tape on the neck

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by bassmonkey144, Aug 16, 2004.

  1. hey guys, quick question. my orchestra teacher put some kinda tape on the neck of my bass to help my placement. they tape marks where notes on the neck are. trouble is, i want to do this on my upright at home, but i cant remember exactly where the tape goes. anybody have tips, or a picture maybe? thanks. o yea, and anybody have an idea of where to buy a german style bow online? nothing fancy, something to get my through highschool. thanks guys.
  2. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Instead of tape, use white-out. The tape can interfere with the intonation and playability of the string. As far as placement, usually the "second fret" and "fifth fret". Or, first position and second position... do you have any Simandl method books around? I can't give you actual inch measurements off-hand...

    You can order decent bows from Lemur music www.lemurmusic.com If you are spending less than $100, buy a fiberglass german bow.
  3. I agree that tape isn't a really great idea. Pencil marks or some other easily changed mark are better, though learning to listen intead of looking is super preferable. The best way to develop intonation is by intervals; play on a piano or keybowrd, sing them to yourself, and work them out on the bass. If you can't sing in tune you'll never play in tune...
  4. bassbaterie


    Dec 14, 2003
    Houston Texas
    Director, Quantum Bass Center
    Use an electronic tuner to set your marks on the neck.

    I got a pretty good student bow on ebay for $79. Actually a nice playable Brazilwood bow that I used for a year and was very happy with it. The seller is called "Golden Bamboo" or something like that and he has them listed all the time for $100 or less. The frog was probably worth twice what he was selling the bow for; it was very nice. The hair was not really great quality and I had to have a rehair in less than a year, but other than that, it was super. In fact I think he sells Pernambuco bows for under $200.

    He only charged about $9 for shipping too.
  5. why would you buy a musical instrument like you were shopping for a new pair of tennis shoes? I don't mean to come off as harsh or something, but come on folks. Put a little time, effort and money into getting an instrument and learning to play it; forget ebay and electronic tuners. That crap won't help you become a musican.
  6. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    We all know my intonation is sketchy, so I'm probably not the best torch-bearer for this particular point, but I have to disagree with you.

    So much of string-instrument intonation is about muscle-memory. The exercise of hearing that you are singing out of tune and hearing that you are playing out of tune is essentially the same. But the exercise of actually playing the bass in tune uses completely different muscles than those used for singing.

    Best believe that Itzhak Perlman did not spend any time learning to sing in tune; he was too busy slaying the violin.
  7. bassbaterie


    Dec 14, 2003
    Houston Texas
    Director, Quantum Bass Center
    "forget ebay and electronic tuners. That crap won't help you become a musican."

    Beg pardon - I would have heartily agreed with Toman a couple years ago, but some of the "cheap fix" kind of stuff has really opened some doors for me and I have to say I'll stoop to conquer. Bassmonkey is just trying to get a good enough bow to play in high school, and not too long ago I was stuck with a fiberglass bow for some months. Then after buying a Brazilwood one for less from this ebay dealer, I have to recommend the latter. There is a supreme amount of crap being sold on ebay but you can also get smokin' great deals from top name dealers who are dumping excess inventory. Kolstein, Mike Pecanic, Bob Gollihur, KC strings and more, almost every name you know - they are all ebay dealers. I recently scored a new set of spirocores for $25 for example and gotten phenomenal deals on used gear. The money I've saved goes to lessons and bass upgrades, so in a sense it has helped me to become a better musician. If I had to buy everything from the local selection at small-town prices I'd be thunking on a plywood for years to come and only be able to get lessons once every few months.

    Then, after resisting numerous suggestions (from fulltime orchestra players) to get myself a tuner, I had a really bad run of intonation problems while playing a musical. I noticed there was an electronic tuner on every wind player's stand. Figuring this is what they are being taught in school I just bought one and started using it as a reference while practicing. Fast forward five months...intonation problem FIXED. Solved. Muscle memory spazz corrected and confidence restored. Now with the tuner off, I can hear on pitch vs. off pitch much better. Before, I just got into a bad space of questioning myself all the time.

    All the tuner does is light up when you are in tune on any chromatic note of the scale, and reinforces correct intonation. It just offers the convenience of being able to play continuously and keep both hands on the bass, and being extremely portable. It does not allow for tempered notes so the player must be aware and make this a conscious decision.

    This is not to knock traditional methods of pitch training which I agree are much deeper in deveoping a musician. Also, I'm just sharing what worked for me. Not saying it would work for everyone as I was already trained by traditional methods and was looking for a fresh perspective to get off a plateau. I also agree it's best to select your instrument in person and online purchasing is a fallback method if you can't get a hold of stuff any other way.
  8. I goota agree with that and add what someone else has pontificated on in different words, and apparently there is a theory devoted to it, that you get to hear and learn the colours (or overtones if you must) of the correct pitches. IMHO you'll b****r this process up if you experiment with lots of different types of strings at this stage - not that you've even suggested doing that.

    Marks will get you started but you've really got to aim to not particularly find the right note every time but arrive at it every time if you get my drift.

