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trapdoorspider

Restoring dark color to rosewood fretboard?

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I just bought a gently used 2006 Gibson SG-3 with a rosewood fretboard. It's a beautiful guitar (cherry with gold hardware), but the fretboard is ugly — it looks faded and washed out. It's much lighter than on any of my other SGs.

 

Is there any good and safe (for the guitar, I mean) product that will bring back (or add) the rich dark brown color to the rosewood?

 

I'm nervous about using a regular stain, because I don't want to also stain the binding and the nut. And I don't want to apply anything that might soak into the the wood and make it swell and ruin/crack the binding.

 

Any suggestions (besides just leaving it alone)? Many thanks! - michael

 

SG3-Fretboard.png

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I just bought a gently used 2006 Gibson SG-3 with a rosewood fretboard. It's a beautiful guitar (cherry with gold hardware), but the fretboard is ugly — it looks faded and washed out. It's much lighter than on any of my other SGs.

 

Is there any good and safe (for the guitar, I mean) product that will bring back (or add) the rich dark brown color to the rosewood?

 

I'm nervous about using a regular stain, because I don't want to also stain the binding and the nut. And I don't want to apply anything that might soak into the the wood and make it swell and ruin/crack the binding.

 

Any suggestions (besides just leaving it alone)? Many thanks! - michael

 

SG3-Fretboard.png

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Try Ernie Ball Wonder Wipes Fretboard Conditioner. I tried it for the first time on one of my thirsty fretboards and the natural wood tone came back to life. It was amazing. Some products like Planet Waves' Hydrate has got color in it, like red in this case. The guys at the guitar shop say they use it on all their guitars and it works for them. However, the way I see it, isn't the coloring going to soak into the wood and stain it somewhat? I don't know so I'll play it safe and the E.B. Wonder wipes is clear on a white towelet in a individual package. They come in 6-pack box. It also has a citrus scent that's kind of pleasent.

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I would recommend contacting Gibson directly. I contacted them about keeping the very slick feel of the gloss neck on my SG and they were ready with the answer. The polish they recommended keeps the neck fast & slick as new. You should ask if &/or how the fingerboard is finished. I suspect it has a finish on it. Maybe lacquer, or urethane, or linseed oil, or .... who knows? Gibson knows. Before you do anything you need to know what finish is on it so you can determine what your options are.

 

My suspicion is that you're just reacting to the modern regulations against importation of exotic rosewood. Most Brazilian & Indian rosewood is now illegal. Gibson's US facility recently got raided, employees got arrested, & materials were confiscated as a result of buying what is alleged to be illegally harvested exotic woods through a 3rd party (which allegedly sold them as harvested from legal renewable sources).

 

Both rosewood & ebony are becoming harder & harder to obtain in mass produced insturments and the quality is less than desireable. My 2010 SG fingerboard is claimed to be rosewood but it looks more like walnut, it just doesn't have the warmth of my rosewood guitars from the 60s. I suspect it is an Asian variety and just isn't as high a quality as Indian or Brazilian rosewood I'm used to. Unfortunately these simply are very rare and reserved for the most expensive instruments today.

 

Good Luck

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I would recommend contacting Gibson directly. I contacted them about keeping the very slick feel of the gloss neck on my SG and they were ready with the answer. The polish they recommended keeps the neck fast & slick as new. You should ask if &/or how the fingerboard is finished. I suspect it has a finish on it. Maybe lacquer, or urethane, or linseed oil, or .... who knows? Gibson knows. Before you do anything you need to know what finish is on it so you can determine what your options are.

 

My suspicion is that you're just reacting to the modern regulations against importation of exotic rosewood. Most Brazilian & Indian rosewood is now illegal. Gibson's US facility recently got raided, employees got arrested, & materials were confiscated as a result of buying what is alleged to be illegally harvested exotic woods through a 3rd party (which allegedly sold them as harvested from legal renewable sources).

 

Both rosewood & ebony are becoming harder & harder to obtain in mass produced insturments and the quality is less than desireable. My 2010 SG fingerboard is claimed to be rosewood but it looks more like walnut, it just doesn't have the warmth of my rosewood guitars from the 60s. I suspect it is an Asian variety and just isn't as high a quality as Indian or Brazilian rosewood I'm used to. Unfortunately these simply are very rare and reserved for the most expensive instruments today.

 

Good Luck

 

 

Not trying to start a flame war, but you should really do your research on this.

It was shady documentation, finishing standards, and some weird Indian labor laws that got Gibson in hot water with the feds over violating the Lacey act,

all the while this was happening ALL the other major manufactures in the US (Martin and Fender for example) were still buying and using these very same woods, bought from the exact same supplier (LMI), in their production.

Gibson has returned to using these woods, along with some great alternate species. on several USA made models at this point.

there are a Plethora of threads in the lounge archives that cover this.

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Keep in mind that rosewood has many different color/hue variations. I've seen plenty of rosewood fretboards and bridges on acoustic guitars that were very light in color. Regular oiling of the fretboard and just playing it will darken it over time.

 

If the wood is in good condition just play it and enjoy it.

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