Question about Darkening Rosewood Fretboards

Beargrylls21

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Mar 11, 2018
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Hi Everyone,

Just recently picked up a 2008 Hollowbody 1, and needless to say, I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far. If I could change anything, though, I think I would like the rosewood on the fretboard to be a bit darker to match the aesthetics of the blue finish.

I've read a lot about people using different stains to darken rosewood fretboards, but I was curious if PRS has a recommended brand that they use to stain rosewood (i.e. something beyond a simple lemon oil treatment). I ask because my 2015 Custom 24 has a significantly darker fretboard, and I'm curious if this is because it has been stained.

Any advice here? Has anyone done this to any of their guitars before. Thanks in advance!

Here is a picture of the new hollowbody:

https://tinyurl.com/ydbhozwo
 

11top

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Pretty guitar!

I’m with you. I love dark fret boards. To me, nothing beats the look of jet black ebony to set off a nicely figured top. It also makes the inlays “pop.”
Oiling the board with conditioners will help, but you can also stain it to make it darker. I had Ron Thorn do that on a pau ferro neck for me (on a alread finished guitar) and it came out beautifully. I’m not a painter, so I can’t tell you which stain he used, but it can be done.
 

Beargrylls21

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Mar 11, 2018
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Pretty guitar!

I’m with you. I love dark fret boards. To me, nothing beats the look of jet black ebony to set off a nicely figured top. It also makes the inlays “pop.”
Oiling the board with conditioners will help, but you can also stain it to make it darker. I had Ron Thorn do that on a pau ferro neck for me (on a alread finished guitar) and it came out beautifully. I’m not a painter, so I can’t tell you which stain he used, but it can be done.

Thanks. Yeah I am really enjoying it so far. Yes, I've heard that staining is a thing people typically do on some rosewood boards, but wasn't sure if there was a standard approved stain people use. Hopefully someone on the board can lend some insight.
 

matt3310

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0G5dmgF.jpg


Before and after with 1 coat.
 

11top

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Use leather dye. It works great. And will wipe right off the inlays with no effect on them. Use black dye and wipe on with a dry paper towel. Let dry, then if you want it darker reapply.

Black leather dye? Does it turn your fingers black when playing?

Product name or pic of bottle?
 

Beargrylls21

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inHv1yz.jpg


This is what I use. Once dry it will not rub of on your fingers.
Thanks for the suggestions. Did you do any pre-sanding work before applying the dye? And does it rub off the inlays without any issues? How long to you let it sit before rubbing off the excess?
 

matt3310

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Wipe on wait about 3 min. Wipe it down.
No sanding required. Just make sure the fret board is clean.
 
Last edited:

JJJ

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Mar 21, 2018
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I would leave it myself... but that's just me. I find the board on my CE to be quite brightly coloured but I'd never try and dye it.
 

Beargrylls21

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Thanks for the feedback, guys (and for the compliments). I'm definitely excited to have found it. Yeah, I admit it's a process I am a little hesitant about. I'm also very worried about the concept of using leather dye on a guitar. I guess I was looking to see if there was a reputable solution that people have used in the past. There may not be a consensus on this, though.
 

Alnus Rubra

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Leather dyes are commonly used to stain guitar tops, with little worry of damage.

See several tutor videos on you tube.

My personal view that isn’t worth “diddly-squat” would be to play it and clean and condition the fret board. Over a couple of years it will change colour naturally, as most wood does as it is exposed to light.

Good luck with what ever you decide.
 
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