Gibson Guitar Board: Ebony Fretboard.. vs.. rosewood vs... baked maple? - Gibson Guitar Board

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Ebony Fretboard.. vs.. rosewood vs... baked maple?

#1 User is offline   RS1976 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 06:07 PM

Ebony fretboards... slowly but surely becoming a no no on guitars? why?
Rosewood... Wasn't this confiscated in the big Federal mash up at Nashville?

Baked Maple... WTF...


ok my question is this. Even before the whole raid, wasnt ebony getting harder to get on guitars? WHy?

isn't a fretboard just a fretboard?

what made/makes ebony more desirable.

#2 User is offline   Sinner 13 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 06:12 PM

Not being a D!ck Dude, But PLEASE.....
Put down the stick and step away from the dead horse....

#3 User is offline   dem00n 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 06:15 PM

View PostSinner 13, on 06 December 2011 - 06:12 PM, said:

Not being a D!ck Dude, But PLEASE.....
Put down the stick and step away from the dead horse....

Ding ding ding!
Dont judge the maple till you try it baby!
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#4 User is offline   Silenced Fred 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 06:18 PM

I don't like fender maple necks, always preferred rosewood. but that's just me

#5 User is offline   JellyWheat 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 06:25 PM

View PostRS1976, on 06 December 2011 - 06:07 PM, said:

Ebony fretboards... slowly but surely becoming a no no on guitars? why?
Rosewood... Wasn't this confiscated in the big Federal mash up at Nashville?

Baked Maple... WTF...


ok my question is this. Even before the whole raid, wasnt ebony getting harder to get on guitars? WHy?

isn't a fretboard just a fretboard?

what made/makes ebony more desirable.


Whether you like Ed Roman's style or not, this link does a pretty good job answering most of your questions:

http://www.edroman.c...wood/gaboon.htm

In my experience, rosewood is easier to refret than ebony. If you twist the fret tang in the least, ebony wants to flake and tear out along the margin of the kerf that constitutes the fret slot. Rosewood is much more forgiving and pleasant to work with when refretting.

Rosewood doesn't have nearly the same tap resonance as ebony. Ebony-boarded guitars are perceptibly "snappier" in both tone and feel. Baked maple, however, sounds and feels a lot like good ebony, to me, at least. Looks, of course, are another story altogether. Inlay work stands off beautifullly from pitch black, and the velvety smoothness of ebony is a joy unedrneath the fingertips, especially at the end of the 5th set. I find bending is easier on an ebony board, because my finger callusses don't hang up in the roughter grain of the rosewood as they move sideways. Richlite is great in terms of working, appearance, and bending, BTW.

As elegant as ebony is, there is something almost sensual about the oily waxiness hat a good piece of properly-seasoned rosewood develops over years of playing. The patina of rosewood improves much more than that of ebony, over time. I would rather a good rosewood fingerboard than a second-quality ebony one, were the truth to be known.

That's my take on it... [except these long, compound questions are killers to answer!]

J/W
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[EDITED: to correct error referencing ease of bending.]

This post has been edited by JellyWheat: 06 December 2011 - 07:08 PM

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#6 User is offline   RS1976 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 06:37 PM

View PostSinner 13, on 06 December 2011 - 06:12 PM, said:

Not being a D!ck Dude, But PLEASE.....
Put down the stick and step away from the dead horse....


D!ck you are, indeed... from the sarcastic wording of your reply. However, I just had a couple questions that others have been kind enough to point me in the right direction for.

#7 User is offline   JellyWheat 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 06:39 PM

ADDENDUM: maple is GREAT to refret, and is superior to either rosewood or ebony in that regard (an important consideration for a working pro, I might add).

J/W
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#8 User is offline   alexri 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 07:37 PM

I like rosewood. It's all I've ever played so I guess I'm biased. Maple is cool, I notice I play a bit differently on it though i.e. faster, and snappier. Haven't had much experience with ebony, but I find it rather "hard" and chalky, which doesn't appeal to me. I prefer rosewood, it feels the most organic to me.

I also think that rosewood is the prettiest wood.

#9 User is offline   Silenced Fred 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 07:46 PM

View Postalexri, on 06 December 2011 - 07:37 PM, said:

I like rosewood. It's all I've ever played so I guess I'm biased. Maple is cool, I notice I play a bit differently on it though i.e. faster, and snappier. Haven't had much experience with ebony, but I find it rather "hard" and chalky, which doesn't appeal to me. I prefer rosewood, it feels the most organic to me.

I also think that rosewood is the prettiest wood.


