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Adding inlays to a "normal" guitar


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I was thinking of getting me an Ibanez SZ520. I've tried it and liked pretty much all but the inlays (or lack of 'em more like)...there's only a confusing flame inlay on the 11-13th fret area.

Now, would it be possible to add your own inlays to the other frets?

What kind of problems could arise? Would leveling the inlays so that they match the fretboard radius be difficult? What would it cost (tools needed, inlay materials) to make something like block or trapezoid inlays (or something that goes with the 11-13th fret flame)?

Oh and do you think someone who's never done inlay work could do the job? Of course I'd practice on plywood or something first..

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First of all, you'd have to remove all the frets to make it easier/possible to radius the inlays and then you're going to have to put more back in and dress them. That in itself isn't easy AFAIK. Other than that, have a look at the tutorials on the project guitar home page.

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There's a right way to do it, and a wrong way to do it.

Pulling the frets and replacing them after the inlay is complete is the right way.

Inlaying each fret, then gluing each fret, then leveling each fret and potentially doing it unevenly is the wrong way to do it.

It's great to want to do things yourself, however you can potentially ruin the guitar, and just need a new neck and a refret anyway. Getting the rout depth will be a pain as well with the frets in. As well as runny glue sticking to the frets, and then they need a re-polish.

As well as tutorials here.

I'm not trying to be negative, just trying to save you a LOT of wated time and effort. If your going to do it yourself do it with re-fretting, full neck sanding, and fretwork. Not fret by fret. You'll learn more in the process.


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You mean like replace MOP with abalone or something like that?

Is it worth it?

You would still have to glue and level it.

That requires sanding down the board evenly. That requires sanding down the length of the board, from the bridge to the nut. Sanding each fret is a waste of time, and much more likely to cause bigger problems in the possible un-evenness and mistakes.


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but if you took a lot of time and care..

they're only dots so it's not a large thing that needs sanding

and being careful with glue, so there's no excess spilling onto the fretboard,

then use a dremel and various sandpapers with dowel wrapped in them

(circular dowel to match the dot inlays, so there's no unwanted sanding on the fretboard)

and when it's close enough to level lightly sanding each fret evenly...

might work?

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As Clavin, There is a right way and a wrong way. Or as my father would say, Don't try and reinvent the wheel. :DB):D

Too many other people have tried it and it just don't work right with out pulling the frets.

Guitar Ed

Advice worth what you paid for it. Nothing.

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