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Pau Ferro VS. Rosewood, The Truth!

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

  1. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    And there you have it. This is it in a nutshell.
  2. Nunovsky


    Sep 4, 2004
    Man, the fingerboard on this one looks beautifull.
    Rodslinger and Chuck M like this.
  3. Rodslinger

    Rodslinger Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2013
    RVA & then some
  4. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    People are just freaks about change. Anything that differs from whatever was brought in first as tradition will be bothersome to a majority of folks, until they get used to it. Then that becomes traditional and the next big change will find those same people clinging voraciously to the thing they used to hate. It's so predictable I don't even find it amusing anymore, just sad.
    Nebula24, Rodslinger, Templar and 4 others like this.
  5. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    I happen to like it. My main bass has had it for 12 years (I picked it on purpose) and I'm probably going to put a new neck on my #1 guitar and am 75% sure I'll put a pau ferro board on that one to.
    Rodslinger likes this.
  6. Rodslinger

    Rodslinger Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2013
    RVA & then some
    I actually just ordered a new Fender MIM 70s' jazz bass neck to go on one of my bases. It's bound & blocked Pau Ferro. Should be killer!

    Attached Files:

  7. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    Excellent choice
    Rodslinger likes this.
  8. Iofflight

    Iofflight Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2018
    I haven't seen or felt pau that I liked, but I've seen some gorgeous pictures here. If I came across one I really liked it wouldn't stop me from getting it, I just don't seek it out.
    Rodslinger likes this.
  9. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Canada, eh!
    Pau Ferro is wonderful. If you think it looks too light or dry, some neck conditioner or pure lemon oil will fix that.
    Vinny_G and Rodslinger like this.
  10. ovialexm


    Jun 5, 2006
    Roger Sadowsky, one of the best luthiers in the world, is using a lot for his fretboards Pau Ferro, so should be a good reason for that.
    Rodslinger likes this.
  11. I like all the various board materials, including pau ferro. Both of my pau's are silky smooth to the touch, and I like that they look different than rosewood. Pau ferro has become one of my faves, along with ebony and wenge.

    Turner Electroline MMP


    St Blues Legendary



    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
    Diamond_Dave, Rodslinger and Vinny_G like this.
  12. BeefPie84


    Mar 29, 2019
    It looks fantastic against the right body color and set up, and that bass is a perfect example.
    Rodslinger and Vinny_G like this.
  13. murphy


    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    Morado sounds cooler...more exotic and expensive....and Roger Sadowsky has always used it as a more exotic and better sounding wood.....so I thought.....and Fender using Pau Ferro seemed like a less attractive wood....cheaper
    marketing...confusion...but now hard to accept it on Fender classic basses....60s basses that show off their beautiful Rosewood
    Rodslinger likes this.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I have a bass with pau ferro (not a Fender), and it's as good as any FB wood I've ever used. I spend very little time worrying about stuff like that. OTOH, I do worry that we're losing a lot of old growth trees and possibly driving them to extinction by chopping too many down.
  15. Ronen


    Feb 9, 2003
    Milky Way Galaxy
    Ken Smith, Roger Sadowsky, Stuart Spector, Mike Tobias... All been using pau-ferro/morado for decades. Long before it became Fender's cheap rosewood substitute. It's a fantastic fingerboard wood.
  16. Rodslinger

    Rodslinger Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2013
    RVA & then some
    You are correct on wondering about that. I’ve been contemplating Bamboo and some kind of hippie sandwich bass body. Of taking left over pieces of wood from the “woodcraft” store. Grinding it all up and mixing it with a resin to form a body.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
    Vinny_G and JimmyM like this.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'm not huge on wood finishes but I love that.
    Rodslinger likes this.
  18. Tazziedevil


    Apr 2, 2019
    It's fine as a fingerboard wood in every practical sense, it's just so often... fugly. It has a huge variance of tones from grey to yellowish. If you make it yourself and can work the wood until it's a nice colour, it's great. If you're relying sight unseen on a mail order bass with Pau Ferro, you just don't know what colour you'll be getting and that's what turns me off about it.
    Rodslinger, ajkula66 and Iofflight like this.
  19. Right, and no one questions their choice of pau for fret boards, because everyone knows that boutique builders only make high quality instruments.

    Thus, Pau Ferro from a high end builder = "exotic, select wood chosen for its superior tonal qualities".

    But Pau Ferro from Fender or Peavey somehow = "cheap rosewood substitute". Inane.

    Also, what's so universally attractive about rosewood, anyway? I like it too but in general, it's about as mundane looking as oatmeal, and as ubiquitous as air.
    Garret Graves, Rodslinger and JimmyM like this.
  20. The only place I would have any concerns about Pao Ferro, would be on a fretless. On average, it’s a bit softer than Indian Rosewood. I want ebony in that application, to minimize wear.

    Other than that, I judge every instrument on it’s individual merits. I don’t buy them by mail order if I can avoid it, because there’s so much variance in tone, weight, feel, etc., from one example to another.

    I agree that Pao Ferro doesn’t always look great, but the funky-looking pieces are irrelevant to me. Since I only buy instruments that look and feel great in person, I don’t worry about colour variations on the ones that I reject.

    The same goes for all the other lumber in an instrument, whether it’s ash, maple, rosewood or whatever. Wood is a beautiful and highly variable material. With so many great basses out there, why settle for streaks, grain patterns, colours, etc., that don’t turn your crank?
    Rodslinger likes this.

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