Pau Ferro or Cocobolo Fretboard?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dudemanbroguy, Mar 17, 2016.

  1. dudemanbroguy


    Mar 9, 2016
    Trying to decide between a Pau Ferro or a Cocobolo fretboard, and I haven't found an opportunity to compare the two in person since most of the stores in my city don't even know what these woods are...smh... So what is your input? How does each sound and feel to anyone who has played either?
  2. stacker

    stacker Inactive

    Feb 24, 2010
    I'd probably stick with the pao ferro. It seems to be a little less open grained than cocobolo and a bit heavier. I have a cocobolo neck on a Partscaster I rattled up and I like it but it makes the guitar's acoustic tone feel a nit 'light'. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

    Cocobolo is expensive and it's dust is harmful. Try Warmoth's neck page to see what they have.

  3. dudemanbroguy


    Mar 9, 2016
    I'm customizing a roscoe and I am wondering how a cocobolo fretboard and a pau ferro fretboard would sound when adding it to a swamp ash body with a maple/wenge/maple neck.... Any thoughts?
  4. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    I subscribe to the "Sure, everything makes a difference but you're not really going to hear that much of a difference with different fretboard woods, particularly in a band context" newsletter, so I say go with the one you like the look of the most.
    wmmj, Marial, Jaco Taco and 1 other person like this.
  5. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
    Carrots. No, cabbage and rice! with some spinach on the top. Pau ferro all the way!

    ps. I love spinach pizza mmm

  6. dudemanbroguy


    Mar 9, 2016
    Ha word! Have you played both, flicked beans?
  7. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
    Yep, played both of them, prefer PF fingerboards.
  8. dudemanbroguy


    Mar 9, 2016
    Thanks man, can you tell me a little on why you prefer the PF over the COCO?
  9. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    I really like the feel of pau ferro. It is almost ebony like. I don't think fingerboard wood makes a huge tone difference
  10. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
    It's brighter than cocobolo. Cocobolo is also nice and sounds similar to rosewood. They are excellently described on the warmoth website:

    Pau ferro:
    An excellent dense, hard wood with a very tight pore structure. This means it’s fast, smooth and extremely durable. An excellent choice for fretless fretboards. Not only is it resistant to wear, but often the wood figuring is striking with variations in color from light tan to a dark coffee. The tone is brighter than Rosewood yet warmer than Ebony with plenty of articulation and attack. One of our favorite woods for fretboards! No finish required!

    A true Rosewood species and gorgeous to behold. Unfortunately this extremely oily wood is difficult to glue. Worse yet, the dust is very irritating and toxic. Limited availability.

    Ps. IMO Padouk is an excellent wood for freted and fretless fingerboards too!
  11. highway


    Aug 20, 2008
    pf board on this one:

  12. DLemos


    Sep 7, 2015
    I have a Fretless with a Pau Ferro fingerboard. I like it.
  13. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I have a cocobolo fb on my Roscoe and I love it.
  14. GHOST AT


    May 24, 2011
    I like the looks of Cocobolo better than Pau Ferro, but PF sounds wonderful! The best person to ask would be Mr. Roscoe,look foward to seeing your new bass.
  15. jim777

    jim777 Tarantula Lobbyist

    Aug 7, 2006
    South Jersey
    I don't think there's much of a difference at all in feel or sound; the biggest difference will be in appearance. They are both good looking woods but I would likely go with cocobolo because I prefer that grain.
  16. I have a pau ferro NECK that I love. It has a Macassar Ebony fretboard.

    I have selected pau ferro for many guitars - always waa happy with them. I think the neck wood should be considered as thoroughly as the fretboard.

    I'm thinking one if my basses might have a Cocobolo fretboard - can't remember now. Everything in the rosewood family will have a similar effect on tone, but if Cocobolo can be irritating, I'd stick with pau ferro.
  17. bass12

    bass12 Have You Met Grace Jones?

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Just curious - if you're not sure about how those two woods are supposed to colour the sound (and there's no guarantee that they will colour the sound the way they are supposed to) why limit your options to those two? What kind of sound do you want (or are you going more for looks)?
  18. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    Cocobolo is beautiful but does not seem to be as widely used for fingerboards for whatever reason.

    Pau Ferro is also known as Bolivian rosewood. Not sure if coco is a rosewood species or not. My favorite is bocote (Mexican rosewood).
  19. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
    BTW that quartersawn cocobolo is gorgeous!
  20. Cocobolo is similar to Brazilian rosewood from a sonic perspective, yet more difficult to work with to the best of my knowledge. Pau Ferro is closer to Ebony, yet slightly warmer. I have one bass with cocobolo fingerboard and it feels and plays great. I can say the same for Pau Ferro as well, yet the two sound at the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of brightness and warmth (Warmoth site rates Cocobolo with 3-4 in brightness and Pau Ferro with 9). With Pau Ferro, though, you might need to be careful. I remember Jason, from Fodera, telling me that Pau Ferro is likely to be subject to the CITES treaty in the near future, so if you are a musician travelling overseas, you might face issues crossing borders...

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