Figured Ebony


A♥ hoards guitars ♥A Soldier 25, DFZ
Jun 26, 2012
deep in the raspberry...
I'm hoping most of you have seen the video of Bob Taylor talking about the ebony shortage and what is happening there. I'm hesitant to post a link here. I know Bob and Paul are friends, but I don't know if that link would violate the spirit of this forum. If a moderator thinks it is appropriate, I invite them to post a link to the vid.

What I want to discuss, though, is something that was revealed in that video which should be within the interest of the members here.

Something like 9 out of 10 ebony trees cut down are left in the forest to rot just because they are figured and not totally black. As Bob tells it, there is nothing wrong with the wood with regards to strength or density, etc - only color. We value highly figured woods in all other species, why MUST ebony be a solid atonal black to have value?

I have seen some figured ebony and it is stunning.

So my simple question is: Do we embrace the 'new' ebony or turn up our noses?

I vote for the former.
I would KILL to see figured ebony. My violinist has a figured ebony fretboard on her 100+ year old violin. It is an absolute thing of beauty.
I would have to agree also . I think seeing something outside of the norm might even get some new private stock instruments going with pics of course. heck I would just like to see some examples of figured ebony
There is more than one kind of ebony. Gaboon, I think, is black, but there are some other varieties with streaks. I've seen some that looks like milk IRW, and there is "black and white ebony" that has more white (actually sort of a tan) than black. Where's Steve...he's a wood genius and could probably give us the scientific names for each variety.

For some reason, I thought PRS used the variety that had streaks.
The Macassar ebony used on the Artist Package a few years back had some figuring. I choose ebony and maple fretboards because they are more dense and a little brighter. For my PS, I wanted all black ebony ...
Can't imagine there couldn't be some use for it, even if it weren't guitars. Would be interesting to see.
When I was listening to Bob talk on the video, I was thinking "why aren't these logs being hauled out of the jungle and sold at a PREMIUM like other figured species?" I could easily see figured ebony as an up charge instead of a throw away wood or learn-to-live-with-it wood.

Here is one from the website mentioned by vchizzle:

That particular species has 2mm insect holes and hairline checks... repairable, but not what a luthier would want as stock.

The ebony Bob was talking about is coming from Cameroon.
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I think just about any of it would look cool as long as it was workable and felt good....well, and tone of course.
Steve sux........................ but he does wear underwear!

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