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Clay Dots???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by malthumb, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Clay Dots have been mentioned in 4 threads that I've frequented over the past week, including one that I started. I have a few questions.....

    • What the heck are they?
    • Why would someone want them? (what purpose do they serve?)
    • If I wanted to "experience them" for myself, where would I find a good example of them?

    Funny that in almost 30 years of playing, I've never heard of them and then they come up in discussions 4 times in the same week. Guess you learn something old everyday.


  2. Clay dots are essential to true sustain. It's resonance is unequaled and by using it for dots at whole step intervals it cancels out stray frequencies and improves overall clarity of the notes. The Indians and southeast Asian islanders have known this for centuries and religiously used it in their sitars and other stringed instruments. In fact, clay from Java is prized as the perfect clay compound for high fundamental sustain.

    Hope that helps.
  3. ...really?

  4. DutchDude


    Sep 12, 2007
    they're just posisitionmarkers, if there wouldn't be any dots you can gett 'lost' on your neck easier
  5. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    On the early fender instruments, the 'dot' material wasn't plastic. Its not exactly clay either, but that's what they're called. Its a grey-ish off white chalky material.

    I have a guitar with 'clay dots' and they don't look like modern plastic ones. They're flat and slightly porous. If you want 'true' vintage look (1964 and before) on a rosewood board, it should be clay dots.
  6. No.
  7. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    I understand that the material was similar to linoleum. They defined the "Pre-CBS" era Fenders so became a shorthand way of saying "the real deal."

    Later Fenders have plastic pearl ("pearloid") like most other basses and g**tars.
  8. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Oh no, am I having deja vu? :rolleyes::p
  9. :ninja:
  10. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Something seemed very familiar about you, now I remember. I recall seeing French bread and the Chinaman, although couldn't put a name to a face, too funky, dude.
  11. peterbright


    Jan 23, 2007
    On The Bayou
    Fingerboard Dots
    Black dots: used on maple fingerboards and made of fiberboard-like material (in the 1950's) or black plastic later.
    White dots: used on rosewood fingerboards (Jazzmaster in 1958, all other models in mid-1959). Till the end of 1964 Fender used "clay" dots as position markers. This material has an off-white opaque color. In very late 1964 all models changed to pearl dot position markers. Side markers remained "clay" until spring 1965 when these too changed to pearl.
    White dot spacing: In 1963, the spacing of the two fingerboard dots at fret twelve changed (the spacing became closer together).
  12. The Lurker

    The Lurker

    Aug 16, 2002
    It's asbestos floor tile that Leo Fender recycled.

    IIRC, the pearloid is just ABS plastic.
  13. Lol I thought that was sarcastic BS but you can never be too sure on teh internets.


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