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Thread: Dots or no dots

  1. #1

    Default Dots or no dots

    Now that Iím in love with a Mexican mando, sans dots, the question for builders is: Tradition of fretboard dots and side dots not extending to some countries, or is it a bit like the aversion to markers as juvenile on bowed instruments?
    Bluegrass and country decorative tradition I understand as a separate development.

  2. #2
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Oct 2002

    Default Re: Dots or no dots

    I do not have a bowed instrument but prefer no fretboard dots but I like side markers.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Dots or no dots

    The longer the scale length, the more help you need. A violin is a short scale, and you can't really see the markers that well anyway, so you might as well learn how to play in tune. By the time you hear the note on a bowed instrument, it's too late for the tape to help you out anyway. So they are mostly for people whose ears have not yet been calibrated to hear what is in tune and what is not. Hence the perception of them being juvenile.

    On fretted instruments, they are more useful because 1. you can actually see them, 2. you can put them to use before actually playing since it's fretted, 3. the scale length is so long, you really do need them.

    That said, most good classical guitars don't have fret markers of any kind.

  4. #4
    Registered User
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    Jun 2005
    High Peak - UK

    Default Re: Dots or no dots

    Possibly a little off topic but it might help if someone could explain how fret markers came about in the first place.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Dots or no dots

    I install side dots on all my mandolins and guitars. I rarely install fingerboard inlays. In my eye, less is more. I am not a fan of over the top bling either.

  6. #6
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dots or no dots

    My preference:
    (This fingerboard does have side-dots, which I really like.)
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    -- Don

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Dots or no dots

    I have the same model Gibson F9, you very quickly get used to playing without fingerboard dots.

    Dave H
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  9. #8
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Mar 2017
    Bozeman, MT

    Default Re: Dots or no dots

    Even when I was at my heaviest, I've never seen the fret board while playing my mandolin. Side dots get used every session.
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  10. #9
    Registered User mtucker's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    Los Angeles CA

    Default Re: Dots or no dots

    Clean fingerboard on my 5jr. I can’t actually recall when (if ever) I looked to locate a marker on the fretboard.
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  11. #10
    MandolaViola bratsche's Avatar
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    Sep 2002
    south florida

    Default Re: Dots or no dots

    I prefer side markers only, I don't need them very often, but it's nice to have them there. But I just don't get the ones on the fretboard. If you bend over far enough to see them, you're hurting your neck. Or maybe they're for playing in front of the mirror? Beats me, but I don't like them there, I much prefer a clean ebony fretbooard.

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  13. #11
    Mangler of Tunes OneChordTrick's Avatar
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    Oxfordshire, England

    Default Re: Dots or no dots

    I just use the side dots; fretboard dots are useful to help work out what some else is playing

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  15. #12
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Minneapolis, MN
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    Default Re: Dots or no dots

    As a fiddle player, I'd suggest having no frets on a mandolin. Ha,ha. I agree with Bratsche that leaning over to see the dots on the fingerboard hurts your neck. However lately I have been studying chords and have found that now I'm using the markers, where before I never bothered with them. They are a quick way of finding your position.
    And for that matter it has helped my use of double stops on the violin. Visual cues sometimes help the audio recognition.
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  16. #13

    Default Re: Dots or no dots

    Fretboard dots are valuable if you are trying to share or teach someone else. They're really not for the player as side dots are. If you want to teach or share your licks with someone else, the fretboard dots help.

  17. #14
    Henry Lawton hank's Avatar
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    May 2009
    The Present Moment

    Default Re: Dots or no dots

    I got these in Chernobyl green.Click image for larger version. 

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    "A sudden clash of thunder, the mind doors burst open, and lo, there sits old man Buddha-nature in all his homeliness."

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