Lifting Dot Inlay Issue

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by iceman86, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. iceman86

    iceman86 TDPRI Member

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    I have been selling some gear and saving up for one of the American Professional Tele's with an all rosewood neck. I spotted a great in-store sale over President's Day weekend and pulled the trigger. I will preface this by saying I did play the guitar for a little while in the store and did not notice any issues aside from a little fret sprout and somewhat sharp fret edges, which I contributed to the time of year.

    Fast forward a few days and I noticed that every now and again when I would play a vibrato, my finger would get stuck. Stuck may not be the right word, but my index finger was noticeably impeded. I initially thought it was just a technique issue, although I have never had this issue in the past. I finally figured out that the inlay on the 7th fret of the fingerboard was not flush with the rest of the board. It has clearly lifted up all around.

    My question to you all is have you noticed this on the all rosewood necks? When I went to the store I purchased the guitar, 3 out of the 4 all rosewood neck Tele/Strats in stock had the same issue on the same inlay marker. There was only one in the bunch where all inlays were flush.

    At the end of the day, I am a little disappointed. I know that it can be an easy fix, but dang, this is a brand new American made Fender...
     
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  2. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Since it happened to multiple guitars, I wonder if there's a glue problem with this batch, and you might be facing all of them popping up eventually.

    Gluing the same dot back in place... you might not get it perfectly flush. Ideally it'd be a new dot, set a bit proud, and then sliced flush, followed by a light sanding. Messy with frets on.

    I'd either pass, or let Fender fix it under warranty. This way it's on record if they continue to lift up. Question is will the authorized tech get it factory-good? And do you really want the hassle...


    I had the same thing happen with a Gibson LP. Except these were big trapezoid inlays, of course. First one pop, but eventually all of them. Initial attempts at gluing failed and they re-popped. Finally, I sold the guitar. The inlays were probably fixed, but the process had soured me on that guitar.
     
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  3. iceman86

    iceman86 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the insight. That’s kind of where I am at this point- I like the guitar but kind of soured on the few issues I discovered, especially for the money. They ordered me a new one from another store that I am supposed to pick up next week. If it comes with a similar issue, I may go for another Tele model. I absolutely love the feel of the all rosewood neck so I am hoping I end up with a solid replacement.
     
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  4. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    iceman, the time of year has nothing to do with the fret sprout. That is evidence of a fretboard that was built with wood that was slightly ‘green’....not fully dried. After the instrument was built, the fretboard wood has shrunk...and the frets ‘sprout’ occurs. The fretboard wood will NOT expand with wetter conditions......the fret ends have to be filed flush and redressed. And.....this fret sprout problem can and does exist o; any type of fretboard wood.....IF the wood was used before it was fully dried.
    It could be that the inlay situation is due to the same thing??? and...ime....one’s fingertip should not be down into the fretboard enough for a slight issue like that to be an impediment. Not should the fingertip be in the middle of the fret space where the inlay is...except when up higher 9n the neck where the finger naturally fills the space between the frets.
    At any rate, these problems are easily remedied even tough one would like that the guitar not have the problem.
     
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  5. iceman86

    iceman86 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks, Wally. I think both issues are easily remedied - I guess I just didn't expect it from a new guitar. The store has another guitar (same model) coming in this week and I am going to check it out to see if it has similar issues. In the end, I really want the guitar because I love the shape and feel of the neck and I will take it to my tech if need be. Admittedly, I am just learning about repair and whatnot and just don't feel comfortable doing these things myself yet, at least not on such an expensive guitar.

    I should clarify that although I tend to be around the middle of the space between the frets, I really only felt the inlay when I "dug in." It has protruded quite a bit. I think it would be totally fine if it weren't lifted so much.
     
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  6. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Iceman86, I consider this lesson that follows to be the most important lesson for a player of any fretted instrument. The results are good tone, good sustain, accurate intonation....if the guitar is properly setup..., no discomfort to the fingers and arm muscles, and the fingers’ ability to feel the fret and so know where one is....and have confidence in where one is playing. Lesson #1.....play with the finger as close to the fret as possible without being on top of the fret and with as little pressure as possible. Any other way of fretting has nothing but negatives....bad tone, weak sustain, inaccurate intonation, stress on the hand and arm that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, and limitations concerned with placement and speed.
     
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  7. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you love the guitar I would simply fix the dot inlay. If it isn't fully seated it can be tapped in further, but I suspect that it's glued solid in whatever position it's in.

    If I recall correctly there's hardware under the fifth or seventh fret dot inlay on an American Standard/Series neck with a "Biflex" trussrod so there may be a reason why the same dot marker could be wonky on several necks on those models, it's simply installed a bit differently than the others.

    If the inlay is proud of the rosewood it can be scraped flush (I would use a utility knife blade or a cabinet scraper). Alternatively you can sand it with vary fine sandpaper (400 or 600 grit) using a curved sanding block to match the fingerboard radius in order to get it smooth to the wood. the idea behind the firm backer block is you're only hitting the high spot with sandpaper until it's level. Then perhaps touched up the rosewood with a drop (a fraction of a drop) of boiled linseed oil or pure tung oil.
     
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  8. wrvond

    wrvond TDPRI Member

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    None of my rosewood or even ebony boards have exhibited this problem. I don't own any maple boards.
     
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