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black block inlays

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by jimmy ray, Nov 22, 2003.


  1. i'd like to put some of these onto a maple neck jazz a-la the '75 RI, its already got pearl block inlays which are cool, but the black is so much better on maple in my eyes. what i'm wondering is where can i find some, stew mac dosent have any, or what could i use to cut some out with? and will the finish on the fretboard still be ok of i swap the inlay out? or will i have to put some finish over top the new inlays if its possible? thanks for your help
     
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    You need to think through how you're actually going to do this. If the inlay you have is pearl, then it is actually inlayed into the fingerboard. That is, wood is removed from the fingerboard in the shape of the inlay and a piece of pearl is fit and glued into it.

    If you intend to replace the block, you will certainly disturb the finish even if you do a fine job. Chances are good that you might have some difficulty, and possibly some mistakes to recover from, especially since inlay is usually done without frets in the neck and you will not have that luxury.

    There is a company out there that does surface film stuff that might treat you better. This stuff is basically fancy tape that you can cut to any shape and just apply to the fingerboard. If you do a good job, it looks reasonable and seems to be pretty durable, although i have never used it. I am at a loss for the name or URL for this company. I suspect if you go to Google and search for "Pearl block inlay" it will show up on the list.
     
  3. thanks for the good words, and just as an aside i love your basses keep up the great works. i knew i'd have some trouble because of the frets, and the issuse with the gule, so my plan was to use a small router or like a dremel to route out the pearl and leave a clean space, i mean like not cut right to the sides but go close and use some chisels to do the finish work. the finish was what really caused problems for me, and it might be a bit more work than its worth, so i'll check out the website you're talking about. again thanks for the advice, its cool to see you guys who have made careers out of building basses helping out us who just like to tinker around with them
     
  4. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    I had something similar on my mind - I have a set of gorgeous abalone blocks that I wanted to inlay on the neck of my Alembic. I asked a well known inlay artist and was told that I would HAVE to remove the frets in order to do this. My suggestion to you would be to check Warmoth or Mighty Mite- you can get a very nice maple neck with black blocks, and just swap the necks out. You could finance this by selling your current neck, so you probably won't end up paying much, if anything.

    I got a Fender JP-90 with aftermarket maple neck/black blocks for $299, and neck is completely new. That is yet another option...buy a used bass which has the neck you want.