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Anyone working with these newer, smaller LEDs yet?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by rojo412, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    So I happened to search for stuff on here about LEDs, but found very little.
    Part of me thinks that a lot of other people think they're corny... but I happen to like them.
    Anyway, to the point of my query:

    Years ago, there were LED setups in fingerboards, using the older and practically inlay-sized LEDs themselves. Or perhaps they'd illuminate a lens or translucent material. But either way, they were larger and seemed difficult to work with and thus, their lack of popularity. I think people also feared unreliability, noise, and size issues.

    Well, as I have seen lately, you can get crazy-small, crazy-bright LEDs on strands for dirt cheap on Amazon. Some of them are called "Fairy lights" or just micro LEDs.

    Screen Shot 2016-12-20 at 2.15.44 AM. Screen Shot 2016-12-20 at 2.17.08 AM.

    But the point is, they are cheap, bright, waterproof even, and I'm wondering if they can be adapted to necks?
    Or can you find the LEDs in a more adaptable format to use in a neck? Something like a strand of them that can be cut to length and wired to a battery source.

    Just wondering. I may try it just to see how it works out, the price is certainly right!
  2. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs
  3. kaoskater08


    Apr 1, 2011
    I put LED's in a bass once. It wasn't my best build but it plays! :thumbsup:

    I found some really cheap LED's, wire, and switch off of different sites....but instead of LED's for the side dots I went with fiber optic cable (from here: Guitar Fret Markers). It was all relatively easy to install but the hard part was routing the channels in the fingerboard for the wiring/fiber optic and making sure it glued down flat. The switch was there to turn the lights on/off. I'll dig around to see if I have any more pictures.

    Attached Files:

    reverendrally likes this.
  4. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Thanks for the info @Manton Customs, I'll check that out.

    And I dig the red bass, too, btw.
  5. Technicality


    Feb 10, 2011
    Those are probably "surface mount" LED's which are indeed really small, covered in a blob of some sort of plastic or resin. The bigger type with legs are "through hole". You can buy the surface mount ones in huge quantities for really cheap if you don't mind a bit of fiddly soldering.

    You can then just put them behind something translucent or transparent (you can sand the back to diffuse the light a bit for transparent things). I think you'd only bother to use something like a fresnel lens if you were trying to light a large area with only a few LED's.

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