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Alternative Fingerboard Materials


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:D Hi, I would just like to say I appreciate the input from all you guys and gals, that delve into this thing called luthery. It has become quite the "hobby" for me. I am a newbie to the forum, and have only made six guitars, since I started over a year ago, but I have made every thing that went on them, except the tuners, the bridges, the tailpieces, and the strings. I have made the bodies, both hollow(semi-hollow) and solid. I am into alternate types of wood, as are available in my area, such as wild cherry, bald cypress, white oak, hickory, white and black gum, ect. My question to you'll, is there any alternative that you know of that is good for fingerboards, I thought perhaps eastern red cedar, or as a friend suggested double tempered hardboard,coated with a two-part polyester, after finishing the frets. I would appreciate any input you could give me. castnetman

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i'd have to guess that any wood that has the approximate density and stability of rosewood or ebony would do nicely. bois 'darc comes to mind..any of the "ironwoods", mesquite would make a stunning fretboard.

something like aluminum might work but i don't know how well it would grip the fret tangs.

it'll be interesting to see what ideas some of the others here come up with.

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out of the woods you listed, i beleive wes tried cherry on one of his guitars, i have no experience with it though,

as a good guide, i'd reffer you to warmoth's neck wood description page they mention what woods are suitable for fingerboards.

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Eastern red cedar and baldcypress are both very pretty, but would probably not last a month or two of playing unless you coated them pretty heavy with epoxy.

Cherry and the gums are harder, but not nearly enough.

Oak and hickory are about the right density, and would work. You would want to fill the open grain with epoxy, though.

Unclej mentioned mesquite and bois d'arc ( osage orange ) I have used both, and they are very good. Persimmon is another that I have considered. It is actually a relative of ebony, but is mostly white, with random patches of black. Also possibly black locust and honeylocust.

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