How to dye a guitar fretboard

How to dye a guitar fretboard

How to dye a guitar fretboard is a very import skill to the musicians. Dyeing your guitar fretboard is an easy and inexpensive way to customize the look of your instrument. Fretboard inlays are often made from mother-of-pearl, ebony, or other exotic woods. They are typically glued into the fretboard with a thin layer of adhesive. The glue can be very difficult to remove and leaves a stain on the fretboard, so it’s important that you take precautionary measures before dyeing your guitar.

In this guide, we will cover all aspects of dyeing your guitar fretboard. You’ll learn about different types of dyes and dyes kits, how to prep your guitar for dyeing, how to dye your fretboard and prevent staining, and how to finish off the project with a clear coat!

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The basics of fretboard dyeing

Before we start, let’s go over the basics of fretboard dyeing. Fretboard inlays are typically made from ebony, mother-of-pearl, or other exotic woods and glued into the wood with a thin layer of adhesive. The glue can be very difficult to remove and leaves a stain on the fretboard, so it’s important that you take precautionary measures before dyeing your guitar.

There are two types of dyes: solid dyes and liquid dyes. Solid dyes do not dissolve in water, while liquid dyes do dissolve in water. When you are shopping for dye kits, try to find one that is concentrated with the maximum amount of pigment possible—the higher the better. This will help ensure a deep color on your fretboard when finished.

There are many different types of dyes available for dyeing your guitar fretboard. You’ll want to find one that is specifically designed for use with wood. Most woodworking stores will have a selection of wood dyes, but there are also many online retailers that offer high quality dyes at good prices.

The first step in the process is to prep your guitar for dyeing by cleaning off any dirt or oils from the fretboard. Use hand soap and water to scrub away any residue from the wood surface. Then let it dry fully before proceeding to the next step.

The next step is to get started dyeing your guitar. Open up your dye kit and pour about 1/4 cup of water into a small container then add 3-5 drops of oil based on what type of finish you want your project to have (for example if you want a glossy finish then use linseed oil). Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and stir until all ingredients are dissolved, then pour this mixture onto paper towel and apply it to your cleaned off fretboard area with an old rag or sponge.

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Dye kits and materials

There are many different materials to consider when dyeing your guitar fretboard. It’s important that you know exactly what type of project you’re working on before purchasing any supplies.

1) If you’re looking for a lighter, less saturated color, then a water-based dye is the best option. Water-based dyes are easy to use and they provide maximum protection for the original finish of your guitar.

2) If you’re looking for a darker, richer look, then an alcohol-base dye is the best option. Alcohol-base dyes are typically more vibrant than water-based but can stain the finish of your guitar if not properly applied.

3) Dyeing your fretboard with a kit is a good idea if you want to keep it simple. Kits come with everything you need to get started and make it easy for beginners to apply the dye successfully.

4) You can also buy individual items separately from stores like Home Depot or Lowes! If you have some experience under your belt then this could be a good method for you.

Preparing your fretboard for dye

You will want to take the necessary precautions before dyeing your guitar fretboard. You can find dyes and kits for sale at a variety of music stores, but it’s important that you do some research first. Some dyes are more difficult to apply than others and will require a different process. We recommend using a pre-dye kit or pre-mixed dyes so you don’t have to worry about mixing chemicals together yourself.

Before applying any dye, use an airbrush filter mask. If you’re using powdered dye, this is especially important because the dust can be irritating to your lungs if inhaled. Once you’re ready, use an air compressor or hair dryer to blow away as much dust as possible from the surface of your fretboard. It’s also important that you clean off any oil residue with a solvent like acetone or denatured alcohol. This is going to ensure that the dye sticks to your fretboard and not the surface underneath.

Dying your fretboard

You can change the color of your fretboard with a few easy steps. This is a great option for musicians who want to customize their instrument, but don’t want to spend a lot of money on an expensive custom guitar that has a different colored fretboard.

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It’s important to note that you should never dye your guitar with one solid color. Painting it with one color is a surefire way to create an unattractive and amateur looking guitar. To make your paint job look good, try using two or three different colors and blending them together in order to create the desired effect. You might also consider using just one color but painting the whole fretboard without any blending. This will create a more uniform look, which some people may prefer over the blended style.

Preventing and fixing any staining from the dye

The most important thing to keep in mind when dyeing your guitar fretboard is preventing any staining from the dye. You can do this with a few different methods:

– Masking off the area with painter’s tape.

– Applying a sealant before painting.

– Painting over the dyed area with an opaque white paint.

If there is any staining after you have finished dyeing, don’t panic! You can use various methods to fix it:

– Wipe off the stain with acetone.

– Clean the stained area with soap and water, then wipe it down again with acetone.

– Apply nail polish remover to the stained area; let it sit for 10 minutes and wipe it off.

Finishing off your project with a clear coat

One of the most important steps you can take after dying your guitar fretboard is to apply a clear coat.

The clear coat will help seal and protect your new dye job from staining. It will also provide a nice, glossy finish for your fretboard inlay.

You can purchase a clear coat at any music store or online. You’ll want to apply two coats of the clear coat as soon as possible after finishing off your project with the dye. This will help lock in the color, and make it last much longer than if you had skipped this step.

It’s important to note that not all clear coats are the same; they vary in durability and glossiness. The best option would be to pick up a quality brand of acrylic lacquer clear coat. That way, you know that it will stand up well with regular use and handle stains better than some other brands. Clear coats usually come in matte, satin, and gloss finishes depending on what look you’re going for!

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How to dye a guitar fretboard FAQS

What is the best type of dye to use?

This question is too broad. There are many different types of dyes, and they all have different qualities. The best type of dye for you will depend on your preferences, budget, and desired outcome. For example, if you want a vintage look, then a brown or amber-based dye may work well for you. If you want a more vibrant color, consider using an acrylate-based dye.

How do I know which type of dye to use?

Your decision should be based on your desired outcome and budget. In general, if you want a brighter color, then it is better to opt for an acrylate-based dye. If you want a more vintage look with less vibrant colors or earth tones, then brown or amber-based dyes would be better suited for you. Dyeing your guitar fretboard can be a great way to customize the look of your instrument and experiment with new techniques!

Can I use milk paint to dye my guitar fretboard?

Yes! You can use any type of water-based paint to dye your fretboard. In fact, some people recommend using milk paint because it has a nice matte finish when dry. However, you may need to experiment with the ratio of water to milk paint to get the desired consistency for your project.


If you’re ready to try something new and unique for your guitar, fretboard dyeing is a great option. There are a lot of reasons you may want to dye your fretboard. The dye can repair old or worn out fretboards, look really cool with the right design, or completely change the look of your guitar.

Whether you want to dye your fretboard or just redo the finish on it, fretboard dyeing is a great option. It’s easy to do and offers a lot of different benefits.

It can be hard to find the right kit and materials for this project, but fretboard dyeing is easy to do with the right know-how. You can finish off your project by protecting the new finish with a clear coat.

After reading this article, you will have learned everything you need to know about fretboard dyeing. You will know what materials and supplies you will need, how to prepare your fretboard, and the steps to achieving a professional looking dye job.

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