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Author Topic:  Plexi fretboard?
Tim Toberer

 

From:
Nebraska, USA
Post  Posted 17 Jul 2022 2:20 pm    
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I am looking for some guidance in making a clear plastic fretboard for my 8 string. My table saw would make neat work of it if I could wrap my head around how to accurately cut the slots. Fret markets drilled with small fostener bit and filled with paint? Paint one side and saw the other side?? Tips would be great! Its a 22.5 scale guitar.
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Wayne Brown

 

From:
Bassano, Alberta, Canada
Post  Posted 17 Jul 2022 2:56 pm     steel guitar fret board
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Hi Tim there are converters online to give you exactly where to place your frets on any scale you wish. This is how i did it with my Outwest build in the builders section. Also if you have an old fret board in that scale you can double check your work. The only thing i can suggest is be slow, and TAKE YOUR TIME and measure 5 times LOL before you cut and then remember to only measure from one side of the blade all the time. I hope this helps
thanks
wayne
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Chris Lucker

 

From:
Los Angeles, California USA
Post  Posted 17 Jul 2022 4:51 pm    
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As al alternative, you could do as Marlen and DALAND and others did and print on paper a fretboard and cover it with plexiglass.
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Chris Lucker
Red Bellies, Bigsbys and a lot of other guitars.
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Per Berner


From:
Skövde, Sweden
Post  Posted 17 Jul 2022 10:54 pm    
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Try the fret calculator on the Stewmac website. Very easy to use.
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George Piburn


From:
The Land of Enchantment New Mexico
Post  Posted 18 Jul 2022 5:00 am     plexi
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Hello from GeorgeBoards

I've made hundreds of what you are asking about.

Please accept my Tough Love : You are Pushing Mud Uphill.

Your plan will tear up more than provide clean that you really want.

Find a plastics shop - signage shop - Trophy shop with a laser cutter.

Laser etch the back side with the lines and markers.
All of which need to be designed in computer graphics programs like Illustrator - Corel Draw.

Any Decent 50 watt laser can cut the outside profile to any shape.

Glad to advise further if wanted.
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GeorgeBoards S8 Non Pedal Steel Guitar Instruments
Maker of One of a Kind Works of Art that play music too.
Instructional DVDs
YouTube Channel
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Andy DePaule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Springfield, Oregon
Post  Posted 18 Jul 2022 6:29 am     George is right
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George is right, I was going to say the same thing but had to go out with friends for dinner and was running late.

Most sign/trophy shops these days can do what you need in plastic or metal if you have digital drawings.

These are not usually expensive. They can even burn the screw holes if you plan to attach the parts that way.
Once they are made they can also be attached with 3M double stick tape.
I'd advise using both screws and double stick tape. The screws will hold it securely in place and the tape will help prevent noises from rattle if any part is not as secure as it should be.

The Alkire Harp fretboard replacement above was made with plexiglass for a friend on the forum.
Looked just like the old worn one below. The screw holes were also laser burned.


The two Gibson replacements were made for a fellow on the forum to change out with the bad original at the bottom.
They were a tad thinner but looked perfect.


These were done in stainless steel or brass with black or white painted background.
They were not actually attached to this Promat steel. I just wanted to see how they looked.
I like to do the fretboard in polished gold to match the tuners and other hardware.
Silver and gold together is one of my personal favorites.




Last is my old lap steel that I still use.
The fretboard with the 50's style pinup gal and the pickup plate were both made by the same method.

I needed the new plate because I was replacing the old lipstick pickup with a nice Wallace Truetone.

I have also just had some of my String Hold down plates made to bring back to the US.
Will have to do the 90º bend when I'm back in Oregon where I have the steel break tool for bending.
These are designed to work like some of the early 50's Fender Console ones.
The screw & string holes were burned through by laser.


I will be back on the 22nd of July and will offer some for sale.
Have them in Silver & Gold color polished metal.
_________________
Inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th; http://luthiersupply.com/instrument-gallery.html
2017 Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 Polished Aluminum covering.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Short A6th.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Long E6/9th.
1956 Dewey Kendrick D-8 4&3, Restoration Project.
1973 Sho~Bud Green SD-10 4&5 PSG, Restoration Project.


Last edited by Andy DePaule on 18 Jul 2022 7:50 pm; edited 4 times in total
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George Piburn


From:
The Land of Enchantment New Mexico
Post  Posted 18 Jul 2022 7:49 am     in stock
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If you can live with laser etched Birchply 1/8" 16.99 usd + shipping.

I have them in stock S8 22.5 scale blonde's.

I've got 1 piece Blue plexi top etched super discount 12.00 dollars + Ship.

1 piece plexi back painted black and etched in 25 scale S8

All can go down with 2 side tape.

Andy's goodies look great - he is a super person and makes really nice parts.

