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Removing position marker dots

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by BassmanBender1, Feb 14, 2020 at 5:16 PM.


  1. BassmanBender1

    BassmanBender1

    Nov 3, 2019
    A couple of years ago when I was just fiddling around with the double bass, I took my Engelhardt EM1
    to a local shop and had them install side marker dots. I have played electric for years and thought the dots would help me transition to double bass.

    But now that I'm no longer working and have plenty of time on my hands, I am studying bass at the local community college and my bass instructor has told me to get rid of the dots. They are not accurately positioned and are becoming a crutch for me.

    I am considering drilling out the dots, filling in the holes with wood sealer and then painting or staining the side of the finger board. It's not ebony, but I'm not exactly sure what it is. Any advice or admonishments RE the work, the type of sealer or stain to use would be appreciated.

    Thanks for your help.
    IMG_0847.JPG IMG_0846.JPG
     
  2. John Chambliss

    John Chambliss Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    Black/brown sharpie?
     
    robobass, Dabndug, jsf729 and 6 others like this.
  3. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    The process is relatively straightforward (if labor-intensive) for a luthier, but in your place I'd maybe just cover them with a stripe of tape or something for the time being.

    Have you considered simply not looking at them when you're playing?

    (Edit: Just confirming: they're pearly and drilled-in, rather than paper and varnished over, right?)
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020 at 7:07 PM
  4. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    At playing distance, they are still going to show for you no matter what you do, short of replacing the fingerboard. The easiest is the Sharpie approach, which will cover well enough that your teacher will probably not see them at night or from 10 feet away in normal light. The invasive repair, drilling the markers out and filling the holes with dark material, will still leave visible scars because of their large size, and will still be visible to you in normal light.

    The best way to avoid using them as a crutch is to listen and not look.
     
  5. BassmanBender1

    BassmanBender1

    Nov 3, 2019
    Yes, they are white, probably plastic, and drilled in.
     
  6. One of my Basses has dots. It’s been so long since I’ve looked at them that I’d forgotten they were there until I opened this thread.
     
  7. A black marker and/or practice/gig so much you need a new fingerboard
     
    DoubleMIDI likes this.
  8. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Yes. Just don't look at them, or cover them up. I once put White-Out dots on my fingerboard to help some beginner adult students. When I got to an orchestra rehearsal I found them a real problem. I couldn't help but look at them to find high notes which I would have found anyway, and it took my eyes off of the conductor.

    You can probably did them out with an Exacto knife and fill, but you probably can't make then disappear completely.
     
  9. Mgaisbacher

    Mgaisbacher Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2012
    Nashville, TN
    I agree that most likely the best thing to do would be to just cover them up with something, like marker, maybe you could find a copic marker (most art stores have them) that is a similar shade to the fingerboard. If you were to drill them out and fill them in they are going to be just as visible as if you colored them.

    If they are placed incorrectly then you for sure want them to be as gone as possible. That being said, I am not against well placed dots and have them on both of my basses.
     
  10. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    I have had side dots misplaced from the factory. I also still dabble in plastic display models, for eye-hand co-ordination as much as any other reason. What I do in OP's situation is find a color among my model paints that closely matches the color of the fingerboard, and with a very fine-pointed brush daub over the offending dot. The process is unintrusive, effective, and reversible.
     
    Cheez likes this.
  11. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    I generally drill them out with a brad point bit and fill with matching wooden plugs. Done.
     
  12. Maple

    Maple Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2016
    San Francisco Bay Area
    If you say not ebony and is already painted, I wouldn’t bother removing them. If you ever sell the bass, the next guy might like them.

    Just get some black nail polish and cover them up. Sharpie can work too but will need frequent touch up
     
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  13. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
    There is a reason why a black sharpie is called a "Steinway touch-up kit." It works like magic.
     
    misterbadger likes this.
  14. 9Thumbs

    9Thumbs

    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    If it's smooth to the touch, why not mask off the top and bottom of the black part and repaint the side. You'll never put your fingers there anyhoo
     
  15. 9Thumbs

    9Thumbs

    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    I'm glad that mine are stickers. I like them to show me where to be for the first note of a song.
     
  16. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    It may be worth mentioning, position markers are never exactly right on a fretless instrument, nor are they intended to be; they are only intended to be landmarks for a starting fingering position, after which hearing and proximity-memory should take over completely. Position markers may turn out to be close, but then a change of strings can throw everything off.
     
  17. BarfanyShart

    BarfanyShart

    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    I took my old gigging EUB out of the basement last week, cleaned it up, and put new strings on it, sounds better than ever, super happy about it. The tiny circular red stickers I had as thumb position markers fell right off ... BUT ... I noticed that at some point I must have gouged a mark in the side of the fingerboard at the 2.5 position. It looks like I did it with a key ... don't remember doing it ... wish I hadn't.
     

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