Stylish Fret Markers

Navigating the fret with style.

Ultimate Guitar
Stylish Fret Markers

n order for a guitarist to be able to quickly navigate the fret, manufacturers leave special markers. The most common type are circular markers in a contrast color. It is the most simple solution for production. Some manufacturers take this markers quite seriously and make it work in favour of their brand. Sometimes fret markers become an exquisite work of art: the birds on the PRS, the isosceles trapezoids on the Gibson or shark fins on the Jackson.

The DGT (David Grissom Trem)

PRS's signature fret markers include the standard moon inlays and the optional and sought after birds, often fashioned from pearl or paua (abalone) shell. The bird inlays feature representations of the following species; peregrine falcone (3rd fret), marsh hawk (5th fret), ruby throated hummingbird (7th fret), common tern (9th fret), Coopers hawk (12th fret), kite (15th fret), sparrow (17th fret), storm petrel (19th fret), a landing hawk (21st fret) and a screech owl on a branch (24-fret models only). 20th and 25th anniversary edition production models feature updated and stylized versions of this standard inlay.


Gibson Les Paul custom: neck – mahogany richlist/ebony or pearl diamond on the headstock, fret with signature pearl rectangle markers.

Gibson Les Paul Supreme: neck – mahogany richlist/or ebony, markers pearl cut rectangles


A "1953 Butterscotch Fender Telecaster" tuned to an open G. Traditional point markers.


Royal blue and white Jackson Custom Shop SL2H Pedregon Graphic Electric Guitar with signature large triangle inlayed fret markers (shark fins).


Prior to 1957, Gretsch was unpredictable, putting several different kinds of fret markers on their guitars. In the electric post-war era, as Gretsch began to solidify their line-up, plain block markers became the general standard on mid- to upper-line guitars.

Western models featured special block markers with cacti, steer heads and other cowboy-themed engraving.

Starting in 1958, almost all models switched to the "Neo-Classic" markers, also called "thumbnail" or "half moon".

Used only on the White Falcon and White Penguin, these block markers featured avian engravings.


The "Rust Razorback" model was handmade by Dean Zelinsky. The guitar has a cool double edged razor, similar to one worn by Abbott on a necklace, on the twelfth fret of the neck.

In addition to the diversity of forms and locations of markers, there are also some of them that glow in the dark. It is a quite convenient and effective solution to playing on a dark stage. These markers are also available in the form of stickers.

17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    What a terribly thrown together article this is. Someone has some editing to do.. A real UG original, that's for sure! 
    Who is this?
    Doris Yeh from Taiwanese metal band Chthonic, great band. Pretty cool band, their lead singer was recently elected to the Taiwanese legislature.
    That is truly impressive. I so relate to people with tons going for them, and good looking as an added bonus.  A true rarity, but some people definitely have it all!
    I'm not sure which is making me laugh more, this article, or the comments section.
    If the top two fretboards have inlays (and that's what it looks like), it's some pretty nice work, for sure.
    "A "1953 Butterscotch Fender Telecaster" tuned to an open G" - I knew that looked like an alternate tuning
    AvoidingBee7 · May 02, 2017 09:01 PM
    how bout the Zakk Wylde guitars with almost entire space between the frets is an inlay.