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[Solved] Ebony vs Rosewood  

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Because I’m designing an archtop, I automatically assumed an ebony fingerboard (pre-made Bailey obvs.). But Mark prefers rosewood because he reckons it’s acoustically superior.

I have dry hands and I’ve come across many indifferent rosewood boards with open grain which feel slow and awkward to me. I’ve even laquered a couple of rosewood ’boards to erm... improve them. Which seems to upset some people 😉

But my Yamaha AES1500 (Big Ginger) has a lovely, smooth, polished board. Is that an example of grade AAA rosewood, is it Sealed In Japan or have I just used too much lemon oil?

In a nutshell, what’s closest to a varnished maple Tele ’board, a Bailey Rosewood or a Bailey Ebony

 

Jack of all trades and master of my own destiny. It’s only a small destiny.

4 Answers
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That is a great little blog post - Truthfully I doubt that I'd be able to tell the difference from listening...

Measure twice, cut once...

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A: Ebony

For Archtop guitars I have ALWAYS USED EBONY BECAUSE IT IS THE LAW!!

I don't know why...the posher they get the more conservative they are...

Every violin, viola, cello, double bass, etc - all ebony - almost no exceptions..archtops are the same...coz they're posh.

Having said that - it is not really the law (i made that up)...you can choose what you prefer...

and to be pedantic 335 style don't really count as archtop so Rosewood not so rare in that case

The fretboard will have little impact on the overall tone - ebony will polish best - rosewood is more open grained as you say

If you cannot decide you'll have to make 2!

 

Measure twice, cut once...

@markbailey
Ha! No, you’ll have to make two - I’m deffo going for the pre-slotted fingerboard option!

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Cool James - Your call!

Measure twice, cut once...

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Thanks Mark, looks like it’s going to be ebony. Research on guitar forums suggests that, if there is a tonal difference, then ebony (like maple) has a little more top end. I reckon you can always roll off top end, but you can’t add it on.

I had the opportunity to record a rosewood vs maple fingerboard a few years ago. You can hear the results here:

jamesbisset.com/blog/2012/05/maple-vs-rosewood-board

This post was modified 5 days ago by jamesbisset

Jack of all trades and master of my own destiny. It’s only a small destiny.