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Stub Mandrel

Markers on Fretless Basses

Markers on Fretless Basses  

58 members have voted

  1. 1. Which do you prefer?

    • None at all, markers are for tone-deaf wimps!
      2
    • Side dots where they would be on a fretted bass
      5
    • Side dots at the fret positions
      33
    • Side and fretboard dots where they would be on a fretted bass
      4
    • Side and fretboard dots at the fret positions
      2
    • Short fret lines + dots
      6
    • Full fret lines + dots
      10
  2. 2. Is this the arranegment that was on the fretless you learnt on?

    • Yes
      35
    • No
      20
    • I didn't learn. I have innate talent.
      3


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No right or wrong answers,  this has to be matter of personal preference, but I've come across all of the above variations!

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I have an Ibanez SRH500F, with side dots at the fret positions and finger board markers just below the finger positions. I only use the former, & suits me fine. 

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Um, FWIW, the side dots on my Revelation start the fingerboard pretty much on the fret positions and range more and more wildly from there until at the 12th fret they're a squished centimeter out, depending on how you rock your finger.  So I'm going to vote for the first option.  Not because I think that's right but because as I start my journey off-piste I find I am increasingly relying on my ear.  YMMV.

EDIT:  Now solved this with Bass Gallery's help.  See separate post "Dodgy Dots.." in Technical Clicky here

Edited by lownote12

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My Sire has lines and the side dots in the position they would be on a fretted.

I'm 99% sure that the dots are where they are because Sire probably uses the same basic necks on both their fretted and fretless instruments.

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I tried out one with dots as if the frets had simply not been fitted (or liek a defretted bass) and it drove me nuts!  I had to ignore them and try and play by ear.

That's why I thought I would ask.

Mine has side dots at the fret positions (the 12th fret pair appear to be neatly either side of the right position. Obviously you can tweak a bit with the intonation.

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4 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

No right or wrong answers,  this has to be matter of personal preference, but I've come across all of the above variations!

Totally, but some are more right than others 😉

I agree it's personal preference, if you want fretlines then have them although I personally don't see any advantage of them over just having side dots in the fret positions, and I like the look of a clean board, but each to their own. 

But who in their right mind wants side dots in the same position as a fretted neck, it's just all kinds of wrong :P

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I have edge lines on mine at the fret positions which extend as far as the first string, then markers in between as they would be on a fretted bass.

I went for this as the first fretless I had also had this arrangement so I’ve gotten used to it.

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3 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

I tried out one with dots as if the frets had simply not been fitted (or liek a defretted bass) and it drove me nuts!  I had to ignore them and try and play by ear.

That's why I thought I would ask.

Mine has side dots at the fret positions (the 12th fret pair appear to be neatly either side of the right position. Obviously you can tweak a bit with the intonation.

My Fender Precision fretless was like that. Pain in the bum.

I learnt on unlined fretlessesses but my current main bass is lined. I'd rather it was unlined, especially as the lines are very very slightly raised. Only a hair's breadth, but perceptible.

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12 minutes ago, CamdenRob said:

I have edge lines on mine at the fret positions which extend as far as the first string, then markers in between as they would be on a fretted bass.

I went for this as the first fretless I had also had this arrangement so I’ve gotten used to it.

Same here, it’s simply a matter of personal taste that’s usually defined by the markings on the fist fretless you played. There is no right or wrong nor is anything more right than anything else.

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10 minutes ago, Frank Blank said:

Same here, it’s simply a matter of personal taste that’s usually defined by the markings on the fist fretless you played. There is no right or wrong nor is anything more right than anything else.

But Shirley having side dots on a bare board that are anywhere other than the place you put your finger is blimmin’ useless?

On a lined board I can’t see it matters.

Edited by nige1968
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7 minutes ago, nige1968 said:

But Shirley having side dots on a bare board that are anywhere other than the place you put your finger is blimmin’ useless?

On a lined board I can’t see it matters.

As I said,  it’s simply a matter of personal choice, what’s blimmin’ useless for one person might be just the ticket for another.

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Interesting to see that "Side dots at the fret positions" seems to be in the lead - I was under the impression that "Full fret lines and dots" (presumably placed as on a fretted bass) would be the winner. This latter option is all that Fender has available, thereby causing me to waste loads of money buying and selling second hand stuff when I would have just gone to them years ago and bought a new unlined bass from whatever they were calling their standard range. 

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17 minutes ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

Side dots at fret positions- but only where markers might normally be; 3,5,7,9, double @ the octave and so on. Anything else is too much!

^ this for me, too.

Strangely my first fretless had lines and dots where they would be on a fretted (Squier VM Jazz) but my next was a Westone Thunder 1A with a blank board.  Loved that bass!

 

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1 hour ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

 only where markers might normally be; 3,5,7,9, double @ the octave and so on. Anything else is too much!

Agreed I took that as read otherwise there would have been twice as may options/variations!

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On 03/09/2019 at 20:07, nige1968 said:

But Shirley having side dots on a bare board that are anywhere other than the place you put your finger is blimmin’ useless?

On a lined board I can’t see it matters.

I think some manufacturers are basically lazy and make fretless basses simply by leaving the frets off.

Also, 'defretted' basses will be this way.

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8 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Agreed I took that as read otherwise there would have been twice as may options/variations!

Sorry for the pedantry! It's based on my experience with my NS 5CR EUB. Markers everywhere! (though they are subtle)

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On 06/09/2019 at 10:07, Stub Mandrel said:

I think some manufacturers are basically lazy and make fretless basses simply by leaving the frets off.

Also, 'defretted' basses will be this way.

Yep. When we were spec'ing out my new fretless late last year my luthier friend had several potential conversion necks already made up with fret slots and "fretted" side dot markers that he tried to give me, and he acted like my request for unlined and only minimal side dots where usable notes are was unusual. I didn't want to be too hard line since it was partially a gift, but I had to put my foot down on that one.

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On 07/09/2019 at 00:05, tauzero said:

I was just about to mention my NS WAV-4 - dots everywhere, I find it very confusing.

Same here, I find my plain double bass easier! 

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Very informative poll, thank you. I never realised there were quite so many combinations!

I suppose we can also say from this that 43 of us prefer unlined whilst 18 prefer lined?

And if we can say that, I wonder why the majority of new fretlesses for sale today seem to be lined?

Edited by edwn

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13 minutes ago, edwn said:

Very informative poll, thank you. I never realised there were quite so many combinations!

I suppose we can also say from this that 43 of us prefer unlined whilst 18 prefer lined?

And if we can say that, I wonder why the majority of new fretlesses for sale today seem to be lined?

Probably because most are  marketed to beginners who assume fret lines will make playing easier.

In reality, they are hard to see when standing, and once you get some practice you discover your fingers pretty much know where to go anyway.

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