Need help choosing fingerboard wood

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JOME77, Aug 3, 2005.

Which fingerboard wood should I go with?

Poll closed Aug 10, 2005.
  1. Birds eye maple

    18 vote(s)
  2. Chechen

    10 vote(s)
  3. Bocote

    5 vote(s)
  4. Pauferro

    9 vote(s)
  5. Vera

    0 vote(s)
  6. African Tulipwood

    12 vote(s)
  1. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    I just ordered a new Roscoe SKB 3005 with a spalted maple top from Blueberry Hill Basses (thanks Jay!) and want to get some opinions on my choice of fingerboard wood. I'm really trying to duplicate the sound that I got from my Roscoe SKB 3006 that I just sold (Spanish cedar body w/quilt maple top, birds eye maple FB and Demeter pre). As you can see by the pictures, the spalted maple top is pretty busy and I don't want the neck wood to compete with the top. I want something obviously that will sound fairly close to the birds eye maple but also something that complements the top and transitions well to the headstock spalted maple laminate. With Gard, Keith and the rest of the Roscoe shop's help, I've pretty much decided on the African Tulipwood but I'd really appreciate your feedback. Let me know what you would chose and why.
  2. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    More choices.....
  3. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    And one more....
  4. jaxlaw


    Oct 5, 2002
    Winter Garden
    I liked the neck in your first thumbnail - but that is just my opinion. Welcome back to the Roscoe fold.
  5. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    I forgot to mention that if you hold the cursor over each picture it will display the wood type.
  6. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    Hi Joe,
    what kinda sound do you want? fingerboard really determines majority of the sound, or so some believe.
  7. Shawnost

    Shawnost It's all about the Hamiltons baby! Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    Huntersville, NC
    I recently had the same dilema deciding on my Roscoe's fretboard. Personally I went with birdseye maple, but after visiting the shop and talking to Gard and Keith I was seriously considering the African tulipwood myself. It is really nice looking stuff. :)

  8. Dirty Dave

    Dirty Dave

    Oct 17, 2004
    Boston, MA

    Chechen gets my vote. Good looking combo.
  9. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I don't know that fingerboard wood matters all that much; not nearly as much as electronics, pickup placement, etc.. It makes some difference, but seeing that you have chosen such a highly figured wood for the body, clearly appearance/aesthetics are an important part of your decision. As I am not familiar with the subtle differences in the tone of the various fingerboard woods you're looking at, I can only offer an opinion on appearance:

    To me, the Chechen looks best with your body wood, followed by the pau ferro.
  10. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I had a Stambaugh 6 string made years ago that had a tulipwood fingerboard that was great. It's a rosewood but it has more snap than your average rosewood. With all of that said, looking at your bass I'd suggest a birdseye or plain maple fingerboard. I really think that the contrast would be very helpful to that busy top. You could even ask Keith to find you a darker piece of maple if you'd prefer. It would also be the same sound as you had with your 6 string. I don't think personally that any of the fingerboards you have pics of really complement the top at all.

    Congrats on the new Roscoe though! :bassist:
    I'm a big fan.
  11. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Tulip wood. Looks fantastic!
  12. relayer66


    Oct 10, 2002
    Miura, Japan
    purely a cosmetic concern. I think contrast would be the key here. None of the woods you give as options have enough contrast with the body, for me.
    What about purple heart?
  13. I love the Pau Ferro and the Vera...but that's just me...:D
  14. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    The 3006 that I sold had a nice phat tone but with a good bit of high end (probably due to the maple board and Demeter). I typically rolled back on the treble on that bass so a nice phat sound with a little less high end emphisis would be great. Gard said that he and Keith performed the tap test on the tulipwood and that it sounded very similar to maple (but maybe a little less bright). I play primarily with my fingers but do play with a pick 25-35% of the time so I don't want it too bright.
  15. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    What top wood did you go with? I'm sure that the wood looks significantly different in person. Gard said that the pictures don't show it real well but the tulipwood really brings out some of the less prominent colors in the spalted body.
  16. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Gard actually recommended going with a plain maple fingerboard rather than the birdseye maple for the same reason that you stated. He did say though that the tulipwood really transitions well from the body to the headstock (in person). It does make me feel better though that you had a bass with the tulipwood finger board and liked the sound. Thus far I haven't found anyone else that owned one.
  17. I love the look of that chechen fingerboard.

    From what Gard has said, that Tulipwood should be just what you need. Bright, but not too harsh.
  18. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Yeah, I've never seen anyone else use tulipwood for a fingerboard.........actually, maybe Accacia.....I can't remember if is was just a top or a fingerboard though. It does have the snap on the top but not nearly as much as maple. Actually, the closet I've heard that compared was a purpleheart fingerboard. Yeah, very similar actually. I really like it. Warm but snappy.

    Noone's mentioned it yet but just to be clear this is a different tulipwood than the top that's on Mick Karn's famous Wal fretless. This is of the rosewood family (can't remember about the species of tulipwood that Karn has).

    I've gotta say that I'd trust Gard and Keith on this one. You can never properly tell the true color of wood by a picture. I can understand what they're saying about the coloring of the tulipwood bringing out the colors of the top. That would be a wonderful benefit.
  19. I don't think the Birds Eye Maple would compete with the top (which looks very nice), but I voted Tulipwood. I must admit that Chechen also looks nice to me.
  20. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Here's a picture of the Stambaugh with the tulipwood board. This was a very special piece that will probably never be duplicated (and probably shouldn't be). It had a wenge body and a 36" scale length! :eek: It also had an inlaid thuya burl top. Unbelievable stuff from Chris.