DIY: When side markers are not enough

Milesaway71

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 16, 2021
Messages
202
Reaction score
204
Location
Kauai Hawaii
Feeling silly for asking but "the only dumb question is the one not asked"

When side dots are not enough ...

I assume it should be easy enough to find some sticky decal material for dots on there... 5, 7, 10, 12.

Any comments/advice/experience?
 
What do you mean by "not enough"?
 
You can buy ready made stick-on side markers and fret markers from eBay and Amazon. I do it all the time.
 
I've gone this route on several instruments, for one purpose or another. Really happy with them. Easy to apply, very thin, they stay on, and can be removed without damage. They have a wide variety of products too.

 
Last edited:
These work pretty well

 
Or little dots with a paintmarker pen
 
"the only dumb question is the one not asked"
This statement is blatantly untrue. There are tons of stupid questions. We even had a guy we called "stupid question guy" in college. When his hand went up, you knew something idiotic would come out.
 
This statement is blatantly untrue. There are tons of stupid questions. We even had a guy we called "stupid question guy" in college. When his hand went up, you knew something idiotic would come out.
When I was drafted a sergeant explained that we could get a refund for the tickets to get there and a guy asked:
"What then if you take a bus to a train station where no trains are running?"
 
Feeling silly for asking but "the only dumb question is the one not asked"

When side dots are not enough ...

I assume it should be easy enough to find some sticky decal material for dots on there... 5, 7, 10, 12.

Any comments/advice/experience?
Milesaway, if I might make a suggestion, just based on my own experience, you might consider putting one of those adhesive dots at the 5th-fret location on your fingerboard-- and only there. I find that if I have a good handle on referencing just that 5th fret, I'm good. I can easily navigate the range from frets 1 to 5, and I seldom go beyond fret 7. So marking just the 5th fret does the job in helping me get my bearings!
 
I have gone all the way also: I bought some 2 mm MOP dots, drilled the holes on the side with a Brad point drillbit and glued the dots in.
 

Attachments

  • 2024-03-08 16.59.02.jpg
    2024-03-08 16.59.02.jpg
    46.6 KB · Views: 7
I read through this thread earlier this morning, and there are many good suggestions here.
I just encountered a YouTube video which addresses this same question from a different way--what if your instrument has side markers, but you're playing in a darkened room and can't see them because they're too subtle. This solution is definitely not subtle.
 
For side markers, I found the stickers too big so just used dots of paint ("stamped" with a cut toothpick). Mine have never come off, but for a more pro solution I'd just drill and paint fill (nail polish, white out, whatever...even glow in the dark if visibility is a issue). Not sure I've ever had a uke without or with too small top dots.
 
Last edited:
I've gone this route on several instruments, for one purpose or another. Really happy with them. Easy to apply, very thin, they stay on, and can be removed without damage. They have a wide variety of products too.

Nice stickers, but ouch. $8 for the stickers, $10 to $22 for shipping.
 
I would use blue painters tape and a fine tip pen, so it can easily be changed back when you find a landmark.
 
Dollar store stickers. My blue willow laminate sopranissino O' Nino has matching blue stars for side markers thanks to my granddaughter. Several of my ukes have reinforcement labels cause I am cheap and had some in my office. Plus, they are easy to see. https://www.avery.com/products/labels/6750
 
Whooo.
"dumb question"... was ... dumb... because in the dark vast vacuum of my 74 yr old mind, I was almost certain there was at least this many examples of dots/markers DIY, and I was almost certain I had read about them somewhere as well.
I did a cursory search for dots or something vague in the forum and had a brilliant (but dumb) thought; post the question! Lazy! and glad I did!

I made the comment before that a lot (it seems) of custom ukes had minimal to none f/b markers/dots which I think is for aesthetics.

Hell, I've always lusted after those huge Gibson blocks of pearl or whatever on their jazz (?) guitar fb's.

I remember a comment from a chiropracter whom I really admired for his knowledge and diy skills, this was almost 2 decades ago, he became known for his home made wooden clocks, one day made a Uke; it was more of a curio than a fine instrument, but again he was no musician and couldn't play a lick anyway, who commented that decent musicians guitar players don't and shouldn't need f/b markers... I kind of had to agree because classical guitars don't have them afaik, and I admired him too much to disagree; wasn't worth the argue.

That kind of rhetoric has stuck with me; when I see them on famous custom pieces...watching Corey and Kalei, paying no attention to the fact there are no markers. To them side markers are enough.

Look at my sig... my 2 new ukes have like zero f/b dots markers,
Actually my Ken Franklin has wooden artistic rectangle on 5 and 12... but its darkish wood almost invisible even in daylight.The Kinnard, none, nada. I love them dearly!
I was also a bit lazy when I bought them; rather than signing up for an unknown time of waiting for a custom build... in the past ordering a custom I always labored over the type and dimensions, not to mention the added price spec with my William King tenors.

Not to mention in the dark! My wife is a totalitarian tyrant who cannot abide the least bit of light coming out of my room at night if she's gone to her bedroom... for various reasons (bless her heart). It may be the Drill-Sergeant in her; "LIGHTS OUT!" Goodnight Dad. (we did have the hugest argument about it about 25 yrs ago... I obviously lost)

As far as where I play on the f/b... One of my favorite things about music is discovering the different tonal sounds of the same notes/chordings etc up and down the f/b and deciding how each could best fit into an arrangement; the possibilities seem endless; are endless... like my posts, and the reason my repetoire is almost always unfinished.

I think that covers it... now for the stick-ons to choose.
 
Milesaway, if I might make a suggestion, just based on my own experience, you might consider putting one of those adhesive dots at the 5th-fret location on your fingerboard-- and only there. I find that if I have a good handle on referencing just that 5th fret, I'm good. I can easily navigate the range from frets 1 to 5, and I seldom go beyond fret 7. So marking just the 5th fret does the job in helping me get my bearings!

Good point. A white label Kamaka that I recently sold had only a larger one at 5 and it was fine.
 
Top Bottom