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Flea Market Music offers an on-line community for ukulele players, informative books on the ukulele, ukulele CDs,songbooks, videos and information on our instrument manufacturing of the FLUKE ukulele. Brought to you by "Jumpin" Jim Beloff.
Roy Smeck Concert Ukulele


Original Post By: Goaticus Date: 3/12/2019 3:20:49 PM
So I am wanting to replace the fret board dots on my polka-lay-lee with something nicer, maybe MOP dots or something, but all I can find on Ebay is stuff from China and Taiwan, which I don't generally trust. Does anyone know where I could buy some? Anyone make them?
Posted By: karl Date: 3/13/2019 5:22:35 AM
For polka-lay-lees there is no 'old new stock' available. I wouldn't recommend altering the instrument too much, but it's your decision.

Luthier shops do provide mother of pearl dots (stewmac, lmii, stonetech...), even the larger music shops carry them (dusty strings, elderly). Besides, any plastic rod could also be used. Fit, glue, trim.

The problem is the diameter, which has to be precise or slightly smaller, or else you have to enlarge the hole.

An easier technique would be to fill the holes with a resin that you can dye any way you want to, even with glitter in it. Drawback is that it's more or less irreversible, so try it out on some drilled out scrapwood first.
Posted By: Dave Means Date: 3/13/2019 2:15:50 PM
Get thee to Stewart-MacDonald Guitar Supply (stewmac.com) or Luthiers' Mercantile International (lmii.com) or Rescue Pearl (rescuepearl.com) for real mother-of-pearl and abalone in a wide range of sizes.

If the dot is slightly undersized for the hole, it's not a big deal if you embed it in a tinted superglue (also available at Stewmac or LMII) that more-or-less matches the fretboard material.

The bigger problem is getting the dot and the glue squeeze-out flush with the adjoining fretboard side without unduly messing up the finish (if any). This usually requires very careful filing and sanding with a mini diamond file and very fine sandpaper wrapped around a stick or something similar. If the finish is lacquer or something similar and you manage not to cut through it, this would usually be followed up with some buffing.

Good luck.
Posted By: Goaticus Date: 3/19/2019 2:32:05 PM
So I guess I need to pull out my micrometer to measure the holes and contact those folks. Great. I have actually considered a few other careful modifications, including a purple heart wood soundboard, (probably won't happen-I have the wood but not the expertise to make it), and stronger reproductions of the tuner paddles, while of course keeping the originals.
Posted By: Dave Means Date: 3/19/2019 6:26:54 PM
Purpleheart looks great for trim, like binding and purfling, but it's pretty ugly in large expanses like soundboards, IMO. I have a feeling you'd regret it if you went that route.

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Flea Market Music offers an on-line community for ukulele players, informative books on the ukulele, ukulele CDs,songbooks, videos and information on our instrument manufacturing of the FLUKE ukulele. Brought to you by "Jumpin" Jim Beloff. -