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Thread: Fret Inlays

  1. #1
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Fret Inlays

    As many of you know, I'm having a custom archtop built. My luthier has asked me about what type of fretboard inlays I'd like. Decisions, decisions!

    I haven't seen the guitar since it was in the early stages and before it was stained. So, I really don't know what would look good. The guitar will be light in color (blonde or slightly darker) with an ebony fingerboard. My luthier pointed me toward a site for ideas. I'm lost.

    Anyone have suggestions? I don't want dots or trapezoids. I don't want "Elvis" or too much bling, but something that will enhance the appearance in a subtly beautiful way.

    DePaule Supply (lots of inlays in separate categories)

    Example:


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    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Fret Inlays

    Just remember that "less is more" and you'll come to the right decision. Personally I'd favor something simple yet elegant. The examples from DePaule Supply are worthy of consideration. I'm especially impressed with the purfling inlay for the sound hole. Don't forget something appropriate for the fretboard's side markers, perhaps iridescent for low-light situations.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

  3. #3
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Fret Inlays

    I agree with the "less is more" philosophy. Still, I don't want "plain." Dots and traps are just too... mundane.

    Here are couple I've passed on to my luthier. He'll give me feedback on what he thinks might go well. This discussion is part of the fun of having a custom guitar built!


    Modern Art:

    Falling/Tumbling Leaves:

    Music Notes (because hey, why not?):



    And maybe lighting bolts?

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    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Fret Inlays

    The lightning bolts would look right at home on some bizarro electric shredder -- Jackson, Charvel, Ibanez, etc -- but I don't see them on a quality custom acoustic instrument. The music notes look intriguing though.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Fret Inlays

    Quote Originally Posted by phantomman View Post
    The lightning bolts would look right at home on some bizarro electric shredder -- Jackson, Charvel, Ibanez, etc -- but I don't see them on a quality custom acoustic instrument. The music notes look intriguing though.

    I agree. I like the musical notes because, well, because. Somehow, I think the tumbling leaves might be uniquely understated. You'd have to be looking directly at them to see them.

    I was also looking at what they call their "traditional" inlays. This is called a Ludwig:




    And the Ludwig 3:


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    Forum Member jrgtr42's Avatar
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    Re: Fret Inlays

    Personally, I do like the less is more, philosophy. I like either no markers at all (just side dots) or very small ones, probably offset to the upper corner.
    That said, I do like the Gretsch thumbnail inlays. Something subtle offset like that would appeal to me as well.
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  7. #7
    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Fret Inlays

    The "Ludwig" is a little too baroque for my taste.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Re: Fret Inlays

    I'd opt for no inlays, as already mentioned. Maybe one at the 12th fret

  9. #9
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Fret Inlays

    After speaking with my luthier today, we both agreed the Modern Art inlays (the gold-toned ones, on the right) would look pretty cool on the guitar. He indicated he has his own headstock inlay, but might be able to make it all work together.

    Whew, one more hurdle passed.

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    Forum Member jrgtr42's Avatar
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    Re: Fret Inlays

    Quote Originally Posted by OldStrummer View Post
    After speaking with my luthier today, we both agreed the Modern Art inlays (the gold-toned ones, on the right) would look pretty cool on the guitar. He indicated he has his own headstock inlay, but might be able to make it all work together.

    Whew, one more hurdle passed.

    Of the ones you posted earlier, |I do like these ones - kinda modern, kinda art-deco, and definitely not something you see every day.
    Not taking anything away from teh others, but I feel like |I've seen them all before.
    One that I do like is on some of John Entwistle's Status Buzzards, th fret marker was the Roman numeral for that fret - I, III, IV, VII, etc. That was pretty cool and I don't think I'd seen that before.
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  11. #11
    Forum Member gibsonjunkie's Avatar
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    Re: Fret Inlays

    I went with a Vine look on mine...

    "We catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness." Mark Twain

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    Re: Fret Inlays

    Nice!

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    Re: Fret Inlays

    Why not your initials, or a name, a name of what you call the guitar.

  14. #14
    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Fret Inlays

    Quote Originally Posted by jaxjaxon View Post
    Why not your initials, or a name, a name of what you call the guitar.
    A superb method of ensuring that the guitar can never be sold should the need arise.

    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Fret Inlays

    Quote Originally Posted by jaxjaxon View Post
    Why not your initials, or a name, a name of what you call the guitar.
    That's kind of what I meant by " I don't want "Elvis" or too much bling."
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  16. #16
    Forum Member Tele-Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Fret Inlays

    Quote Originally Posted by OldStrummer View Post
    That's kind of what I meant by " I don't want "Elvis" or too much bling."
    Agreed.
    Funny thing is, when you show up for a gig with a crazy beautiful, fancy looking guitar, it raises the expectations of the audience.

    Show up with an old, beat up guitar and people will say, "Did you hear the sounds he was getting from that old beat up guitar? LOL.

    I have done my last two guitars with no fret markers and love the look. I only use the side dots anyway. Finger board inlay is strictly decorative to me.
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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Fret Inlays

    Quote Originally Posted by Cogs View Post
    I'd opt for no inlays, as already mentioned. Maybe one at the 12th fret
    Ebony without fret markers looks elegant. I agree about a 12th fret inlay. Have you thought about something, for example, that expresses your interest in running or spirituality, something small and not overly ornate? Just a couple of thoughts.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

  18. #18
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Fret Inlays

    Quote Originally Posted by ch willie View Post
    Ebony without fret markers looks elegant. I agree about a 12th fret inlay. Have you thought about something, for example, that expresses your interest in running or spirituality, something small and not overly ornate? Just a couple of thoughts.

    Not a bad idea, Willie. But I've already chosen the "Modern Art" style. My luthier and I agreed it would look nice on the ebony fretboard.
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  19. #19
    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Fret Inlays

    Quote Originally Posted by OldStrummer View Post

    Not a bad idea, Willie. But I've already chosen the "Modern Art" style. My luthier and I agreed it would look nice on the ebony fretboard.
    It'll look spectacular, I'm sure. I can't wait to see the end product.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

  20. #20
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Fret Inlays

    Quote Originally Posted by ch willie View Post
    It'll look spectacular, I'm sure. I can't wait to see the end product.
    Me, too. It's now been about seven months in the making. I'm told it's near finished.
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