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Rosewood vs. Pau Ferro (Morado) vs. Ebony fingerboard

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassophile, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. What are the main differences in these woods when are used for fretboard? Is pau ferro strong enough for fretless fingerboard as ebony is, and does it have to be lacquered?
    Why, pau ferro is replacing Rosewood more and more in bass building?
    Thanks! :meh:
  2. BadB


    May 25, 2005
    AZ, USA
    Pau Ferro is slightly brighter sounding than Rosewood, but not as bright as Ebony. I don't believe that it requires a finish. Suitable for fretless, since the strength of the neck is mostly determined by the neck's construction, not the fretboard wood. Rosewood is becoming increasingly expensive due to heavy de-forestation, but there are many different sub-species floating around, (Indian, Palisander, Brazilian, Cocobolo, etc.) Most people choose Ebony for fretless because of it's fast feel and bright, long sustaining tone.
  3. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    +1 for the most part. However, I think the issue with fretboard material on fretless is not 'strength of neck' but rather the hardness of the fingerboard and if it can stand up to SS roundwound strings... if that's the type of string you choose to use. I would be a little worried using Pau Ferro (I think also called Morado?) on a fretless in that situation. However, if you use flats or groundwounds or coated strings, it's probably fine.
  4. Keith Guitars

    Keith Guitars Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2004
    Woodstock, NY
    Builder: Martin Keith Guitars, Veillette Guitars
    Hi Guys,

    We use Pau Ferro as our standard FB wood for fretless basses at Veillette Guitars - we think it's actually *more*
    resistant to string wear than Indian Rosewood. It's a little
    denser...the pores are smaller.

    Tonally, it's about the same as Indian to our ears...maybe
    a teeny-tiny bit brighter.

    It's a wonderful fingerboard material, that seems to be
    catching on more and more.

  5. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    If this guy says it, I think we can agree.

    I'm allergic to its dust though, along with 15% of the population, so if you plan on building your own, be careful not to stay too exposed to dust and such.