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Mahogony as a fretboard

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by TheCatalyst, Jul 4, 2014.

  1. TheCatalyst


    Mar 15, 2011
    Hello all, I was curious if anyone here had tried this as I will be putting on of these on one of my prototype guitars. Anyone know if I might run into problems with the board wearing down, bad tone, etc.?

    Any and all input is appreciated :)

    Attached Files:

  2. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    You may notice that mahogany is never used as a fretboard. It seems to me to be too soft to properly hold a fret, which is why I expect it is not used.
    SanDiegoHarry likes this.
  3. ^that.
    Althought you could try glueing them in.
  4. telecopy


    Dec 6, 2009
    I think it is too soft. If it was appropriate for that it would be used on production guitars.
  5. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I've done my share of woodworking - Mahogany would not work for this. There is a reason folks use very hard/stiff wood for fretboards.
  6. Sorry for the OT, but I really like that body shape! Do you have a build thread up that can be followed?

  7. TheCatalyst


    Mar 15, 2011
    Thanks! that helps alot. I never thought to glue frets in. Would I use epoxy? I figure I'll give it a try. These will be my last two guitars i can make for a while until i find out where i get stationed next. I'll keep everyone posted on the progress here.

    And no I don't have a thread for these two since they are going to be guitars. I didn't know if that was against the rules or not :)

    The necks for these two will be mahogony and cherry laminates to match the two bodies I will try and get some pics up tomorrow.
  8. el_cody_loco


    Feb 13, 2013
    Yeah... I think the frets wouldn't hold without glue. And even then, the fretboard would dent from the pressing of the strings (unless you want to scallop the whole thing). I would consider Pau Ferro. Nice grain, similar color to unfinished mahogany (or at least the Pau Ferro I've been around), and hard enough to not worry about. Nevertheless, when there's a will, there's a way... How set in stone are you on mahogany, or are you open to other woods?
  9. TheCatalyst


    Mar 15, 2011
    Im not set in stone for the mahogany fretboard but I guess you could call it curiosity. Most of my builds so far have been very experimental. I don't have any Pau Ferro close by but i would certainly consider it. I have a ridiculous amount of curly maple but I wanted something warmer in tone to mate with the mahogany body. I'll have to take a look at my choices tomorrow. Thanks for the advice everyone
  10. It is very soft,it might work by coating it w/epoxy and glueing the frets in but really,why not use a more suitable species unless you're really wanting mahogany
  11. If you want that look perhaps check into Santos Mahogany or some of the other exotics that look like/similar to mahogany
  12. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs
    There was a thread about this on another forum recently and apparently Mahogany has been used before on cheap guitars in the 70s and 80s, though I'm not sure which sub species.

    Though not a true Mahogany, Sapele would probably work as it has a higher Janka rating than Maple. You could always cut a fret slot in a scrap piece and see before committing.
  13. I wouldn't be against giving a mahogany fretboard a try, but like others mentioned I would probably glue the frets in with epoxy. I'm less concerned with dents from wear on a fretted instrument. I definitely wouldn't try mahogany on a fretless without a heavy coating of some sort.
  14. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    African sapele can be about as hard as Hard maple, so it might work better than Khaya or South American mahogany. It's not the most stable stuff in the world, however.
  15. TheCatalyst


    Mar 15, 2011
    Well it is African mahogony. I guess we will see how it turns out in a few weeks

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