Olive as a fretboard wood?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jschulman, Feb 25, 2021.


  1. jschulman

    jschulman

    Aug 21, 2018
    Queens, NY
    I'm looking for a lightweight 5-string, and I've almost settled on a custom Frog from Maruszczyk. One of the options for the fretboard is olive. The grain is absolutely beautiful, but I can't find too much information about this wood as far as stability, sound, feel, care, etc.

    Anyone have experience with an olive fingerboard?
     
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    but what about all the other reindeer? ;) ("Olive, the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names", hehe)

    (Edit: subbed to find out, sounds interesting, and there's a Marusczcyk Frog in my future, too.)
     
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  3. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    I've researched it a bit, seems like it's a soft wood, and not very stable. Maybe Adrian stabilizes it somehow (other than seasoning it)? I'd just steer for a non-figured wood, so to have the least chance of problems and random fretboard hardness/softness spots (birdseye maple, white/royal ebony, zebrawood, pale moon ebony, spalted anything, etc).
     
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  4. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    I don't think it's soft, but it is known to have poor stability.
     
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  5. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    Right, more to do with the stability factor. I've started to really like ebony, as both of my basses have it now. Figure if you just put some board conditioner on maybe a couple or so times, permanently (that stuff is one-and-done), it's best of both all worlds...stiff, smooth, pretty, and maintenance-free.
     
  6. abarson

    abarson

    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    I've dealt with olive but not in the context of a fretboard.
    Olive trees don't grow straight at all or very tall. The former means you get lots of wild figure, but the wilder it gets the more problematic it is to work. The latter means it would be very difficult to get clear boards long enough for a fretboard. I would consider it fairly hard, but also question its stability.
     
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  7. jschulman

    jschulman

    Aug 21, 2018
    Queens, NY
    Thanks for the replies! One option is to have carbon rods installed in the neck to increase stability - would this counteract any stability issues inherent in the olive? The neck itself would be regular maple.
     
  8. bgartist

    bgartist Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    MTD uses it often...
     
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  9. abarson

    abarson

    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Carbon rods would be embedded in the neck, not the fretboard, so it wouldn't make any difference to the fretboard. Stability in this case refers to warpage or shrinkage, often relative to temperature and humidity changes. Not what you want in a fretboard.

    As a figured top, not a fretboard. Aesthetics vs function.
     
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  10. bgartist

    bgartist Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    image.jpg
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    These all have pistachio boards.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
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  11. abarson

    abarson

    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
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  12. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    That's a little nutty, no? ;)
     
  13. Giraffe

    Giraffe Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    San Diego, California
    I use it to handle knives and other hard-use tools. It is hard as heck. It is a little resistant to glue, but the biggest issue for me is the weight, which runs pretty high.
     
  14. jschulman

    jschulman

    Aug 21, 2018
    Queens, NY
  15. jschulman

    jschulman

    Aug 21, 2018
    Queens, NY
    How does ebony sound, compared with standards like rosewood or maple?
     
  16. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    Don't be concerned about the sound, when it comes to being on a solidbody instrument. It doesn't really matter. A bunch of people say it does, but it doesn't. What matters, are feel and then looks. I love the smooth feel of ebony!
     
  17. FatOwlBass

    FatOwlBass

    Mar 18, 2020
    In my builds I use ebony, maple, wenge and rosewood. There is definitely a difference in tone. Ebony has a greater clarity than rosewood. Very stable as well. Wenge is best if you want growl. It has a cool aggresive tone. Wyn basses and Michael tobias both have great basses and will testify to the effect of the fingerboard wood on your tone. Titanium rods are also very nice for long term stabilty.
     
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  18. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
  19. bgartist

    bgartist Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    [QUOTE="bgartist, post: 25009142, member: 38802"
    These all have pistachio boards.[/QUOTE]
    I think my post was off track. The OP was asking about olive boards. Somehow I saw pistachio. Sorry for the derail.
     
  20. It's an uncommon fretboard wood, not something I would choose.
     
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  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 15, 2021

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