Perhaps if you were to show photos of the wood you plan to use and details of the build folks can offer suggestions.

Mr.Boards
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GeorgeBoards S8 Non Pedal Steel Guitar Instruments
Maker of One of a Kind Works of Art that play music too.
Instructional DVDs
YouTube Channel
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Per Berner


From:
Skövde, Sweden
Post  Posted 18 Jul 2022 8:03 am    
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I had the fretboard for my Ben-Rom made by a local signmaker's shop, from an Illustrator pdf-file, with raised maple leaf markers. They milled it out of 1/8" aluminium dust-catcher style, filled it with black paint and polished it. Cost including the laser-cut polished aluminium logo was equivalent to about 95 USD plus sales tax. Very happy with the result.


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Andy DePaule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Springfield, Oregon
Post  Posted 18 Jul 2022 4:51 pm     Thanks George
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Thanks George,
Wish I had some of your CNC Cutting & Printing skills.
I've really admired your work for years and more recently your CNC parts printing.

Sorry to say I'm some kind of moron with computer skills.
My business manager in Saigon is far better and we had planned to get a smaller
CNC printer and CNC milling machine in 2020, but thats got delayed with the covid.
Best wishes,
Andy
_________________
Inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th; http://luthiersupply.com/instrument-gallery.html
2017 Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 Polished Aluminum covering.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Short A6th.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Long E6/9th.
1956 Dewey Kendrick D-8 4&3, Restoration Project.
1973 Sho~Bud Green SD-10 4&5 PSG, Restoration Project.
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Tim Toberer

 

From:
Nebraska, USA
Post  Posted 19 Jul 2022 5:08 am    
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Good to see this forum has some action! Thanks for all the responses. I definitely agree that if you are building a a steel guitar, buying a pre-made fretboard or having one made is a good way to go. It is hard to argue with the results I see here and adds a professional touch to a homebuilt guitar. I guess I am stubborn and like the idea of at least knowing I can make one. I realize I would never get the results of a laser engraver etc. I may just put a printed fretboard under the plexiglass, that seems like a simple elegant solution.

This build is the one that inspired me. https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=286534&sid=0f3ac3f6e767f447318b5ce40f964606 I bookmarked it a while ago because it just seems like a perfect guitar in so many ways. He describes how he made the fretboard, so I guess I have the info. I need, I am just curious if anyone else has done this, and how.
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Andy DePaule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Springfield, Oregon
Post  Posted 19 Jul 2022 1:21 pm     Thanks Tim
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Thanks Tim,
I'd thought to include what Jerry did for the fretboards he makes because they looked great. Reason I left it out was I'd forgotten how he did it except that it was done on his computer & printer.

He has built some really nice lap steels as well as being a wonderful player.
For those who didn't notice, he is playing the steel, guitar & bass on all his Youtube videos.

Jerry lives in Eugene on the other side of the freeway from Springfield. Oregon.
Here is a link to his fine jazz and other pickin"
https://www.youtube.com/user/steeljazz
_________________
Inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th; http://luthiersupply.com/instrument-gallery.html
2017 Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 Polished Aluminum covering.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Short A6th.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Long E6/9th.
1956 Dewey Kendrick D-8 4&3, Restoration Project.
1973 Sho~Bud Green SD-10 4&5 PSG, Restoration Project.
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Bobby D. Jones

 

From:
West Virginia, USA
Post  Posted 19 Jul 2022 10:43 pm    
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Just a few days ago I put a post here on the Builders Corner called "Making a Custom Fret Board" I built the steel guitar in the picture and made the fretboards.

I considered sawing slots for the frets, But settled on just painting the frets. Those fret boards was made from a scrap of Plexiglass from a storm door repair, Total cost in 1970 about 3.00. The edges was rounded with a file and sandpaper and buffed on a wheel, No edge shadow.

I used diamonds as markers, The guitar has a double diamond on the front apron.

If you want to discuss making them send me a private message with phone number.
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Tim Toberer

 

From:
Nebraska, USA
Post  Posted 20 Jul 2022 5:38 am    
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Quote:
Just a few days ago I put a post here on the Builders Corner called "Making a Custom Fret Board" I built the steel guitar in the picture and made the fretboards.

I just read your post, somehow I missed that one! That looks great and sounds much easier than sawing one out. I think I understand how you did it, just careful layout with the tape. I suppose I could find some stencils to do more intricate fret markers. I really like this solution. Thanks again!

Quote:
He has built some really nice lap steels as well as being a wonderful player.
For those who didn't notice, he is playing the steel, guitar & bass on all his Youtube videos.

Such a great player!
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Tim Toberer

 

From:
Nebraska, USA
Post  Posted 23 Jul 2022 8:01 am    
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This is what I came up with.

