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What is the purpose of fret markers?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TexasEdition, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. They’re there to make me crane my neck around and stare at my fingers like an idiot, I think.
  2. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Unless you have the Hands of Goliath, and are somehow mashing the strings down onto the board between frets with every note, inlays or markers affect the tone...... how exactly? I have an average touch and standard fret heights, the strings aren’t touching the board.
  3. Hues


    Nov 27, 2012
    see Burn Notice
    As far as the Aerodyne goes,...May be they leave off the dots to get you to pay out the back-pocket for one of the nicer non-U.S. Aeros.

    jd56hawk likes this.
  4. ardgedee


    May 13, 2018
    Are we overdue for a debate about tone plastics?
    gtlover and George Dennis like this.
  5. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Except for all of us who wear our basses like normal people and still see the inlays just fine :/
    Stevorebob, EmuBass and gebass6 like this.
  6. Define "normal". :)
  7. actually, on a fretless, fretlines do help you be more accurate. it's a looong way from a side dot to a G string finger that is out of tune if it's a couple mm off. A couple mm off is very easy to have happen if you can't hear your tuning perfectly (which could happen for a lot of reasons, not just a bad ear for pitch).... and having a fret line assures you can see exactly where to put your fingertip (just ending at the line) no matter what, for that exposed, high singing note in front of 10,000 people paying big bucks to hear some singer and not wanting the bass player's special high fretless note to sound icky.

    I played lined fretless for many years professionally - I normally didn't look at all, but when I needed it, the fret lines assured my jumps were perfect, looking down and slightly in front of my instrument, no matter the situation.

    I no longer have fret lines on my fretless - and it hits me as "oh crap" moments once in a while when I have to jump up very high or when I'm soloing.
    Vinny_G and gebass6 like this.
  8. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia living la vida loca Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    I've seen guys put dot markers on the finger board in thumb position on double bass, and it's quite common to put tape markers across the finger board for all string instruments for beginners. I've got dot markers on the side of my finger board on my DB and my fretless BG. I don't find the dots on the fret board to be all that helpful, but they don't bug me. I do think mother of pearl block inlays look classy as heck on a dark wood fret board.
    B-Mac likes this.
  9. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Like I’m wearing it in my avatar. I’m curious what your version of “normal” is where you think no one can see front dots or fretlines.
    Stevorebob and dkelley like this.
  10. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I have no dots or position markers of any kind on any of my basses. 3 reasons:

    1) I don't really need this any more, but initially it was a reminder to not look at the fretboard - a glance at the side dots, sure, but if you're looking at your fretboard, a lot of things are out of position.

    2) I like the cleaner look

    3) I like the fact that the fretboard wood fibers aren't interrupted anymore than necessary - depending on how deep your inlays go (if they're deeper than the fret tangs go) it weakens the neck a bit. Probably not a lot, but it's still there.
    OptimalOptimus likes this.
  11. OptimalOptimus


    Jan 4, 2019
    The more you have a belly the less you can see the front of the bass. ;)
    Vinny_G and Max Bogosity like this.
  12. OptimalOptimus


    Jan 4, 2019
    I imagine from the start that not many guitar and bass player know how to read music ... so one way of communication was to follow the hand of one of the player ... and having dot or whatever helps with that.

    Because you only need side dot in reality ... and even then, violin, alto, cello, DB and classical guitar don't have them.
  13. I think they can be helpful for some folks who play in bands, sort of a visual guide for those who don’t have a great sense of pitch or can’t hear well because of a bad mix or whatever. It’s not something that a big deal to me personally. The guitarist I play with are much more likely to be looking down at their own hands while they play then looking over at me and they don’t help my play because I can’t see them on my basses. So for me with my basses I look at it as more of a cosmetic thing but I do like when guitarist are using guitars with markers so if something sounds really off I can look and clearly see “dude no one’s out of tune you’re just playing the wrong note!!!!lol

    But yeah I’ve had plenty of basses with and without them. I do like them on maple boards, but for example I generally like ebony boards without them. Just depends on the bass. And the particular cut of wood. For example I think your regular maple boards without them looks a bit plain but I’ve seen basses with wicked looking flamed maple fretboards that looked good without markers. Ebony without markers is classy imo. Especially on a natural finish/coffee table bass. Ebony with markers is more so for “metal” guitars/basses. As for the big blocks and shark teeth and other types of markers it can look good or it can look tacky, just depends on the instrument.
  14. B-Mac

    B-Mac Sorting Things Out Banned SUSPENDED Supporting Member

  15. B-Mac

    B-Mac Sorting Things Out Banned SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Well, now that you mention it...:whistle:
  16. Christcr

    Christcr Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    They are helpful in a jam session to others who are trying to "read your hand" to get the right chords. Of course, this is more helpful for guitars, but certainly helpful as well for guitarist watching your hands to get the right notes. Classical guitars/guitarists have no markers anywhere... but then again, they typically do not "jam" with one another.

    When I'm playing bass at a jam session, I need all the help I can get when I'm trying to play stuff I've never heard in my life. Those fret markers on the guitarist's guitars are DAMN handy. Using ears AND eyes is always going to make me more accurate than ears alone. Which of course causes more guitarists to smile rather than scowling at me...
  17. nilorius


    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    Gives your eye a bit easier life.
    Vinny_G likes this.
  18. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    Absolutely....no.........purpose..........at all.
    Ah...well......I do have side dots!
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
    TexasEdition likes this.
  19. Yea, actually I can easily see frets and fret lines on the front when I look down without having to move the bass or bend over. The pivot of my neck just moves my head that far forward when I look down. Probably explains why I fall over sometimes lol
    Bryan R. Tyler likes this.
  20. Much like the waistline of your pants, the result is very different if you wear it over or under the belly.
    Vinny_G and dkelley like this.

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