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Pau Ferro VS. Rosewood, The Truth!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rodslinger, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. Rodslinger

    Rodslinger Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2013
    RVA & then some
    Stop hating on Pau Ferro! you don't even know anything about the wood. Pau Ferro is a wood of many names, and is sometimes called Morado: and because the wood is so similar in appearance and working properties to rosewood, it is also sometimes referred to as Bolivian or Santos Rosewood. The wood has been used in various capacities as a substitute for the endangered Brazillian Rosewood. Although the wood is not technically in the Dalbergia genus, it’s in a closely-related genus (Machaerium) and contains the same sensitizing compounds found in rosewoods—about as close to a true rosewood as a wood can get without actually being a Dalbergia species. Pau Ferro has a Janka Hardness of 1,960 lbf (8,710 N) and Indian Rosewood has a Janka Hardness of 2,440 lbf (10,870 N) So Indian Rosewood is actually harder than Pau Ferro by 480 Ft. lbs of force. I love both kinds of wood so much so I just ordered an older Fender MIM FSR Ash body Jazz bass with Rosewood Fingerboard to sit next to my current Fender MIM FSR Ash body Jazz bass with Pau Ferro fingerboard. I'm trying to figure out why everyone is saying the Pau Ferro boards are tighter and brighter sounding than the obviously harder Rosewood fingerboards. I guess its just a "scientific" reason to buy another bass lol.
    Luigir, tindrum, FRoss6788 and 7 others like this.
  2. Rodslinger

    Rodslinger Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2013
    RVA & then some
    Here are my two. The one on the left is Rosewood the one on the right is Pau Ferro. I love em both.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2019
    EagleMoon, murphy, petch and 5 others like this.
  3. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Some of it looks good, some of it looks like chocolate with fat bloom.
  4. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Confirmation bias - Wikipedia
    GregC, Heavy Blue, Nashrakh and 5 others like this.
  5. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    Yeah I would never want my Fender to look like any of these:

    8312_1-3000x856.jpg music-man-stingray-5-fretless-2003-cons-full-front.jpg 8361_1-3000x856.jpg 1 Full Case.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2019
    tindrum, murphy, Nunovsky and 6 others like this.
  6. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I don't like pau ferro cuz I think it's usually ugly, which is the only rational reason to choose one wood over another.
    Birdbrain, Bolsyo, murphy and 10 others like this.
  7. Rodslinger

    Rodslinger Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2013
    RVA & then some
  8. Rodslinger

    Rodslinger Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2013
    RVA & then some
    Well I don’t like maple fingerboards because my vision is horrible and I can’t distinguish contrast when it all blends together. Maybe that’s why I like a lot of contrast
    gip111 and gebass6 like this.
  9. Rodslinger

    Rodslinger Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2013
    RVA & then some

    Attached Files:

    king_biscuit likes this.
  10. Rodslinger

    Rodslinger Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2013
    RVA & then some
    Let me just say this. Testing these two bases side by side the Rosewood sounds tighter with a tad stronger fundamental. It could be that the Fender high mass bridge with brass saddles on the Pau Ferro making a thicker more punchy, growly tone. Or it could just be the stiffer, stronger Rosewood or the 1lb. difference in weight between the two. I’m going to put the original bridge back on then I’ll try again. The bridges are the only difference besides fingerboard wood. Strings are both DR DDT-45-105. One of these bases will stay standard and the other will be strung for C-Standard. I guess whichever one is the tightest sounding goes to C. 409FA53E-182C-4C74-B15D-DAE5A1CAAFEA.jpeg
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
    Ooba Tooba likes this.
  11. Nebula24


    Nov 23, 2017
    Norman, OK
    When I got back into bass few years back at first thought Pau Ferro was bassist when tag said Pau Ferro Mustang. Like it was his signature neck or something. Lol.

    I cant really tell difference in wood myself (at least isolated from strings, amp, bass...). I just like dark fretboard for whatever reason without caring about the actual wood.
    Ooba Tooba, bass4more and Rodslinger like this.
  12. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    I like the look of pau ferro more than rosewood but other than that I couldn't care less. If it's fretted I can't feel it anyway and I don't subscribe to the tonewoods theory. If I want more treble, I got a bunch of knobs I can turn to get it. If it's dense and solid enough to not spit the frets out and I like the color, I'm cool with whatever.
    JRA, gebass6, Rodslinger and 2 others like this.
  13. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 Groove it Supporting Member

    I’ve had a couple basses with pau ferro wood fingerboards and I thought they looked fine. They pretty much looked like rosewood. I honestly don’t even care that much- and nor does the audience.
  14. Pau ferro looks like garbage 99% of the time.
  15. onestring


    Aug 25, 2009
    Richmond, CA
    I have a gorgeous pau ferro Warmoth neck that is just about the nicest looking piece of a bass I've ever seen.

    I also have a MIM Tele that has the pau ferro color no one seems to like. I don't like that color either, but the guitar was too good a player to pass up. Two coats with felt-tip ebony Minwax pen (total time 10 minutes, cost $6) and it looks great. Just re-apply until it's dark enough for you, it's pretty hard to mess up (wipes right off frets).

    There's lots of other ways to do it. Other than its sometimes ruddy appearance, paul farrow is a really nice wood for fingerboards.
    Rodslinger likes this.
  16. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    You crybabies!
    If you didn't know better you wouldn't know better!
  17. Vinny_G


    Dec 1, 2011
    Gallia Celtica
    Choosing a wood on the simple fact that you like its color or not is anything but rational. ;)
  18. Vinny_G


    Dec 1, 2011
    Gallia Celtica
    Can you support this bold statement with sources?
    FRoss6788 and Rodslinger like this.
  19. Adam Wright

    Adam Wright Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    Roscoe Basses, 64 Audio IEM, SIT Strings
    Had pau ferro on several basses. Sounds and looks great. One of my favorite fretboard woods.
    groovin_bassman and Rodslinger like this.
  20. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    Pau Ferro fingerboard on Peavey Cirrus 6:


    Fender Player P:



    Peavey Millennium 4 with Pau Ferro fingerboard:


    I bought that Cirrus 6 because of the beautiful figured fingerboard. I carefully picked out the Fender Player (some of those basses do have blah Pau Ferro fingerboards). The Millennium has an oddly figured but very pretty fingerboard and I have seen other Peavey bases with similar fingerboards.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I have long considered Pau Ferro as a step up from the common Rosewood that we have seen in the last 25 years or so. Brazilian Rosewood looks a lot like nicely figured Pau Ferro to me.

    I personally don't care for maple fingerboards but some guys love them. Aren't your pleased that God made blondes, brunettes and redheads?
    Nunovsky, Joshua, gebass6 and 3 others like this.

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