How to glue guitar inlay

How to glue guitar inlay

You have finally saved up for a guitar inlay and now you are ready to attach it. But do you know how to glue guitar inlay? With this step-by-step guide, you will be able to put those worries to rest. It all starts with picking the right glue. Some glues are permanent, so make sure that you pick one that matches the material of your instrument. Once you have the right glue and the right surface area, you can start applying it. This is where patience comes into play because it will take around 20 minutes for any glue to fully dry and become strong enough to hold your inlay in place. Now, before rushing out and buying an acoustic guitar just for its inlay, there are plenty of other ways to get creative with a design too.

You may also look at our other article on How to remove a glued guitar neck

What You Will Need

To glue your inlay into place, you will need the following:

* A guitar

* Acoustic guitar inlay

* Acoustic guitar guitar-shaped inlay adhesive

* An acoustic guitar pickup and wiring kit

* A small screwdriver or a 5mm Allen key for the pickup

* Soldering iron and solder kit, if replacing the pickup wire

* Wire cutters

* Heat shrink tubing from the electronics store, or electrical tape

Applying the glue

If you have a small or narrow inlay, then you can apply the glue directly to it. However, if your inlay is large and wide like a guitar’s fretboard, then it is necessary to glue down the entire surface area. For example, if you are gluing down the fretboard of a guitar, then it is necessary to apply the glue to the complete surface area of the fretboard and not just on one corner.

Now comes the most important part: Waiting for the glue to dry.

It will take around 20 minutes for any glue to fully dry and become strong enough to hold your inlay in place. It is worth mentioning that there are some glues that are permanent so make sure that you choose one that matches with your instrument’s material. As soon as your inlay has been glued appropriately down onto your object of choice, wait until the 20-minute mark before handling or using it again!

Drying time

In general, it will take around 20 minutes for any glue to fully dry and become strong enough to hold your inlay in place. It is important to remember that this includes the glue time, which could be up to 10 minutes with some products. This is why it is important to either have an assistant or use a clamp while drying.

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When applying the glue, make sure you give the inlay plenty of space and let the glue dry on both sides evenly. If you don’t, you will risk having a lopsided guitar inlay. Once you have applied the right amount of glue, it’s time for wait. If you’re impatient by nature like I am, then I recommend using a stopwatch and tracking how long until the glue dries so that you can get back to playing guitar!

Tips for applying the glue

When applying the glue, make sure to be careful and not leave any of the glue on the surface you are gluing it to. If you do get some glue on your guitar, use a wet cloth to remove it.

If you are using an aluminum inlay, be sure that your surface is clean before applying the glue. Aluminated surfaces can easily react with other materials if they are not cleaned beforehand.

If your inlay is made of plastic or brass, apply a thin layer of acetone or alcohol around where you want to glue it down. This will allow for better contact and help prevent any discoloration from occurring as time goes on.

It is important to let the glue dry before removing the clamps because if you move it too soon, it could cause irreversible damage to your instrument. Applying any form of pressure prematurely could result in permanent bending or warping of your guitar’s neck, body, or fingerboard–not something worth risking!

Choose a temporary glue for your inlay

If you are looking for a temporary glue, there is one that we recommend. This glue cannot be removed from the inlay without damaging it, so it is perfect for testing out your design before you invest in a more permanent option. If this glue does not dry for the desired amount of time, there are other options such as superglue or any other type of clear drying adhesive.

Use a brush to apply the glue more evenly

One of the most important parts of gluing a guitar inlay is making sure that you have the right amount of glue on it before attaching. I would also recommend using a brush to apply the glue more evenly. You can use any old paintbrush, but I prefer one with synthetic bristles. The reason for this is that they absorb less glue and they don’t leave those pesky bristles sticking out where they shouldn’t be. So, once you are done applying the glue, let it dry for 20 minutes before attaching your inlay. You’ll want to do this as quickly as possible so that there’s not too much time where the inlay is vulnerable to damage while unattached.

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Applying the glue on larger surfaces

Before applying the glue, you want to make sure that you have inlayed the entire area. As an example, if your guitar has a sound hole, make sure that you can spread it on inside and out while also covering around one inch of the sides of the guitar. When it comes to gluing down the inlay, it is best to use a damp cloth or something similar that will help smooth out any air bubbles. It might be necessary for you to apply some pressure for about 15 minutes so that everything adheres properly.

Applying the glue with a toothpick

To apply the glue, use a toothpick to place a small amount of glue in each corner. Next, place the inlay onto the surface and press it down firmly so that it adheres to the glue. Allow it to dry for around 20 minutes before you move on to adding any extra coats. After 20 minutes, you can add another layer of glue and repeat this process until you’ve reached the desired thickness. Make sure to give your inlay at least 4 hours of drying time before actually putting it on your guitar.

After 20 minutes, remove your fingers from the back of the inlay and check if it’s still there. If all went well, you should have successfully glued your inlay into place! If your glue can’t hold up, try applying it a second time or use a stronger glue so that it doesn’t come apart again.

 Now that you know how to apply an acoustic guitar inlay, take this knowledge and put it towards other creative ideas! There are plenty of ways you can use these instructions for other projects too!

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Apply a little at a time

When applying glue, it is important to apply a little at a time. That way the inlay doesn’t move around and you don’t end up with too much glue. Applying too much glue will make your inlay stick out of your instrument and look sloppy. It is always better to have less glue than more because that way you don’t have any excess left on the surface of your instrument.

Don’t cover your fingers in glue

Only put glue on the inlay and not on your fingers. It sounds like a no-brainer, but it can be a challenge to only apply glue to the inlay since it’s difficult to find the right surface area that matches the size of your inlay. If you do end up with some on your fingers, wipe them off before they dry because if you don’t, your fingers will stick together and will be very difficult to pull apart.

How to glue guitar inlay FAQS

How long does it take for the glue to dry?

The drying time for any type of glue will vary depending on what you are using. Typically, it will be anywhere from 15-30 minutes before the glue is fully dried and ready to use.

What types of glues are available?

There are plenty of glues on the market today that you can choose from. Some glues are permanent while others may need to be reapplied after a period of time. When picking out your particular glue, make sure that it matches the material of your instrument. If a permanent glue is used on an instrument with a delicate surface area, there is a chance that it could permanently damage the surface area due to how strong the glue will be.


When it comes to guitar inlay, the process can be tricky and frustrating. That’s why we decided to write an overview of the process, the tools you will need, and the tips for applying the glue to make your process go as smoothly as possible. Now you will know all the steps to glue a guitar inlay with ease.

Guitar inlays are a great way to give your instrument a personal touch. Glue is a great choice for beginners as it’s very simple to use and dries quickly. We hope this guide has been helpful.