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Marker Dots

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Dad Bass, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. Dad Bass

    Dad Bass

    Jun 22, 2005
    New Jersey, USA
    Can I ask, has anyone used these? were they put on by a repairperson? did you do them yourself? how did they work out? did anyone use temporary ones?
  2. dodgy_ian


    Apr 9, 2001
    Newcastle, UK
  3. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    +1 More damage in terms of learning, in my opinion. Put me down in the column of players who would strongly advise against their use. Part of the learning process involves training such that feedback regarding correct finger positioning is provided by the ears, not the eyes.
  4. They have their place. I used them for a short time when I was first learning. Edgar Meyer certainly has no problem with their use.

    Basically, if it makes you play better, what's the problem?
  5. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    According to Edgar, he had his dots installed by a luthier as a joke, just to raise a ruckus. (It worked.) Not that using dots necessarily means "cheating," but then again you won't catch him looking at the dots to see where he should put his fingers...

    A teacher of mine once told me, when I kept missing the same note in thumb position, to just take a pencil and mark the spot and practice until I wouldn't miss it any more. Then erase the mark, he said, 'cause you won't need it anymore. Why not do that, when learning? It's no big deal. Of course, Pablo Casals said that good intonation is a matter of "conscience." Are we paying attention and using our ears, or not? That's the only way to play--something I've especially noticed since I started switching between a jazz bass with a 42.25" mensure/D-neck and a "classical" bass with a 41.5" string length/Eb-neck. The spatial bets are off--the ears are the only guide.
  6. Some joke. Probably cost him $2000.

    He does use them, actually. In fact, if you watch him play, he has his eyes glued to the fingerboard at all times.
  7. Gufenov


    Jun 8, 2003

    Next thing you know, you'll find markers on other stringed instruments like guitars. Some predict that keyboards will have two different colors of keys.
  8. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    I think markers have their place, but generally only at the very front of the learning curve; like training wheels to give you your bearings. Also like training wheels, they can become a crutch if not removed.
  9. ToR-Tu-Ra


    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    I started on the upright not long ago, about a year. I've never had markers and I don't want them either. I play pretty much in tune (or out of it) like it is. Besides, most of the time, I'm reading out of a book exercises and stuff, so I really don't look at the fingerboard that much. Maybe a little look every now and then, but not all of the time. Also, there's more things to be concentrated on while playing like the bow, other players, reading a score or chart, spining your bass (just joking, but some actually do it!), etc. So I think that markers are bit of a distraction. Just let your fingers find their way and your ears be the guide. Hey! It's not like someone is going to die if you play out of tune, and we all DO play out of tune, some (like me) more often than others.
  10. Tumbao


    Nov 10, 2001
    "I play pretty much in tune (or out of it) like it is. Just let your fingers find their way and your ears be the guide". - ToR-Tu-Ra
    I can do all that with a marked fingerboard...
  11. ToR-Tu-Ra


    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    I don't think markers are wrong. But... If your ears guide your fingers along the fingerboard, do you really need the marks?

    And another question for the ones with markes fingerboards: How often do you look at them? I feel like I would be staring at them all the time and get distracted from my reading easily.
  12. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Don;t do it. A student of mine had some installed by a guitar builder. the guy used MOP. so when he needs his fingerboard dressed he is going to be screwed cuz the dots will have to come off first.

    More importantly they become a crutch. My student couldn't play any other bass because of the lack of dots. i finally told him that he either lost the dots or lost his teacher... He got another bass...
  13. ToR-Tu-Ra


    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    How's he doing with the new one?
  14. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    he is doing fine... admittedly he had to do a bit of relearning but now he sees the error in his ways ...
  15. ToR-Tu-Ra


    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    I take class at school with a different bass every time (none is marked), so I need to make adjustments on my left hand depending on the bass. I think if I had markers on mine, this would be very hard for me, dunno, I don't have markers so I may be wrong.

    Now, in an aesthetical way. I think markers (dot ones) are ugly... just my opinion
  16. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    We install "dots" as a custom option on bass sales. When we first offered it, we thought it was more of a joke...but then to our surprise people keep ordering them.

    We use Pernambuco from old dead violin bows. We also do it on the player side of the fingerboard. From more than 5 feet away, you cannot even see them. They will also not interfere with a FB plane/dress.

    You can see us doing them here: http://uptonbass.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/21_52/products_id/294

    BTW, not trying to drum up sales with that link, just trying to show that there is a "classy" way of doing them.

    To each his own...I am sure there are many different opinions on this.
  17. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    When a start with a new students...

    First, I introduce myself.

    Second, I take the tape off thier bass.

    So many orchestra teachers in school, and method books for that matter, use tape... drives me nuts. Many rental companies deliver instruments with tape already on them. Worse yet, I have seen inaccuracies in where it is placed.

    I start, regardless of age, from day one, with sight singing. Most intro method books used in schools use tunes like 'Twinkle, Twinkle' or 'Lightly Row' or the like. These are tunes that kids know and can easily sing.

    For adults I talk more about intervals. Knowing what different intervals sound like it very important to good intonation.

    I feel like I've been here before...
  18. D McCartney

    D McCartney crosswind downwind bass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Tacoma WA
    I will give my perspective as a fairly new upright player.

    I have played guitar and electric BG for many years, so have an intermediate grasp of music.

    When I first got my Palantino (yeah, I know, but it will be gone soon, replaced with a major upgrade), I decided against the markers. I have found that my familiarity with the fingering of the BG was enough to put me in the ballpark. I still miss a note here and there, but it has improved very quickly. :hyper:

    Shortly after I got my bass, a friend had also bought a UB, only she put tape along the side with marks. Her bass is nicer and at jams, I prefer to play her bass. But those marks are a downright distraction. Several times I've messed up because I was looking at them instead of listening.

    I don't know if marks would be a distraction after I have played a couple of years or not, but I don't like them.

    I recommend you learn without them. I am sure you can do it and you will be happy you did.
  19. "Let your ears guide your fingers."- Great in theory, ok in a small group, try it with a honkin' 16 piece band...

    I wouldn't want permanent position markers on my fingerboard. I have no time to look at 'em on the gig anyway. But I have used them as a practice tool on occasion, to help me develop the muscle memory to play on the pitch, rather than around it. I use 1/4" diameter sticker dots at 3rd and 4th position at the harmonics, middle of the fingerboard, easily removed. Helps in keys like Db and Gb where you rarely get an open string note for reference.
  20. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    If you want to try markers, I really like the markers referenced above by dodgy. I have used them off and on, and they are great.

    Unless you touch them, they look exactly like inlaid abalone. They stay put where you place them, yet you can pop them off with your fingernail if you really want to.

    I don't think I would put them on the top of the fb, but they work really well on the side. I only have one on my bass these days, at the octave. But, they do work really well as far as a combination of aesthetics and and functionality.

    With all that being said, I don't really see the point for this reason: they don't really help that much.