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What type of wood is this fingerboard??

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by 138BASS, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. Hey guys I need some help identifying the wood that my DB fingerboard is made out of. I know I might be posting this in the wrong place but the DB forums don't have a "lutier's corner" and allot of people on that side tend to look down on instruments like mine since it cost less than a few thousand bucks and consider DIY projects sacrilege :ninja:
    So, with that out of the way...
    the board was originally "ebonized" with some sort of hard black paint. I stripped it and sanded it thinking I would find maple(like I found when I refinished a similar fingerboard) but instead found a darker, more open grained wood instead.
    So now I'm thinking it looks a little like mahogany but I'm not sure. And also if it is mahogany how would it hold up to the wear and tear from the strings if left bare??
    Any help would be greatly appreciated as I need to figure out what to do with this as far as oiling, or maybe even coating the fingerboard??
    thanks allot guys
    Here are some close up pics of the board. . .

  2. gyancey


    Mar 25, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Possibly Ipe? Where was the bass made?
  3. Yvarg


    Mar 10, 2007
    Buena Park, CA
    Possibly a kind of Asian ebony. I have a cheap electric upright that has an ebony fingerboard that is pretty light, but dyed black.
  4. I didn't think of Ipe and looking through some samples it seems pretty close. I'm unsure of where the bass was made as I bought it second hand from a friend of mine who bought it from a music store that was only in business for less than a year. there are no labels or brand marking of any kind on it so I don't even know who manufactured it.

    I'm not sure about asian ebony but then again I haven't seen too much of it, all the stuff I have seen was always striped asian ebony. I think the grain on this stuff might be a little too loose to be ebony.

    I did however finish up sanding it down all the way to 600 grit and oiling it down, strung it up, and have too say it seems really hard and sounds awesome compared to with the "ebonizer" paint on it. As expected the wood darkened with some oil but it got allot darker than I thought it would, almost to a walnut color. here are some pics.

    I was really happy with the way the color of the board looks against the almost orange color of my bass, but even happier with the improvement in sound. I do have some work to do with dressing the board as I have some buzz at the first "fret" position but with a little elbow grease and some paper on the sanding block I should have her going in no time.:bassist:

    Any thoughts on it now that we've really seen what the wood looks like? I'm still curious as to what it is??
  5. 2lim


    Feb 25, 2007
    Could be jatoba. I know that jatoba is used as an ebony alternative by some companies. It is a quality wood for the purpose, as a matter fo fact for my electric upright build I am using a "kay" replacement fingerboard made of jatoba. You can also look it up as brazilian cherry.

  6. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    Jatoba is my guess too.
  7. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    I will third the "Brazillian Cherry." You can go to any flooring store and get a piece to prove us right...or wrong ;)
  8. Gone


    Mar 21, 2006
    Cape Town
    Jayda custom basses, builder

    my initial thoughts too
  9. well it looks like and shares all the characteristics I could find with jatoba, no smell, very dense and hard, color and grain characteristics. So I guess we have a winner!! Thanks for all your help and insight guys, it's nice to know I unmasked something that is by far better for the job than maple or another softer wood. And, Simon, I can say you made a great choice on using it for your build, the board sounds and feels great.
    Thanks allot guys,
    Jesse G

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