Sunday, 3 April 2011

Got Wood?

I just picked up a Fender Classic Player Baja Telecaster last week and posted on my Facebook page (My first "real" Fender apart from a couple of Squiers and a FR48 resonator). I mentioned that I'd like to see it with a rosewood fingerboard and that got me thinking...

Rosewood vs Maple... hmmmm? What other kinds of woods would be suitable for fingerboards? So I did a little Googling and came up with this interesting snippet from
"The most common fingerboard materials are Maple, Rosewood ,and Ebony.
Maple (Acer Saccharum) can be available in different flavors including flamed, quilted, birdseye, and hard maple. A maple fingerboard will brighten the sound of any instrument. It is a very strong and stable wood that can be found on most fender necks.

Brazilian Rosewood (Dalbergia Nigra) is the wood of choice for fingerboards of high-end guitar manufactures. Right now, this beautiful dense wood is the trend but because of CITES making it illegal to harvest living rosewood trees, it is getting harder to find. Brazilian Rosewood will add a warm clear rock + roll like tone to your guitar as well as $$$.

Ebony (Dispyrus Melanoxylon) is by far our favorite choice for fingerboard material. Its sexy black color is perfect for popping the white mother of pearl inlay that will really show off your custom guitar features. This fast feeling fingerboard offers a bright tone with uncompromising sustain!

Some other wood suitable for fingerboards include Bocoto (Cordia Elaeagnoiders), Bubinga (Guibourtia Demeusei), Canary (Centrolobium Ochroxylon), Cocobolo (Dalbergia Retusa), Indian Rosewood (Dalbergia Latifolia), Macassar Ebony (Dispyrus Macassar), and Bloodwood (Brosimum Paraense).

Some of these different species are more pleasant to work with then others. A word of caution: Different people react differently while milling exotic woods. Several of the types of wood mention above are considered somewhat poisonous. They are very oily and during sanding can create vapor-like fumes that will irritate skin and respiratory systems. Please educate yourself and take the proper precautions".
Of all these the only uncommon wood I recognise is Bubinga. I have seen a couple of guitars with eye boggling figured curly (or birdseye) maple fingerboards and I have a Maccaferri with its plastic fingerboard as featured here in 2009.

Are these the only suitable materials or we just a very conservative bunch?

I wonder if any of our readers have come across bizarre or unusual fingerboard materials.

David in Barcelona - A bit snowed under at the moment so aplogies for lack of recent posts.

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

1 comment:

  1. There are some other fingerboard woods that are often overlooked. Granadillio (Platymiscum yucatanum) is an excellent fingerboard wood choice that closely resembles rosewood in appearance and feel, and projects a very pleasant tone. Pistachio, believe it or not, is also a great fingerboard wood that possesses excellent tonal qualities. Pistachio also has a stunning, unique appearance and is extremely hard and dense like ebony. What's even better about pistachio is that the lumber is typically only harvested after the commercial lifespan of the tree has ended. So you can feel good about the fact that it doesn't require an entire forest to be leveled so that a few fingerboards can be squeezed out of a single tree! We offer both of these unique woods on our guitars...check us out!

    Born Custom Guitars



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