Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

rosewood quality

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by spots, Jul 25, 2004.


  1. spots

    spots

    Feb 7, 2004
    boston, MA
    J/ wondering how u can tell the quality of a rosewood board...
    Tightness of grain? eveness of color? I'm in the dark on this one. Thx
    ~spots
     
  2. PasdaBeer

    PasdaBeer

    Nov 2, 2002
    Santa Rosa California
    SandStorm Designs
    straight grain, color,
     
  3. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    The most common Rosewood used is Indian Rosewood. It is usually dark with medium to fine grain and very pourous. Brazillian Rosewood has also been used in the past but is very expensive and rare these days. Many dark woods with similar properties have been used but are not actually true Rosewoods at all.

    The most common Rosewood substitute used now is Morado/Pauferro. We first used Morado in 1979. Morado is tight grained like Ebony and ranges in color from light to dark brown. It is more afforadable than Rosewood in recent years. See here;

    http://www.kensmithbasses.com/woodpages/morado.html

    Another wood used by some is Bubinga. Not a Rosewood at all but a fair substitue. See Bubinga here (Not shown as fingerboards);

    http://www.kensmithbasses.com/woodpages/bubinga.html

    We have used Bubinga fingerboards in the past for some models but since Morado is more available now, we use it exclusively in place of Rosewood. True Macassar Ebony is our premium Fingerboard wood with Morado running as a close second.
     
  4. PasdaBeer

    PasdaBeer

    Nov 2, 2002
    Santa Rosa California
    SandStorm Designs
    ken, how well does coco bolo hold up as a fretless board.....and do you treat it/coat it in anyway?


    thanks
    PB
     
  5. spots

    spots

    Feb 7, 2004
    boston, MA
    thx ken!
    i was wondering because my rosewood FB on my new lakland has some alternating colors. It is mainly dark but it has a few lighter brown streaks in it. I have a link to the bass in my sig. Would these color changes be characteristic of a lower quality piece of rosewood? I think it looks pretty fetching...
     
  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Spots, I can't tell from the photos. Call the Mfg. to be sure.

    Pasadaxxxx, I dont drink Beer, We don't use Cocobolo because it is very dense, oily and has a tendency to split.
     
  7. JSPguitars

    JSPguitars

    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    mmmmmmmm...........beeeeer gooooood!
     
  8. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Each tree grows in its own way and it is not surprising to see boards with this or that kind of color. Color is rarely a good predictor of how fit a wood is for a fingerboard. Straight grain is generally a good sign (structurally), tight grain is generally a bonus (ditto).

    It's tough to get a good look at the board in those pictures but there are no glaring defects and as such I think you are okay. If you think it's fetching then consider it a bonus.
     
  9. loend68

    loend68 Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    NH
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses, T.C. Electronics
    Zombie thread revival!!!

    This thread fit a question I have. I have noticed that alot of newer rosewood fretboards are much lighter and porous looking and even have what looks like flecks of white in them. Are these inexpensive pieces of rosewood? Or are we running out of good stuff? You see it a lot on MIM Fenders, but I've seen in on US Fenders too. What really made me ask the question is looking at the new MIM 70's Jazzes with rosewood/blocks. The boards seem so light and almost dried out compared to older ones.

    Anyone have any info?
     
  10. ToxicAce

    ToxicAce

    May 17, 2006
    This link should answer your questions

    http://guitarbench.com/index.php/2008/10/15/indian-rosewood-tonewood-database/
     
  11. loend68

    loend68 Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    NH
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses, T.C. Electronics
    Thanks!! So it seems there are two different types with one having white sapwood which would explain the white 'flecks' I see. Interesting...
     
  12. ToxicAce

    ToxicAce

    May 17, 2006
    I think the white flecks you see are just crud that got in the pores.