Clay dot inlays.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tplyons, Jul 3, 2005.

  1. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I know they were used by Fender up until 1964 on rosewood boards, and I assume they changed them for something more durable, but what exactly were they made outta?

    Were they like lumps of clay jammed in the hole and sanded, or were they just like pearloid dots that are cut from a sheet? Does anyone still use them today?

    Just a bunch of curiosity right now. Love the nice subtle look they give.
  2. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    The clay was a hard material that was stick form.
    About 12-13 years ago Bass Player had an article where they featured a mid 60's LPB Jazz getting restored that some one had Jaco-ized, the owner ripped out the frets and dots.
    They showed a picture of the repairman jamming a round clay stick in the holes and using a jewelers saw to cut it. If a repairman has it, it's probably something available from the places like Stewmac.

    I still have that issue here somewhere.
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Would you be so kind to scan and email it to me? tim at tplyons dot com
  4. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Tim, I'll look for it, might take a few days to find. I read the mag again a few months ago so it can't be that buried.
  5. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I use them!

    When I made my '64 Telecaster' I bought a set or two from Callaham and sent them out to Tommy at USACG. He asked for 2 sets worth, as he'd never worked with them and was afraid they'd break. The side markers came as thin rods that you can slice off, and the dots themselves are a chalky, yet hard grey substance. Clay is about right.

    I see that USACG now carries them as an option. :)
  6. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Found it and scanned and hopefully sent with success.

    The artice says they got the clay stick from Warmoth.
  7. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Hey, there, didn't get the scan. Perhaps try to re-send?
  8. Mr_Dave


    Mar 11, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Employee - Basscentre Melbourne

    Just bumping an old thread instead of starting a new one...

    What were the original clay dots made from? I've seen before that perhaps they were cut from asbestos floor tiles? If so, anyone know of any problems as they break down in old basses?
  9. alembicguy

    alembicguy Lone Wolf Miner of iron ore Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    I also have read that the clay dots were cut from left over floor tile from the Fender factory.
  10. Yeek! Asbestos is bad! I sure as hell wouldn't want an asbestos-dotted bass...
  11. Unless you play fast enough to turn the dots into dust, it's pretty harmless. :)
  12. billbass1


    Jan 31, 2007
    Tell that to my Dad who died from exposure to it.
    It takes about 30 to 50 years to catch up to you but
    when it does, it is really frigging Nasty........
    and you won't be wearing a grin then.
  13. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    The asbestos content is speculation. The dots were in fact, however, the old Fender factory floor tiles that Leo "re-purposed" for use as "clay dots". Funny stuff.
  14. Subculture13

    Subculture13 Jamming Econo

    Apr 9, 2003
    Toronto, Ont. Canada
    They are selling the leftovers that you sent them. :bag:


    Seriously though, good on you to open their eyes up like that. In the end, we all win. I much prefer the look of clay in rosewood over anything else.
  15. Sorry to hear about your Dad. My Dad also died of lung cancer. Most likely from all the dust after being a shop teacher all his life.

    Well then, I'm doomed. I used asbestos tiles for YEARS around my heat treat ovens and welding table. I was told that unless it's in the form of dust or fiberous insulation that turns to dust when handled, it's harmless. I work with Carbon Fiber, mother of pearl and toxic woods. That will probalby get me long before my asbestos tiles :meh:

    An experpt from the MSDS sheet:

    >>>When is Asbestos Dangerous

    When left intact and undisturbed, asbestos containing materials do not pose a health risk to people working or living in buildings. Asbestos containing material is not generally considered to be harmful unless it is releasing dust or fibers into the air where they can be inhaled or ingested. Many of the fibers will become trapped in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat where they can then be removed, but some may pass deep into the lungs, or, if swallowed, into the digestive tract.

    Asbestos is hazardous when it is friable. The term "friable" means that the asbestos is easily crumbled by hand, releasing fibers into the air. Sprayed on asbestos insulation is highly friable. Asbestos floor tile is not. <<<

    Like I said, unless you are playing fast enough to turn the asbestos tile dots into dust, you're safe :) TB'ers feel free to send me all your asbestos tile dot basses, I will dispose of them properly!!!
  16. tonynoriega

    tonynoriega Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    I'm made to wonder what Fender started using when they discontinued the clay dots. My '66 Jazz has something that resembles plastic for dots but I don't want to dig at them to test what they're made of. Anybody know?
  17. billbass1


    Jan 31, 2007
  19. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005

    That may have been pulled for another that a CFC ?

  20. I don't know, all I know is it's supposed to be VERY bad and gets through your skin :mad: