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Inlays

JULIAN CICONTE

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Inlays turning yellowish is there way to prevent it getting worse or will they all turn this colour.
 

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rabbit

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I want to say it's completely normal depending on the inlay material; MOP vs. Celluloid vs. Plastic

I have a few guitars made in the early 80's which have aged this way, a few even purplish in color. Could just be what kinds of chemicals it has been in contact with or maybe environmental or as above material type that ages this way.

Just my personal opinion it adds character and appeal as a well-loved instrument. Now, inlays falling out of the fretboard would be a different story.
 

Norton

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wash your hands before you play the guitar.

clean fretboard gunk off with Naptha

oil fretboard with this:
 

duane v

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One thing to remember "Pearloid" is made by taking chunks of nitrocellulose and mixing it with acetone, and just like Nitro lacquer will amber over time, plastics will yellow the same way depending on how UV exposure is received or how the inlays are reacting to the chemicals from your fingers.

Other than changing your inlays to real MOP, there's really not much you can do.
 

TheDixiePig

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I'm gonna agree with Duane on this. Most inlays will yellow over time due to chemical reactions within themselves, sunlight/UV exposure, or with what touches it. I'm in the camp that likes this, as it provides character.
 

Norton

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I've tried "age darkening" modern inlays and they are far less reactive than you'd think. the majority of inlays on gibson and other guitars are acrylic plastic Not nitrocellulose or celluloid.

custom shop and specific reissues could be different and use inlays made from celluloid.
 

TheDixiePig

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I went and looked the specs up for my 2021 standard, and you are correct Acrylic inlays. I have a 15 year old bass with acrylic blocks that has seen lots of play onstage and off, and they look the same as they ever did.
 

Col Mustard

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Here's the neck on my '66 Fender Jazz Bass, not long before
I sold it in 2019. Inlays are not yellow. Oops, the site won't let
me upload a picture. You'll have to take my word on it.

I bought this instrument used in 1972, and played it hard for
literally decades. I played it in bars, coffee houses, frat parties,
schools, gazebo concerts, college auditoriums and festivals.
I played it on open stages and got rained on. I played it in smokey
roadhouses where the greasy steam from the French frier mixed
with that from the popcorn machine and the cigarettes smoke
from the audience.

What I never did in all that time was spray the fretboard with
anything like "fast fret" or furniture polish. I used round wound
bass strings always on this baby. Wiped my strings down with
a cloth after each gig. I'd clean the fretboard occasionally, and
scrape off finger crud with a guitar pick. I'd oil it sparingly with
Lemon Oil, (which is mostly mineral oil).

Looking at the OP's picture, I notice that three inlays are showing
and only two of them are yellow. It looks like the illustrated guitar
was "treated" with something that turned the inlays yellow on the
lower frets. I would not say it was a fault in the guitar or the inlays.
I would guess it was acidic sweat from a former owner.
I've met guys who's sweat was so acidic they had to change strings
every day because of rust. Rust never sleeps, eh?
 

Col Mustard

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I'll try again to upload a photo...
...nope

Cain't illustrate what I'm saying. But the inlays and the fretboard
are not coated with anything. Fretboards are bare wood, and the
inlays are bare plastic. On really expensive guitars they are Mother
of Pearl, or other exotic materials. But not on production Gibsons
anyway.

So there's no lacquer to turn yellow. Inlays on the headstock are
likely coated with lacquer and sprayed with a clear coat.
Lacquer will turn yellow over time, even if the guitar sits in the case
and doesn't get exposed to sunlight and smoke, greasy hands,
beer, sweat and girl perfume. Inlays under old lacquer will look
yellow.

I don't know what CBS Fender used on my old bass
in 1966. But it didn't turn yellow. MY fingers never rusted out
any strings overnight either.
 
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