LED Position Markers

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Keeaumoku, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. Keeaumoku


    Dec 29, 2004
    I started playing bass 30+ years ago, but I did give it up for 22 years; however I did continue to play a party or a luau every now and then with other musician friends during that hiatus. I decided to get back into the game a little over a year ago, and we've started playing on a regular basis (4 - 5 times a month) sometime back in April.

    When I'm playing my 4-stringer, a Stu Hamm Urge-II, I generally know precisely where my left hand is supposed to be without looking at the fretboard. Some things one never forgets... However, about three months ago I purchased my first ever 5-stinger, a Thumb-5 NT. I'm still getting used to playing it, and I must admit that I have to look at the fretboard more often.

    Here's my dilemma: I was playing a gig this past weekend, and I decided to only take the Thumb bass. The stage in this funky beer joint was pretty dark, and I had a tough time on occasion finding the correct hand position. My eyesight certainly isn't as sharp as it was 20 years ago... as is the case with most of you old fogies out there, too! ;) One thing I've noticed is the fact that the neck on this bass is longer than my Stuey... or at least it appears to be so, which is also taking some getting used to. I was dropping a few chops during the gig because of this site problem.

    Anyone out there using basses with the LED markers? If so, what's your axe? Do you rely on them, and/or find them useful? I realize that the LEDs appear mostly on the most high-end instruments, so has anyone ever heard of a customized neck for some of the "more affordable" axes out there?
  2. slugworth

    slugworth Inactive

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
  3. tribal3140

    tribal3140 Inactive

    Nov 9, 2004
    near detroit...uh
    I have a ritter with leds and it ran a grand to do. not cheap but very very bright!

    I own the patend on and am developing phosphorescent fret markers. It uses "glow powder" to charge and glow after the lights go out, they charge fast and stay bright for quite a while.
    they also last in excess of 7 years. they are plastic infused and inlay just like regular fret marking dots.
    the poor mans LED!
    anybody interested the first batch will be out by summer Namm next year. any other questions PM me.
  4. westland

    westland Supporting Member

    How about tritium vial markers (like used for gun sights) ... if you are paying $1000 for LEDs, then this should be a bargain. A dozen markers (enought for one neck) @ $5 each, or $60 for a neck. Not bad.

    I'm not sure if they are legal in the States (the tritium comes from an Israeli nuclear wepons reactor that doesn't exist). China probably has it for less ... I should check.

    Attached Files:

  5. Keeaumoku


    Dec 29, 2004
    Now THAT is one hell-of-an idea!!! ...but will I get cancer? I wonder if my axe would pass through security checks at the airport. We've played a few gigs on the neighbor islands, and expect to do so again... but I know exactly what you're talking about, 'cuz I've seen a weapon with the glowing gunsight before, I just didn't realize it was tritium... a damn fine idea, but like you said: would it be legal here in the good 'ol USA??? :meh:
  6. Keeaumoku


    Dec 29, 2004
    I like your poor man's LED idea, and I shall look forward to seeing your product out in the market... hopefully fairly soon! I'll have you know that the thought of getting some of that flourescent paint that's already available, and painting over the tiny little dots alongside the fretboard of my Thumb bass did occur to me... but I'm kinda scared to do that to my beautiful instrument... you know what I mean? :meh: Besides, I'm thinking that this paint isn't of very high quality, and probably wouldn't last very long... even if it worked at all. I could be wrong here, and if so, someone please set me straight...

    It's great to have become exposed to both your idea, and Westland over there in Hong Kong with his tritium suggestion...

  7. jazzbo58

    jazzbo58 Bassist for My Man Godbey

    Apr 21, 2001
    New Orleans, LA USA
    I use a set of the fretfx leds on my Modulus Q4. I wear bifocals and the leds really help.

  8. www.fretlord.com, you dont have to pay hundreds of dollars for leds, there glow in the dark markers that will stick on your existing ones for only 7 dollars, for 14 dollars you get this led light thing you add on your bass, pretty cool stuff :D
  9. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    I have a full set of Simms LEDs on my 55-94 Standard Lakland. They do help in dark beer bars, especially if you also do vocals, but I really wish only the side dots were LEDs.

    I already got rid of all my "coffee top" exotic basses for more conservative, everyday kind of guy basses, and when I turn on the LEDs I get a lot of attention I'm not looking for, heck if I wanted that, I'd play guitar.

    That said, I love the side LEDs, and wish I could put them on all my basses ($500 a pop for side LEDs is fine, but I play at least 3 basses during a gig), but the glowpowder dots will work just fine when Todd gets 'em done. I've done my own on a bass or two, but it's a pain to get them professional looking.
  10. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    they make tritium in Oak Ridge, Tn.
  11. Worshiper


    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    Yeah...prob illegal. haha. I just find that funny. It is a great idea though
  12. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    I have leds sidemarkers on my Alembic and my Status and I love them. I'm currently having a Knuckle Quake bass made with them as well. At one time there was a thread here about how to DIY led sidemarkers. See if you can get it using the Search.
  13. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    Astoria, NY
    I have LED side markers on my Alembic (free upgrade that month) and they are great - bright enough to see in full daylight. Though I do wish all my basses had them I can't spring for that kind of cash so I have an alternate method.
    I have a '62 Jazz and the side markers are so tiny they're virtually invisible in anything other than bright light. I take either masking tape or that cheap thin white plastic tape, cut little triangles (around 1/4" high-YMMV) and stick them on the side of the neck. They don't mar the finish in any way and are very easy to see. They last a few gigs, more or less, are easily replaced and don't damage the bass.
    I've found it to be a simple and inexpensive way that works. You can make them as big as you need to (and nobody can see them except you).
  14. Diggler


    Mar 3, 2005
    Western PA
    I doubt the tritium will give you cancer. I often have three vials of the stuff a lot closer to my package than the vials in the bass neck will ever be to your body.

    However, I do remember seeing that you have to send the sights back to Trijicon or whoever made them to replace them if the vials fall out... they won't just send the vial to you.
  15. tadawson


    Aug 24, 2005
    Lewisville, TX
    FYI, the tritium vials are available for gunsite use in the US from a number of companies, and are totally legal.

    - Tim
  16. wideload


    Apr 15, 2004
    Salinas, CA
    For 60 bucks, the fretfx LEDs are bright, easy to install, and you get a choice of colors. I am sorry I didn't have them years ago!

  17. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    The problem with tritium isn't going to be in the radiation emitted by the beta decay (it emits an electron and an antineutrino) from one of the dots. It won't give you cancer in this manner because the activity of the source is very low, plus the high speed electrons (beta particles) are blocked pretty well by clothes. The real danger of tritium is from either ingestion or inhalation. Since the dots are a glass vial with a phosphor coating with a tritium gas inside, you'd have to crush them. Even if you did, there wouldn't be enough to do any serious damage to you unless you crushed a lot of them at the same time (probably a few hundred or thousand of them).

    Another thing to think about is that since tritium has a half-life of 12.3 years, these dots may only perform as you want them to for about 5 years (based on how often gun sight manufacturers recommend replacing them). In 5 years you'll have to replace them or just live with them not being very bright anymore.
  18. Keeaumoku


    Dec 29, 2004
    Now there's a man who appears to know what he's talking about... fascinating!
  19. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Appears is the key. ;)

    Tritium is something I have to deal with in my research so I have to know a bit about it.