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Questions: Satine(Bloodwood) or Purpleheart Fretboard on Maple Neck

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bassin' 'Round, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. Bassin' 'Round

    Bassin' 'Round Banned

    Apr 30, 2005
    Building a 4-string fretted jazz & would like to do a satine or purpleheart board on a maple neck. :hyper:

    What might be the general tonal characteristics? I'm thinking on the (relative) brighter side w/good sustain. Does this sound off-base?

    How might satine/maple or purpleheart/maple compare to maple/maple, ebony/maple or other more common boards/necks?

    How will the color change(if at all) over time?

    Any info/opinion welcomed. Thanks to everybody.:D
  2. tribal3140

    tribal3140 Banned

    Nov 9, 2004
    near detroit...uh
    bloodwood holds its color very well over time but can get brittle with age.
    purpleheart is more dense and brighter in tone, but oxidizes
    darker with age.
    (the denser the wood the brighter the tone.)
  3. purpleheart and maple....mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

    now that's a colour combination that is perfect!

    I have an idea for a bass where I'm going to inlay bloodwood "stripes" on the 3,5,7,9,12,etc...positions on a purpleheart board instead of dots (they will go from fret to fret completely), I think the effect will be impressive.
  4. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    On a related note: how would satine or purpleheart work as a fretless fingerboard? (as an alternative to ebony) It'll most likely be on a Padouk neck. This will be a Warmoth project.
  5. tribal3140

    tribal3140 Banned

    Nov 9, 2004
    near detroit...uh
    the bloodwood has a better chance of gouging and checking in the future.
    even gaboon ebony will gouge slightly, now if you could get a ziricote fingerboard for the fretless, one without variagations or with as few as possible, (ziricote can crack along the variagations in time) but its SO dense it would be an amazing fretless fingerboard wood!
    and its super sexy too!

    or katalox!
  6. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    Will purpleheart retain its namesake color if you use the right finish (one that inhibits oxidation, like poly)?
  7. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    The bloodwood I've used was heavier than the purpleheart I've used. The bloodwood sank in water, hence its density was above 1. I've used it as fretless board, and it stands up well to the abuse. I believe Pete Skjold and Cliff Burton have used bloodwood for fretless as well. Tonewise, I couldn't say the difference between purpleheart and bloodwood, but personnaly I prefer the color of bloodwood. And the smell :D
  8. Luke Sheridan

    Luke Sheridan Commercial User

    Dec 30, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    I build guitars and sell them. Strings, too

    Do you mean Cliff Bordwell?
  9. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    I was going to say that I never knew that Cliff Burton played fretless!
  10. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.

    >>> Years ago, a friend of mine had a bass made with a purpleheart fingerboard. It sounded really weird; very tinny/nasaly/clanky when slapped/popped. I spoke to the luthier; he said that he was dead set against p.h for the fingerboard and that it wouldn't be the best choice, but that's what the guy wanted....
  11. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Yeah, my bad.
  12. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    The purple color goes brown due to UV rays. There is no transparent finish that will stop that, but there are a few UV inhibitors that slows the process down.
    There are UV inhibitors for oils as well as for polyester or polurethane, etc.
  13. Bassin' 'Round

    Bassin' 'Round Banned

    Apr 30, 2005
    ...any first-hand knowledge? Anything you've heard? Any educated opinion? Any plain-old guess?
  14. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    About like pau ferro, brighter than rosewood, but darker than ebony, from my limited experience.
  15. Gard


    Mar 31, 2000
    WInter Garden, FL
    We use purpleheart (both spalted and non-spalted) for fingerboards all the time, never had that problem.

    I wouldn't recommend it as a fretless board, unless it were finished with something (polyester is good, IMO) to keep it from splitting, it can be a bit like wenge and if it's not protected somehow splinters easily (when fretted, this isn't an issue, as the strings are not actually making direct contact with the wood).