Side Dot material ideas

JohnnyThul

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Hi all,

I will be in the stage of a neck built, where I need to set the sidedots. Now, I have used plastic, copper and selfmade luminlays so far. But maybe I miss some cool materials out there, so, what do you use as a material for your side dots?

This neck will have a maple binding, but I'm also open for suggestions for material, that goes well on darker surfaces.

Best regards
 

guitarbuilder

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I use plastic rod all the time now, but in the past have used brass tubing with epoxy, bone that I rounded, aluminum rod, and pizza box tripod holders. I did buy some of that baking clay,but never used it. I made some dot rod out of pickguard scraps once too and also weed wacker string. 3D printer filiment should work OK too.
 
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Gaz_

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This is the wrong place to put this, and it's going to offend some people...

But last time I did side dots, I used copper* nails with a small pilot bore...
Looks pretty neat, and I like that I can feel them with my thumb if I want too.

*Edit, they're definately brass.
 
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Fiesta Red

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This is the wrong place to put this, and it's going to offend some people...

But last time I did side dots, I used copper nails with a small pilot bore...
Looks pretty neat, and I like that I can feel them with my thumb if I want too.
I like that idea!
 

jvin248

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.

I've saved the shanks from pop rivets, a little jar of them, which gives me aluminum side dots.

After finishing the build process those side dots are like little mirrors. Works best for darker stained wood. I've used copper wire before too.

Test whatever you want to end up using in scrap wood with all the finishes you expect to use so you can test if that is the look you want.

.
 

Jim_in_PA

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This is the wrong place to put this, and it's going to offend some people...

But last time I did side dots, I used copper* nails with a small pilot bore...
Looks pretty neat, and I like that I can feel them with my thumb if I want too.

*Edit, they're definately brass.
While this might bother the "frequent thumb fretter" on the bottom string, it's an interesting idea for sure.
 

JohnnyThul

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Thank you so much for all your ideas so far! I like the ballend idea and will check if there may be a way to make it work.

As for visibility, I guess, luminlays are the best I had so far. I bought the expensive original ones and they work perfect and are highly recommended. I then made my own ones with glow in the dark powder and they worked out okay, while not as bright as the originals. I guess, you have to use more of that powder :) The workshop looked cool, when you switched off the light, as there were leftover-glows all around the place :)

As for the copper/brass nails, I used rods so far or tubes, which I filled, is there any advantage in using nails @Gaz_ ?
 

JL_LI

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I like to be able to see the markers. This brings to my mind my experience in a jazz combo in college. I played bass. A violin bass. Not a Hornet. A big a$$ bass I borrowed from the college. The instrument was new to me and I needed visual cues to play higher than first position. And there are no markers on a double bass. I found where the seventh and fifth “frets” would be by their harmonics and took a pencil eraser and erased the accumulated grime on the side of the finger board to mark them. I didn’t want to be so obvious about it that I erased across the neck. The erased side markers did exactly what I needed of them.
 

captain_jack

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For some reason I started saving the ball ends of guitar strings when I change strings. I thought about using them for side dots, though they might be a little too large in diameter.
never thought of this before but they could probably make a pretty cool fretboard inlay, especially the brands that use different colors.
 

Peegoo

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I've made side markers for a custom guitar using the brass tube from an expended click pen cartridge. I cut the ball point off and soaked the tube in alcohol to remove the ink. I sliced it into 1/8" sections with an Xacto razor saw and poked them into their holes in the fretboard edge, followed by filling the center with black epoxy. When that set up I added a drop of clear CA to seal the edges, followed by fretting and finishing. They looked like little gold bullseyes.

You can buy small brass tube like this from hobby stores these days...most all pen refills are now plastic.
 

telel6s

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Slightly off-course, but don't think I've ever written this little story.

I have a late 60's Yamaha hollow body that did not have side markers. I painted on dots of white-out, thinking it would be easy to remove and not harm the guitar finish. It is easy to remove with a thin plastic scraper. Also, those dots have lasted well over twenty years.

OK. Back to your discussion of inlay materials. :)
 

Freeman Keller

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Hi all,

I will be in the stage of a neck built, where I need to set the sidedots. Now, I have used plastic, copper and selfmade luminlays so far. But maybe I miss some cool materials out there, so, what do you use as a material for your side dots?

This neck will have a maple binding, but I'm also open for suggestions for material, that goes well on darker surfaces.

Best regards

I want two things from the side marker dots on my fretboards. I want contrast so they stand out against whatever wood I'm using - that is by far the most important thing. Secondly I want them to fit the over all theme of the guitar.

I've used pearl dots when there is a lot of pearl on the guitar, but the last time I used pau abalone against a dark wood it failed the first criteria, they simply don't stand out well enough.

Most of the time therefore I use simple 1/16 plastic rod, either white to go with dark wood or black against light wood and plastic. Here are two maple bound fretboards with black plastic dots, I wouldn't do anything else

IMG_7257.JPG


IMG_7259.JPG
 

Larry F

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Kokotele does all the work on my guitars. For my epi dot 335, he put in beveled glass for side dots. They work pretty well at catching the light and reflecting it.

I'd like to try LEDs for side markers.
 

Gaz_

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Thank you so much for all your ideas so far! I like the ballend idea and will check if there may be a way to make it work.

As for visibility, I guess, luminlays are the best I had so far. I bought the expensive original ones and they work perfect and are highly recommended. I then made my own ones with glow in the dark powder and they worked out okay, while not as bright as the originals. I guess, you have to use more of that powder :) The workshop looked cool, when you switched off the light, as there were leftover-glows all around the place :)

As for the copper/brass nails, I used rods so far or tubes, which I filled, is there any advantage in using nails @Gaz_ ?
The only advantage to me was ease really. I didn't need to do any gluing etc, just a small pilot hole to make sure the nail didn't split the board, then hammered it in. I took it fairly flush, to try to avoid it irritating while playing.

I did also leave out the fret markers on the front of the board, I don't particularly like the look of them, and as I tend to tune to D standard and the rest of the band to E, they usually confuse more than confirm so I guess my only answer is, I was being lazy BUT I quite like how it turned out!
 

JohnnyThul

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@Gaz_ , thanks a lot for the explanation, now I understand! I will give it a try, maybe it is really convenient, although I'm a little afraif it may split a very dense fingerboardmaterial like ebony.
@Davecam48 , that is a cool idea, I'll definitely check the colours available!
@Larry F , what exactly is beveled glass? Sorry to ask, but in the US there are often terms used for materials, that I cannot easily translate to a German equivalent :)

I think on the Danny Gatton Tele where Zirconia markers used as side dots, if i'm not mistaken, has anybody ever tried this?
I also found polyurethane rods widely available, has anybody tried these before? I guess they may be too soft?

I will try to make a picture of the Luminlays I used on a maple binding with low light conditions. It is really great when you are playing in dimmed light conditions. However, I do not like the "plastic" look of these in daylight, therefore I am asking for alternatives. Real problems here, I know... :)
 




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