood for a fretless fretboard (because getting anything else in Thailand is too expensive), and I was going to use some contrasting wood for the fret markers. The first thing that came to mind was Rubber Wood, because that can be easily acquired, and it's got a light color. I know this stuff isn't used for instruments, but would using strips less than an eighth of an inch thick harm anything?

    Thanks,
    Rick.
  2. Jaco D

    Jaco D

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Not sure if the difference in wood will affect tone, but why not consider dot markers on the side of the fretboard instead?
  3. Cellwelder

    Cellwelder

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2012
    Location:
    Bangkok, Thailand
    Disclosures:
    Gee, I wish I had a commercial affiliation. I could use a little more spending money...
    I could do that, but I fear that I wouldn't be able to play it as easily, since I've only been playing bass for 2 years. Would it make a difference in playability?
  4. pfox14

    pfox14

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    I have worked with some rubber wood (Luan) and have found that if it's not thoroughly dry it is very unstable. I got parts from Sri Lanka made of Luan that wasn't properly kiln dried and it warped and buckled like crazy. I would try something else if possible.
  5. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    MS Gulf Coast
    Fretboard markers have a certain aesthetic value. But if your primary concern is functional, then you really need to first find out whether you need markers on the fingerboard itself, or just side dots. I discovered a while ago that I never actually look at my fretboard while playing, just the side dots. So I stopped doing inlays on the fingerboard, except for occasionally, and then purely for aesthetic value. I really like the clean, uncluttered look of a plain (or nearly so) fingerboard.
  6. Jaco D

    Jaco D

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Nah!! The thing about playing fretless is you have to rely more on your ears than your eyes. From what I went through, I found out that fretlines could lull you into a wrong sense of comfort thinking that you're playing the notes right. Without the lines you would be forced to use your ears to determine if you're right on the notes or a bit off. Side dots just give you a good estimate of where the notes lie - but in the end your ears have to do the work.
  7. Cellwelder

    Cellwelder

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2012
    Location:
    Bangkok, Thailand
    Disclosures:
    Gee, I wish I had a commercial affiliation. I could use a little more spending money...
    Well, that settles it then. Dot markers on the side it is! Thanks everyone for the help. I'll be sure to post pictures of my build progress!

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