slapping paoferro

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Btone, Sep 28, 2001.

  1. Btone


    May 5, 2001
    My new Warmoth-bass will have a swamp ash body, Basslines Classic Stack pups, a J-retro and a maple neck. But I have'nt decided on the fretboard yet. Now - I want a snappy, good slap sound, and I wonder - any of you have opinions on the "slap sound" of a maple/paoferro neck? I like my maple/maple neck - but I like the look of maple/paoferro better. Is the sonic difference significant? I've read that rosewood is'nt a good slap fretboard (have'nt tried it) and that maple is the thing, Marcus Miller and so forth...but this paoferro thing - any opinions?
    Thanks alot!
  2. I'd say Pao Ferro is a bit brighter than maple. For what it's worth.. one of the nicest slap sounds I've ever had the pleasure of creating was on a Pao Ferro board Spector.

    EDIT: I meant brighter than rosewood.. sorry about that.. maple is brighter than pao ferro.
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Rosewood doesn't necessarily sound bad (for slapping).
    It's just that the rosewood on cheap instruments is of bad quality.
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Hardness is a key ingredient for a classic slap sound. Woods are rated by their janka hardness. What this measure means is how many pounds of force it takes to imbed half the diameter of a .444" steel ball into the wood.

    Rock/sugar maple is rated at 1450
    Pau ferro can range from 1450 to 1780 :eek:

    (Note: birdseye maple is harder than regular rock maple and has more attack and brightness).

    But that's kind of anal. Maybe a bat could hear the difference.

    IMO, if you got either pau ferro/morado or birdseye maple, you'd have about the hardest that are more commonly offered.

    Personally, I'd like to hear an Andreas Basking Shark with that aluminum fretboard get slapped around.
  5. Btone


    May 5, 2001
    Thank you, guys.
    So - Pau Ferro is hard enough to contribute to a classic, nice slap sound. Then I guess a high quality Warmoth Brazillian Rosewood board will do the same (and it's even better looking than Pao my eyes). Opinions on that? I like the Macassar Ebony best -and it would sound good from what I've read. But Warmoth couldn't offer it on bass necks...I'll try making up my mind the next few days!
    Thanks again!
  6. My Jazz 5 string had a really nice and bright slap tone, compared to others that i have tried.
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Assuming the boards of Brazilian rosewood/"jacaranda" they use are typical, nope, it won't rank up there with pau ferro. Considering it's hardness and density ratings, you'd think it would surpass rock maple. But what makes it so bassy is that it is typically oily, like other rosewoods. Oil deadens crispness and treble.

    Frudua basses has a fingerboard wood tone scale. One end of the scale is "warmth, lows" and the other end is "attack, brightness." Indian rosewood it at the "warmth" end of the scale and birdseye maple is at the other, with ebony right in the center. Brazilian rosewood falls on the "warmth, lows" end, in between the Indian rosewood and ebony on their scale.

    The Brazilian would have lots of snob appeal, though. It's been illegal to trade it internationally since the early 90's among all the nations who signed the CITES treaty, (USA did). So, Warmoth must be working from a stash they've kept for years like other makers who offer it or else they got some of the miniscule amount that is excepted from the trade ban.
  8. Btone


    May 5, 2001
    Thanks Rickbass1 -
    So Pao Ferro is a less oily rosewood - giving it a brighter sound than other rosewoods (I've read somewhere that Pao Ferro is a rosewood!) including Brazillian. I was thinking - what if the bright sound of a maple fretboard really comes from the fact that all maple fretboards are laquered - the laquer, I belive, must have an influence on tone. According to Warmoth maple is likely to warp without laquer. Is the sonic character of a maple fretboard really a question of finish (or to a higher degree than you might think)...just wondering.
    Anyone of you played a maple fretboard whitout finish..........?
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Pau ferro/morado/Bolivian rosewood isn't a true rosewood. True rosewoods are usually oily, (I don't want to say, "all"....there's something like 132 of them!). But that isn't the reason it isn't a rosewood, (has more scientific reasons). So rosewoods are notorious for presenting gluing problems and pau ferro, being less oily, isn't. Pau ferro is a non-porous wood.

    On the brightness scale, pau ferro scores higher than Brazilian and lower than ebony. Almost all the Brazilian rosewood used in the US comes from old furniture, so how it was treated when it was salvaged has a lot to do with it.

    I don't know about maple's tendency to warp without lacquer. If the maple is quartersawn, which maple used on a neck should be, warpage shouldn't be a problem unless they just cut their maple boards thin. The main reason I see to lacquer maple is because it isn't oily at all. As a result, unfinished maple wouldn't have a nice, smooth, feel on a board or a neck. Not having seen or played unfinished maple, I don't know what the lacquer does to its tone. All I know is I like it but it is less versatile than ebony to me, so I find maple boards almost limited to slap and hard rock.
  10. I think it is important to point out the difference between and "unfinished" maple neck and an "unlacquered" maple neck. Lacquering IMO will have no affect on whether a neck will warp. I've seen warped lacquer (or polyurethane) necks as well as non-lacquered necks. The real reason maple has a finish at all is because it will get severely stained by body oils, sweat, machine lubricants etc. Staining is a very near permanent condition and looks terrible. Finishing will prevent staining and this can be done with a top sealing method like lacquer or poly, or a penetrating finish like tung oil. Either way, the wood becomes protected against absorbing the nasty gunk from our hands. Oily woods have their own natural repellent and that's why you don't see them finished as fretboards
  11. Btone


    May 5, 2001
    You've been very helpfull - I've decided to go for PaoFerro - It seems to be a good, versatile fretboard wood...Thanks again:)