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Walnut For Fretboard?


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Might be a tad soft for fingerboards, methinks. Honestly, while I suspect some guitars have been made with walnut 'boards (stained so you can't tell, most like), and I've seen a few acoustic guitar bridges made of Walnut (when weight was the issue), I'd simply use the stuff for necks.

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Honestly, while I suspect some guitars have been made with walnut 'boards (stained so you can't tell, most like),

No need to hide the fact of using walnut for bodys, it is a common wood, especially for Bass, my guitar has a walnut back, link and as you can see I didn't hide it.

As far as the fretboard Matt, Im not too sure, it is hard, but I don't think it is as hard as maple, at least not the piece that I used, and the grain is very porous like ash, I haven't seen claro walnut, I think that the grain on that one is a bit thighter from the looks on it. Do you have pics of it, you might wait until Perry, David (Myka) or Jeremy give their input since they know more about this.

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I had some African Walnut (remember I'm in the UK and wood names vary between the UK and US).  It was lovely wood to work with but soft as hell.  I don't think that this type would be suitable for a fingerboard.

General thought on 'common names':

'African Walnut' (much like so-called 'South American Walnut') isn't actually Walnut. It's just got the name because it's vaguely similar looking, and says nothing about the relative properties. It's like 'Brazilian Cherry', ie Jatoba, has nothing to do with 'real' cherry, and is actually quite a bit harder. To get even vaguely useful descriptions, you should try to figure out which species, or at least which family of species the wood you're talking about is (which particular species of western maple/rock maple you've got doesn't matter as much is whether it's a hard or a soft maple, but f'r example, if you're calling somehting 'Sycamore', you really need to point out whether it's the UK Acer Psuedoplatanus, ie a maple, or an actual US sycamore, a Plane.)

Wikipedia is insanely helpful in this regard, although google should do in a pinch, so it'd be nice to it used more often.

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If he is talking about Juglans Nigra (i.e. Black walnut), I think it would be ok.

Here's a wayback link to the old rampart guitars website with a description for Walnut:

rampart walnut

That site says walnut is 1010 on the Janka scale, while Mahagony is in the 500 range and Maple is in the 1500 range. So its right between the two.

Given the natural variations in wood, what you have may be denser than average. You could always try to do a scrap partial fretboard with 5 or 6 frets on it, finish it, and see what you think.

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