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covering fret inlays, can it be done?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by poomwah, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    I can't stand the inlays on my bass, but I don't want to destroy the resale value. Is there any way I could cover them, or would the strings actually scrape the covering off? I've thought of either automotive vinyl if I can find an attractive pattern, or possibly, self adhesive photo paper.
    any info and advice would be GREATLY appreciated.
    thanks guys
  2. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    what type of bass, what type of fingerboard, and what are the inlays like?
  3. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Why's everyone concerned with resale value?

    If you like the bass, keep it and change the inlays. If you don't plan on keeping the bass, sell it. If you are already concerned with resale value, than I say you don't care for the bass.

    It's that simple! It's an instrument, not a commodity.

    You can stick things over the inlays, but the strings will eventually wear them off... but it shouldn't happen right away, because the strings rest on the frets, not on the fingerboard.

    I don't like dot inlays, so I didn't put any at all on my basses. :)
  4. Vic Winters

    Vic Winters Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Rochester, NY
    As long as it's not fretless you won't have any problems with them scraping off.
  5. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    I used to not worry about resale, and used to modify the buhjeezus out of things that I thought I'd want to keep forever, then eventually something would happen where I'd want or need to sell it.
    The biggest problem with putting in some other type of inlay is that I don't have the experience, skill, equipment, or the money for equipment.
    The bass is a bc rich, the finger board is rosewood, and the inlays are clouds :\
  6. Well doesn't that just suck, on two of three counts? (I like Rosewood):smug:

    Seriously tho, sell the bass before you DO do something you'll regret. Otherwise, if the bass is a keeper, have a COMPETENT luthier remove and replace the fretboard...or make HUGE block inlays, considering them clouds are honkin big.

    Otherwise, I'm in complete agreement with DavidRavenMoon
  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings

    While it may be that simple for some people, I can easily see why someone would be concerned about resale value... because they might need or want to resell it:smug:. Even more basic, they want to be aware of what they're dealing with. Most people might want to know the value of a beater bass before they add a fourth pickup and remove the headstock;)

    For a really common example, look at all of the now vintage Fender basses that people hacked up years ago and now find how their adventures tanked the resale value. How much easier might a bass be to sell if it doesn't have a "Fat Tony" inlay at the 12th fret? Or a Steve Vai handle in the the body?:D

    Resale value is quite real for many people. Many people with your stance get a rude awakening when they get in a position where they have to sell something and only then do they pay attention to resale value... and it's often too late.

    As far as being concerned about resale value = you don't care about the bass... huh? One has nothing to do with the other. I'm concerned about the resale value of my vintage Fenders and Fodera AND I'm keeping them. Both can easily happen.

    And instruments most certainly can be commodities. I bought a Surine Protocol 7 from GC for a giveaway price of $1,000. I sold it for $2,000, still well under what it was worth and I made $1,000. Is that just an instrument?

    Other than that, we agree.

  8. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    thanks everyone, for all the advice, I LOVE the bass, the body is beautiful, it feels great, the sound is amazing, I'm just having some issues with the inlays looking hideous. I HOPE I never have to get rid of it, but I've been in situations before with more than just basses, cars and motorcylces, for instance that you customize the way YOU want them, then when you need money, you hardly get any and you keep hearing "if only you had left it alone, it would be worth more" I guess its really a moot point, because I can't afford to have someone replace the finger board, or even install different inlays, so my only option is to live with them the way they are (good luck) or cover them.
  9. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    Once upon a time there was a company called "Fretware" that had an "inlay alternative"... super thin adhesive-backed abalam or somesuch cut into block inlay sets...

    Supposedly they were as thin or thinner than a piece of paper, and you were not supposed to be able to tell the difference by touch when they were installed. There is some mention of it on the internet, different people using them with varying degrees of success. It sounds pretty far-fetched to me, and that may be why the company is no longer around.
  10. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    That's one of the coolest features on that bass!

    You don't like clouds?

    Do they insult your masculinity? ;)
  11. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Buying stuff they don't need, and can't afford. That's the American way! My point is every bass I bought, I wanted. And I kept them for the most part.

    But.. no one was thinking resale value back then. Why? Because, like with most things you buy, such as automobiles, the value decreases with time. When I paid $400 for a new Ric in 1973, I wasn't worried about how much it would be worth in 20 years, so if I modded it, it was because it added to the functionality at that time, and to me. It was my bass, so it didn't matter. Those changes made the bass worth more to me.