    However, when I started this DB malarky I knew from playing a slab what relationship all the notes had and what pattern they would make on the neck, ie: what order they are in up down sideways, diagonally and in inervals. If you're not at that stage marks are a start - as they give you a base to think from.

    Often, the marks are put (thinking on the e-string) at G, A & B if only becuase the first is very useful and the other two are where the harmonics you tune by are and when you hit them you'll get to know from how the bass sounds whether you've hit them cleanly because they cause the most sympthetic vibrations in other strings - essential landmarks in other words. Personally, I'd just add the octave rather than fill in the rest of the gap - the relationship of board to neck heel will give you the rest.

    On my first bass someone had used typex to put them on. It didn't come off too easy either. As an aside to this, Ron Carter in an article describing a lesson he was giving used tape so the student made sure by feel his right hand thumb was placed so that he pulled the strings in the same place every time. I'm not sure what I think of that.

    You could use low tack tape - it will do no harm at all and come off very easily if it ain't right.
  9. GeoffK


    Sep 9, 2004
    once you've definitely settled on where the marks should go, I would suggest making a shallow (e.g. 1/32") depression with the smallest drill bit (e.g. 1/64") and drop a little white out or white paint into it. Wipe off the excess and you'll have a perfect little round marking -- BUT be sure you know where the markings are properly placed before you do this, since they're a bit of a pain to cover (altho' not impossible). Best thing is to cover the top edge of the FB (i.e. the E string edge) with masking tape, and then mark the spots on the tape -- that way you also protect against the drill slipping and scratching the FB.

    In my case (on an old student bass), I put single dots at every half tone, and a double dot at every full tone, but probably a dot at every full tone would be fine.

  10. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Marks are a crutch. Permanently marking your bass sound like a bad idea. If you're just wanting to get by on the bass then fine, but I would tend to think it might go outta wack if you moved the bridge from where you originally marked it. Prob won't work for you for you if you play with someone else who has bad intonation or their instrument is badly tuned too.

    My experience with using a tuner has been great! My intonation is pretty good and my teach has been happy with it. And I work with the bow as well, with the tuner on as well. Try it, you might like it. Just don't get dependent on it.
  11. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    They sell white-out pens now also. These are neater and make smaller dots. I keep one in my gig bag to mark stuff with. It's a pain to get off of electronic gear, but an eraser and a little polish/cleaner will take it right off an ebony fingerboard. The nice thing about white-out is that you can still see the marks in a dim room.
  12. Savino


    Jun 2, 2004
    a better solution might be to place a piece of tape on the back of the neck where you place your thumb for the different positions. its a physical aid rather than a visual one.
  13. GeoffK


    Sep 9, 2004
    I agree with the "real" bass players who say marks are a crutch, but for those of us who want to import our BG knowledge (and in my case, jazz guitar chord theory) to the DB, it does take the guesswork out -- but certainly it doesn't absolve you of the responsibility to constantly listen for intonation -- that is a must.

    What I like about setting permanent marks is that it gives you a constant reference -- so, for example, if your tuner tells you that the dot you made for an A (i.e. the imaginary fifth "fret) is out of tune, then you know you're bridge is out of place (or else the neck is buggered). HOWEVER, I must re-iterate that before you make any marks permanent, you must have your instrument set up (including, most obviously, bridge placement) before you make the indentations; once you're set up, then you can proceed to find the centre of each dot using the tuner -- bear in mind again, tho', that your finger is somewhat wider than the dot, so to find the true centre for the dot placement, you might think about stopping the string using a thin wood dowel for greater accuracy. And again -- before you make any indentations -- double (or triple) check the spots for tone accuracy, and then check em again.

  14. bassbaterie


    Dec 14, 2003
    Houston Texas
    Director, Quantum Bass Center
    My new-old bass came with metal dots inlaid in the E-string side of the fingerboard. I'm keeping 'em until I can hit every note every time in every performance situation. No shame in using a visual reference, IMHO. Most other instruments (guitar, piano, most brass) can see what they're doing. There's always the 'Stevie Wonder' argument, but listen, one time I was doing follow-spot for Diane Shuur and the piano was supposed to be exactly aligned with middle C on her synth, which was placed on top of the piano. Well, some sighted person mis-aligned it by a fraction of an inch and caused her (and the crew) huge performance embarrassment. If you have a visual aid, use it. If you no longer need it, it will become apparent and you can take it off.
  15. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    Robert Goodlet
    Greg Dugan
    Philip Hansen
    They all play in the INDY and teach. Some of them teach at some of the high schools as well.
    They are probably listed, but if you need numbers contact me.
    They'll show you how to play the bass in tune, and help you with your bowing. In fact, any of them will help you become a great bass player.
    Good luck.

  16. bujums


    Sep 19, 2004
    Hay bassmonkey, you can use small pieces of "Black electrictrical tap, don't put it across just put a samll squar 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch just on the side. This way it will not be touched by the strings but you can see them. You can find where there go by using a tuner just mark were the frets would be for F, F#, G, G#, and A... all along the side next to the E string. All I did was every other fret and that worked great! The "Black electrical tabe" will not stick too much or hurt the finish at all!!