Jump to content

Alternative To Maple Fretboard


Recommended Posts

you could use ash that has some nice grain or any hard wood will work.

Any suggestions for a light colored fretboard wood that is not maple? I like maple but would like a little color and grain. If not another wood, has anyone wood bleached say a rosewood board?
Edited by prs man
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bleaching rosewood will never, never get you even remotely close to the color of maple. If you do go with something like ash, definitely get an acrylacised board through larry at gallery hardwoods. If you use just plain old ash for a fretboard, I'm 99% certain it will not stand up well. It's pretty soft.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thorn did a "white rosewood" neck on one of their instruments:

http://www.thornguitars.com/le-htm/navajo.htm

Which I believe is just the sapwood? I don't know where you'd get a piece with that much sapwood, but I've seen some nice cocobolo with quite a bit of sapwood along the edges at the local woodshop, I've been thinking of making a bookmatched neck out of it, in the fender one-piece style.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try looking for Jatoba, otherwise known as Brazilian Cherry. It's medium-light, and not very expensive. From what I've read, it's also super dense & extremely stable. I don' tknow how that would effect finishing, or if it even needs one.

You gould also look for Spruce. It's pretty light and has well known musical properties. The drawback is the price.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always really like how Canary wood looks, more yellow than maple, but still works well. Some pieces really can look great as fretboards, a wood I would definitely consider. Best of luck.J

+1 to canary wood. it is a very vibrant yellow color and has beautiful grain. it is what i used on my double cut

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pear would be a light colored wood that will do just fine (actually very well). If you are looking for very strong grain, maybe a lighter bocote(tends to look yellowish, but very strong dark grain), lighter colored rosewood such as Honduran (I wouldn't bleach it though). Maple can be found with interesting grain, and you can always stain it or add a hint of color with the finish as it does require a finish. Canary has very cool coloration, generally kinda bland as far as grain, but sometimes you can find a gem.

I second the no no on Spruce, extreamly soft, stains easily, and I doubt it would even hold frets to begin with. Great tonewood though :D

Peace,Rich

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Along the same lines as the pear mentioned earlier, apple is pretty much the same colour and texture as maple with very tight grain and really nice to work with. But, it does have much the same appearance as plain maple so might be a bit too boring for you? I wouldn't fancy using ash for a fretboard. It is too soft and may need some form of finish. Olive ash has pretty cool grain. Here's a picture of a tele I made with some Scottish olive ash. Got that body blank for £10 which I suspect would be around $20. Bargain!

Televox-1.jpg

Pete

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This WAS going to be a short scale bass but I've changed my mind. The 30" scale holly fb I made will be used later when I get a bass worked out right in my head. Holly, if you can get your hands on some, is an ideal wood for fretboards. Its extremely dense and hard, even harder than eastern maple, and readily takes dye if one was inclined to try something different.

New%20guitar.jpg

I also have a few pieces of purpleheart kicking around that I will use for fb's. Very heavy, hard and dense. The trick is to UV protect it soon after cutting/shaping. When left to the elements it loses its color and becomes a dull greyish brown fairly quickly.

Edited by Southpa
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pear, as mentioned before can be had as steamed European variety ~ or American, which is not usually steamed.

Steamed has pinkish tone to it while not steamed is white. Both have very tight grain and hand plane like a dream.

Both are hard like maple and take stain exceptionally. American is very hard to find but European is much easier.

Once you work with pear you will be spoiled and jaded !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The pear I have laying around waiting for the right neck is actually more red and not whit or pink. It is almost as red as red beech. But I agree with the mentioning of how smooth it is once planed. Wonderful

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Find some quarted sycamore.... Looks great, maybe not as hard as some of the other woods mentioned. The stuff I have is about as hard as maple.

Larry does have some interesting fingerboards including the spalted variety. It's worth a look.

-Doug

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The strings should not touch the fretboard,though your fingers may overlap and glide across it.In my mind,the fretboard does ALOT for neck stability,which is why I belive harder,more stable woods are prefered.

Wes is right - you actually get very little string wear on fretboards... But they still do wear from the fingers

this article by frank ford shows how much finger wear you can get on a rosewood board

http://frets.com/FRETSPages/Luthier/Techni...fboardivot.html

if you look at the first picture you will see divots between the strings rather than directly under. I have repaired some just as bad on wenge , all under basic chords :D

Its the thing that always makes me want fretboards from denser woods

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try looking for Jatoba, otherwise known as Brazilian Cherry. It's medium-light, and not very expensive. From what I've read, it's also super dense & extremely stable. I don' tknow how that would effect finishing, or if it even needs one.

You gould also look for Spruce. It's pretty light and has well known musical properties. The drawback is the price.

Jatoba it's a nice wood, with some beige tones. It works very well for fretboards, a friend used it as fretboard wood on one project.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...