can I use a grease pencil to temporarily mark on a fretboard without harm

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by alienstarguest, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. alienstarguest


    May 30, 2009
    First and foremost I am a bass player as opposed to 6 string guitarist. I am better at it, more comfortable with it, and like putting a thump if folk's chests. Long story short, I have been asked to lay down some guitar leads over about 3 songs. I have the tracks handy but i have to be ready in like a day and a half.

    I do have really good guitar gear and such is that they may have thought I could play said gear. I can play it, but nowhere near my bass level of skill. The good thing is I am only going to be laying in a few chords here and there, for the most part its all lead/solo. Here is the question. I had some scales in mind. If I wanted to mark some spots (a good few rather), on one my practice guitars (which even those are quite nice) - could I use a white grease pencil and get away with just cleaning the fretboard after a few days. This will help me, but I don't want to ruin anything. I was thinking of some bits of painters tape but that's too labor intensive and I got to get goin on this. What'cha all think.
  2. tabdog


    Feb 9, 2011
    Maybe Dry- Erase Marker from Wal-Mart would be better,

  3. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I go with white artist tape often cut into thing strips to mark things. I also use colored pencils or as you say a wax pencil. Wax is nice because it cleans off. I've used colored pencils on a fretless ebony fingerboard for marks and had to use a rub-down with fine steel wool to clean it (cover pickups with tape!) When I don't want a hassle I use the artist tape because it peels off with no residue unlike the painters tape.
    You can just put down a larger piece and mark and write on it as well.

    Dry erase markers ae fine IF where you mark is non-porous. If there is any porosity (like dry unvarnished wood on a neck) your bass may end up with some unintended mojo.
  4. It depends on the fretboard wood. Tape is probably a better idea.

    A fretboard like rosewood will have open pores, and you won't be happy when you try to clean the grease pencil out of the pores.

    Stick with tape. No pun intended.
  5. Batmensch


    Jul 4, 2010
    Media, PA.
    Unless the board has some kind of clearcoat, like on a maple board, I would recommend against any kind of grease pencil. I agree, overall, tape would be better, regardless of whether it's finished or not.
  6. bassman10096

    bassman10096 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Same for any unvarnished fretboard (ebony, pao ferro, etc) or even clearcoated maple (risk of getting marks into fret edges or bleeding through dings or wear through the finish. Frankly, grease pencil, dry-erase and many other watercolor and ink markers can damage both finished and unfinished wood. Bad idea - stick with tape.
  7. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    I wouldn't use any kind of marker on any kind of fingerboard.

    Office supply stores have small self-stick dots available.
  8. I have used a regular graffite pencil on both a new fretless and my upright bass. It wears off fairly quickly with no lasting effects. On some of my bass with very small or hard to see side markers I use a Whiteout pencil and put a a small line or dot on the side of the neck. And you can use your fingernail to scrape it off quite easily without any damage to the neck or board. Hope this helps.
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