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And does anyone know the 'vintage correct' (1930s Selmer) way?
Here's a picture
Ha! Nice one Constantine, Thanks :D
I should have been more specific..
I know 'where' they go - I wanted to know how guys make them.
What material are they made out of, how deep are the holes drilled, diameters/radii for what appears to be 3 sizes of dot... that kind of thing
No clue, I only do side dots. Maybe PM Michael he may know.
And more specific still......are you planning an exact Selmer copy, or have a particular model or style in mind? Some have large dots, some small, some a mix and some none at all.
In the Selmer book by F. Charle (highly recommended for anyone wanting to build a Selmer copy) it states that the early models, up to #100, had NO dots, and thereafter they were made from 'pearloid' (a plastic imitation MOP). He also says the diameters and positions did differ anyway, but for most steel string models dots were at the 5, 7, 10, 12 and 17 frets, the first three 8mm diameter, then 6mm at the 12th fret and 4mm at the 17th.
Then again some prefer the block inlays, like the Favino Macias style. Have a look through the stock of guitars for sale here to see how many answers there are to the same question, and then decide what you are aiming for. I had a nice 'petite bouche' model made for me by a French luthier some time ago that had dots made from cut slices of small brass tube laid in with the hole in the middle filled in with glue and sawdust from the fingerboard , a bit of unnecessary extra work sure, but creating a subtle gold ring marker visible to the player, but not from a distance. Self-indulgence? Maybe, but some prefer to add their individual touches.
Dots are available from many luthiery suppliers, from cheap plastic of all sizes but you might get lucky and find some have the right look similar to pearloid. In the past, some used white clay too. Or if you prefer Mother of Pearl (MOP), again available in different diameters and if you are going that route, to add a little authentic French DNA, you could order direct from Delaruelle, a long-established family business supplying parts and hardware to luthiers: http://www.atelierdelaruelle.com/achat/cat-guitare-mandoline-etc.-7.html
As for fitting, I have just used a spur-point drill bit (aka brad-point) of the chosen diameter and set to the correct depth to match the thickness. Most types of glue will work, but rough up the back of the dot (plastic or MOP) and use glue sparingly as you don't want excess squeezing out on the fretboard.
If all that is not clear, there are many books about guitar building too.
Oh, yes what Dhris said about drilling. Don't just use a plain old drill bit unless that's all you have. BTW Forstner bits wood really well for a nice flat bottom counterbore.
Thanks especially Chris for the details (that's exactly the kind of nerdy stuff I really love finding out!)
This is the main bit I really wanted to know:
"..they were made from 'pearloid' (a plastic imitation MOP). He also says the diameters and positions did differ anyway, but for most steel string models dots were at the 5, 7, 10, 12 and 17 frets, the first three 8mm diameter, then 6mm at the 12th fret and 4mm at the 17th."
Very interesting about the brass tubes - I had briefly considered brass dots but since we've gone for a 'wood and gold' colour scheme already (even with the Jescar Evo Gold frets), I think gold-coloured inlays between gold frets might be a little 'overkill' for my taste..
Right now I'm mulling the idea of using sanding dust from one of the blonde woods in the build (i.e. the spruce top) in epoxy - that way we only have to find drill bits of 8, 6 & 4mm instead of also having to wait for pearloid dots to get here from China! :D
Plus, I expect it'll be slightly easier to conform them to the radius (maybe..!).