"Serious" Shops, Side Dots, and Snobbery

"Serious" Shops, Side Dots, and Snobbery

I heard from a customer who told me that he was talking to the owner of another bass shop (a shop which will remain nameless). When Gollihur Music came up in conversation, the other shop owner "talked a little trash" on our store, specifically saying, "How can you take a shop seriously if they're selling items like stick-on side markers?"

Really? Is that all you've got?

Okay, so... I guess I can understand a little bit of snobbery about side markers, even if they are temporary. Like we even say on the product page -- they can be looked down upon by "serious" bass instructors as a "crutch," and many teachers will prohibit their students from using them. I mention in the description that, if you're not careful, they can be a detriment to developing a good ear, since you may tend to rely on your eyes rather than your ear when you have them on your bass. 

But, you know what? People WANT them. They help players with their confidence, particularly on dark stages and big jumps up and down the fingerboard. 

Just because you are using a set of markers on the side of your fingerboard to help you quickly access the notes in-tune, it doesn't mean that you aren't still developing your ear. And while that shop owner I mentioned above is a talented and well-respected player, I'd say that perhaps he might lack some listening skills as well; specifically, listening to his customers. (Actually, I'll be a little cheeky and admit that he's earned a bit of a reputation for snobbery, and not being particularly interested in what his customers actually want.)

So yeah, we offer side markers. In two colors, no less! Why?

There is no judgment at Gollihur Music. 

I get lots of calls and emails from new players, or bassists transitioning from electric bass guitar to upright. They can often be in the position of not even knowing the right questions to ask. That's okay! We're here to educate as well as supply, without making you feel like you're somehow "beneath" us because we happen to have a bit of a head-start on you, experience-wise. 

I also hear from people who are outside the bass-playing "norms" -- people who are building washtub basses, or trying to make an old cello into a portable bass, or even those unable to find the right combination of strings to tune an upright bass to the intervals found on the top 4 guitar strings (D-G-B-E). I recently spent a substantial amount of time with a lovely woman who was making a one-string amplified bass instrument out of a tree bough. Many of these customers come to me with their hat in their hand, saying, "I'm sorry to waste your time with something so silly." Or they (often) tell me that other shops brushed them off, not even considering trying to help them find a solution to their unusual problems. That's truly disappointing to hear.

Every one of those customers is as important to me as the serious college students working towards their recitals, the orchestral first-chair bassists, and the many celebrity players we commonly come into contact with. Everyone gets the same amount of time and attention; whatever they are trying to do, I support them - because they are making music. That simple fact puts everyone on the same level. And they deserve to get the same treatment. And at Gollihur Music, they always will.

When it all comes down to it, it's not about the side markers. It's about providing our customers - our friends, really - with the things they need to remain inspired, confident, and playing the bass. That's all that really matters.

P.S. By the way, Edgar Meyer uses dot inlays on his fingerboard. :-)

Jun 24th 2021 Mark