FRETS.COM Illustrated Glossary
It's a Gibson thing
© Frank Ford, 9/14/98 Photos by FF
"Block inlay" refers to a pattern of inlaid fret markers popularized by Gibson starting around 1930. The blocks are large rectangular inlays of mother of pearl or celluloid.
A number of Gibson guitars and mandolins went through various production and model changes over the years. One of the significant and easily observed changes was the "block inlay" pattern that replaced the "dot neck" of previous years. Each instrument and model has its own history, and the significance and dates of the inlay changes will vary greatly.
Here's the classic look of the block inlay of a Gibson L-5 jazz guitar:
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