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Ebony or ebonol?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by nemo, Nov 13, 2004.

  1. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    Question for luthiers - how can I discern on bass whether it has ebonol or ebony fingerboard (fretless) ?
    By grain or other way?
    Tonal diferencies between the two?
    Thank you very much.
  2. Since Ebonol is a synthetic it doesn't have any pores. So yes one way to determine if it's Ebonol is to look for pores.
  3. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    yeah ebonol doesn't have pores or grain. It's a flat black surface.
  4. Clarification: "Flat" as in smooth not "flat" as in a matte, non-shiny surface.

  5. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    Thanks guys, I will look for pores.. :)

    Do you think ebonol is good equivalent for ebony?
    What you miss there tonally against ebony?
  6. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Personnally, nothing at all.
    Actually mine is phenolite, not ebonol, but they're very similar.
    It's a fretless bass.
    It's got a lot of mwah. There are very light string marks that build up but I get it polished every 2 years or so and I'm doing fine.
    The feeling is very similar to ebony.
  7. Ebonol is descended from the materials that were originally used to make bowling balls. It is "homogenous" in that it is a solid material and not composed of different materials like phenolics. Phenolics are layers resin impregnated textiles that are made hard through a process of extreme pressure and heat. What comes out is a very hard material like ebonol but it retains some of it's layered nature. You'll only notice this if you are machining it in certain directions.

    The cool thing about either one is that they can truly be polished. That way, the small scratches can be easily removed without altering the contour of the fretboard. Ebony polishes too, but it's sheen comes as much from the oil in the wood as it comes from a smooth surface. Ebony is much softer so repairs to remove string tracks have to remove more material.

    I like ebonol, if only for the fact that it's a good man-made substitute for ebony. I like ebony too because of it's richness, grain, and wonderful bright tone without harshness. That is my only beef with ebonol - I've found that it makes for a little bit of "clackiness" as I move around the fretboard. As I fret a note, I can hear the string hitting the fret/fretboard and it makes a small tick sound. It's not amplified, just acoustic but it's something I've gotten used to.
  8. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    So where do you buy ebonol, or phenowood? I've searched and searched and can't find a source, a manufacturer or a supplier.
  9. You've probably seen "phenowood" under a different name like DymondWood. There are others but they all are various brands and types of stabilzed wood.

    I don't know where Ebonol could be purchased.
  10. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    Yesterday I've seen the neck in question. Pores easily visible, it was ebony, the wood was even slightly brownish black. Thanks for your assistance.
  11. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    No no no.
    My fretboard is made out of phenolite and doesn't have any kind of frame. It's plain plastic. Not phenowood or alike.
  12. Jazz, I stand by my description. See how it's similar to this one from the manufacturer of phenolite:

    You can check for yourself here :
  13. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    I stand corrected Boney.
    No frame is visible on mine, even on the sides.
  14. Jazz, what are you referring to as a "frame"? That confused me in your post above.