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SG101 2006-2017

SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink yes, that new rosewood fretboard CAN be made darker and more beautiful!

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It's all fine with me really, dark wood, light wood, streaky wood. As long as it does the job and comes from a sustainable source. I wouldn't want my fretboard to be the last of an irreplaceable species of hardwood.

Some time ago I've read an article about the steaming and compressing of soft wood. The result is a durable piece of wood that has the properties of hard wood. It's much darker, stronger and denser. If someone may decide to make fretboards out of it, I'd have no problem with that.

Frank

Badger wrote:

I had one similar to that back in the early 80's - stock that "reborn" Fender was using from Japan because they hadn't ramped up post-CBS production.

Thanks Wes. I have seen early 80s Japanese JV necks on USA stock. It's easy to spot because the date is penciled in a particular hand writing style. Also the truss rod screw-head pocket sits higher. Highly sought after - by me! Smile

Last edited: Aug 20, 2017 14:22:48

IvanP wrote:

But I do believe if you have a very pale rosewood fretboard, it's pale because that's just how they're shipping from India now, which doesn't have the best rosewood - but it's basically its only existing legal sources today.

Chippertheripper wrote:

To say India doesn't have the best rosewood is ridiculous. Define best.

It's not so much a question of country of origin as it is one of tree subspecies. Indian rosewood is the common name of Dalbergia latifolia, which is considered of lower quality than Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra). As the name suggests, Indian rosewood is native to India, although it's also grown in Indonesia.

As for "best", D. nigra is darker, with a more reddish tinge, and much fewer pores, which is why it's usually considered to be higher quality than D. latifolia. It's certainly more beautiful. It's also claimed to be more resonant, although both subspecies have similar density, and I doubt it would make much of a difference in tone when used for a fretboard in an electric guitar.

Old punks never die... They just become surf rockers.

Last edited: Aug 20, 2017 11:50:51

I'm curious as to how much Fender oiled, and with what oil, their fretboards back in the 60s. Fender rosewood boards, pre-CBS, are much darker than Gibson's boards in the same era. Both Brazilian.

Another contrast is Martin fingerboards vs. their backs/sides. Their backs/sides look like Gibson fingerboards and the Martin necks look like Fender necks (and feel).

If Fender oiled my guess it would be thin refined machine oil like regular sewing machine oil of the day. It might have a quick drying additive, a solvent maybe. A few years ago I redressed my frets and made the mistake of using old masking tape, It left behind a sticky residue which was tough to remove. Hot soapy water worked really well but it also washed off a few years of oil darkening. I seemed to me like the stuff was only surface deep.

Everyone is looking for alternatives at the moment, I feel compressed softwoods is unfortunately not a solution. We have been experimenting with them for fretboards and acoustic bridges for some time now.
From what I understand, the process is very toxic and from what I have experienced first hand the end result isn't as toneful, stable or attractive as the industry would like to believe it is. The dust is poisonous and it's also smelly stuff to work with. The technology is just not in place yet!

I sprung for a 30ml bottle of this Fret Doctor; I like it. I had a very old bottle of Old English oil (not cleaner/polish) and it was very good over time but still some petro products in it. Imagine it's also broken down over time (decades) but there was only one size back then.

The Fret Doctor darkened the Strat a bit, but what it really did is bring out something sort of intangible in the grain that I can feel as well. The Jag already had a lovely board --> light wipedown/wipeoff. The JM drank & drank but is now notably darker and also is a much prettier piece of wood. Humidity around here the last several days has been a yo-yo, but all 3 are still in their sweet spot, versus sometimes picking one up & it starts to sound "brittle" which tells me there's a weather-related disturbance in The Force.

30ml is enough for me that I'll put a little vial in sister-in-law's Christmas stocking. (She's a strings teacher & has a couple old personal violins and her main cello laying around.)
Nice stuff, thanks Ivan. Smile

Wes
SoCal ex-pat with a snow shovel

DISCLAIMER: The above is opinion/suggestion only & should not be used for mission planning/navigation, tweaking of instruments, beverage selection, or wardrobe choices.

Last edited: Sep 04, 2017 15:20:19

Excellent, Wes, very happy to hear all this! Thanks for letting us know.

Ivan
The Madeira Official Website
The Madeira on Facebook
The Blair-Pongracic Band on Facebook
The Space Cossacks on Facebook
The Madeira Channel on YouTube

I need to get some... My mandolin needs some oil so bad...

An official note from Fender that showed up this morning in the ol' Inbox, regarding their use of Pau Ferro v. Rosewood, CITES regs that impacted 2 Jan 2017, and some models that use the former.

Wes
SoCal ex-pat with a snow shovel

DISCLAIMER: The above is opinion/suggestion only & should not be used for mission planning/navigation, tweaking of instruments, beverage selection, or wardrobe choices.

I saw that, Wes, got the same email. Interesting that they're only switching to Pau Ferro on Mexican Fenders first. It seems inevitable it'll happen with the entire line eventually.

Ivan
The Madeira Official Website
The Madeira on Facebook
The Blair-Pongracic Band on Facebook
The Space Cossacks on Facebook
The Madeira Channel on YouTube

IvanP wrote:

I saw that, Wes, got the same email. Interesting that they're only switching to Pau Ferro on Mexican Fenders first. It seems inevitable it'll happen with the entire line eventually.

Laughing I will not bet against you, certainly on the regular production stuff. (Suppressing a smile that I got my Classic Lacquer Jag when I did.) FWIW I have nothing against Pau Ferro & have seen some examples that look really dense & play well. Time will tell. At least they don't have a Gov't edict to install mandatory backup cameras on 'em - yet.

Wes
SoCal ex-pat with a snow shovel

DISCLAIMER: The above is opinion/suggestion only & should not be used for mission planning/navigation, tweaking of instruments, beverage selection, or wardrobe choices.

IvanP wrote:

Folks, if you have a Fender with rosewood fretboard from the past 10 years or so that is looking pale and dry, give Fret Doctor a shot - I really don't think you'll be sorry! A BIG thumbs-up to this product! I love it!

I've been using this for years and love it too! It's pricey but last a long time and gives great results on all my guitars and basses.

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