Side marker dots

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Jon Gillard
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Side marker dots

Post by Jon Gillard » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:29 pm

I’m interested to know what people feel about marker dots, none,just on 7th fret, or on all uneven and the 12th fret?
Thanks Jonathan
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Gordon Guttmann
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Re: Side marker dots

Post by Gordon Guttmann » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:56 pm

I like a 2 mm MOP or abalone dot on the 7th fret. I don't see why a marker would be desired on the 12th fret since that's where the body starts and that's a pretty obvious marker:) I've heard some players like a marker on 16 or 17, that might be a good idea for spotting the very high notes. Never tried it though.

vesa
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Re: Side marker dots

Post by vesa » Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:11 am

MOP on 7th.
Thats because as a player I have never needed more than that.
Vesa Kuokkanen

Antonio Marin nr. 813 1995 (Bouchet)
Vesa Kuokkanen 2016

simonm
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Re: Side marker dots

Post by simonm » Sat Oct 28, 2017 7:49 am

If you do a search you will find a lot of threads about this although there hasn't been one for sometime.

Summary:

Dots are like a religion. Some people couldn't care less. Some are convinced that the only true dottiness is one at the 7th. Others reckon that lots of dots is only true path. Exception, "all uneven" seems to be a little too much dottiness. Never came across that.

The main denominations are:

Agnostic - couldn't care less. (common)
None
7th (common)
5th,7th 9th 12th. (common)
5th,7th 9th 12th. (15th rare) (17th rare )

Believers in one dot or no dot, claim that anyone requiring more are wimps who will never be able to master the holy instrument whereas the lots of dot believes cannot understand how people cannot see how obvious it is that dottiness is the true path to musicality.

All of these dotty factions agree, however, that dots or markers top on the fretboards are only for cowboys or worse, pop musicians.

If, as a believer in dottiness, you are unfortunate enough to receive an undotty guitar it is perfectly acceptable to use stickon paper dots or tipped (white-out) or any other markers to imbue the guitar with temporary dottiness.

Dot material is in principle not of interest to the dotty denominations. Commonest material is likely to be white or cream plastic. Mother of pearl is popular too. Use of a precious or semi-precious material is not unknown but rare.

brian
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Re: Side marker dots

Post by brian » Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:20 am

simonm-
that has got to be one of the
all time great/funny/truthful
posts. :mrgreen:
thank you!
if at first you don't succeed try again.
then quit.
there's no use being a damn fool about it.
-w.c. fields

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Michael Lazar
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Re: Side marker dots

Post by Michael Lazar » Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:42 pm

I put dots at frets 7 & 12 on my elevated fret board guitars. I think Greg Byers does as well. The dot at fret 12 on the elevated fret board is needed because the player can experience something known as a parallax illusion wherein the 11th or 13th fret appears to align with the body joint depending upon how they hold their guitar.

John higgon
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Re: Side marker dots

Post by John higgon » Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:43 pm

I don't have dots on my Ambridge guitar and it's not often a problem for me, but ideally I would have them given the choice. When I make guitars for friends they generally ask for dots and I persuade them to have dots at the 5th and 7th frets. I recall reading something interesting about visual processing. The gist of it was that the eye can take in a position marker and up to three frets on either side. If we regard the nut, the 12th fret body intersection, and the end of the fretboard as visual markers, this leaves frets 4 to 9 as visually tricky to navigate. All the other frets are within three frets of a position marker. I don't know what evidence this visual processing idea is based on, but it's interesting that dots at the 5th and 7th frets cover this gap and allow us to orientate ourselves using the three-fret rule (if you believe in it) all the way up the fretboard.

I think there's a bit of snobbishness about markers: the idea being that if you need visual markers, you're not quite cutting it as a classical guitarist. Last year I had the good fortune to have a masterclass with a very well known classical guitarist who had stuck bits of tape to the fingerboard as fret position markers, and said she'd be lost without them (although she was probably exaggerating a bit; I think she'd manage pretty well without them).

