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Fretboard wood?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Woodpecker, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. Hi guys (and gals?) !

    I'm stuck in a dilemma here, so I thought I'd post a thread here to hear what you people think.
    I'm starting on my next build, a 6-string 32"scale semi-hollow bass, and just cant find some adequite info what kind of wood to use for the fingerboard.
    So if you HAD to choose from one of these woods, which one would you choose?
    Maple, birch, ash, walnut or cherry?

    Cheers! :)
  2. Jonsbasses


    Oct 21, 2006
    Fort Worth, TX
    Builder: Jon's Basses
    Out of those, Maple and only Maple.
  3. Rudyboy98


    Jan 25, 2008
    South Bay, CA

    I'd go with...maple!

    I love maple/maple. However, you didn't mention what your body and neck woods might be, so it's really hard to say what may work best for me..except for I love maple!

  4. Arx


    Jan 22, 2008
    I'm just recycling what I've read, so take it with a grain of salt, but I'd have to agree. Maple is the only one of those which I've seen used as a fretboard. I think the rest are all too soft. Might be interesting to see a board in walnut or something, but there's probably a reason why builders generally stick to the same half dozen woods on fretboards.
  5. dreadheadbass


    Dec 17, 2007
    i gotta gree with the two above i recentlt got my 1st bass with a maple fretboard and its wicked
  6. Thanks for your input guys, and I agree with you on certain points you made. Maple is indeed one of the most popular woods for fingerboards, but I fear that in this case maple might be too bright sounding? The neck-through will be a 5-piece birch and cherry (unconventional, yes... exotic combination, yes... sound and constructional characteristics, BIG question-mark) :).
    But out of these 5 woods to choose from there are only 2 that are softer than maple, walnut and cherry. Birch and ash are in fact harder and more stiff woods than maple (I'm talking about Fraxinus Exelcior here, not what you american call "Swamp ash" or "Northern ash"), so by using some common sence, they would/could be a better choise than maple. Or maybe I'm missing some crucial point/aspect here?
  7. what about the coating? Surface hardness can be dealt with via a good coating but that is very different to issues of stiffness and stability which also need careful consideration for necks and fingerboards.
  8. Essen

    Essen Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    As long as it's not rosewood.
    I'd say maple.
  9. bassdaddy5


    May 18, 2005
    There is nothing more beautiful than a birds-eye maple fret board with no markers. Sound great too!!

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