rosewood fretboard question

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by premiumtap, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. Alright, so I bought a brand new bass guitar with a rosewood fretboard. And as it turns out the lower part of the fretboard (D and G string) is kinda whitish, yet the upper part (E and A string) looks completely perfect. Its almost as if it consists out of two separate pieces (which it doesn't). I don't know but it looks kinda dry to me. What to do? Can I clean it off? Rub it in with oil? Or is it just a bad piece of rosewood and should I return the instrument? I'm quite new to all this, so any advise would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Do you mean a heartwood/sapwood mix?

    Sapwood cuts on fretboards are a personal preference, I guess. Some luthiers do heart/sap mixes for aesthetics, but some people think that sapwood is the trash part of the tree.
  3. Neek


    Nov 26, 2008
    South Florida
    I've had experience with rosewood that appeared "chalky" for lack of a better word. The wood looked very dry and like it was rubbed in chalk powder. I had a bottle of Gerlitz Guitar Honey that a friend gave me, so I rubbed that on the fretboard and it got rid of the problem. The fretboard never looked chalky again, but I still applied a coat of the Guitar Honey every few months (whenever I changed strings, which wasn't very often.)
  4. Like I said, I'm quite new to all this so I'm not entirely sure I get what you're talking about. But if you're right, then I'm definitely in the corner with the folks who believe that sapwood is the trash part of the tree.
  5. Yeah chalky is a pretty good way to discribe it. If it was all over the fretboard I maybe might've tried your guitar honey. But with me it's only the lower part of the fretboard, so I'm not sure if I can get it all evened out.

    I'll try to post a picture later. Says more than a thousand words.
  6. Sapwood is the wood from the outermost part of the tree.
  7. Ah yes sapwood. Works on an acoustic guitar. On an electric bass not so much IMO.
  8. Not sure if I want to mess around with a brand new bass guitar. Especially if you have a 30 days money back garantee.

    Here are some pics. Notice the difference between upper and lower part of the fretboard.



    Looks pretty messed up to me. I guess my best option is to simply return it. It's getting frustrating though, it's the fourth bass in two months that's going back. I just want to start playing but those retailers keep sending me their inferior crap. :rollno:
  9. JLS

    JLS Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Looks like some wax or polish in the grain.
  10. Hi, thanks for the reply. Is it worth the trouble to clean it off with a toothbrush or better send it back? Thanks.
  11. I don't see any sapwood, or white areas.
    That's just the way the wood grew. Part of the fretboard is open-grained, and part is tight.
  12. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    I think it looks good, no reason to worry about it unless you demand personal aesthetic perfection.
  13. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I think it is more than cosmetic. I'm looking at the grain and the runout. It looks like this is a slab board that was not a true slab, but not a quarter sawn board, either. It is probably alright, but if it bothers the OP, I see nothing wrong with sending it back, but if it sounds alright and there is no torsional warpage or inconsistent relief to the neck, then I see no reason to automatically send it back, either.