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Doug Ingram
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Re: Side marker dots

Post by Doug Ingram » Sat Oct 28, 2017 2:41 pm

I do a small copper wire as a dot on the 5th and 7th only. I don't need big markers, just something. Once I have those mapped out I can easily land on the other spots.

12th is the body join, so no need. 10th is two frets over, so, easy.

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oski79
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Re: Side marker dots

Post by oski79 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:41 pm

My Hill Signature came with a dot at the 7th. I added one at the 5th. This works perfectly for me, and I don't really care if anyone thinks there is anything wrong with that. Neither should you. I heard a quote from a master class from, if memory serves, David Russell. He said do whatever you need to make it easier to play.

And I ditto brian's sentiment: Simonm, that's one of the best posts I've seen here in a long, long time! :bravo:
“People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.” --Florence Foster Jenkins

Dave M
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Re: Side marker dots

Post by Dave M » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:05 pm

As an amateur player I can't manage without. I therefore put them at 5 7 and 12. I also like 3 mm MOP rather than 2 mm so I can see them!
I do put more on the steel strings as this is what steel players expect, but still on the sides not the top.
Dave

simonm
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Re: Side marker dots

Post by simonm » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:33 pm

brian wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:20 am
simonm-
that has got to be one of the
all time great/funny/truthful
posts. :mrgreen:
thank you!
Thanks Brian ... :lol:

Jon Gillard
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Re: Side marker dots

Post by Jon Gillard » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:16 pm

Thanks everyone and especially Simonm, I used to put front markers on my steel strings but now just add them to the side, as visually cleaner. I use either MOP or 2mm brass, which I’ve come to prefer. I like the logic of 7&5 or just 7, will post some pics of latest build soon.
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lux
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Re: Side marker dots

Post by lux » Sat Oct 28, 2017 7:35 pm

The rule of thumb is that most players can eyeball four fret spaces at a glance. Four fret spaces from the nut gets you through position IV. Four fret spaces down from the juncture of the upper bout covers positions IX-XII. So it's really positions V-VIII where some other benchmark is useful as an instant fretboard navigation aid. A 7th fret space marker accomplishes that. Fret space markers on the face of the fret space are common on steel strings but useless for classical guitarists who hold their instruments in the traditional manner.

If you're making an instrument for a known client, you should ask what the player would prefer. If making the instrument for yourself, you should indulge your own preferences. Adding additional markers later is easy and there will be no evidence that they were not part of the original build, so you can always err on the conservative side and start with none. But as for me, I depart here from commonly held preferences. For my own optometric idiosyncrasies, that part of the neck is in between my registers of easy focus (even with tri-focals). I want a big, shiny beacon of a marker that I can see clearly in the dimly lit venues I sometimes play in. No subtle bits of wire or toothpick cutoffs for me. Nothing less than a 3/16"" dot. I actually prefer to make an inlaid square marker out of MOP, holly, yellowheart or other strongly contrasting wood that runs almost the full depth of the fingerboard thickness to within a millimeter or so of the top surface. But that's a personal accommodation for my particular eyesight.

CathyCate
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Re: Side marker dots

Post by CathyCate » Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:04 pm

brian wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:20 am
simonm-
that has got to be one of the
all time great/funny/truthful
posts. :mrgreen:
thank you!
+1


My first classical guitar arrived without markers. The temporary glue dots worked just fine until I was midway a summer workshop recital in Cincinnati. :lol:
If you are heading for a warm climate, at least go for the white out or get thee to the nearest luthier.

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pogmoor
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Re: Side marker dots

Post by pogmoor » Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:42 pm

I acquired a Ramirez Guitara del Tiempo this year (I say 'acquired' because I was lucky enough to win it in the annual raffle at West Dean). This came, as supplied by Ramirez, with a single red dot at position 7. I was surprised by this as I have always previously found guitars to be supplied with properly installed plastic (or mother of pearl) dots or no dots at all. My preference is for dots at 5 and 7, so I replaced it with two silver dots!
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Paul Fischer (1995) and Lester Backshall (2008)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

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