I'm making some fretless cbg's but I want to mark the frets. What do most of you use to do that? Seems like drawing them on would be the easiest but I don't know what you would use. (paint pen, sharpie, etc) I do have a woodburner, but haven't had great luck burning into oak, (course i haven't tried straight lines with it, just some swirly design my wife wanted on something). Thanks for any and all help

Views: 2790

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I have used sharpie on a few earely builds, but it eventualy wears off. A friend used his woodburner and it looks great. I was thinking about useing a utility knife to score the lines, painting over and lightly sanding the excess, though i haven't tried that yet.
I would expect that anything painted or drawn will wear off eventually. Wood burning does look nice.
I think the idea John has with using a score and applying paint is a good compromise.
If you top finish after marking, it should hold up better, too.
Yes there is a third option, inlay them.
It's about the easiest inlay you can ever do (well it's a toss up against dots) I've used a broken band saw blade for it, looks great. Contrasting veneer is cheap too.

As the other guys say, inlaid frets is a great option. You can gently cut the fret slots with a thin saw, then fill them with something like coloured plaster (to make high contrast with your fretboard, you can use any dye). When it dries, sand off the excess, it will look great.

tooth picks is also good.

Ya' need flat wire, use (the flat half of) bobby pins.

I've used a Sharpie just for something quick and dirty, but like the others have said, it does wear off eventually.

My favorite is an inlaid wood I used on the Little Purple Suitcase Bass. I cut slots as if I were going to do frets, then inserted a piece of veneer, cracked it off and sanded it flat. I'm sure there was some glue involved too. At any rate, they look great.


All the diddley bows I made up until now have all had masking tape fingerboards and felt tip frets, more really for ease of experimentation with fret positions. They dont need to be super precision exact for my purposes anyway. They do wear off a bit, but by the time that happens you should know how to feel the character of the guitar by then I should have thought?

Anyway, on my next one which is going to have 2 pickups (one for a bass string and the other for 2 other strings), I am going to use wooden dots made from dark brown teak (recycled from old outdoor furnitures) set into a lighter coloured birch or beech neck (old table legs). I have a plug cutter and a bit that is the exact size to suit it. The other thing I might try at some stage is plugs made of antelope horn or rams horn, which both come up very smooth and glossy if you polish it with metal polish.

Any way you want.   I often just put markers at the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 12th on a slider.   I've never done the tooth pick thing, but have used flat bobby pins.  They were not mine.   And I sure got a lot of superglue stuck to my fingers.   I've cut in the frets and used a colored pencil to mark em.   Takes us back to do what you want.

On my last build, I wanted a slider, but also wanted distinct fret markers. I've tried sharpies of different colors, but they do fade quickly. Finally, I decided to use 0.030 piano wire. I had a piece laying around and thought it would make nice markers if I cut slots then tapped it flush with the fret board.

I used my fret saw to cut slots, but instead of installing frets, I tapped the piano wire into the slot and flush. Once finished, I used a block sander to polish the tops of the piano wire so it was very easy to see.

I worked very well. Is visible and if you want to finger a note, the piano wire provides a hard spot to press the string against.

There are a lot of options for fret markers. This is just one of them.

Neat idea! Fretless with a hard spot to facilitate fingering...

Damn, now I've gotta' build another one. Maybe with buried nails instead of piano wire...

I have built a couple of fretless cigar box guitars.  I love rocking the slide and works great on fretless.  I make my note indicator marks on the side of the neck.  Rather than right on the fret board.  I find the notes easier to see when they are on the side, but that's just me.  I just use a sharpie myself to make the dots, and the lines as well.  Sometimes I'll use a pen to make the lines instead.  I have found the marks stay on the neck for sometime because there are no string(s) rubbing on the markings.


The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation? How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building Basics

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources


Busking Songs...

Started by Nomad Jack in Performances, How to Play, Lessons, Concerts. Last reply by J. D. Woods on Wednesday. 7 Replies

crossover guitar.

Started by Timothy Hunter in Other stuff - off topic, fun stuff, whatever. Last reply by Timothy Hunter Apr 10. 14 Replies

Tune up songs

Started by Ghostbuttons in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Timothy Hunter Mar 9. 5 Replies

Duel output jacks

Started by Justin Stanchfield in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Taffy Evans Mar 8. 6 Replies

How to Get Your Own Music on Spotify

Started by Cigar Box Nation in Feature Articles. Last reply by Southern Ray Feb 21. 2 Replies


© 2024   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

\uastyle>\ud/** Scrollup **/\ud.scrollup {\ud background: url("https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/963882636?profile=original") no-repeat scroll 0 0 transparent;\ud bottom: 25px;\ud display: inline !important;\ud height: 40px;\ud opacity: 0.3 !important;\ud position: fixed;\ud right: 30px;\ud text-indent: -9999px;\ud width: 40px;\ud z-index: 999;\ud}\ud.scrollup:hover {\ud opacity:0.99!important;\ud}\ud \uascript type="text/javascript">\ud x$(document).ready(function(){\ud x$(window).scroll(function(){\ud if (x$(this).scrollTop() > 100) {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeIn();\ud } else {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeOut();\ud }\ud });\ud x$('.scrollup').click(function(){\ud x$("html, body").animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, 600);\ud return false;\ud });\ud });\ud \ua!-- End Scroll Up -->