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Ebony or maple fretboard for a Strat?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by joebloggs, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. LeicaBoss

    LeicaBoss Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

    834
    Sep 4, 2015
    New Jersey
    I can say these things:

    -Control your humidity with ebony. You are, in my experience, correct that maple is a little more resilient with environment changes. Ebony gets the pokies relatively quickly

    -Ebony feels a lot like unfinished maple. Actually, "baked maple" fretboards and ebony feel really really similar. People who like rosewood might not like the slick feel of bends

    -My ebony fretboards have aged perfectly. I feel like they will last 500 years

    -Clear your mind of any thoughts about the "sound" of these materials. Do it. Clear. Your mind.
     
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  2. s5tuart

    s5tuart ...... Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    73
    Aug 8, 2011
    Bedford, UK
    My 3 guitars all have ebony fretboards. Whether they affect the sound or not, who knows. I do know they all sound and feel delicious to me. :p

    IMG_5762.jpg
     
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  3. knh555

    knh555 Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    46
    Dec 6, 2016
    Massachusetts
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  4. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Antisocial Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    I could take those fingerboards off for you, if you really want to find out. diablo.gif
     
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  5. knh555

    knh555 Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    46
    Dec 6, 2016
    Massachusetts
    There are violins, violas, and cellos approaching that age and they use ebony, though many of them were given new fingerboards in the 18th and 19th centuries when they were lengthened from baroque days. I've never had ebony on a guitar, but given how it feels on orchestral instruments, I imagine I'd like it quite a bit.
     
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  6. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Antisocial Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    It depends on the grade of ebony. It varies enormously. But like everything else, it's not going to be around much longer.
     
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  7. Morgenholz

    Morgenholz Strat-Talker

    214
    Jan 17, 2015
    Indianapolis
    I've got both on same model guitar and it's the opposite-- ebony is brighter.

    I love ebony fretboards-- much of the brightness of maple with the inherent gloriously greasy feel of a freshly-oiled rosewood board.
     
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  8. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 10, 2014
    Initech, Inc.

  9. Hash McBrown

    Hash McBrown Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 15, 2012
    Southern Illinois
    That depends. I like Fender's idea of using rescued ebony and really hope they're successful. I'd buy a multi-colored ebony strat.

    From GC: "Rescued Ebony Fretboard
    There’s a story behind this wood. Basically, the MI industry, while looking for perfectly black Ebony fretboards, has been leaving 9 out of 10 trees unused and left behind on the forest floor. This has decimated the Ebony forests because the trees left behind don’t allow for natural reforestation. Fender is supporting an initiative to have guitar manufacturers and consumers get past this need for purely black ebony and get used to, even appreciate, striped, variegated, and multi-colored Ebony. The goal is to use every tree cut down, not just one of ten."


    I'm not sure how serious they are when they're calling it a Limited Edition.
     
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  10. ocean

    ocean Most Honored Senior Member

    Apr 14, 2015
    In a house
    Whats easier to keep clean ?
     
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  11. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Antisocial Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    That would depend on how dirty your hands are. Napalm will sort out either if they're really bad.
     
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  12. vlxerdon

    vlxerdon Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    72
    749
    Jan 31, 2013
    Coastal Georgia
    Maple, or could be Rosewood, oh wait, Ebony as well I think.
     
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  13. joebloggs

    joebloggs Strat-Talker

    100
    Jun 18, 2017
    Canada
    Thanks for the info! The sound that these tones woods produce is a very subjective topic. I know there are two very distinctive sides to this coin. Those who believe and those who don't. As they say.... The jury is still out.... One thing I am concerned about is the feel of the wood. Having played both rosewood and maple, and being a long time player of only rosewood boards I find maple a refreshing change. I really like how 'fast' it feels under my fingers. String bends are smooth as silk.
    So, in closing, I think what I am get across here is....I am wondering if ebony will give me the feel and playability of a maple board with that gloriously dark colour. Also, I quite like the multi hued woods they are using. It makes your guitar unique. More important is theconsistency in the grain, it has to be smooth from the first fret to the 22nd. This only my personal preference. :)
     
