I use a hole punch and some veneer scraps. I also use the inside spike of pop rivets(after using those for string openings) for nice side dot markers.

I was also paging through an old grizzly catalogue with all these nice photos of rare woods -I bet you could cut some holes out of those too. While your add it make some fake veneer for your headstock!

Just apply with modge podge.


I've also heard people using:

guitar picks

credit cards (only good use for these!)

anyone try old cds yet?


Anything else we can use???

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nice one!



Sonny Wentling said:

just wanted to share this little tip ! (no pun intended !! ) home depot has escutcheon pins made of brass size #18X3/4 " that are awesome for side markers. you get around 50 of them for a buck. just drill ur side marker holes nip the pins down to 1/4 inch put a spot of super glue in the hole and stick them in. I countersink the heads with a drill bit the same size and recess them or u can just let them stay raised so u can feel them in the dark. heres how it looks

Just took a paper hole puncher to cut and flattened aluminum can - hmm very clean little circles. I think these could make some nice markers. You could use the outside of the can if you needed colors too. Bright red ones from a coke can or bright green from one of them monster cans! Drink all that caffeine and and start punchin' -  you'll have a years worth of dots punched out in no time!

ive used to use the hole punch on neck scraps from the bandsaw before i got plug cutters.

I usually use twigs from the garden for my side dots, they work awesome, especially with the bark still on em

I use wooden dowels for my dots and side markers, I get them from a model boat website here in the UK.

They come in a range of thicknesses from 1mm - 14mm and are approximately 900mm long (so lots of dots). I use 2mm dowels for the side dots and 6mm dowels for the fret markers, walnut for maple necks and birch for rosewood or ebony fretboards.

They are real cheap between £0.50 - £1.39 each and last me for ages.

I use aluminum roofing nails. Drill a small hole, add a drop of CA and tap it in. Cut off the excess and sand smooth.

I bought a nice set of leather punches from the craft store. I can make 8 different sizes of holes in all those things mentioned above.

Thanks for the ideas guys !

You may also like to check out my blog post about a wood art transfer technique I found on the internet. You basically print out your design on a laser printer (mirrored), glue it to the wood using gel medium, wait for it to dry, then use lots of water and rub the excess paper off with your finger.

I've had some good results from this technique and also use it for my headstock logos too!

Very clean work! is gel medium actually used as a paint additive? Is it like modge podge or gloss meduim? Thanks for sharing


Hi Wade,

Yep the gel medium is used as a paint additive, I use Liquitex Gloss Gel Medium and that works well for me. I have seen this technique done with Modge Podge and Elmer's washable glue too.

I am going to try coating the paper in a thin layer of gel medium before I print on to it to see if that makes a difference, as it is pretty easy to start rubbing the transfer off if your too rough.

I use bamboo skewers as fret markers and dowel rod for dots drilled and sanded flush.  I have also tried tee shirt transfer paper.  Printed on an ink jet printer and ironed on the fretboard then peel the backing off. It should have a transparent background just like a tee shirt. Coat with Modge-Podge.

Plant hanger=1-5 yr supply of fret markers!

Plastic, wood, and metal knitting needles make good fret markers and come in more sizes and colors than you could imagine. You can usually find some at local thrift stores for a few cents for a pair, or wait for the wife to break one and claim it for your own.

For side markers, my wife introduced me to solid brass and copper beading wire. I found that 14 gauge will press into a 1/16" (1.5 mm) hole just fine, and stay put with a drop of super glue.

Some other things I've tried are weed eater line, chopsticks, toothpicks, rivet shanks, brads, screws, nails, and just good old paint.


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