    Now people buy as collectors, and that has artificially inflated the price of vintage instruments, by both, making them more rare, because they are being bought and not played for the most part. Now supply is lower, making them more rare, and since they are more valuable now, the demand is high. So they get more rare, and hence more expensive, and more in demand, so even more rare, expensive, etc.

    Why? Because they are old. That's it. They aren't uncommon. Some of the more obscure old guitars can be had for a song, because demand has not been placed on them by a market.

    I think it's an appalling situation for everyone except the dealer of vintage instruments.

    A buddy of mine has a '64 Strat he had since it was new. He could sell it and make a bundle, but he likes the guitar, and even though he's having some money problems, the guitar is worth more to him than its monetary value. So to him, it's about it being an instrument, and one of sentimental value, than a commodity.

    The only problem with guitars as commodity, is that you get companies like Gibson and Fender taking their regular off the shelf instruments, and making them look like "relics" (that's not the correct usage of that word either... a relic is always obsolete), or they make over the top instruments just for collectors, and price them accordingly. So now he have to buy the Epiphones and not the Gibsons.

    Yeah, I've hacked up my share... here's my '74 P bass! I still have it too. You have to remember that at the time, it was a used bass, and worth the $100 I paid for it. It wasn't a good bass at all... bad neck. :)


    Buying stuff they don't need, and can't afford.. the American way! Look at auto leasing and the mortgage mess ... Too much greed going on lately. :rollno:

    If the bass means more to you than how much its worth, than by all means have it modified. It's your bass. If you really like the bass, you wont want to change anything on it. If you dislike things about it that interfere with using is as a bass, it's the wrong bass for you... get something else. If you have it because it's rare or valuable, put it in the case and just take it out to look at. :)

    The priority here is how much you want the bass as a tool you will use to make music. If, on the other hand, you bought it as a collectable, than don't change it.

    I've collected quite a few instruments over the years, because I liked them as objects, not because I planned on using them on a regular basis. One exception is my '74 Fender Mustang, which is just a great guitar. My '66 Mosrite was fun, but not really usable to me. Same with the '74 EB-2 and Vox Stereo Phantom XII. Maybe their new owners actually play them. I just ran out of room so had to make a decision. :crying:

    But.. buying a bass to use and buying a bass as a collector, are slightly different. Unless you have the funds to justify it.

    Nothing wrong with buying an instrument with the intent on reselling it. I've sold a lot of old parts and pickups on eBay. I didn't buy them to sell, but they were laying around. I'm always amused that by keeping a Sovtek army green Big Muff pretty much unused for 10 years, that I got more than I paid for it, even though you can go get a new one for less...

    My buddy buys Les Pauls. He has about 25 of them. But he's not buying them to keep and play. He doesn't touch them. he has a few he's keeping, but the rest are for investing.

    The point is the intent. He doesn't play these, and has no plans on keeping them or changing any parts on them. On his own LP's, he's changed the pickups and electronics, and taken pickguards off an stuff.

    See the difference? With no intent to sell, those things don't matter.

    Which brings me back to, does he want to keep the bass, or sell it. I don't sell my basses that I play, just the ones I don't care much about.

    Brad, you're always good for a debate!
    tyohars likes this.
  12. doctorjazz


    Oct 22, 2006
    Wilmington, NC
    That P-bass is just too intense.
  13. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    actually, the resale value has become a moot point. I couldn't imagine selling it anyway, it was a valentines day gift from my wife. So there is a very deep sentimental attatchment to it. I was just looking at is as a what if I had to get rid of it type of scenario. But after spending the day with it today, and absolutely falling in love with the way it feels and sounds, it will be with me forever. Now its just an issue of I can't afford to have the inlays done, its just not in the budget, and realistically it never will be.
    The clouds themselves are nice, its the way they look with the mockingbird body that doesn't click for me. If the body was more rounded and more "bulbous" I think the clouds would be fine
  14. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    That was always part of the Mockingbird, but they used to me more stylized.

    Those are very nicely done inlays.

    I always liked that shape... but the basses can be neck heavy.

    I had a girlfriend once that had a one of a kind pearl pink Mockingbird with a single P pickup. It was made for a NAMM show.
  15. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    it is a bit neck heavy, but my wife got me the mockingbird as a backup to my thunderbird, so I'm used to it, hehe.
    a pearl pink mockingbird... THAT would be something to see, I would so play one of those, and if mine was pink, I wouldn't mind the clouds at all :p
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    My point is, that's still a heck of a stretch you're making. Your American way stance can have nothing to do with the particular situation. "WANTing to sell something does not mean you didn't need it nor does it mean you can't afford it. Last I checked "needs" aren't permanent;)

    Again, a gross exaggeration. Most people I knew back then absolutely were concerned with the worth of their gear and didn't modify or mutilate it. "You" not caring doesn't equal no one else did.

