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The Fretboards/ Fingerboards Thread


Cam
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Ok......

Just starting this thread so i can learn about fretboards and there different tones and everything.

I know the most common woods for fretboards are ebony, rosewood, maple and birdseye maple.

But what about other woods like, flamed maple, mahogany, quilted maple, acrilic/ plexiglass?

Is there any other woods used or can be used? What are the tonal differences?

Could you imagine a nice quilted maple fretboard!

Chuck everything you know in this thread!

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Most people wont EVER notice the tonal differences. mahogany is too soft for a fretboard wood. you need a hard wood that will hold the frets in nicley.

plexiglass will work fine, but the thing is you can see to the truss rod if you do that. quilted and flamed maple have been used a ton, even on a bunch of recent threads here on pg. you can use anything that is hard enough for a fretboard. doesnt matter what it is.

look here for a a bunch of fretboard woods that are not always used but that are perfectly useable

http://www.lmii.com/CartTwo/Secondproducth...me=Fingerboards

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I could swear we had a member named Cam years ago that was trying to scam some people in a buy/resell at higher price kind of thing...and my memory is pretty good on these things...he had an avatar of snoopy

If you are not him,then that is a very unfortunate choice of name for you,as your posting styles are virtually,if not exactly identical.

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Ok......

Just starting this thread so i can learn about fretboards and there different tones and everything.

I know the most common woods for fretboards are ebony, rosewood, maple and birdseye maple.

But what about other woods like, flamed maple, mahogany, quilted maple, acrilic/ plexiglass?

Is there any other woods used or can be used? What are the tonal differences?

Could you imagine a nice quilted maple fretboard!

Chuck everything you know in this thread!

I've used cocobolo, ebony, wenge and some african wood called sheduah. I really like how the Sheduah fretboard has come out. Its a nice wood to play on and looks good and is awesome for rock. Cocobolo has more of an ebony feel to it. You can buff it up to a great shine and has a nice clear attack. Great for fast riffing. The wenge necks are completed yet but from working the wood, I think that they'll between maple and ebony in terms of feel.

In terms of tones, I don't think fretboards have a big impact. They do affect the overtones and the attack - Does that make sense?

Harder, Denser wood seem to have more attack and more punch. Softer wood have a mellower top end with a softer attack. In terms of attack, it like the difference between an Alnico and ceramic magnet pickup.

I've got some amazing birdseye that I'd like to use but I have to find a way to plane it down. I'd love to get a thickness sander but they're expensive and I don't have the cash for one :D I might try one of those drill press sander thingies.

Edited by guitar2005
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I could swear we had a member named Cam years ago that was trying to scam some people in a buy/resell at higher price kind of thing...and my memory is pretty good on these things...he had an avatar of snoopy

If you are not him,then that is a very unfortunate choice of name for you,as your posting styles are virtually,if not exactly identical.

well i like my name haha!

But no thats not me, he lives in NY and joined on the 14 of april 04 and i only joined the other week or day lol.

Plus his user name thingy was camcool so it wasn't really just Cam. but i might look into changing it, if possible?

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well i like my name haha!

But no thats not me, he lives in NY and joined on the 14 of april 04 and i only joined the other week or day lol.

Plus his user name thingy was camcool so it wasn't really just Cam. but i might look into changing it, if possible?

forget about it...Now that I see more of your typing style it isn't all that similar to his,so I think after a while I will get use to it...it just makes me wary is all...He lied about his age and location on some sites...

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I am assuming that you are building a guitar. The best approach would be to reaearch the topic yourself, you can start with Killmall8' link, then Google "fretboard materials" if then you don't have the answers you are looking for, then by all means ask away.

Having this kind of information given to you without to much effort on your part doesn't teach you anything about luthiery. Finding the information for yourself will be much more rewarding, beneficial and help you learn much better.

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Where in Australia are you?...finding such materials can be a bit tricky down here...

Chuck everything you know in this thread!

Also, not sure what the purpose of the question is...is it like a poll, or do you have a project in mind?

I like the typical maple, rosewood and ebony of the classics and have guitars with all of these. When I played in pubs back in the day I played a Les Paul custom with ebony board and block markers and it could get a little slick with sweat sometimes.

Lately I am playing a maple board, but it can get a bit grubby and in time will relic up as the finish wears off.

Rosewood, that is on my strat is a good compromise between the two.

I am partial to the idea of various alternative materials especially since good rosewood and ebony is expensive and endangered.

In the case of ebony, often it is so black that if it were of a suitable material of the same color it would probably work just as well (and given that half of it is not seen anyway due to the inlay).

acrilic/ plexiglass

I don't think that acrylic would be a very good material personally...both because it is a bugger to work with and can melt if polished or tooled...it is also not a stable as you think and naturally resists glue so how would you stick it on without the glue showing through?...plus, well it is plastic and provides no structural strength, would crack when fretted, would scratch up over time and would be as slick as hell if you sweat on stage under lights (whcih would naturally also shrink the board!)

