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Fret Markers

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by clokwise, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. clokwise


    Sep 7, 2012
    So I am an electric bass player and am really interested in moving over into playing upright. One of my biggest issues is going to be having no fret markers or dots for reference. I don't need the actual fret itself but the reference is nice. Is there a way or method for adding the dots to the neck for reference while learning? I know I can out dots on there but wasn't sure how to go about the spacing.

  2. Fran Diaz

    Fran Diaz Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2002
    Santander, Spain
    f you want markers a pencil will do. Where? use an electronic tuner to see where to place your fingers to have the notes in tune.

    If you want a better advice: get a teacher and discuss this matter with him/her.
  3. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    I put on some of those little vinyl dots from Gollihur music, instantly allowed me to competently play out of 1st position and into thumb. But I'm not going for pro, just good enough for studio and gigs, and at this point I rarely look at them. So I don't really see a problem with them unless you get too dependent on their use.
  4. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    I played electric for 10 years before playing upright.

    Let me give you some cold hard wisdom.

    Looking at the neck of your upright isnt going to do you any good when playing it, in fact it will cause you to make more mistakes. Adding markers on it really wont help you learn the notes or the positions, even when starting.

    In fact, i have a lot of bad habits on electric i wish i didn't have from looking at the neck. I do my best not to look when i can, because reading music is a pain in the rear when i constantly try to look at the notes i play.

    Find a good teacher who can teach you the positions. Use the open strings and harmonics as references when learning and realize its gonna be out of tune. It will get better with practice.
  5. I bought some whiteout for this purpose but wound up not using it.
  6. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    You don't play double bass with your eyes.
  7. clokwise


    Sep 7, 2012
    Thank you for those of you with helpful advice.
  8. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Whiteout dots on the edge of the fingerboard at G, A, B on the E string plus the octave can be helpful in getting you oriented to the spaces your fingers need to cover.

    And a few lessons from a DB teacher make a huge difference in how quickly you pick up the instrument! ;)
  9. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    As a newish player myself, i advise not to use the markings. While it may make the instrument more accessible in the very early beginnings, it will do nothing but slow down your progress and enforce bad habits.

    I decided to not use markings from the start. Honestly i still looked at the neck frequently, and noticed my own "landmarks" on the wood neck in the area of where certain key notes are. But those were few and far between and haven't developed into a crutch. I now generally dont look at the neck unless i hear an off note, then might take a peak to correct.
  10. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Like others have posted, i started with dots to get me through early gigs but I really didn't start getting my intonation together until the dots were gone.

    Better to work with a bow, open strings and your ears.

    Walk before you run...master the low positions first where the open strings help keep you in tune. That's where all the money is after all ;)
  11. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I stopped by the shop today and played a beautiful $15k German violin corner bass from the early 1900s with position markers drawn on to the side of the fingerboard. They seemed out of place on that bass.
  12. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    And therein lays why you don't need fret markers. Just start with the open strings, and progressively make your way up the neck from there. This is how i am approaching it and it deffinitely works. The only issue i am having is that i rarely want to leave the lower register! Probably a good thing i guess...
  13. EDGAR!!! Yes, even Edgar Meyer uses dots. I have some colored dot I bought at Staples at the Harmonics and octave position. I wouldn't do anything permanent because of changes over time to the instrument, but it helps. As others have stated, best to learn the feel of your instrument, but then again, I dont look at my bass guitar fretboard much. Same principle on the upright.
  14. misterbadger

    misterbadger Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    Northern California
    My luthier removed my Staples sticky-dots, made a very fine indentation with an awl at each marked point, then rubbed chalk in the holes. It's just enough to provide reference, and will be easy to sand away when I'm at the "remove training wheels" level.
  15. bejoyous


    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    Yeah, I look at the striping of the maple on the neck to find certain notes occasionally. Same with swirls in the fingerboard for thumb-position notes.

    But, because of parallax and the curve of the fingerboard, etc., I've found that having markers on the side never made finding notes more accurate.

    Sometimes I'll use a pencil dot right beside the spot where my finger is supposed to land if it's a tricky reach while practicing and by the time it's well-learned the muscle memory will take over.

    But seriously, the best way to learn where notes are located is to practice scales and intervals (especially with a drone) in the dark or with a blindfold and use your ears.
  16. Jason Sypher

    Jason Sypher Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2001
    Brooklyn, NY
    A TalkBass dead-horse, the marker question. My take... Markers do not equal good intonation and tend to make you focus your eyes on finding the notes your ears want to hear. Using your eyes to stare at your fingers takes your attention away from any music you are reading or any useful information on stage that you will need to play music at a higher level. So much happens on the stage that you needs your attention. Good communication makes for good music. I tend to watch singers mouths, guitarists, pianists and drummers hands, horn players breath etc. I would miss all of that if I was trying to "see" where an A notes was on the fingerboard. Learn the bass then play the bass....
  17. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Markers aren't all bad. They just get you in the ballpark. If your intonation sucks, no amount of markers are going to help you. You will still be off.

    They're better left to experienced players who don't use it as a crutch. If you are just starting, then go without until you've had more experience.