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Old 02-04-2022, 01:19 PM
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warfrat73 warfrat73 is offline
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Default Feeling wishy-washy about custom inlay, advise please.

My upcoming build slot is going to be hitting the bench imminently.

I'm second guessing what I was planning on doing for the inlay.

The plan is to have an axe inlaid between the 12th and 14th fret, with the head at the 12th. Basically the idea emerges from the poem "Axehandles" by Gary Snyder (also the title of the book from which the quote in my sig comes), which has stuck with me over the years.

On the one hand, I like the idea, and on the other, I think it might look a bit silly. But I'm having a hard time visualizing it. And, of course, if you google "axe inlay" you get tons of pictures of inlaid axes, not inlays of axes.

And, full disclosure, I kind of dislike it when people call guitars axes, and am afraid that I'll have to forever be explaining that that's not what it is a reference to.

This would be the only inlay on the fretboard. I want something fairly simple and understated (and not too expensive) that will give it that little bit of an individualized touch.

Jayson seemed to think it was a cool idea, and that it would look cool.

I don't really know what I'm asking for here... just looking to talk it through, I guess.
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Old 02-04-2022, 01:32 PM
jklotz jklotz is offline
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If I saw you playing out live, the first thought would be he gave his axe and axe. And I don't like the term used that way either. Just saying.
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Old 02-04-2022, 01:48 PM
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I think custom inlays can be cool if they are generic. In other words, no personal names or anything that would prevent someone from buying the guitar should you want to sell it down the line. So, no problem there with an axe. After that, I do prefer something that is symmetrical, generally speaking. An axe would not be unless you did something like two axes crossed at the handles or something like that. Last, I like something recognisable if it's not just a design. An axe if done well would be. I don't mind a guitar being referred to as an axe so no problem there. If it works for you and has special meaning I'd go for it. Who cares what others think about it. Plus, it's a cool story to tell. I personally like when people come up and ask me questions about my guitar(s). Also, I do like just a single inlay at the 12th fret. I think it looks classy with the right inlay.
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Old 02-04-2022, 02:27 PM
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My recent build ended up with the custom inlay on the headstock. The fretboard is based on a 1927 Gibson Nick Lucas. So I have tradition mixed in with the custom aspect of the guitar. And I really like the traditional look of this guitar with a few tasty design elements (armrest and Rickard tuners). The idea to place the Fox on the headstock was Dale's (Fairbanks) - I like his design sense, so I let him take it in the direction that he wanted to go.

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Old 02-04-2022, 02:28 PM
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My advice is if you are not sure, there is a good chance you won't like it. Everytime you look at the guitar you will see it, so you have to love it 100%.
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Old 02-04-2022, 02:40 PM
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Smile Bob said…

As Bob Taylor once said to me, “you can’t hear inlay“…

Pretty funny as Taylor guitars has made about a jillion dollars off of fancy inlays done mostly by computer numerical control machines.

That said, I like inlays, but I’d like them to look fairly traditional. Otherwise it’s just too jarring. And, you’ll regret it if you ever go to sell it, or your heirs well if they go to sell it!

Slot diamonds in a long pattern on the fretboard for me, as I will fearlessly lay em down and play lap slide with low action and a gentle touch.

Tom is correct. If you’re in doubt, skip it. I figure that’s what you’re wanting us to tell you anyway because that’s why you made this thread…

Whatever you do, enjoy the new guitar!

Paul
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Old 02-04-2022, 03:59 PM
runamuck runamuck is offline
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The ax inlay will evoke the ax nomenclature for a guitar, I think. I've always disliked that too.

But more to the point, why do something you're uncertain about? I ask myself, will I like this 10 years from now - 20?

It doesn't sound to me that you will.
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Old 02-04-2022, 04:11 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
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I had grand plans (in my mind) for an elaborate inlay on my 2020 Irvin.

I had a master inlay artist lined up, I just had to come up with the design.

This is where it got difficult. Even though I like a great inlay, all I could find were pictures of other people's inlay.

I was never able to come up with a design that I truly liked, that fit my own aesthetic and looked stunning. So I retreated to Japanese Maple fret markers created by Larry Robinson, and I love them!

My feeling is that if one does inlay, best to make it count. It shouldn't be so subtle that no one ever notices, and it needs to be aesthetically acceptable to you as you'll be looking at it for years.
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Old 02-04-2022, 04:44 PM
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Inlays mean very different things to different people. To me they are a valuable part of a custom build.

When Laurie Williams built me a guitar using Tasmanian blackwood back and sides I wanted another link to Tasmania for the inlay. So I chose the flower from the Tasmanian leatherwood tree. It reminded me of a lot of good hiking trips in Tassie, as well as my favourite honey!



I sent Laurie the image above and he turned it into a small, 12th fret inlay that, for me at least, fits the guitar perfectly.



Jimmi Wingert has made inlays for a couple of my other guitars. Her choices of form and colour were perfect and the inlays mean a lot to me and give me considerable enjoyment every time I play those guitars. And I am going for my enjoyment now, not a potential hit on marketability of the guitar if and when I ever sell it.

So my 2 cents is go for it. If the Snyder book is that important to you then every time you play the guitar and look at the inlay you will have a feelgood moment. And if it was me I’d have the axe at 45 degrees to the neck and just on the 12th fret.
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Old 02-04-2022, 04:45 PM
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Thanks for the input.

I like the idea of the thing. Will I like the thing itself?

Oh bother.
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Old 02-04-2022, 05:22 PM
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If it has meaning for you, I say go for it--just be 100% sure beforehand!

BTW--I discovered Riprap and Cold Mountain poems in college and it's still my favorite book of poetry. So much so that I call my home in the foothills here in N. California "The Riprap Roost". So I can relate...
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Old 02-04-2022, 05:55 PM
jklotz jklotz is offline
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One thing I wanted to caution you about: I've been auditioning a Furch Red guitar as of recent. It has this inlay:



The center of that flower design is over the 14th fret. Ascetically, it looks great, but I play up there sometimes and despite having side dots, every time I look down there, it really screws me up. My brian tells me the center should be at the 12th fret and it's not. My point is be very careful of anything that goes outside the 12 fret if you ever play or plan to play up there, and if you do, make sure the inlay has a defined center that you can't miss ON the 12th fret.

Hope that helped.
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Old 02-04-2022, 07:03 PM
fregly fregly is offline
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I don't know the poem. A silhouette of a man swinging an ax would be more evocative. Only at one spot on the board would be my choice.
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Old 02-04-2022, 09:48 PM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Methos1979 View Post
I think custom inlays can be cool if they are generic. In other words, no personal names or anything that would prevent someone from buying the guitar should you want to sell it down the line. So, no problem there with an axe. After that, I do prefer something that is symmetrical, generally speaking. An axe would not be unless you did something like two axes crossed at the handles or something like that. Last, I like something recognisable if it's not just a design. An axe if done well would be. I don't mind a guitar being referred to as an axe so no problem there. If it works for you and has special meaning I'd go for it. Who cares what others think about it. Plus, it's a cool story to tell. I personally like when people come up and ask me questions about my guitar(s). Also, I do like just a single inlay at the 12th fret. I think it looks classy with the right inlay.
Wouldn't a double-bitted axe be symmetric?
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Old 02-04-2022, 09:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bard Rocks View Post
Wouldn't a double-bitted axe be symmetric?
Absolutely!
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