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Can you identify this rosewood (fingerboard)?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by EvoMan, Aug 25, 2004.


  1. I am thinking of buying a fretless bass with a rosewood fingerboard and I am wondering if anyone can help identify what type of rosewood this is likely to be. The bass is 18 years old, and I though there might be a chance that it is Brazilian rosewood, but the grain looks to me to be Indian, which seems rather soft for a fretless (am I correct to assume that Brazilian rosewood will be harder than Indian?). Can anyone tell from this picture of the fretboard what kind of wood it is?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Mark Chandler

    Mark Chandler

    Aug 25, 2004
    Houston TX
    I think I have the same FB material as you do. I made this one in high school and asked the shop teacher for the most dense wood he had. He thought it was a rosewood or ironwood.

    If you find out let me know. I would love to use it again.
     
  3. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I use Bubinga a lot in fingerboards....It is tough totell by a photo but the second one looks a bit like Bubinga......t
     
  4. The image from Mark looks to have a much stronger grain and figuring than the fretboard I am looking at. The seller says that he only knows that it is rosewood, but not what kind. I asked the Luthier who made the bass, but he is really busy and has not gotten back to me on this, and he may not even remember since the bass is nearly 20 years old (I just asked whether he would have used any particular type of rosewood at that time).

    I thought that it looked like Bubinga (I had a Zon with Bubinga), but I have never owned anything with Indian or Brazilian rosewood, so I do not know what is characteristic of either of them.

    Can anyone tell me whether the different rosewoods have different hardness? I have heard negatives about Indian rosewood (i.e., it is rather soft for a fretless), but not much about the hardness of either bubinga or Brazilian rosewood.

    Thanks.
     
  5. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Wood hardness and density is measured on a scale called the Janka? hardness scale. I know I have that word slightly wrong sorry. Somebody else might be able to help.....t
     
  6. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
  7. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    interesting reading that rosewood isn't that hard..
     
  8. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    My 2 cents:

    1) There are many species of rosewoods that vary in hardness
    2) Indian Rosewood is hard, compared to most woods
    3) It's not as hard as ebony and some of the other rosewoods, hence its characterization as "not that hard" or "soft"
    4) Average densities of Brazilian and Indian are approximately the same (.85 sg, probably the reason why Indian replaced Brazilian in guitarmaking)
    5) The photos are hard to read. The 18-yr old one is too close and washed out with flash to get a real good look at the grain and color. It doesn't look like Indian to me. Indian has a purplish tint to it. It doesn't look much like Brazilian to me, either, but I couldn't even take a stab unless I saw a picture taken farther away with natural light.
    6) the second photo does not look at all to me like rosewood. it looks a bit like redheart.
     
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    The photo looks like there's some pretty good grooving going on at the E and A strings, and even some under the D string.

    Can any of the luthiers comment on whether or not it looks like it is already in need of a re-contour sanding (or however that's said correctly)?
     
  10. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Hard to tell without seeing what's directly beneath the strings, and more importantly, hearing it play. It doesn't look too bad to me, though. Fretless basses get slight visible impressions almost immediately, but it takes significant wear and tear to start choking notes.
     
  11. Mark Chandler

    Mark Chandler

    Aug 25, 2004
    Houston TX
    I probably have not played it as much as others do, but I have had it for about 6 years now and it does not need any leveling at all. Which is why I would like to know exactly what it is so I can use it again.

    And I don't think its bubinga either, at least not the stuff I have seen. The grain doesn't look the same.