Question about Darkening Rosewood Fretboards

bluenova

Electrified since '84
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Aug 5, 2014
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@[email protected] did you ever go through with dying the Martin fretboard? If so, how'd it turn out?

Considering giving my PRS silver sky a light coat of fretboard dye I got from Stewmack. I used it on a Fender AVRI neck and it come out beautifully. Wipes right off the inlays, hopefully it wipes right off the birds :eek:

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Just a heads up I’ve dyed, I dunno, maybe 10 fretboards with fiebings and stew mac dyes, and they all wiped fine off the inlays except one core with birds. It got underneath and soaked through the shell layers a little bit. I was using a dark red almost black color so it was a reddish tint that went into the birds and doesn’t look too bad. In fact my hummingbird is now a ruby throated hummingbird :cool::D
 
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Just a heads up I’ve dyed, I dunno, maybe 10 fretboards with fiebings and stew mac dyes, and they all wiped fine off the inlays except one core with birds. It got underneath and soaked through the shell layers a little bit. I was using a dark red almost black color so it was a reddish tint that went into the birds and doesn’t look too bad. In fact my hummingbird is now a ruby throated hummingbird :cool::D

good call out, could be bird inlays dont have as tight of a bond around the top since they are more sophisticated/intricate. something to consider..
 

Broseph

PRS Fren
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Feb 18, 2021
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Bumping this up. Decided to darken a rosewood fretboard that was a little too bright cosmetically for my liking. I’m very pleased with the result but agree it’s a pain to get the dye off the maple neck. I thought I put electrical tape but it was clearly more porous than I thought. Got most of it off. I would not do this with an expensive guitar, but on a cheaper guitar I’m all for it
 

archtop

New Member
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Dec 6, 2021
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StewMac's Fretboard Finishing Oil will condition rosewood and ebony boards and darken them a bit and drys properly (unlike lemon oil or boiled linseed oil which can stay tacky). It's not a dye but not a clear oil either.

Be careful with your fingerboards and anything wet, too much oil or other liquids can cause all kinds of problems.
 

justatoaster45

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May 14, 2022
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y1lxFVA.jpg
Bumping this up. Decided to darken a rosewood fretboard that was a little too bright cosmetically for my liking. I’m very pleased with the result but agree it’s a pain to get the dye off the maple neck. I thought I put electrical tape but it was clearly more porous than I thought. Got most of it off. I would not do this with an expensive guitar, but on a cheaper guitar I’m all for it
I’ve been looking around the forum and your results like look exactly what I’m trying to achieve (on a very similar guitar as well). What due/oil/stain/process did you use? Anything to avoid?
 

Broseph

PRS Fren
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Feb 18, 2021
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'Merica
its Fiebeg's black leather dye. IF you want an ebony color board you will need black, if you want darker rosewood I would suggest dark brown color. If its a bolt on guitar I suggest removing the neck. Tape off all areas you don't want the dye to get absorbed with good electrical tape. Go light on the dye. Not much is needed. Too much and it will seep into the neck. If the neck is painted black it may not matter much. This technique will even work on Pau Ferro boards, although rosewood absorbs it better.
 

Brad737

This space for rent...
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I’m intrigued by dyeing the fretboard on my 1968 Les Paul. It’s a mongrel. the headstock was snapped off years before I owned it. And it’s been routed for humbuckers, although the pickups are early non-T Patent Number pickups. Also, the top has been refinished. But I have a copy of Gibson’s shipping ledgers. It shipped from Gibson 7 days after I was born. It’s the closest Les Paul to my birthday. It’s a GREAT playing and sounding guitar. The only thing I don’t like about it is the rosewood is too light for my taste. I’ve considered dyeing the fretboard, but I’m afraid of accidentally dyeing the nut and binding. By all accounts, the dye wipes right off of the inlays, but I’m afraid the old nut and binding might soak up some dye, despite my best efforts at masking.

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Broseph

PRS Fren
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Feb 18, 2021
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843
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'Merica
I wouldn’t advise it on a classic. Way too risky. I did it on a Mexican fender. And I did change the nut afterwards to bone. But there is visible streaks on the back. That’s why I love the relic look because I don’t care about that. On a nice finish I wouldn’t do it.
 

Hugo Agogo

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Aug 22, 2021
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Just watched a video on youtube, Monty’s Montypresso Relic wax.
recently bought a 60’s roadworn Jazz Bass with Pao ferro board & had the same idea
 

Sybo

Jim
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Nov 3, 2019
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I just love wood on it’s natural form. I’ve a 23 year old guitar that has been played lots, with a RW fretboard and it’s very dark, because it’s been used!

Horses for courses!
Bingo!
I have to add, some people are of the “ more is better” kind and that is not good with oil and fretboards with glued frets..
 
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