Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

position markers on neck

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by DalmerM, Oct 30, 2002.


  1. DalmerM

    DalmerM

    Oct 15, 2002
    North Carolina
    I know a good bass man (person) does not need a position marker on the neck to help him find the correct notes, but I do. I play bluegrass and country and often I loan my stand up to others to play who have played electric bass or guitar and need the crutch of knowing where the frets should be located at. (like me)

    I measured the scale (wrote it down for future reference) and marked mine at what would be the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 7th frets if it had frets. I marked the 4th fret postition because in bluegrass the key of B (played on the bass's G string) is a common key. I figure to play the 1st, 3rd or 6th fret position, I mearly play halfway between the marks. I haven't progress far enough to go past the 7th fret position much yet.

    I've seen some basses marked with carved notches in the side of the fingerboard, masking tape, thumbtacks, paint and inlayed pearl dots. I helped a friend mark his neck and we cut small triangles of adhesive reflective tape about the size of a thumbtack on the side of the fingerboard. This way he could remove the markers later when he learned the fingerboard. They'be been on there for about 6 months now and haven't come off yet.

    I was wondering what fret positions and technique others use to mark their necks? (The ones like me, that need to that is)
     
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    A dab of WhiteOut will do it. Edgar Meyers fingerboard has inlays down the middle, right between the A and D strings. I didn't notice if there are any along the side or not.
     
  3. I got a chance to see CSO bassist Brad Opland's beautiful Bernadel (sp?) up close, and he had dots inlaid on the fingerboard. They marked the positions of the harmonics, though, rather than the stopped notes.

    I understand Edgar Meyer has this feature on his bass as well.
     
  4. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I mark the position of what would be the third, fifth, and 12th frets using orange circular office use sticker things. But I may opt for the more discreet pencil mark soon. Any more dots and they would just confuse me...
     
  5. reminds me of a story I saw on the net not long ago (possibly here!, and possibly apochryphal) of a principal cellist who was disliked and not respected by his section-mates. He had been given a solo passage in one work they were performing and his first note was way up the fingerboard. When his devious colleagues discovered a discrete pencil-mark, apparently intended as a crutch to help hit this opening note, they serruptitiously moved it before a performance. Nasty !
     
  6. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Several of my classical clients have requested dots in the last few years (Thanks, Edgar). I cut face-grain maple plugs and install them between the d and a strings. Everyone seems to have their own layout scheme. The most important thing for me is to work with the player, marking and then tweaking the actual positions using a white marker before installing the permanent dots...the spots have to look right to the player. Forget about measuring--we use an electronic tuner.
     
  7. Arnold,
    Do you make the dot plugs thick enough so that they can retained when the time comes for a fingerboard planing? I would think that would be a real advantage over the usual MOP inlays.
     
  8. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Yes, that's the main reason for not using dowels. The face-grain dots will plane and scrape fine when the board is dressed.
     
  9. DalmerM

    DalmerM

    Oct 15, 2002
    North Carolina
    I have a friend who builds original instruments (Mark Richard) who once made a stand up bass in the shape of a giant squash. Beautiful! If that was not radical enough he put frets in the neck made of coconut shells. As well as little wooden inlayed position makers in the shape of squash. The neck ran between the crook of the squash neck. He even invented his own manchanical wooden tuning keys. It sounded great, but someone stoled it in the early 1980's and it has never been seen since. It was not hard to spot in a crowd either. He never made another one like it.
     
  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    That last post made me hungry...
     

  11. This has happened to a principal bassist in a major orchestra, and the story has been confirmed.
     
  12. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    I posted the story about the 'cellist on another of these boards. It was an anecdote in a hilarious unpublished novel by a former roommate who is now a very successful symphonic string player in Europe. His novel does for professional orchestras roughly what "Semi-Tough" did for the NFL.

    In the story, the other musicians not only erased the surreptitious pencil mark -- they moved it!

    I've never asked the author if this particular story was drawn from something he saw in real life, but I know from shared experiences that other anecdotes in the novel were, so I wouldn't be surprised.
     
  13. I'm with Ray. A little dot of whiteout works well. I am a bluegrasser too and have a dot on the first, third, and fifth spots. This gives me all the reference I need to start a tune--after that the ears take over.

    Steve
     
  14. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I did most of my initial learning on an old King that had three tiny edge markers. When I bought my next bass I thought I might put three subtle markers on the edge, but interestingly I found that *not* having the markers forced me to pay more attention to the muscular cues needed to find positions. Now I don't have to look at the bass to see where I am. I'm still shakey on thumb positions, but then I nnever liked the sound of bass played up there anyway ;-)
     
  15. Basso Profoundo

    Basso Profoundo Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Indiana
    I used label material and a mini hole punch, works like a charm.
     
  16. bluegreenturtle

    bluegreenturtle

    Mar 15, 2003
    Oregon
    a dot of superglue is invisible to everybody else and you can feel it.
     
  17. justBrian

    justBrian

    Apr 19, 2002
    Kansas City, MO
    I use a pencil-- and just make side position markers. They do wear off, but not too quickly. I like it because it's virtually invisible to every one but you.
     
  18. RD1

    RD1

    Apr 6, 2003
    Aiken, SC
    I have mine marked up the side with straight pins. Select a good quality stainless steel pin, so they won't rust. Cut them app 3/16-1/4" long, use a tiny drill bit for a starter and just tap them in. We used a tuner and a pencil mark to lay out the positions. These work great, easily seen and felt by the player, but not as obvious as other marks I have seen. This is a matter of preference and playing style, but, I have 1 thru 5 marked.
     
  19. RD1

    RD1

    Apr 6, 2003
    Aiken, SC
    I have mine marked up the side with straight pins. Select a good quality stainless steel pin, so they won't rust. Cut them app 3/16-1/4" long, use a tiny drill bit for a starter and just tap them in. We used a tuner and a pencil mark to lay out the positions. These work great, easily seen and felt by the player, but not as obvious as other marks I have seen. This is a matter of preference and playing style, but, I have 1 thru 5 marked.
     
  20. bassbaterie

    bassbaterie

    Dec 14, 2003
    Houston Texas
    Director, Quantum Bass Center
    I'm about to shrivel up and die because all of a sudden I can't hit notes for s***. The horn player sitting in front of me in the pit has been making faces at the drummer every time I hit a clinker and the more I worry about it, the worse it gets. I feel like every night is an audition! In utter humiliation I have marked the fingerboard with black tape and feel like a beginner, but it fixed 95% of the clinkers.

    I feel so much better finding this post and knowing that it's not totally frowned on to have inlaid markers. I laid down DB for several years and had a custom-built fretless EB with inlaid lines that always worked out great for me. I'm still having a tough time getting my Db technique back after 2 years of practicing VERY consistently (I swear!) and gigging. Ah need all the help ah can get!