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mrjones200x

The effect inlays have on fretboard tone/overall tone?

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To put this back on track (such as THAT is) I'll add my virtual $0.02 worth:

 

I buy a guitar for the way it plays and sounds, and, to a degree, by its appearance (if you saw some of the ugly guitars I've owned, you'd understand that last one is relatively minor).

 

IF the inlays affect the sound, then what? Are you going to change out the inlays on a poor sounding guitar in order to improve it (assuming that there is an effect and that doing so doesn't change the sound for the worse)?

 

People tell me with a perfectly straight face that rosewood fingerboards sound dramatically different from ebony and maple, and I respond, "that's interesting. Give me a demonstration." Oh, wait, that's not possible, so let's compare this guitar with one kind with that guitar with another kind. Well, yeah, they sound different, maybe because one is Gibson 335 and the other a Telecaster.

 

Everybody seems to believe that the most important factor in a guitar's sound is pixie dust.

 

I'll shut up now. Somebody wake when the definitive analysis is made.

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A clean car drives better and a clean' date=' oiled fretboard plays better. Most of that is in our head, but all the little subtle things that make us happy and make us think the guitar sounds better and plays better make US more inspired to play better. quote']

 

I agree. Funny thing, I was just thinking about that today. I went into a music store and picked up a couple of Epi's, Gibsons, PRS's, Dano's, etc. - the prices ranged from under $300 to over $3000. I was dazzled by the looks of some of them and felt a little bit of GAS. However, EVERY single one of them felt like crap! The strings and fingerboards were gross! One "new" Gibson Standard double-cut had scrapes, dings and the worst buckle rash I have seen in a long time. A beautiful new Epi Prophecy LP had a crack in the upper surface of the headstock. I could go on, but I also realize that guitars go through horrendous shop wear if left withing reach.

 

Every time I leave a guitar store I think how thankful I am to have such nice instruments that are clean, set up properly and taken care of. I always feel good to "know" that the nicest guitars I have ever played have been mine! =D>

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A clean car drives better and a clean' date=' oiled fretboard plays better. Most of that is in our head, but all the little subtle things that make us happy and make us think the guitar sounds better and plays better make US more inspired to play better.

 

I have a rosewood fretboard on my Strat and a Maple fretboard on my Tele. I prefer rosewood over maple. Maple is too sticky.

 

I can't tell the difference in the sound, but I've played both fretboards on both Strat and Tele guitars and I'd never pick maple for any guitar, given a choice. I am, however, picky about whether the inlays are flush and smooth. I've seen square inlays where you could feel the transition as you slid your fingers over the inlay.[/quote']

 

I agree. Funny thing, I was just thinking about that today. I went into a music store and picked up a couple of Epi's, Gibsons, PRS's, Dano's, etc. - the prices ranged from under $300 to over $3000. I was dazzled by the looks of some of them and felt a little bit of GAS. However, EVERY single one of them felt like crap! The strings and fingerboards were gross! One "new" Gibson Standard double-cut had scrapes, dings and the worst buckle rash I have seen in a long time. A beautiful new Epi Prophecy LP had a crack in the upper surface of the headstock. I could go on, but I also realize that guitars go through horrendous shop wear if left within reach.

 

Every time I leave a guitar store I think how thankful I am to have such nice instruments that are clean, set up properly and taken care of. I always feel good to "know" that the nicest guitars I have ever played have been mine! =D>

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Not trying to be an a#@ or anything but sometimes these "does (insert guitar part/material) effect the tone" questions get a little tiresome sometimes.

 

By the way' date=' I keep the nails on my left hand fairly short, if I let them grow 3/32" will this improve my tone on a ebony fret board with 16.35% trapezoid inlay, over set mahogany neck, using a tusq nut, #10 Ernie Ball Super Slinky, Grover tuners, Chrome Stop bar/tun-a-matic bridge, mahogany back (I think two piece, not sure though), 5/64" maple AAAA flame top, nitro cellulose teaburst finish (I believe 4 coats.....could be five though and this really bothers me).

 

Well let me know what you guys think. [/quote']

 

Well in essence, you are fairly close to the truth of the matter. Fingerboard wood does make a difference

on the tone *slightly* depending on the wood chosen and the thickness of the the

fingerboard. Whether it is maple or madagascar ebony or indian rosewood..the fb

wood doth impart a barely perceptible difference. I would disagree with you on the

"16.355" trapezoid inlay as I feel that the Gibson split parallelogram style is a far superior

inlay, especially with cultured MOP from Japan. These oysters are grown in the finest

conditions and are constantly monitored for water temperature and growing conditions.

They are harvested by endowed nude virgin Japanese divers that only rely on lung capacity to

dive down and gently prise the oysters from their beds. It cannot be disputed then that

the harvested MOP, done with conservation in mind, is deemed to be the finest quality

in appearance and tone, free of voids found in cheaper MOP blanks.

 

Now the black pearl, very rare and highly desired by the world's finest luthiers is the

inlay of choice..pricey, but just like those Gibson PAF humbuckers and bumblebee

or black beauty PIO caps..they are all part of the mystique of a finely crafty instrument.

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Well in essence' date=' you are fairly close to the truth of the matter. Fingerboard wood does make a difference

on the tone *slightly* depending on the wood chosen and the thickness of the the

fingerboard. Whether it is maple or madagascar ebony or indian rosewood..the fb

wood doth impart a barely perceptible difference. I would disagree with you on the

"16.355" trapezoid inlay as I feel that the Gibson split parallelogram style is a far superior

inlay, especially with cultured MOP from Japan. These oysters are grown in the finest

conditions and are constantly monitored for water temperature and growing conditions.