Yeah, I just don't care for the feel of ebony or maple really, but I'm not much of a snob, I'll play anything really. Teles with rosewood boards and double bindings though? Mmmmmm

#10 User is offline   Big Bill 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 08:35 PM

Baked Maple is great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and just a wee bit of whipped cream.
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#11 User is offline   Jeff-7 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 08:39 PM

I must be in the minority that loves ebony fretboards and their feel. I've got both rosewood and ebony equipped guitars and like both, I would like to try the baked maple and see how it feels.

#12 User is offline   Sinner 13 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 08:54 PM

View Postguitarest, on 06 December 2011 - 07:18 PM, said:

At the risk of fueling the fire I believe that Sinner might have thought your question was about something else. I honestly do not think he meant his to reply to be taken the way it appears to have been taken. We have had so many discussions on here about Gibson and the Gvt getting involved in their business. I believe that was his intention and not to pick a fight.

At least that's my belief


Your beliefs Are correct good Sir......
Ebony is gorgeous on an antique white LP Custom.
That being said I am a fan primarily of rosewood, but maple is nice too, a bit snappier in tone, but it shows it's wear.
It will be interesting to see how these Baked Maple fingerboard age.

#13 User is offline   Dallastx 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 09:17 PM

Rosewood on Gibsons and Maple on Fenders. I never liked a Fender with a Rosewood fretboard. They can't do it the way I like it. I did mess with a ES339 with a maple cooked, baked or whatever. Looked like crap, but felt good.
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#14 User is offline   JellyWheat 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 09:31 PM

Same way with baked apples...


... Look like crap but taste good (specially with maple syrple onto them!)

J/W
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#15 User is offline   EVOL! 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 09:43 PM

I love the look and feel of an ebony fretboard with dot inlays. By far my favorite. Rosewood is OK and since my A#1 guitar has a rosewood board, I am learning to love it more. Maple wins the trophy for aging the best. Nothing cooler than a thirty year old Tele with that blackened maple board.

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#16 User is offline   milod 

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 11:37 PM

I'm personally not that into which wood it is if the neck has a certain sort of feel overall that I like. Somehow whether a classical or "board" guitar, some necks and overall "feel" of a given instrument felt "right" to me and some don't. I don't personally feel that the specific wood is that big a deal, although I've never had a maple fingerboard except on Fender bass machines...

I will say this, though. Judging by the rosewood quality I've seen on recent guitars in the only store I've got in reasonable drive time, I get the feeling that it's not as dense a material as back in the 1970s.

In the early through mid 1970s I made a few hunting type knives to fit friends' hands. I used rosewood for the handles. They seemed about as dense as what the Ed Roman article was claiming for ebony - probably less dense than ebony of that era too - but mostly I was taking a lotta time to ensure a proper fit for a working knife. You could hold up the blank and get a bell-like tone from it. I have a hunch I'd not hear that today.

OTOH, does that "bell like tone" make a guitar sound better? I dunno. I tend to doubt it although it may make a difference on some sorts of bridge designs. You can get into a fight on a guitar forum, I'm sure, arguing what sorta bridge is best on an archtop... so... i dunno.

So... I wonder too whether some of the synthetics and "treated" material available today might not be better than "the real thing" that's available today regardless of "law," whether anybody may particularly like that idea or not. Times have changed - again, whether "we" may like it or not - and it's a different supply chain and marketplace even aside from politics and legalities cutting into availability.

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#17 User is offline   carv3r 

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 06:41 AM

i fell in love with ebony fret boards a while back and havent looked back since, i have a mustang with a rosewood and a stratobanger with a maple but the explorer and lespaul have these tight feeling ebony fretboards that i just cant turn away from.
the baked maple. will make its way into the collection. thats for sure. its just a matter of time.
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#18 User is offline   alexri 

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 05:55 PM

View PostSilenced Fred, on 06 December 2011 - 07:46 PM, said:

Yeah, I just don't care for the feel of ebony or maple really, but I'm not much of a snob, I'll play anything really. Teles with rosewood boards and double bindings though? Mmmmmm


Same here many, I'll play anything really I just prefer rosewood.

I love Tele's man, I just can't play them :( I've got really big hands and they slam up against the controls while I'm strumming.

#19 User is offline   StLucifer 

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 01:25 AM

I have 13 guitars with many type fretboards...ebony on maple, ebony on mahogany, rosewood on maple, rosewood on mahogany, rosewood on bamboo (Yamaha FG-B1), baked (Torrified) maple on mahogany (GibsonLPJrSp). They're all nice. Stay away from "select plywood" though.

#20 User is online   Searcy 

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 07:22 AM

Something that has always been funny to me about this whole subject is that, as far as fret boards go, Rosewood was originally the cheap crap material. They were cut offs from acoustic guitar sides that were used on the bargain range of guitars. 50 or 60 years ago a quality guitar would have had an ebony fretboard.

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