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Any good resources for LED install?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Wolfehollow, Feb 18, 2004.

  1. Wolfehollow


    Jan 21, 2003
    Pensacola, FL
    trying to see how one can put an LED install to a finished neck. I do not want to be extremely invasive, but a little drilling never hurt anyone.

  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    This would most definitely require removal of the fingerboard. And some routing in the neck. There's no way you could get a drillbit to move predictably through the neck. You would have to either run an led to each marker you wanted to illuminate, or run fiber optic line to each one from a single led at the bas of the neck. www.Simscustom.com does this kind of work.
  3. Skips


    Feb 19, 2003
    I've had work done by Martin Sims at simscustom, and I have to say, what he does is EXCELLENT and he DOES NOT remove the fretboard to do it.
    He wrote "SKIPPII" down my fretboard as fretdots. :)
    And no, he won't tell you how he does it.

    I've also made my own fretboard with LEDs...you can see it here.
  4. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    Has anybody heard of any problems with a SIMS installation?
    The company I just ordered a new bass from wants no part of it and says it will void the new instrument warranty. I've seen SIMS installations on some very expensive and almost irreplaceable instruments. Could a SIMS installation jeopardize neck stability or cause fingerboard problems?
  5. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    I'd chalk that up to manufacturers not wanting people messing with their stuff and looking for any excuse to void the warrantee.

    I remember hearing about VW when the new Beetle came out telling dealers they were not allowed to replace ANYTHING on the car or do ANY warranty repair work on a car that had been modified in any way. They were mainly focusing on rims and to some extent the custom shops that were making them into convertables 2 years before VW released the Convertable version, but it was an insight into the manufacterer mindset. They were saying basically if you change a part there is no way of predicting the impact it will have on the overall car. I believe they lost some court cases where people had major mechanical problems that they had refused to repair because of some "modifications. In the end it was decided that there is no way a different set of rims or tires (or even having the roof cut off) could be the cause of,say a fuel pump dying or emmisions problems within the warrantee period.
  6. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Ahh, this is an old thread... I have been looking into fiberoptics for this, and I have heard of very good results. Some creative drilling is about your best bet for these sorts of installs. I plan on doing this to a friends guitar soon, but with fiber optics rather than individual LEDs. The led will sit in the neck pocket, and the ends of the fibers will mate with it. This makes for easy color changes, and also for easy replacement of a burned out LED. If you wanted to get crazy, you could make an tiny pc board underneath a pickguard with small leds to do swells, flashes, or even a VU meter effect.
  7. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    Yeah.... manufacturers get really funny about people customizing their stuff, especially car companies. From what I can gather from reading other threads about LED's here on TB, SIMS routs a small channel on the treble side neck edge, fishes the optics and harness under the fingerboard, and brings the wiring out the base of the neck. He then apparently fills in the scar with a thin strip of whatever was cut away, and then matches the finish accordingly. That's probably way over simplified; exactly what he does and how he does it is a secret he's entitled to keep. Without knowing exactly precisely how its done could cause some luthiers to panic or think that the instrument could end up with neck failure if the integrity is somehow disturbed during the LED installation process. I've never heard of any problems with any of Martin's work, all the feedback I've seen here has been 100% positive.
  8. dose


    Nov 2, 2008
    I apologize about bringing up such and old topic but I've been considering doing this to my
    Warwick Flamin blonde having the flames on the fretboard light up does anyone know who does this in the US? I not 100% sure i feel comfortable sending my bass to the uk for a long period of time.
  9. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    I have doubts about your ability to get this done for under $1000.
  10. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    I'm with Mikey here. In the US, there will be plenty of luthiers who will do this for you, but it will involve removal of the fretboard, time consuming routing under the fretboard and locating of the LED's or fiber optics if you opt to go that route instead. Probably routing for a new battery box in the bass and drilling from the neck pocket through to the pickup holes for wires/fiber optics. Then you'd have to drill out the back of the fretboard to line up the LED's behind the "flames" in the board. If they weren't transparent enough, then you'd also have to remove the old flames and inlay new hand cut flames out of a material translucent enough for the light to shine through. And, this is all assuming the original fretboard survived being removed in the first place. Sometimes, they don't survive - and in that case its even more expensive because it means making a new fretboard from scratch. After all that is said and done, then the neck would have to be refinished as well. Actually, I'm now thinking that a grand is probably a conservative estimate...

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