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Dots are where they belong, but they're not where they belong

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by cchorney, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. cchorney

    cchorney Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Meriden, CT
    Went to a local Guitar Center tonight and saw an Ibanez SRH505F Fretless hanging on the wall. Looked pretty cool so I thought I'd try it. I noticed the side dots didn't align with the front dots, and that was really messing with my head. I did a quick survey and on ALL the other basses on the wall there that had both front and side dots, the dots lined up with each other, but on this one, the front dots were between teh frets and the side dots were ON the fret lines. Which makes sense I suppose but I prefer the consistency of them being the same.

    And apparently it's intentional, as the images of that bass on Sweetwater are the same as what I saw. The OCD in me wasn't happy one bit.

    saabfender and Garret Graves like this.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
  3. Garret Graves

    Garret Graves website- ggravesmusic.com Gold Supporting Member

    May 20, 2010
    Arcadia, Ca
    It’s done that way for the fretless, marking where you put your finger. Traditionally, right on the spot the fret would be is where you press, and they side mark it with the dots. On fretted instruments, the dots function is different- to let you know the fret number, board layout. Fret not
    saabfender, gebass6 and jd56hawk like this.
  4. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    I see what you mean.
    I think that's because it still has dark fretlines in the place where the front dots would go if the lines weren't there.

    I can't tolerate that either.

    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  5. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    For side dots on a fretless, yes you'll nearly always see the dots at the actual 'fret' spot.

    However, when putting face dots I have never seen another company put the face dots in the normal fretted bass positions, with the side dots on the fretless postion like Ibanez did on that bass. Thats just goofy.
    el_Bajo_Verde, cchorney and gebass6 like this.
  6. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    Think of the dots on the fingerboard as decorative only, like a Tree of Life inlay, and ignore them completely.

    I’d have much preferred if they had left the board bare.

    Maybe it’s for players who have removed the frets from a bass, and like the filled in fretlines and still have the ‘normal’ dots.
  7. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Fretless markings are pretty subjective. Different players have very different preferences. I feel for the companies making fretless instruments to the extent that one size quite definitely does NOT fit all. Unfortunately, if you don’t like a particular marking scheme, the best thing is to move on and find an instrument with marks that you do like. Spending time criticizing some particular scheme is time wasted; and that includes lines. Play what works for you, and be respectful of different prefs that other players may favor.
    tfer likes this.
  8. Paulabass

    Paulabass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2017
    The side dots go where the frets would be. A fretless doesn't need front dots at all, but in between 'frets' would be correct.
    tfer likes this.
  9. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    I hear you man-
    My ideal fretless layout is blank plank/ side dots where the frets would be; on 3,5,7,9,12 etc. My Tony Franklin has this layout and it is natural to the player.
    However, I’ve owned someFL basses where there was a blank plank and the side dots were in the middle of where the frets would have been; absolutely confusing- an older FL G&L L2000 had this layout which was a dealbreaker for me.
    I also had an EBMM sterling FL with lines and no front dots. The side dots were in a strange layout in this one too and so it got sold.
    If there are lines, I like the pedulla layout; front dots in the traditional spot between the frets.
    I believe that some manufacturers don’t think about these things when approaching the FL bass. They create something that isn’t intuitive and then wonder why they aren’t popular

    ROOTSnFIFTHS Low-end Lover since '78!

    Oct 25, 2012
    NJ to Sin City
    I played that bass at Sam Ash last week and never noticed those incorrect dots on the front of the board. That, in my opinion is just dumb. I did really like that bass though. I was going to go back and try it again but that might kill the deal. Does the 4 string version have the front dots?
  11. twinjet

    twinjet GE90-equipped Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    It's for those who prefer dots that line up on the fret or not. Just flip the bass and play upside down if you don't like the dots where they are.
  12. MD

    MD Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    If the other basses on the wall all had lines, than they were built as fretted basses. They were pulled off the line and the fret slots were filled. Hence, the dots lining up, but in the wrong place for fretless.
    If you look at pics of the Ibanez SRH505, the side dots are lined with the front dots. They relocated the side dots for fretless use, but kept the fretted front layout. At least they tried to do it right, while only getting half way there.
  13. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    While not quite like Ibanez, the Jaco signature from Fender used to have face dots like a fretted and side dots like a fretless. The more recent ones just use standard fretted dot positions, between the frets.
  14. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    lines are the culprit in the first place. go unlined and put the side dots where you want. ;)
    tfer likes this.
  15. MD

    MD Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    Yup. Tuner and a sharpie - done.

    ROOTSnFIFTHS Low-end Lover since '78!

    Oct 25, 2012
    NJ to Sin City
    True. I own the Jaco sig and it has correct side dots(exact note) and incorrect front dots ( between the fret lines)which annoy me. i stained the neck to tone down the dots but it has worn away with extensive playing. Of course as we know, Fender was replicating Jaco's bass which started fretted which Jaco removed and so to be correct, the front dots are right and the side dots are wrong. Confusing? I rather see correct side dots and no lines or dots on the front of the board on a fretless ideally.
  17. MEKer

    MEKer Supporting member

    May 30, 2006
    I understand it could be confusing. Dot would not be comfy for me either.
  18. cchorney

    cchorney Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Meriden, CT
    I already have an unlined fretless (Ibby SRF705). I just thought this was goofy. No idea if you agree or not, but thanks for your input.
  19. el_Bajo_Verde


    May 18, 2016
    I can't see the fingerboard when I play, but it is still a silly design

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