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SEClint
New Orleans Saints Fan
New Orleans, LA/Portland, OR
Member since Nov 2006
39339 posts

What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
Image: https://64.media.tumblr.com/acd5059b30c99e740f03f1d27b3e7f6d/tumblr_oakovib6tv1rgmk7yo1_1280.jpg


If you are building a custom guitar, what do you go with?

Lets say price is no option and all are in stock. All different types of Rosewood, Ebony, Maple, Laurel, Walnut, Padauk etc.


auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
19784 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
I've always preferred maple, but rosewood is gaining ground fast these days.


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auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
19784 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
quote:

Lets say price is no option

There might be a song in there.


Decatur
LSU Fan
Member since Mar 2007
24790 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
Brazilian Rosewood if you can get it.


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monz29
LSU Fan
Prosper, TX
Member since Dec 2006
878 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
I like the feel of ebony


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MountainTiger
LSU Fan
The foot of Mt. Belzoni
Member since Dec 2008
13750 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
Macassar Ebony


TheFretShack
Member since Oct 2015
661 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
I used to be picky but I don't care as much anymore. I either like the sum of the woods or I don't, from a tone perspective, a resonance perspective, a feel perspective, visual, whatever.

A killer fingerboard that hasn't been mentioned is pau ferro. Don't let Fender's use of it on MIM products bias you ... it's really good wood, it's pretty, more importantly it's plentiful and not threatened, so it's a great value.

Keep in mind, the American-made SRV signature strat has had a pau ferro board from day one and for ages now. My first guitar to have a pau ferro board was a 1992 Tom Anderson Drop Top. That wasn't a cheap guitar.

It sits tonally, to my ear, somewhere between rosewood and ebony. And if you prep it right (unlike the Ensenada factory), you can get it really slick and glassy under the fingertips.


SEClint
New Orleans Saints Fan
New Orleans, LA/Portland, OR
Member since Nov 2006
39339 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
Kiesel guitars has been putting to good use this Pale Moon Ebony that i kinda visually like.

Image: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/b4/6c/07/b46c072adf01e63c4786b13947c2b288.jpg
This post was edited on 3/1 at 7:15 pm


TheFretShack
Member since Oct 2015
661 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
The vast majority of ebony trees in the wild produces board feet with varying degrees of black and chocolate streaking and striping. Only one in 20 trees harvested can produce jet black ebony. Because that's what the typical consumer wants, manufacturers have been dying random brown streaks in mostly-black ebony boards for ages now.

Nowadays to get pure undyed solid black on your guitar, you're going to be buying a $2K and up guitar, or a replacement neck of that caliber. That's also why when you play an under-$1K Asian "ebony" fingerboard guitar, your fingers will turn black for the first few months. That's the dye.

Harvesters have to cut a tree to reveal if it has pure black ebony, and they used to leave the 19 "bad" ebony trees in the wild to rot. It was only in recent global conservation and stewardship years that builders realized you can "scavenge" that perfectly good ebony with cosmetic challenges for pennies on the dollar compared to the solid black stuff.

Plus you can market yourself as providing top notch product WHILE you're saving the planet by buying downed cast-aside "flawed" ebony.

Giving it a swag name like "pale moon ebony" helps the marketing machine too haha.


TigerRanter
New Orleans Saints Fan
Louisiana
Member since Feb 2005
6384 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
AAA Ebony, all the way.


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wareaglepete
Auburn Fan
Northwest of Pegasus
Member since Dec 2012
5101 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
Rosewood.


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auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
19784 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
Is there any difference tonally, or playability between any of the different shades of ebony?


TheFretShack
Member since Oct 2015
661 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
Basically no difference in density, grain structure, moisture and oil content, workability with tools, ability to sand out and buff, ability to hold frets, durability and resilience over time ... like I said above, it's perfectly fine just like solid black ebony just different cosmetics. And because it's not pick of the litter visually, it's more economical.


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Marco Esquandolas
Alabama Fan
Member since Jul 2013
10775 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
Next bass will be:


Surf Green body on an American P-bass

Ebony fretboard (the 1 out of 20 jet black variety)

Surf Green headstock

Rubidium custom hardware



wareaglepete
Auburn Fan
Northwest of Pegasus
Member since Dec 2012
5101 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
quote:

Surf Green headstock


There is a waterslide decal company I have used for my basses I have put together called Rothko and Frost. I got mine in the exact Fender font, but with my name. My last name starts with a T and in that font from a distance it has that Fender look. It is pretty cool.

I had a guy here in town do some fretwork on the neck when I got through with my most recent Jazz Bass and he brought it out and said, "This T_____ Bass is pretty cool. Where do you get these?".


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RoscoeSanCarlos
Auburn Fan
Member since Oct 2017
441 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
I’m gonna geek out for a minute...

I have had two Partscasters built over the past couple of years. Rick Beato’s buddy Dave Onorato did the work - he’s freaking awesome to work with and I highly recommend him!

It started with a Strat with a rosewood neck that I thought needed a fret job, but was actually warped. Dave walked me through different neck configurations and I ended up with:
- Flame maple neck
- Ebony fretboard
- 1 5/8 nut width
- 12 inch radius
- Stainless jumbo frets (6105)

When I was younger I heard some fancy guitar had an ebony fretboard and always had it in the back of my mind it was preferable. I don’t recognize any tonal difference between the ebony and rosewood on my other Strats. However, the jumbo frets, narrow nut width, and flat radius provide a super smooth and glassy action.

It’ll come as no surprise... I got the necks from Warmoth. It took a couple of months to get them built, but has been worth it for the 2 guitars I’ve had done. Dave Onorato puts the guitars on his Facebook page (Dojo Guitars) if you want to see them. One was a “midnight blue” Strat and the other was a black Strat with a black/white humbucker in the bridge position.

In the end, I prefer ebony and rosewood to maple necks. Others might hear a difference in the woods, but it’s an action and feel thing for me. Ultimately in my approach, my fingers provide the tone to the amp and the amp does the rest.

FYI - I play through a Friedman Dirty Shirley combo.



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houndstoothornet
UNO Fan
Member since Nov 2012
381 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
maple


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Ace Midnight
Between sanity and madness
Member since Dec 2006
78832 posts
 Online 

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
I like maple for electric and rosewood for acoustic, but I'm fairly agnostic. The feel and playability of the neck is far, far, far more important that fretboard material.

Particularly in acoustics, the top material has far more influence on the tone. On electrics, the mass of the body, strings and pickup choice are all far more significant influences on the base tone (plus the amp and effects of course for the final tone).


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Broke
LSU Fan
AKA Buttercup
Member since Sep 2006
64157 posts
 Online 

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
I prefer Rosewood and always end up with Maple because Ernie Ball won't let me change the fricking neck!


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FightinTigersDammit
Northwestern St. Fan
Louisiana North
Member since Mar 2006
26888 posts

re: What type of Fretboard wood do you prefer?
quote:

There might be a song in there.


It only costs a little more to go first class.


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