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Ebony fretboard

Discussion in 'The Perfect Bass' started by HeyMikey, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. HeyMikey


    Dec 28, 2005
    I have never played a bass that has an ebony fretboard. I have several basses with rosewood fretboards and 3 with maple fretboards.

    IMO I think the basses with maple sound a bit brighter than those with rosewood.

    Would an ebony fretboard sound different from either the rosewood or maple? How would you describe the tone given by having an ebony fretboard.

  2. ThePerfectBass

    ThePerfectBass Supporting Member

    Ebony is very hard, kind of similar to maple in tone...maybe on the bright side of maple... Keep in mind though, each piece of wood is different... We can describe general characteristics of tonewoods, but that doesn't mean that in the end, a guitar will sound like you "expect" it to sound... ;)

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  4. HeyMikey


    Dec 28, 2005
    Thanks for the information. I may give the ebony a try.

  5. drnknmstr


    Jun 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    I was really into the idea of ebony on a bass, but I was disappointed. There's a nice growl to it, but it seems to have a certain harshness in the upper mids.
  6. For a fretless bass, ebony is the next best thing to a composite fingerboard. On a fretted instrument, I notice tapping notes to be clear and pluck-y. Played fingerstyle, you have to dig-in hard to hear its character shine! Great balance of punch and clarity that is consistent with volume increases. Any quacky-ness can be eq'ed out of the upper-mids...
  7. Tunaman

    Tunaman Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2004
    I have an Ebony Reflex HH5 coming in guys...
    Thanks for the tips you posted here

    It will be interesting to see if plays out like you say... the thing with the Reflex is that the diverse EQ should allow compensation like band circle said
  8. uptowndirt

    uptowndirt Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2008
    l have an ebony board alembic and love the sound, most of
    my others are rosewood. l like the tone of the alembic, and
    then rosewood, maple is just not my thing and l don't find the ebony to be overly bright, on this bass anyway, l think
    there are other things that account for the sound of a bass l find the board to be more about the playability. and ebony
    is great to play on.
  9. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    All my basses have a thick slab of ebony on the fretboard and they all sound great. How much is to do with the ebony I can't say but the two basses I have with maple bodies and necks with ebony fretboards have more high end sizzle than the others.
  10. Undisclosed Recepient

    Undisclosed Recepient

    Sep 23, 2014
    I believe there is a biographical film about mr Wyn and his bass making, where (at one point) he demonstrates the tonal divercities between different kinds of woods tonally. Very practical and simple in understanding.
    From my experience and knowledge its all about two things: density and seasoning.
    When it comes to desity, You can check if guitar has those grow rings closer or not. More densed areas tend to resonate to different frequencies, as the lower densed areas. Luthiers use these wood properties in guitar making so that the body of a guitar can help maximising sertain frequencies.
    Most common rule (although probably with variant exeptions) is: the more densed wood, the higher the sound.
    Off course, there are some specific tastes to certain woods, but this general rule is very sonsistent.

    Saying that - the ebony wood is very densed wood with very consistent rate, no density holes, like, say, swamp ash, when You can tell that some areas are more or less densed than others.
    Plus, its a very hard wood so You can use round wounds on the finerboard and it will last. Only one refreshment a couple of years should do the trick.

    Hope I helped.
  11. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio

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