I have considered a carbon fibre fretboard epoxy laid thing from time to time...but there are similar problems to overcome. Something like this could look interesting and provide stiffness and possible be made in ingenious ways...but even a hard waring epoxy lay up (expensive) will shrink while setting, may cause fretting (nad refretting especially) problems and not having the give and take of wood, may separate from the neck it is attached to if it were to shrink.

As for tone...All my maple necked guitars have been bright, but they are bright guitars. With things like carbon reinforcing and such there days, there may not be a lot of difference in reality...a lot of it is aesthetics I suspect given all the other factors you could play with.

A nice flamed piece of wood can look great, and of course these are redilly available and few builds here have featured such things. More interesting still were some of the ideas I have seen around here lately for striped lamination and book matched timbers, I even like some of what Conklin does in this area occasionally.

...

Again...a very odd post, is this a question or a poll? Is there a project in mind or like the haunting camcool (I remember this period too) some kind of "product" and this is a market survey of sorts.

However, if you know of a place that sells suitable fine timbers suitable for this purpose in Oz, I'd certainly could use some leads. There are a range of australian native timbers that could also be considered, some select Jarrah for instance can have spectacular grains and a deep red, very hard but a little brittle to work with, a few makers have used this and I used it once and have made furniture from it...

pete

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Also, not sure what the purpose of the question is...is it like a poll, or do you have a project in mind?

Well I was just very curious as i am planning to start building a few guitars for my self in the next couple of years and i was just wondering what would look cool on my guitars and still sound alright. Plus i wanted to learn more from the "experts" here on PG as well as researching a bit myself about fretboards. Thanks guys!

Edited by Cam
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I've only used maple and phenolic for "scratch made" fret-boards. Phenolic is not much fun to work with, but I sure didn't have any fret-board shrinkage happen later.

If I can ever manage to retire and do more of that I want to do for myself, I'll make at least one fret-board or one piece neck out of oak.

Heck, I think my early 60's Kay might have a poplar fret-board. As in good of shape as if it was maple ) of course, it might be maple. Tricky with this one, 'cause it is quite hard, but pretty much non-existant grain lines.

Almost forgot : I got a 1/4" thick piece of bamboo here that just might be more stiff than any wood fret-board I've handled. Makes me wonder.

I wouldn't eve rule out Mahogany. With "super glue" wood hardening, you can bend the rules.

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http://www.mosesgraphite.com/products.html

They have graphite fingerboards for a lot of instruments. I've never used any of them though.

And anybody know why there aren't more laminated fingerboards used? I saw one on a bass project on the forum and it looked awesome.

When I made a neck blank from maple:zebrano:maple laminates, I cut off a long strip of the blank to use as the finger board so that the wood patern continued all the way through.... would have looked good if the neck didn't go tit's up (nothing to do with the fingerboard though).

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Wes, you got a mind like steel trap. holy crap that was 4 years ago.

Pfft...that's nothing...

7th grade locker combo 33-11-0

my former driver's liscence # from 10 years ago 14582958

I won't go into all of the other things stuck in my head,because most of them are personal numbers(the dl# was reassigned,so it cannot be linked back to me)...but needless to say I never forgot much of anything...

When I do my bills every month I write all of the account numbers on the checks in the memo line from memory...about 2 dozen of them...I have not commited my new cable account to memory yet...but my memory is slipping a little now...I am getting too old it seems.

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Wes, you got a mind like steel trap. holy crap that was 4 years ago.

Pfft...that's nothing...

7th grade locker combo 33-11-0

my former driver's liscence # from 10 years ago 14582958

I won't go into all of the other things stuck in my head,because most of them are personal numbers(the dl# was reassigned,so it cannot be linked back to me)...but needless to say I never forgot much of anything...

When I do my bills every month I write all of the account numbers on the checks in the memo line from memory...about 2 dozen of them...

Sounds just like my younger son. He remembers the license plate numbers of all our cars (past and present) since he was a toddler, and the cars of all of our friends & neighbors too.

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This reminds me of something i was talking about with an educational psychologist (and bass collector) recently, apparently one of his friends at cambridge university had been researching a link between levels of testosterone in amniotic fluid and the development of autistic tendencies in childhood. Not sure why that popped into my head on a mostly male forum full of guitar obsessives :D

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honestly, if you could cure autism and autistic spectrum related traits you would have a lot of empty universities and practically no engineers or mathmeticians. I think it would get rid of a lot of geeks too, this forum would be deserted :D

Wind blowing, no sound at all...

..........???.............???.......GUYS???????

EDIT: I´ll change that at home! Didn´t want to pass that opportunity...

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