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What to use for Fingerboard Markers?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by RollEyes, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. RollEyes


    Sep 6, 2016
    Moses Lake, WA
    Okay, so Solo and Ensemble is in a couple weeks and despite my efforts, I am unable to fully memorize where the hell all these notes are that are above the 12 fret and so I was wondering: what can I use as a substitute for fingerboard markers? I've been using little pieces of stick tape (haha thanks to the percussionists at school) but I'm only able to place it on the side otherwise, it slides off and they leave a little bit of gross goo after I take them off. Or should I just order some dot stickers from Amazon? I realize that it might not look good, but I need it to be in tune haha. Thanks. :)
  2. John Chambliss

    John Chambliss Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    A few pencil marks or white-out on the fingerboard.
    DrayMiles likes this.
  3. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    Practice more. ;)

    I remember reading a quote from miroslav vitous years ago that when he started playing he had an audition or some such situation and received the comment he was out of tune. “I just need to learn where to put my fingers” was his reply. He turned out ok.

    You need to develop your muscle memory and your ears. Markings are just a crutch and an impediment to the latter IMHO. You are probably more concerned with being out of tune than you really are out of tune. You have identified a weakness so focus on that. If upper register playing is lagging then woodshed it and don’t work on passages etc that you can do well. You may develop some techniques to get you to the notes you want like little slides and intonation corrections. Any comments just tell them about miroslav vitous
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
    RollEyes likes this.
  4. RollEyes


    Sep 6, 2016
    Moses Lake, WA
    White-out?! Will that work? Will that damage the fingerboard? Also I've tried pencil and it just rubs right off :(
  5. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    OK, well --

    First, recognize that markers can't give you good intonation. The only way to play in tune is with your ears, and your eyes can get in the way and make things worse.

    That said, if you feel you need to eyeball a big shift, a pencil mark on the fingerboard at that position will be simpler to see and hit. It's supposed to rub off, because with practice you don't need it.

    Last, if you still really feel the need to mark general positions, something I've had experience with is scraps from vinyl automotive window stickers. They'll still drift and fall off eventually, because they're trying to stick to an oily surface, but they last better than other kinds of tape and will come off pretty clean.
    RollEyes likes this.
  6. Maple

    Maple Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2016
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I’m working on improving my intonation as well - I use a pencil on the fingerboard at the octave position while trying to build muscle memory.

    On the side, I use a silver sharpie- it’s easy to see yet rubs off easily
    RollEyes likes this.
  7. I’ve also used a silver sharpie to make dots at the octave and up in thumb position when recording.
    james condino and RollEyes like this.
  8. Picton

    Picton Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2017
    Reading, MA
    I’m confused.

    If you’ve memorized the notes from Fret 0 to Fret 12, you’ve got them from Fret 12 to Fret 24. They’re the same, just one octave higher?

    Am I missing something?
    RollEyes likes this.
  9. John Chambliss

    John Chambliss Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    It will scrape off easy. Silver marker won't show as bad.
  10. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    What's this talk of frets? ;)
    Hahaha likes this.
  11. jasonrp


    Feb 19, 2015
    Damn.. you beat me to it
  12. Mgaisbacher

    Mgaisbacher Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2012
    Nashville, TN
    White-out works great and is easily reversible. Yes it can come off and mine does time to time but it usually last months before I need to redo it. Theres a white-out dot on my bass that I think has been there for about a year and a half of daily playing.
    John Chambliss and RollEyes like this.
  13. RollEyes


    Sep 6, 2016
    Moses Lake, WA
    Well, I've got the notes memorized, but the note spacings get smaller the further you get up the neck. :/
    Picton likes this.
  14. RollEyes


    Sep 6, 2016
    Moses Lake, WA
    I realize that markers won't magically give me amazing intonation, but I don't have my own bass, so I gotta use the schools' basses. I use three different upright basses and they're all different. The fingerboard on the bass I use for Wind Ensemble is a brownish color, so pencil marks don't help much haha. I'll look into the vinyl stickers. Thanks!
  15. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    Not to belabor the point, but this makes your ears that much more important to intonation. Good luck!
    RollEyes likes this.
  16. Most hilarious lost-slab-player-not-reading-the-header post yet!
    ColdEye, John Chambliss and RollEyes like this.
  17. Picton

    Picton Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2017
    Reading, MA
    Yup. Just figured that out.

    Have fun, guys! I’ll see myself out... good luck, OP!
    RollEyes and WillieB like this.
  18. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    White China markers or grease pencils work great for temporary markings on a fingerboard. Much more visible than a pencil, but wipe off easily.
  19. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Are these dots for gigs or practice?
  20. Max George

    Max George

    Dec 27, 2015
    Gollihur Music makes sheets of small dots in white and a gold color for just this purpose. I use them as I have to wear ear plugs because of hearing issues, and they work great. They help a lot.

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