    And...? remember this paragraph.

    They aren't uncommon AND they become more rare? Seem like a pretty obvious disconnect there.

    What is appalling about it? Do you need one?:smug:

    Does this somehow negate my example? Nope.

    I'm looking an the big picture.

    Do you need either? Nope.

    I seriously don't have a clue why you do that. Try this one on: I'm American. I have more than one car with no car payments. I've never been late on a mortgage payment. Is it okay for me to be concerned about resale value since I don't fit the box you keep whipping out?

    It's funny how you try to tie resale value of instruments to this narrow view of the current state of socio-economic affairs.

    And those are obviously the only options you can come up with. That's why I brought up the ones you didn't... which are valid in many cases.

    And you are now the decider of priority for others? Sweet.

    And objects are instruments?

    Or heaven forbid you buy a collectible bass to play it. You keep missing that option for some strange reason.

    If life were an either or situation with one path and one set of outcomes, that might make sense. People who are concerned with resale value probably understand that in the future, things may change:D

    Your take on this is so one-sided I figure I might as well say something. I can't count the number of times someone's proudly proclaimed that they didn't care about resale value and then something unplanned happened and they lost big time when they had to sell something at a huge loss. The funny thing is that you mention mortgages and leases and that can be the same ignorant "who cares" mindset as not thinking about resale value for gear. I have no sympathy for anyone too dumb to even consider "what if's"?
  17. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    wow, I didnt mean to open the proverbial can of worms, hehe. I have come to a decision though, I'm going to do my best to live with the inlays FOR NOW, until I can afford a router attachment for my dremel (I know, they arent much, but I've got to pay off my new rig first) and have the money for some inlay material. Then I'll put my own inlays in it.
    Its about to be modified anyway, once I get home I'm going to drill a hole iin the back of it and relocated the strap button
  18. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    I'll give you a few examples on why that's not the case. We all know you can look for used instruments on places like eBay or in music stores, and get them for less than new, unless they are considered collectable. This is because the resale value of anything goes down initially the minute you walk out of the store.

    Some instruments considered collector's items are over priced compared to their worth. This has been done by guitar collectors. It helps their investments, but does not help players.

    I knew how much my Ric was worth, because I bought it. :)

    But I ended up eventually, and that's a pivotal word here, modifying it to better suit my needs. In my opinion some of the mods were improvements to the original design... such as replacing the bridge with a Badass II and installing larger fret wire. I'm obviously not alone there as people like Geddy Lee, Chris Squire, Paul McCartney, Lemmy, Roger Glover, and probably others I can't recall, modified their now very vintage Rics.

    Then we have Chuck Rainey, Will Bascome, Paul Jackson, and others modifying their now vintage Fender basses...

    Then we have Jeff Beck, John Entwistle, Jimmy Page, etc., modifying various instruments.

    Why do you find P/J basses, or Strats with humbuckers now? Because people modded their factory guitars and basses.

    You don't know anybody who did that, huh? That's not realistic.

    I guess I started playing before you did, because there were very few options for 3rd party pickups and stuff back then. We have many more options and instruments to choose from now. You wanted to buy a bass in 1973? What choices did you have? Think about that for a bit. Often you had to pick what was closest to what you wanted, and then nudge it along a bit. And judging by all the musicians in the 70's with modified instruments, and the market that sprung up back then for replacement parts, shows it was both popular to do, and often necessary.

    If you buy an instrument, it's yours to do as you wish with it. If the instrument is worth more to you modified, than resale value isn't important. This has been demonstrated by countless musicians who hacked up instruments to make them more personalized and well suited to their needs.

    I said that the original poster said he would never sell the bass, so the priority to him, is keeping the bass, but being happy with it. Selling it wasn't an option.

    My opinion is he should leave it as is. It's a beautiful bass and will probably increase in value in the future. However, if it was his main axe and he really didn't like the inlays, have them changed. Then the value has increased for him.

    I think the rest of your retorts were weak.
    tyohars likes this.
  19. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    the resale is gonna be out the window once I find the right size drill bit anyway, LOL, gonna move the strap button so its balanced
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Actually that pretty much sums up how I regard this entire post... weak. Nothing new there. Starting with you completely ignoring "Most people I knew back then..." right into you assuming you've been playing longer than me and the rest of the nonsense. As usual you aren't reading. As usual we disagree.

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