Another weird Lefty-ism: Fretboard Markers

So, it’s no secret now that in my uke collection I have 3 converted righties. There’s really no helping it, since the pickings in left handed ukuleles are so slim as to be virtually nonexistent. My acoustic-electric Ibanez is a pretty special snowflake, really.  (Though! A discovery for any lefties who want to pick up the uke and play as a lefty – Mahalo makes one that’s retailing on Amazon atm for about $30, which would probably make a good intro uke for a beginner.) It’s not like they don’t exist at all – I know of at least one by Luna and two or three by Oscar Schmidt, but I’ve said before the left-handed ukulele market is in an even more pitiful state than the lefty bass market, which is in a sad state when compared to the lefty guitar market. I get it, we’re not exactly a huge part of the population, and we’ve got a history of being triangular pegs forced to fit into square holes. Whatever. Lefties are awesome. The rest of you are just missing out on our awesomeness. 😉

So, I’ve flipped my share of right-handed ukes over, restrung them, and forced them to behave themselves.  On acoustic ukes, this goes alright. (But, seriously, can someone PLEASE make a solid body lefty uke? I’d love to have one someday…just because…but working around that upside down knob placement would be a royal pain!) The one thing though, is that you lose the fret markers. You know, those handy little roadmaps on the 5th, 7th, and 12th fret that make your counting so much less prone to accidents? Yeah, they’re gone when you flip your uke.

So, back when, I got some fretboard stickers off ebay. They apparently are all shipped from Japan and take forever to arrive. That, in and of itself, is not the end of the world. Heck, I’m currently at over a month waiting for a darn strap button that apparently shipped from Hong Kong (Someday, I’ll be able to put a strap on my Kala. Someday!), but they don’t stick well. They’ve been falling off ever since. I’d lose one, replace it, lose two more, replace those.  Honestly, it’s kind of a huge pain in the butt, and really not a lasting solution.

Time to get creative. That’s cool. I like getting creative. So, first things first. I used my soldering iron to make teeny little holes where the fret markers should go on my snail.  It wasn’t hugely visible, but it was better than nothing.

Hey, if it works, work it. At least a hole can’t fall off.

But, I knew my end goal was to come up with something colored to fill that hole with, to make it easily visible. And then it dawned on me: colored glue.

Nothing makes you feel more like a 3 yr old than buying neon glitter glue.

The glitter glue came in a pack of 5 with green, orange, pink, blue, and yellow.  Testing them on a piece of black paper, the green had the most color payoff, but I won’t pretend it has an epic amount of pop.

I also won’t say it’s not really, really tempting to peel them out, which yes, I did do. Three times.

Still, it’s a quick and cheap solution that ends up being more cost effective and practical than buying fret stickers, until I think of a better plan.  I’ve done this on my Snail and Kala.  The trick is to put just a little over the hole. Let it sink in and dry to the touch, then do a bit more, and sort of layer it up little by little like that until you have a nice sized dot.  …and to manage to do this without peeling out any of the dots, because…yeah, I don’t care. I’m a 35 yr old kid – peeling glue off of things is still fun. No shame. 🙂

To be fair, the Snail doesn’t have fret markers on either side, so it’s not like I lost them in the conversion, but given the choice, I’d sooner have them than not, just to reduce my margin of error.

Of course, if you know what you’re doing and have the proper tools, you can buy your own inlays, but that would be a bit much over a few inexpensive ukuleles. The glue is easy enough to peel out, so if I come up with a better idea later, it’s not like the green glitter is there forever. But, for the moment, it should at least hold better than the stickers that I wasted my money on. So, there’s that.

Until Next Time, the projects are ongoing.

(BTW – This is my 200th post. Am I the only one who can’t decide whether it’s more idiotic or entertaining that one of my landmark posts is about glitter?)

Your Comment:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s