They are inlayed into the wood, i.e. a shallow piece of wood is extracted in the shape of the desired inlay and it is glued in. That way they are completly flat. You can put them anywhere. I am thinking about doing one on the peghead of one of my guitars.
they make custom ones that are really durable and reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally thin; they just go over the dots
Quote by Gunpowder
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If you want decent inlays, they should be set into the actual fretboard. I'm sure sticky ones would be total crap.
Quote by LP Addict
but they make ones that are just like stickys? i doubt someone would buy a huge rose custom made inlay and cut that out on the front of their guitar...

You'd be suprised.
The word "inlay" says it all. They're "laid in" the fretboard wood.

The "custom inlays" you are referring to, LP Addict, are stickers, not actual inlays. I've seen them on ebay. You just peel them and stick them on to cover your dot inlays. I have no idea how well they stick and how durable they are. They aren't inlays per se, but made to look like custom inlay work.

Doing actual inlay work is a major undertaking on a guitar that's already had frets installed. When they do custom inlay work on an instrument, particularly ones that span multiple frets, they tend do them on the bare fretboard and then install the frets afterwards. It involves cutting into the fretboard in the required shape, cutting the inlay material in the same shape, and gluing into the holes.

I did a google search and managed to find some before, during, and after pics of a fretboard having custom inlay work...

On a surface like a headstock, it would probably be easier to have custom inlay work done, but it would probably be expensive.
Guitars: Custom Lado Earth 2000-3, Custom ESP Explorer, BC Rich KKV, Gibson LP Studio, Greco SG, El Degas Stratocaster, Agile AL-3000, LTD EX-351

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Last edited by Crunchmeister at Jul 29, 2007,
Eurgh, what kind of mentalist would put anything sticky on their fretboard?