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Invisible temporary markers on fretless.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by peakdesign, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. peakdesign


    Aug 25, 2008
    Slackers unite! After trying to learn to play it as is, I came to the humbling conclusion that, although my single voice lines were improving, I wasn't going to be intonating chords passably on an unlined six string fretless any time soon. I like markers. I need markers. Still, the beauty of the unlined instrument (and the $ignificant co$t of having someone put in subtle ebony markers in the rosewood), led me to search for a way to create temporary lines on the neck. Ideally they would not be visible to anyone but the player, and they would not scar the gorgeous instrument (thanks, Grateful!). Tall order.

    It turned out there are countless bad ideas in the Home Depot and OfficeMax Ether. Mercifully, most of them are reversible. But here's one solution that's working out so far. Why the neck itself? Bass strings don't stretch or rotate to any significant degree once they settle in. Indelible feltpen marks on the player side of the strings don't get rubbed off quickly, fingerease doesn't dissolve them, and they are only visible from the side, so to the player the neck looks one way (=crutch) :help:, and to the audience it looks the other way (=cool) :cool:. Tada! The details are self-evident. A tuner is a decent way to locate the nodes, while a thick paper template protects the neck and provides position reference during inking (and periodic re-inking) :D. Have your cake and eat it too!

    Attached Files:

  2. wave rider

    wave rider

    Jan 5, 2005
    That is a very clever idea!

    Just another reason I procrastinate - er, spend quality time on this forum. I gotta try that marker idea.

  3. trowaclown


    Feb 26, 2008
    The moment I read "why the neck itself" I thought of strings immediately. DOH. Great great great idea! A paradigm shift!
  4. Mikeyd74


    Jul 28, 2007
    I have to say, that's such a great idea!!
  5. Outstanding. If my fretless were not lined, Id be hunting up a felt tipped marker or sharpie right now!
  6. Siegy


    Jun 28, 2007
    Central Neb.
    Good idea I suppose. Until it gets dark.
  7. tomas_almeida


    Oct 5, 2007
    That is a fantastic ideia! It never even crossed my mind!
  8. Captain_Arrrg


    Jan 23, 2008
    Mountains of Colorado
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    I tried doing this a while ago, but the marks started to come of in minutes.

    What kind of marker are you using.
  9. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Correct me if i'm wrong, but after a while, don't strings stretch??
  10. wave rider

    wave rider

    Jan 5, 2005

    This could help...
  11. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Either all of your lines or all of your side dots are in the wrong position. Unlined fretless basses are supposed to have the side dots placed exactly where the line should be. So either they built you an unlined fretless with the side dots between the frets, where they'd be of no use, or they were built in the right spot and you should have drawn the lines directly above the dots.
  12. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV

    This has potential to be one of the biggest fail threads in recent memory. :atoz:

    Congratulations on marking every note exactly the same sharp or flat.

  13. My upright bass teacher advocated drawing pencil lines on the fingerboard. It worked in that context. And can be wiped off in a second if you want.
  14. jibreel


    Apr 12, 2005
    There are not dots for every fret position. Also, even if there were, it is sometimes hard to track the exact position of the dot accros the fret line to the higher strings. Marks on the strings at each position would help this. Chording on a fretless bass is challenging as heck.

    My main basses are fretless. I rarely try anything more than 2 finger chords [ mostly major and minor tenths ]. I love to chording on my fretted bass
  15. Emmaemme


    May 20, 2008
    Maybe manufacturers could produce pre marked strings ?!? :meh:
  16. perfektspace6


    May 9, 2006
    Interesting idea but it sounds like there are many potential problems.

    Even if the string(s) only stretch a little after the initial break in it will throw everything off. Maybe you never change your strings but if you do so with any regularity it's going to be a pain in the ass to re-mark every string every time you change sets. What if you make a small error when making the line? There goes your intonation.

    I have a better idea, have invisible ink-laden fretlines installed and then custom fit glasses with the appropriate lenses so that only you can see the lines. :p

    Man just sell the bass and get one with a lined board. Who cares how it looks. You can always say that Jaco had a lined board if anyone says anything (which they won't). Stop drawing and play more!:bassist:
  17. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    The point is that he put all of the lines in the wrong spot. It's just as difficult to draw the exact position of the dots across in a straight line as it is to draw them where he drew them :D Marks in the wrong position won't help anyone. It's a decent idea, but he'll have to redo them all (unless they built his bass in a very screwed-up fashion).

    You mean major and minor 3rd? :eyebrow:
  18. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    I think as a training method I think this a great idea. If you wait a week or so after changing strings to make sure the strings aren't going to stretch further the marks should stay accurate.

    Personally I think I have better intonation if I avoid looking at the neck, but if you don't play fretless all the time this might be really helpful.

    Anyways, this reminds me of an idea I've thought about for a while now. That is to put some tactile markers on the back of the neck. Like maybe just some little grooves in the wood that your thumb would notice to provide some basic landmarks. Like at least on the 5th and octave.
  19. Mikeyd74


    Jul 28, 2007
    Line markers on fretless basses are cool, they never bothered me. I don't see them as being training wheels either.
    If you ask me, it's the players that "think" they are cool because they play a fretless that are the ones that don't like the lined fingerboards. They have to let everyone know that they are playing a fretless and if their bass has lines on the fingerboard people won't know how "cool" they are.
    Sorry, I'm in a bad mood right now.
    Time to get out of talkbass before I start swearing.
  20. Thangfish

    Thangfish ...overly qualified for janitorical deployment...

    Hey, it's a $180 fretless 6 string! :meh:

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