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What type of inlay is this?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by idoker, Jun 29, 2020 at 2:20 PM.


  1. idoker

    idoker Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Charlotte, NC
    I’m seeking info on a type of dot inlay that is comprised of two types of materials…whether it’d be wood, mother-of-pearl, etc. I have seen these types of inlays primarily on STR basses, but also on Robert “Bubby” Lewis’ signature MTD basses, and Abraham Laboriel’s Yamaha TRB bass... among some others.


    What are these types of inlays called? Do you know of a retailer that sells these? I am considering this type of inlay for a possible bass build, so any help the TB community could give would be greatly appreciated!

    Example-1.jpg Example-2.jpg Example-3.jpg bubby_1.png bubby_2.jpg Abe_1.png
     
    TonyP- likes this.
  2. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    I've done those. I used an aluminum tube and black plastic rod that was sized just right to fit inside.

    It was a 1/4" aluminum tube with 1/32" wall thickness, leaving an internal diameter of 3/16". So I bought some 3/16" plastic rod and used some water thin CA to glue the plastic into the tube.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020 at 3:23 PM
  3. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    I don't know if there's any official name for them, but I call them Ring Dots. The outer ring is slice of metal tubing, usually either aluminum or brass. Those look like brass. They aren't too hard to do. The simple way is to use standard tubing from the hobby shop. Since I have a small machine shop, other Luthiers have had me make up the rings in special sizes and combinations. For some of Bill Asher's beautiful lapsteels, I made up Target inlays, with multiple concentric rings and black epoxy.
     
    Winoman, robert43, mikewalker and 4 others like this.
  4. idoker

    idoker Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Charlotte, NC
    Thank you for the info, everyone.

    I contacted Mike Tobias about the inlays on Bubby Lewis' bass. He described them as "2-tone" that are ebony set in mother-of-pearl. He also describe using them in other wood combinations, such as ebony set in a maple ring.

    I also contacted Bass Japan Direct (dealer of STR basses). I was told those types of inlays are called "fish-eyes".... no other info was offered about them, except for the fact that they weren't for sale.
     
  5. I had an early 80’s Washburn B20 bass. I think they called them Brass Ring inlays. 0AB0D114-AD76-4C92-AE0C-FA85E90FCF3B.jpeg
     
    Winoman, robert43 and idoker like this.
  6. Rôckhewer

    Rôckhewer Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Owner/Builder- RockHewer Custom Guitars LLC
    I always do "ring dots" as side markers.
    .. aluminoom or brass tube from the hardware store filled with... whatever!
    I've used wood dowels, brass with more aluminum, luminlay.... and when I do LED's ... I fill the rods with acrylic dowels with lights behind them.
    Super easy.
     
    Dynacord, robert43, idoker and 2 others like this.
  7. I'll tap you later. I'm thinking aluminoom "ring dots" filled with "Glo-On" for my side markers on Lucifer. ;)
     
  8. J_Bass

    J_Bass

    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    Maruszczyk does a similar dot, they call them oval dots.

    oval-inlay-black-acryl.jpg
     
    6Bass101 likes this.
  9. Rôckhewer

    Rôckhewer Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Owner/Builder- RockHewer Custom Guitars LLC
    I did this myself a couple times, in my wanna-be Alembic phase....
    But I had access to a waterjet to cut the metal ovals back then.
    .. also a shot of my acrylic in ring dot led's :D 20170206_131812.jpg 20170426_224318.jpg
     
  10. arbiterusa

    arbiterusa

    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    The guy who trained me how to do finish at SCGC used to do these on his guitars both for side and top dots using brass or aluminium tubing and ground lapis lazuli in epoxy (I think his wife was a jeweler). Just incredibly classy looking and beautiful.
     
    robert43 and mikewalker like this.
  11. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Here's another classic example of ring side dots, on a Pittman bass, built by our late friend Paul Slagle. Most of the work on the neck, including installation of the ring dots, was done by Keith Horne, my neighbor across the hall. I machined up the little aluminum rings. They are filled with red pigment and CA glue.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You can see the entire build of this beautiful bass here:

    NBBD Pittman !
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020 at 10:50 PM
    rwkeating, wraub, Dynacord and 6 others like this.
  12. nilorius

    nilorius

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    Looks nice.
     
  13. Rickenbacker did this for a special run a few years ago, the 4003 Noir.

    ?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rickresource.com%2Fregister%2Fuser_images%2F47357%2F4.jpg
     
    somegeezer and paco facile like this.
  14. Roxbororob

    Roxbororob Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2015
    Montreal
    Beautiful bass, yes! Sorry for the loss of your friend, Bruce.
     
  15. Dynacord

    Dynacord

    Jan 1, 2005
    Side ring dots done with brass pipe on my Padalka:

    HGGS detail.jpg
     
    rwkeating, Spectrum, idoker and 2 others like this.
  16. akabane

    akabane

    Jan 21, 2012
    London
    Wow, is that little strip in the fretboard a veneer? :O
     
  17. rudy4444

    rudy4444

    Mar 13, 2012
    Central Illinois
    If you want some super-cool ring inlays to use for fret board position dots jest visit one of the knife inlay suppliers. They have a large variety of inlays in rod form that are cut off and inset into the sides of a knife. They also look great on musical instruments, though.

    3035-150251619112017.jpg
     
    idoker, Spectrum, Rôckhewer and 3 others like this.
  18. Dynacord

    Dynacord

    Jan 1, 2005
    It's an inlay. Also the binding is strips of ebony.
     
  19. akabane

    akabane

    Jan 21, 2012
    London
    just beautiful!
     
    Dynacord likes this.
  20. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    May 20, 2005
    Padalka is a madman.
     
    Dynacord likes this.

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