Guitar Aficionado

3D Inlay Adds New Dimension to the Craft of Lutherie

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Something fresh has sprung up in the field of lutherie that's taking the art of inlay to a new level.

In a world of carbon-copy products made for the masses, It's nice to know there still exists those one-of-a-kind artisans who set out to create something entirely unique that's never to be reproduced. In pursuit of that idea, builders Kathy Wingert and Jason Simpson are incorporating an inlay technique that's adding a whole new dimension of depth and beauty to their guitars. Jason calls it “3D Inlay.”

It's often the small custom builders who are leading the way in innovation and technology with developments such as Beveled Armrests, Sound Ports, Multiscale Instruments and Harp Guitars. We may just find “3D Inlay” to be next on the list of custom options that are in demand. One must see it to appreciate how it stands out from the traditional method of inlay.

Traditionally, designs are cut from various materials such as wood or pearl and then a corresponding channel is cut into the surface that is to be inlayed such as a headstock or fretboard. The artwork is then glued into the channel, flush with the top surface ending up with a one-dimensional work of art.

3D Inlay utilizes more than just one-dimensional layer. This is accomplished by gluing the artwork on top of a sub-surface or suspending it above it and then filling the surrounding void areas with a matrix of clear epoxy. The resulting effect is an image that has real depth and dimensionality similar to a shadow box. This dramatic new look is already gaining the attention and praise of notable figures within the guitar community.

Whether a guitar enthusiast or just one who appreciates fine art, this new artistic expression is sure to catch the eye and provide a delightful new experience for all who see it. For those who like to see how things are done, Jason has documented this process in the behind-the-scenes video blog below.

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