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Spalted Purpleheart Fretboard???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jokerjkny, Mar 9, 2002.

  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    Hey all,

    has anyone tried this fretboard material??? what's it sound like and how does it compare to maple and rosewood?? i was told that its a virus actually attacking maple trees, and the spalted purpleheart is the resultant.
  2. Prague77


    Aug 20, 2001
    Waco, TX
    hmmm spalted purpleheart. thats a new one for me...
    i think you mean spalted maple. spalted maple is a peice of maple that is being decomposed by a fungus. but the decompostion has been stopped by being heated over 130 degrees i belive. and as for a fretboard? i dont think its usable for a fretboard. its usually just a laminate for the top.
  3. Prague77


    Aug 20, 2001
    Waco, TX
    this is spalted maple
  4. Roscoe uses spalted purpleheart for fretboards. I played one a couple of months ago in Dallas. It's a very hard wood, so I would think it would be close to maple?

    Check his web site for more info...

  5. Prague77


    Aug 20, 2001
    Waco, TX
    i bet thats pretty wild looking then...
  6. It was... and I wasn't crazy about it. That's just me, though.
  7. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    He means spalted purpleheart. Here is a pic of a Roscoe with a spalted purpleheart board.

  8. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    From what I've heard about spalted maple, the spalting makes it quite soft. Is this not the case with purpleheart? I reckon spalted maple wouldn't make a good fretboard, being so poreous and soft - what's up with the spalted purpleheart?
  9. Prague77


    Aug 20, 2001
    Waco, TX
    spalted purpleheart is ugly : /
  10. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Decidedly so.
  11. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Spalted maple has very striking discoloration caused by a fungus. This weakens the wood, hence its use being limited to "tops" and veneers over sound (normal strong) wood. Concerning the wood that Roscoe (and maybe others?) uses for fingerboards: I think I remeber reading that Purpleheart has purple heartwood, and white-yellow sapwood. Many trees have this kind of transition. Also, IIRC, the yellow wood is just as strong as the purple heartwood. So, it appears that what these boards are is wood cut from the transition between heartwood and sapwood, and that they are being improperly named. Can anyone else confirm this?
  12. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    Hey Jeff, I think I played that Roscoe. In Garland wasn't it? I didn't care to much for the look but seemed to remember that it was a pretty nice bass. Maybe it was a 6 string. But that one wasn't fretless. :confused:
  13. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Pilotjones, I believe that this is correct. I have used a small amount of it, and the guy I got it from said exactly this. I am not sure why, then, it is called spalted purpleheart, but the lighter greyish wood is the sapwood. I don't think that spalted refers to decaying wood, but rather the large contrast in the two areas of the wood.

    I could be wrong.

  14. It was in Garland - and it was fretted. I can't remember if it was a 5 or a 6?? I remember it playing well.

    Did you play any of the new Zons with the satin finished necks while you were there? (Guess we should take this offline, huh! Send me a PM if you want.)

  15. Gard


    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA

    I really like the look and sound of most of the spalted purple heart fingerboards I've seen (mostly on Roscoe basses of course). We had an SKB 3006 at BC recently that was givin' me a seriously painful case of GAS, had the coolest lookin' spalted fingerboard, looked like a snake crawling across it. Thankfully, some kind soul bought it and it's no longer tormenting me! :eek: ;)


    I happen to own a Zon with the satin finished neck. :D WOW. Very nice, highly recommended. Makes that fast neck even faster feeling. Best of all, I bet you can get with Joe Z and have him "retro-fit" your bass with it, as he did that for me. It's apparantly some kind of coating, and can be put on existing necks.
    dudemanbroguy likes this.
  16. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    i played a bunch at 2002 NAMM.

    smoooooth...really nice feel.

    next one.

  17. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    thx for the replies all,

    very informative, but besides the ever-irreplacable Gard, has anyone actually tried a spalted maple necked bass?? how does it SOUND??? compared to the usual rosie or regular maple, how's it different or similar??
  18. bassheavy

    bassheavy banned

    i have an unspalted purpleheart fretboard on my Bich 6 (pictured to your left) and it looks and sounds killer.

    It feels better for tapping as well, but that might be the super jumbo frets.... but i really think it has a nice harder feel when tapping.

    i hear the color fades though... :(
  19. bassheavy

    bassheavy banned