I can use the jig for regular fretboards too! With a different blade of course.
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David Ball


From:
North Carolina High Country
Post  Posted 23 Jul 2022 8:14 am    
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Years ago, I made a few fingerboards using a similar jig, but using multi-ply pickguard material instead of plexiglass. Fret marks ended up white on a black fingerboard. Worked just fine.

Dave
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Benjamin Poilve

 

From:
France
Post  Posted 25 Jul 2022 1:25 am    
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If you are digitally inclined, I made a tool to generate outline of necks where you can enter your dimensions : https://github.com/BenjaminPoilve/Steel-Neck-Generator
A lot of shop offer laser cutting/engraving of plexiglass (and most design/art schools have them too).
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Andy DePaule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Springfield, Oregon
Post  Posted 25 Jul 2022 2:02 am     Special Note for Pedal Steel Fretboards.
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Benjamin Poilve wrote:
If you are digitally inclined, I made a tool to generate outline of necks where you can enter your dimensions : https://github.com/BenjaminPoilve/Steel-Neck-Generator
A lot of shop offer laser cutting/engraving of plexiglass (and most design/art schools have them too).


Benjamin has made a good contribution here for those with the skill to use the program. Thank you Benjamin. Very Happy

One important consideration is the fact that on a pedal steel with roller nut* you must account for the place where the strings leave the nut rollers and deduct that amount from the first fret.
If not, all the following frets will be a little to far forwards towards the bridge.

*This can also be an issue with non pedal steels with a nut made from a round rod or other design where the string leaves before the nuts leading edge.

The result is that the first fret in the final design will be a little shorter than the second fret. This amount is usually about 3/16" inch or about 4.5mm on most pedal steels. On a lap steel with round rod stock used it will perhaps be 1/2 the size of the rod unless the fretboard slides under the nut.

Please see the image attached here to understand the problem.

_________________
Inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th; http://luthiersupply.com/instrument-gallery.html
2017 Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 Polished Aluminum covering.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Short A6th.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Long E6/9th.
1956 Dewey Kendrick D-8 4&3, Restoration Project.
1973 Sho~Bud Green SD-10 4&5 PSG, Restoration Project.
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Tim Toberer

 

From:
Nebraska, USA
Post  Posted 26 Jul 2022 10:41 am    
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Quote:
If you are digitally inclined, I made a tool to generate outline of necks where you can enter your dimensions

I am working at this! I don't want to be a complete luddite, but I will always be more comfortable with old school technology. Thanks for sharing this, looks very useful.

Quote:
One important consideration is the fact that on a pedal steel with roller nut* you must account for the place where the strings leave the nut rollers and deduct that amount from the first fret.
If not, all the following frets will be a little to far forwards towards the bridge.

I did take this into account Andy, thanks for reminding me. I just double checked it and it was a bit off.
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post  Posted 29 Jul 2022 1:46 pm     Re: George is right
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Andy DePaule wrote:

The two Gibson replacements were made for a fellow on the forum to change out with the bad original at the bottom.
They were a tad thinner but looked perfect.


Here's one of 'em:


And here's the other one:


(Both were mounted on 1943 EH-125s)
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Jim Palenscar

 

From:
Oceanside, Calif, USA
Post  Posted 7 Aug 2022 8:18 am    
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I've made a number of plexi fretboards reproducing Supro, etc.fretboards. The process all happens on the back side but first painting it w whatever color you are wanting as the background. You can then laser out the artwork, frets, etc and the laser removes the paint and you are then free to paint the frets, artwork, etc whatever color you are wanting. I used Corel as the 20w laser I had access to used Corel drivers.
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Andy DePaule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Springfield, Oregon
Post  Posted 7 Aug 2022 10:03 am     Thanks Jim
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Jim Palenscar wrote:
I've made a number of plexi fretboards reproducing Supro, etc.fretboards. The process all happens on the back side but first painting it w whatever color you are wanting as the background. You can then laser out the artwork, frets, etc and the laser removes the paint and you are then free to paint the frets, artwork, etc whatever color you are wanting. I used Corel as the 20w laser I had access to used Corel drivers.


Thanks Jim,
I thought it could be done that way but never tried it.
When we did the Alkire Harp fretboard the sign company did the design on a very thin plastic or vinyl. That was then attached to the clear plexi glass and cut out with the laser.
We attached 3M double stick tape to the back to hold it down. It also had the screw holes that together would make for a snug vibration free fit.
Best wishes,
Andy
_________________
Inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th; http://luthiersupply.com/instrument-gallery.html
2017 Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 Polished Aluminum covering.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Short A6th.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Long E6/9th.
1956 Dewey Kendrick D-8 4&3, Restoration Project.
1973 Sho~Bud Green SD-10 4&5 PSG, Restoration Project.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website


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