Fretboard Woods

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by Matthew Marsico, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. WA Paul

    WA Paul It’s ok...I’m with Manny dog

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    I love Koa for aesthetics. I nearly went with a Koa top for my first PS build, but I figured I needed to knock out that tropical water color quilt that’s been in my head for years first. I already have Koa Sister 1 for that Koa itch. Curious how a Koa fretboard would sound. Is this a currently build in the oven?
     
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  2. veinbuster

    veinbuster Freeze zone

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    No, long finished.
    It’s really hard to say what the impact of the koa board is on this guitar, which is why I didn’t add it to my necks comparison. Maple neck, koa board and top, obeche back
    Put on the spot I would say the koa board is probably in the same ballpark as if I had used a maple board.
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    I'm in the everything affects everything camp. I tend to like less biting highs, but any guitar can have that removed with a pickup change. The thing about PRS Guitars that thrills me is that no two seem to sound or feel the same. It's a great excuse for having a huge variety. I went through that Tele sound, that Strat sound, and that LP sound. My brain got chemically altered when I got my first PRS, a lowly SE Singlecut with 2-P90's intended to be a backup guitar. It got pressed into service when I was playing "Once on This Island" at a local school. I was gobsmacked at the intonation, and how it blended with all the other instruments in the orchestra (wealthy private school with a big budget). All the other brands went bye-bye. Every wood used in every part brings something sonically incredible to the table. PRS seems to consistently have the best woods. I'm really happy to hear what others think.
     
    #63 dogrocketp, Jul 16, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2018
  4. Alnus Rubra

    Alnus Rubra Loving nature’s wonders

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    I’m a fan of Ziricote, mainly down to cosmetics! I find it hard to believe that a fretboard can have an overall effect on the tone of a guitar, due to everything else that going on.

    Does it look good, does it feel nice, are you happy? It’s the right choice for you!
     
  5. rnodern

    rnodern Just one more.....

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    I tend to agree. I have multiple Custom 24's and they all have their own tonal characteristics. However, I think there is more to it than just the woods. Taking the factory tour, I noticed that there is still very much, a huge amount of manual work that goes into the Core guitars. From woodworking to electronics & pickups. IMO, the fact that each guitar is largely crafted by hand, there tends to be more variance than other manufacturers who automate much of the guitar making process. This by no means is a bad thing. Each guitar has its own character and strengths. In terms of wood selection & tonal differences, take a look at this video.
    This guy simply changes necks from a Maple fretboard to a Rosewood fretboard and back again. I was surprised with the results. I was expecting the tonal qualities to be vastly different, however they were almost indistinguishable. Having said that, I was able to pick the maple board, but the difference was far less pronounced than I was expecting.
    My expectations of hearing more of a difference comes from my own collection of PRS, (Namely CE models) where my maple fretboards, sound vastly different tonally to my Rosewood boards, but have the same Mahogany body and pickup combinations.
    Anyhow, yeah a very interesting topic.
     
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  6. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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  7. JJJ

    JJJ asleep

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    My favourite is a dense, well dried/treated piece of rosewood. On guitar, anyway.

    On bass I really like an old fashioned lacquered maple board.
     
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  8. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    When you fret a note, the string comes into contact with a fret. When the note is plucked with the string in contact with the fret, you’re vibrating the fretboard.

    The attack portion of a note is the first thing the ear hears. The attack defines the note. The fretboard is the “first responder” to a fretted note. It’s very direct. It’s going to pick up that note attack.

    Is it any wonder that fretboard wood differences seem to be most noticeable on note attack?

    If you listen and concentrate on the attack of the note, you’ll hear how the fretboard wood affects tone. Just be patient and thorough. It’s there to hear.

    It’s story time, kids:

    One evening at dinner a year or two ago, I was explaining to my daughter, her husband, and my wife that picks sound different. They laughed. They rolled their eyes. “Oh Dad, you’re going off the rails again.” :rolleyes: So I said, “When we get back i’ll demonstrate. I did. Everyone was amazed, except my wife, who has significant hearing loss, and was the only one who couldn’t hear it.

    Sometimes the smallest, least-expected thing will surprise you. As I said, it’s there to hear. This doesn’t have to be taken on faith; it’s easily proved.
     
    #68 LSchefman, Jul 16, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
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  9. JJJ

    JJJ asleep

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    A good fretboard is really dense and lets notes ring out loud and clear. A 'bad' one doesnt just kill sustain but you lose a whole top of top end. You can hear the difference unplugged more than you can plugged in... but i find they make a much bigger difference than neck or body wood tbh.
     
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  10. Tonart

    Tonart Tone of the Art......or is that backwards?

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    It’s this point that makes me theorize that the neck and to a lesser extent the bridge, are vibrating the entire string from the outside, in a quantum that’s invisible to the naked eye but yet lends to tone.

    So on the inside of the string, the vibrations are of metal string characteristic. But the vibrations coming from the outside are wood characteristic - similar to what you might hear in a rap tone test on a neck blank.

    That to me is why some guitars sound so ‘woody’ when played acoustically. This same ‘woodiness’ comes out faithfully through the amp, because it is the string vibration itself that is behaving in a ‘woody’ manner due to the external influence of the neck and bridge.

    That’s also the reason for the proverbial “putting les Paul pickups on a Strat will not give a les Paul sound”.....uh proverb.

    Probably the same overall thought that you have, but just visualised differently. :)
     
    #70 Tonart, Jul 16, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
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  11. 11top

    11top Cousin Eddie's cousin

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  12. WA Paul

    WA Paul It’s ok...I’m with Manny dog

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    Ah, now I remember this one! A beauty for sure! I used to think of Koa sounding somewhere in between hog and maple, so the maple reference makes sense to me.
     
  13. merciful-evans

    merciful-evans Portsmouth uk

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    Agreed. Picks are the most neglected part of our kit. People will spend $$$$ on tubes, pedals, cables etc and rarely give any thought to picks. Pick design, material and our pick technique can make a marked difference in the sound produced.
     
  14. jxe

    jxe babe en der wood

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    pick vs fingers is bigger than fretboard wood for sure.
     
  15. KevinK

    KevinK New Member

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    I've always wanted a Custom 24 with an ebony board..
     
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  16. Guitpicky

    Guitpicky New Member

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    No argument here. I'm just wondering how many rosewood fret boards have been ruined by overuse of fretboard oil. Too heavy or frequent application softens the wood between the fibers and can even turn it to mush. Untrimmed nails possibly but even with long nails you've really got to be digging in to ruin a hardwood fretboard. Heavy sweat maybe?
     
    #76 Guitpicky, Jul 18, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018
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  17. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Hit me up!
     
  18. KevinK

    KevinK New Member

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    I can't afford one ;-)
     
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  19. Guitpicky

    Guitpicky New Member

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    How do you rule out the possibility that the differences are simply due to individual guitars sounding different?

    Do you think it's possible that "looking for" particular sounds affects ones perception making it more likely to find them?
     
  20. Guitpicky

    Guitpicky New Member

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    Cocobolo makes a nice fretboard. It's harder and denser than rosewood and beautiful. The green paua inlays look great against it too :)

    [​IMG]
     

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