Making fret markers?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by thobbinghotrod, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. My gigging bass needs some fret markers on the top of the neck, on dark stages I need some dots or something to guide me. Can I take a drill bit and make small indentations and fill them with white paint or something?
  2. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    If you don't mind modifying your own bass. . .

    Get some styrene from your local hobby model shop. I generally use 1/16" or 3/32" rods. Tape the side of the fingerboard, and mark a pencil line along the edge (on the tape!) where you want the dots to lie. Mark off the centre point of each fret position along this line with a pencil. Measure carefully. Use an awl to make a dimple where the dots will go, for your drill bit to seat in. For the 12th fret dots, I generally pencil in the centre line between the 11th and 12th frets, then mark my dot holes with the awl about 3mm to each side of that line. Remove tape. The dimples you've marked should be visible now. Apply some waxilit (or other glue release) around where your dots will go. Drill straight in (about 1/8" deep) and out using the marks you made with the awl. Drop a tiny dab of super glue from a pipette into the first hole. Push the rod in, then cut it off flush. You should be able to do this without scratching the finish if you are careful. Drop glue in the next hole, push rod in, cut flush etc. Clean off the waxilit with rubbing alcohol, unless you have a finished fretboard edge.

    Double check all your measurements before drilling!
  3. fretlessman71

    fretlessman71 Still beats havin' a job Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    FoCo, NoCo is another option. Less work, a bit more flash. I'm going to have this done to my Jazz bass - same problem as you; dark stage, old eyes, etc...
  4. KsToaDangr


    Apr 17, 2007
    Columbia, SC
    It would probably annoy me to try to play with that on my bass...of course, I am slightly photo sensitive. I occasionally have to play shows with sunglasses on if the lighting is bothering me.
  5. I plan to fill the drill bit divits with glow in the dark paint from the craft store. I just hope it sticks to the wood.

    Thanks for the tip on styrene, I will check that out before doing anything.
  6. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    You can get glow in the dark styrene rods too. . .
  7. dannster


    Aug 20, 2000
    I bought some glow in the dark dot stickers off ebay for cheap.
  8. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    I've been using brass rod lately. 1/8" brass rod, polished up nicely, is highly visible. Kinda large, as side dots go, but not bad
  9. Yeah, brass rod!!! that would fit this bass perfectly. Where can I get it?
  10. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    Yeah I've grown quite fond of brass myself. You can also buy 2 packs of mother of pearl (10) from Stew Mac, or there are tons of places online to get MOP side dots. The last time I had to get brass rod I think I got it at Home Depot or Lowes.
  11. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    I got mine at Lowe's... it was 1/8" rod, and it was ~3' long, IIRC... under $10, for sure...