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Here, I'm holding the spike with a hemostat to keep it from rotating or bending as I tap it in the hole:

It's not unusual for me to bend one and have to start with a new one! They're cheap, so it's just part of the game.

As I get close to tapping it all the way in, I find it helpful to slip my thinnest steel rule under the spike so that I won't curl the end over as I tap:

This way, I protect the fingerboard from any stray hammer blows as well.

I make sure the spike is no higher than the frets, so it won't interfere with fretting the fifth string:

Believe it or not, you can fret the string on the seventh fret even if there's a spike there, because you still can hold it down against the fret. It does feel a little funny, though.

That's the job, except to mention that some players like to slip the under the spike from the "outside," and some from the "inside" so it's a matter of personal choice which way the spike faces.

I call the spikes less intrusive than a fifth capo because they're so easy to remove.

All you have to do is to jam a round toothpick into the hole with some glue, and snip it off:

Then, shave it cleanly to the fingerboard surface with a razor blade, being careful not to nick the fingerboard. A quick block sanding with the grain, using 320, 400, or 600 grit sandpaper will make the fill perfectly level. Then a dot of black stain from a "magic marker" will make the fill virtually invisible!

Of course, if it's a rosewood fingerboard, you have to go looking for a brown magic marker. They do exist.


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