Difference in tone between African Blackwood vs. Brazilian Rosewood vs. Indian Rosewood fingerboards?

For my next T-type, I'm using Brazilian Kingwood for the board. As I've never used it before, this is a "tone and feel" experiment as well as an aesthetic one.

I've had a pile of blanks that I've slowly been working my way through for the last thirty years, and its time has come around at last.
 
I evaluate electric guitar tone by playing them acoustically. Sounds counter intuitive but it’s not.

Whether its air molecules or pickups that are aping the string vibration, both apes eventually deliver the same result.

One ape occurs naturally and directly, while the other ape was designed by man to take a more convoluted route for the sake of higher volume. But both do basically the same thing - mimic string movement and send it to our ears.

If the string vibration is inherently unpalatable, it will not sound nice no matter what ape is assigned to the job. I’m sure you’ve heard Paul by now: “No matter what mic you put on Barbara Streisand she’s not gonna sound like Paul Rodgers”. It’s true.

That inherent tone can vary widely in individual guitars built to exactly the same design but different woods.

Cataloging and communicating those differences according to wood species however, is mission impossible.

Find a guitar with the best inherent tone by acoustic evaluation, then assign the best pickup to it. Can’t go wrong.
I had someone tell me exactly the opposite once...once! Totally agree on this theory!
 
I think it only matters if you are having a Custom guitar built for you and you have a strong preference. In most other cases, a guitar either works for you or it doesn't and you'll either try to modify the hardware or sell the guitar if it doesn't. You aren't going to swap the neck or fretboard to see if a different species of wood will transform the guitar. You'll decide it doesn't work for you, despite trying different things and sell...

It's much more important for the Luthier. Understanding that a guitar is the sum of its parts, can use that information to try and provide a 'balanced' instrument that people tend to gravitate more too. You don't see Rosewood neck 'Tele/Strats' very often, if it all - which maybe more because it doesn't sound/feel/play like a 'traditional' tele/strat should or as expected.

For a musician, there is so much they can change and its so easy to change. You can't exactly change the Body, neck or fretboard woods very easily so does it matter too much? If the instrument works for you, great - you don't really think about the impact the woods, however subtle or nuanced, it's just a great guitar. If it doesn't quite work, its the Pups, its the amp/pedals, set-up etc and if you still can't make it work, can't get rid of the characteristics you don't like, you sell. If you find you end up with 'mostly' maple necked instruments (with/without rosewood fretboards), then maybe that is telling you something...

Point is, its much more important for a Luthier as they are making instruments that a Musician will pick up, play and want to keep playing. If the 'woods' don't resonate well together as a complete system, then that guitar may not sell or put someone off of that brand/model - so its critical they understand - it also helps when a Artist comes in and wants something a bit 'different' - maybe want a darker, more earthy guitar or a brighter guitar with a bit more attack - they can help craft something to please the musician - not that he'll care that it has some 'different' woods to core, but that it does what they wanted it to do...

As a musician, you don't really need to analyse the difference woods make and we know that wood is naturally going to vary but its not something we tend to swap out, experiment with, A/B etc - we just decide if we 'like' an instrument or not, and if not, modify the hardware or sell...
 
There are so many variables in a guitar that it is hard to pin it down, but here is my summary based on 3 African Blackwood, 3 Braz and some Indian.

I feel African Blackwood is most articulate and very well balanced across the 4 octaves.

My Brazilian is the earthiest and strongly favours lower harmonics. If I want dark and stormy, that’s what I go with.

Indian: less extreme, a good baseline.
Does this go for necks, also?
 
In a neck , being of more mass a fretboard , the differences would become more apparent. My PRS's have 3 different neck combo's Mahogany /rosewood, mahogany / ebony and all maple, even when run withthe same pickups and body wood , there is a pronounced difference. As the fundamental initial receptor of string vibrations on an acoustic level it is one of the most significant influencers on tone. If you doubt this or any other wood argument .. go try the same model with different woods , especially necks .
 
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