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  14. dazco

    dazco Strat-Talker

    Age:
    60
    125
    Oct 5, 2017
    california
    You aren't looking at the full picture. The pickup senses the string yes, but the sting vibrates differently with different woods. There are lots of examples i could site to prove that the way the sting vibrates dictates the sound you hear and that it;s not just a pickup sensing a string. I'm not going to try and prove it to u beyond one example because if being on forums has taught me anything it's that if someone thinks the world is flat, nothing they read on a forum will change thier opinion. But the fact is if what u say is true then putting a strat pickup in a LP would make the LP sound like a strat. I don't think i have to convince you thats impossible. The only thing your inability to hear the difference in fingerboard wood proves is that YOU aren't hearing it. To me i not only hear it but it's literally the #1 biggest tone effect on a guitar, at least on a fender. To my ear maple and rosewood sound more different than a tele sounds different than a strat. If you refuse to believe that there are things you don't hear that other can, then you will go on being clueless about many things like this till YOUR ears start to hear them too. When i started i couldn't hear it. In fact it took many years but the longer i played the more obvious things like this became. Im sure this won't convince you but i tried.

    Because the tone is much different in a way that i prefer overall. It's got more mids and is more harmonically complex and it retains that complexity as you roll the volume down to clean up more than maple. Maple sounds great with high gain but rosewood IMO sounds clearer and richer from clean to medium gain.

    This is a hot topic so i'm not going to keep replying because i know how this always goes. Those are my opinions, i'm 100% positive thats what i hear and all i did in this reply is try and make that clear. But i will say one last thing....i don't understand why people refuse to believe that things they don't hear can be heard by others. Like i said, it took years before i heard the difference but even after i did it because even more clear as the years went by to the point that now the difference is clearly obvious. Of those that don't hear it, most eventually will. But every time i see this debate the people that hear it are dubbed know it alls or such. It's not about that....it's about your ears developing, and i won't apologize for that. I know for a fact they sound different because my ears hear it. An by the way, i have had many strats i have configured exactly the same....same steel block trem, same pickups, alder body, but depending on the FB wood they will sound way different. The FB wood being the only difference. In general i hear that tonal difference every single time w/o fail far above and beyond any variables in one piece of wood of the same type to the next. The subject and what i hear passes every test every time w/o fail. As i said above theres not anything i or anyone else says that will convince anyone so i'll leave it here and let everyone else argue about it.
     

  15. Hash McBrown

    Hash McBrown Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 15, 2012
    Southern Illinois
    Maple until the finish wears. Then it always looks kinda dirty but not necessarily in a bad way.
     
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  16. LeicaBoss

    LeicaBoss Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

    834
    Sep 4, 2015
    New Jersey
    To that, specifically. Good Ebony has the slick, smooth feel of maple without the little wrinkle that maple is often finished with poly or nitro.

    Richlite also feels remarkably similar.
     
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  17. joebloggs

    joebloggs Strat-Talker

    100
    Jun 18, 2017
    Canada
    I have an Elite telecaster with a maple fretboard and the finish is very thin. It feels and plays incredibly well. In fact, the fretboard was what caused me to buy a Tele in the first place. I was all set to get a Les Paul Standard, was waiting for a sales representative, and pulled an Elite Tele with maple neck/fretboard off the wall and plugged in. When the Rep showed up I told him I had changed my mind and bought a Tele. Never looked back!
     

  18. Yaralag

    Yaralag Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    46
    Aug 28, 2014
    The big square states
    You have unwittingly walked into a trap my friend. Run if you still can.
     

  19. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Nitro-mancer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 18, 2014
    Victoria TX
    Before you guys go even more nuts, this is not a ROSEWOOD vs MAPLE thread, so relax! :)
     
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  20. Yaralag

    Yaralag Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    46
    Aug 28, 2014
    The big square states
    I would go with the one I liked the looks of. I don’t think the rest of it matters enough.
     
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