They are harvested by endowed nude virgin Japanese divers that only rely on lung capacity to

dive down and gently prise the oysters from their beds. It cannot be disputed then that

the harvested MOP, done with conservation in mind, is deemed to be the finest quality

in appearance and tone, free of voids found in cheaper MOP blanks.

 

Now the black pearl, very rare and highly desired by the world's finest luthiers is the

inlay of choice..pricey, but just like those Gibson PAF humbuckers and bumblebee

or black beauty PIO caps..they are all part of the mystique of a finely crafty instrument.

[/quote']

 

Ahem .... you neglected to credit Guitar Aficionado Magazine for this very scholarly quote! [-o<

 

Jim

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I'm sure I had an answer for this question but after reading all of the drama..........I forgot what I was going to say. LoL [-o<

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Ahem .... you neglected to credit Guitar Aficionado Magazine for this very scholarly quote! =P~

 

Jim

 

So it's out now? Cars (Lamborgini), 5 figure" guitars, H-D motorcycles, fine wines..

definitely a magazine for those with distinctive tastes and wallets.

 

Well, my post on the naked women pearl divers is based on some historic facts.

Here's some more info on these women pearl divers...

http://www.allaboutgemstones.com/natural_pearls.html

 

Traditionally, these Ama (sea women) were almost mermaids without the benefit of having

tails, dived with only loin cloths down to depths of around 100 feet

for natural pearls and abalone.

 

Not sure what methods are used now, but real figured MOP is still very expensive. so synthetic man-made materials are used in the cheaper lines of guitars.

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I'm sure there must be someone, somewhere who is blessed with hearing so acute as to be able to discern via blind tests the tonal differences between different fretboard materials, all other things being equal. As long as this issue has been around, why would there NOT be conclusive blind-test results? Or even measurable results?

 

But the fact that there are not any conclusive studies, at least none that have ever been quoted on these boards, makes me wonder how real an issue it is. I suppose if you get enough fiddlers to say the same thing about one thing or another, all the rest of them will just about HAVE to accept it as fact. ie: "maple is brighter, rosewood is warmer, ebony is somethingorotherer"

 

I have rosewood and ebony boards on my guitars. I have some with inlay, one fairly elaborate. I can't feel the transition from wood to mop when I'm fretting and I can't hear any difference in sound between fretting in the wood and fretting on the inlay material. None. Zero.

 

I used to have pretty good hearing. I've been picking for 50 years, owned some of my instruments for over 40. Had one built to my own specs, partly from things I learned on forums such as this one. And I've never been able to tell you, by just listening, what kind of wood was in any part of my guitars. And I dayum sure can't tell when I'm playing on inlays. Hope this helps.

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I'm sure there must be someone' date=' somewhere who is blessed with hearing so acute as to be able to discern via blind tests the tonal differences between different fretboard materials, all other things being equal. As long as this issue has been around, why would there NOT be conclusive blind-test results? Or even measurable results? [/quote']

 

you mean like the Coke/Pepsi blind taste test?

 

But the fact that there are not any conclusive studies, at least none that have ever been quoted on these boards, makes me wonder how real an issue it is. I suppose if you get enough fiddlers to say the same thing about one thing or another, all the rest of them will just about HAVE to accept it as fact. ie: "maple is brighter, rosewood is warmer, ebony is somethingorotherer"

 

It's difficult to do a conclusive test, because on musical instruments, especially guitars, the fingerboard is only

part of the overal tone producing components. Bodies have more effect on tone than

fingerboards, so do bridges and tailpieces to a certain extent.

IMO, the music industry, especially guitar makers make most instruments out of traditional

woods, although there are some that use more exotic woods, such as paduak, bubinga,

cocobolo (looks like rosewood) etc.

 

Most musicians accept what the general guitar playing population have accepted as

a "defacto standard" when it comes to fingerboards. The proof is more in the playing

styles than the actual science.

 

Certainly the hardness and the characteristic properties of maple/ebony and rosewood

have something to do with "tonal differences" minute as they may be, but the attack

of the string against the fretboard as the string presses against the desired fret will

have more to do than any perceived tone in the wood.

 

You could make a fingerboard out of some kind of plastic or carbon fiber composite and

even though it might appear to play the same way, most serious guitar players would

certainly notice the difference.

 

Similarily with fret heights, widths and crowns...all of these have an effect on string

dynamics as well as metal composition of the fret itself.

 

In summary, the hardness of the wood will be the determining factor against fingerboard

wear..grooves formed by the strings wearing into the surface. MOP is much harder

than most fb woods, the larger the position marker, the less wear will be apparent

over years of use.

 

 

I have rosewood and ebony boards on my guitars. I have some with inlay, one fairly elaborate. I can't feel the transition from wood to mop when I'm fretting and I can't hear any difference in sound between fretting in the wood and fretting on the inlay material. None. Zero.

 

And you shouldn't be straining your ear to hear the difference either. The MOP is

there primarily as visual indicator for fret positions, not as tone enhancer of any

kind.

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you mean like the Coke/Pepsi blind taste test?

 

Probably. I'm not really familiar with that test but a blind test is a blind test; eh?

 

 

And you shouldn't be straining your ear to hear the difference either. The MOP is

there primarily as visual indicator for fret positions' date=' not as tone enhancer of any

kind.

 

 

[/quote']

 

LOL! Thank you. I didn't mean to imply that I was actually listening for a difference. Nor that I was unfamiliar with the purpose of position markers. Although in my own case, at least on the one guitar, the paua and abalone is not there for anything other than aesthetics.

 

Eagle02.jpg

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