Rosewood Fret Board Question

Bob H.

New Member
Feb 8, 2024
I'm seeing some really dark fretboards that look so much like Ebony, but I think PRS just has some really dark - near black - Rosewood boards. Is this right?
Rosewood like Ebony comes in many shades , I have a couple of BRZ rosewood boards that are very dark . Not all ebony is black , whick is why it's endangered , they used to cut and leave any non black core Mbinga trees , Taylor and Crellican stopped that . Now you see Pale Moon Ebony show up in PRS and Knaggs like this top ...
All of my PRS rosewood boards are very dark. I hadn't really thought about that until I saw this thread. I have a few out in the room from 2006 to 2023 and they are all very dark. That is probably what makes the birds look so good.
I have Madagascar Rosewood on three Private Stocks; the CU24 is very, very dark. The Anniversary model is almost caramel. The Singlecut is kind of dark reddish brown.

There's Brazilian Rosewood on my DGT and have had quite a few with Braz; the color has varied from very dark to lighter; the DGT has streaks of light reddish-brown to very dark.

These rosewoods also sound a bit different from Indian Rosewood. The Madagascar variety is warmer, the Brazilian is a but snappier at the pick attack, so it tends to sound a little brighter.

To be clear, I'm not saying any of these species are 'better', they're just "different', and I like what they do for the tone. ButI like the sound of guitars with rosewood, including Indian Rosewood.

All but open strings touch the frets that are sitting on the wood (I'd guess since the nut touches the fretboard the species might matter there, too), and it matters re: the tone. However, the color doesn't matter at all, I find the different wood shading interesting. It's nice to have a little variety.

We all suffer from different obsessions, I suppose. ;)
The fretboard on my 2018 S2 Standard 22 is quite dark, which I prefer. The fretboard on my 2012 Gibson SG was in contrast light and almost “dry” looking when new- I bought some rosewood oil and applied it several times…it’s now much darker with still plenty of reddish-brown tones. I’ve always gravitated toward dark rosewood or ebony.
Uniformly black ebony was so sought after, I believe it was over harvested. The desire for it has led to dying of ebony to get that look (See the link below), but I personally prefer the look of varying colors and grain. I have no idea if dying rosewood is a thing or not, within PRS or anywhere for that matter.

Per the link below:

"Makes streaked ebony fingerboards and bridges uniformly black. The days of harvesting uniformly black ebony wood are rapidly fading—most ebony today is streaked with brown and gray. Higgins India Ink has become our favorite for making ebony uniformly black ("ebonizes" other woods, too). Wipe on, and wipe off the excess as needed."