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Why is/was rosewood used in fretboards?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by ivanfoofoo, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. aliensporebomb

    aliensporebomb Member

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    To my ears they have a particularly warm tone that I like although ebony seems to have a percussive snap to the notes that rosewood mostly doesn't. I have a mix of both for each type of tonal purpose.
     
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  2. Benz2112

    Benz2112 Supporting Member

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    It is tradition, and it is a durable and attractive wood. I have all 3, and it is hard to tell whether I gravitate towards rosewood more, or if it just happens to be on a guitar I like, but I definitely dig it.
     
  3. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    I don't know the history of why rosewood was used originally.
    I have played and owned guitars with ebony, rosewood, and maple, and never had a problem with the string getting hung up on a sliver of wood from the fret board.

    I hear and feel a difference between all three woods and how it affects the tone of the guitar, but rosewood that I have had on my guitars always had a smooth surface, but for one guitar. That guitar was a Chapman Cap 10. The rosewood on that guitar was very open-pored and rough, but it was the only guitar I ever had with a rough fret board.

    I didn't care for it and sent it back. I am guessing that the wood used for those guitars was a lower quality or maybe just didn't have the board smoothed out prior to putting it on the neck.
     
  4. Magnets And Melodies

    Magnets And Melodies Member

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    I find it hilarious that people are talking about Fender, like that's when it all started..... rosewood has been used for decades before Fender came out with a Tele. Gibson have been making guitars with rosewood for half a century before Fender came in and ever put it on a fretboard.

    It works, sounds good and looks good. That's why it's in use.
     
  5. Jack Frost

    Jack Frost Member

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    Never mind decades... Guitars with rosewood were made thousands of years before Gibson did it!
     
  6. NamaEnsou

    NamaEnsou Supporting Member

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    Apparently you meant all of the above. Oh, and look what the following poster said, as if to agree with all of the above as well. :)

     
  7. egregion

    egregion Member

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    people like to think rosewood is darker sounding than maple. but rosewood is much harder than maple. so people are either equating color with tonal properties, or wood hardness has a counter intuitive effect on tone
     
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  8. Magnets And Melodies

    Magnets And Melodies Member

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    This is VERY true. I have an all rosewood telecaster. That thing is BRIGHT and snappy. People think dark color = dark tone... maybe it's a subconscious association, but either way, it's wrong. Rosewood is a bright tone wood.
     
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  9. Rhythm Rocker

    Rhythm Rocker Member

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    https://www.soundunlimited.co.uk/blogs/articles/guitar_tone_woods

    https://www.guitarplayer.com/gear/tonewood-tutorial-everything-you-need-to-know-about-tonewoods

    Granadillo is a straight-grained, dense wood from Central America. It is known as “the wood that sings”. In terms of timber, it's similar to Rosewood, though with a sometimes more orange-y hue (a lighter Rosewood). If you can hear a difference, it's a little brighter. A Rosewood substitute used in Musical instruments for 100+ years and more commonly used in South America (Marimbas). Slightly denser than Rosewood but still absorbs moisture.

    Edit: So where's the OP? lol
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  10. Comanche5

    Comanche5 Member

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    It's laughable that many of the first responses were so short-sighted.
     
  11. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Member

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    I'm a tech/luthier and repair and restore lots of old instruments... old as in 80+ years old. While ebony is a bit harder than rosewood 3,080 vs. 2,440 janka hardness scale) it doesn't seem to wear better. At least that has been my observation based on working on many, many old instruments. Also, I have worked on instruments where the ebony has become brittle, and will crumble. I've never run into that issue with rosewood.
     
  12. Arcadia

    Arcadia Member

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    Don't underestimate the fact that rw doesn't have to be sealed because it's naturally oily.
     
  13. theroan

    theroan Member

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    Sorry, I thought this was a site about electric guitars. I didn't realize that lutes were part of the discussion. My bad.
     
  14. Comanche5

    Comanche5 Member

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  15. sksmith66

    sksmith66 Member

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    ok you are still dead wrong. rosewood had been used in electric guitar production for a long ass time before leo fender decided to use it in production. rickenbacker used it in the earliest electric guitars.... because it was a traditional wood used in stringed instrument construction.
     
  16. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    Man... anonymous internet postings. Let's insult everyone that doesn't know what we know. :confused:
     
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  17. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Member

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    Largely out of tradition.

    Originally I guess it could have been any wood of about the same or greater hardness, just happened that some of the first successful electric guitar manufactures chose rosewood, back when it wasn't an endangered species, and thereby it became a tradition.

    Personally I like rosewood for fretboards, I mean I would like ebony even more, but rosewood works and looks fine to me.
     
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  18. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    From my understanding, Fender got complaints of worn maple fingerboards looking bad on stage so they chose rosewood for the look/price and the fact it was naturally oily and didn't require any finish. And, today, we actually pay Fender to make maple fingerboards look old & worn...how times change!
     
  19. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Supporting Member

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    To determine what effect the fingerboard wood has on a guitar's sound, the real test would be a comparison of rosewood-board maple necks vs. maple necks with separate maple boards.
     
  20. Tona Fide

    Tona Fide Member

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