Pau Ferro, Rosewood, Ebony and Maple Necks. Pau feels dry?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Brucegomb, Jul 23, 2021.

Which one do your prefer: Pao Ferro, Rosewood, Maple

  1. Pao Ferro

  2. Maple

  3. Rosewood

  4. Ebony

  5. Any Neck Is Fine

  6. Anything but Maple

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Richard McKay

    Richard McKay Strat-Talker

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    Ebony is the best neck if you do a lot of bending. With stainless steel 6100 frets it's like rollerskating on ice. Almost like scallops.

    I oil the heck out of my rosewood necks to attempt to duplicate that feel. Pau Ferro needs even more oil but can work fine. Kinda looks cheap but it's fine. SRV seemed to like it.

    I don't mind maple as long as it doesn't have that thick candy coating on it. I like them when the finish starts to wear down and the thick clear coat won't allow that to happen.

    I've never heard a tonal difference in any of them so it's aesthetics and feel I care about.
     
    diogoguitar likes this.
  2. jackietreehorn

    jackietreehorn Strat-Talk Member

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    I’m taking a guess here, as I don’t own a board like that, but it could be like watering sand. If it was really dry to begin with, maybe it needs a few light treatments to “hydrate”
     
  3. Waldo Jones

    Waldo Jones Strat-Talk Member

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    Rosewood is naturally oily, Pau is not. I am not a fan. Especially since there's other (available, sustainable ?)woods like Ovangkol,
    that are much more satisfactory.
     
  4. Dain Bramage

    Dain Bramage Strat-Talker

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    It can be all about a particular Strat. Generally I prefer the clarity of a Maple neck and fretboard. But I have had more than a few rosewood fretboards not sound so dark, likely it has more to do with the combination of body wood, hardware/metal integrity, perhaps even the electronic components.
     
  5. Neptical

    Neptical Strat-Talk Member

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    100% on board with you there.

    1.) My hands feel so FREE on maple.
    2.) So much snap and resonance. So acoustic when playing without an amp.
    3.) Funny enough - my eyes will see patterns that I can't see as easy on Rosewood when improving.
     
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  6. telepraise

    telepraise Strat-O-Master

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    I bought a Player Series Deluxe strat a couple years back. The PF fretboard was the driest I've ever seen on any guitar. It also was a little fuzzy to the touch. I'm surprised Fender let it out the door like that, fine sanfing before fretting takes like 30 seconds. I carefully sanded between frets with 500 grit before oiling it and it has a nice smooth feel to it now.

    Appearance wise I don't like it. The orange color is too light and it doesn't appear to be darkening at all. Tactile wise, it feels great. Pau Ferro is very dense and fine pored. Polished up, it doesn't feel that different from ebony. I love everything else about the guitar though. It's not my work guitar and isn't getting much playtime, eventually I'll get around to dying the FB dark.

    IMO ebony is the ideal fretboard material. Dense, almost without pores, it's less susceptible to wear. It requires no finish and rarely requires even oiling. But I've played and built acoustic guitars and mandolins for a long time so my eyes are used to ebony and pearl. Both of my partscasters have ebony FBs.
     
  7. Kharma Bodies

    Kharma Bodies Strat-Talk Member

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    Be aware that you can probably stain the ebony board black, evening out the variations in the grain.

    The same goes for Pau Ferro boards. You can find a tint of red/brown that works for you and make it to your liking.

    So if you have a good playing guitar but the look of the fretboard has let you down there’s hope for you and it’s not an expensive fix.
     
  8. Paulie walnuts

    Paulie walnuts Strat-Talk Member

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    I like maple fretboard, especially on fenders. I also like the look of ebony. My squier has indian laurel I think, and I don't like it quite so much. It does the job, but I don't think it looks quite so nice.
     
  9. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    Honestly, I have had them all, and I really never notice any difference when playing. It is all just cosmetic as far as I'm concerned.
     
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  10. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Most Honored Senior Member

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    I don't really feel a difference, I just like Fenders with maple necks. Even though I got 1 tele with rw.
    My SG,V, and acoustics are all rw
     
  11. Hudman_1

    Hudman_1 Strat-O-Master

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    My favorite fretboard is ebony based 100% on aesthetics. I believe that a dark ebony board looks great on any guitar. With that said, I hear no tonal difference or feel any physical difference between any fretboard materials. My fingers barely come into direct contact with any fretboard. My fretting calluses are thick. I can barely feel anything.

    Fret size, fretboard radius, neck size, neck shape and neck finish are far more important from a comfort and feel standpoint.
     
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  12. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member

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    I like maple and rosewood equally, but am not a fan of Pao at all - many of them are too pale for my tastes, and I agree with other posters that many I have seen in stores look very dried out.
     
  13. systolsys

    systolsys Strat-O-Master

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    Maple and Ebony. I have rosewood as well, but like something a bit harder under the fingers... so either a satin-sealed maple, or a well maintained ebony.
    (Both Strats have Ebony, Both Teles have maple, Both PRS have Rosewood)
     
  14. Wrighty

    Wrighty Most Honored Senior Member

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    My two Affinity’s have what I think are laurel boards. I realise that the price point is probably the reason for their both being rough, I actually lightly sanded and polished them to get them playable but, even now, they feel dry. Laurel is, it seems, inherently not very oily.
     
  15. Bighump

    Bighump Strat-Talker

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    I have a Les Paul Standard Plus Top Pro with a PF board and while I do not fully like the look of it either it plays great. I do agree with you about the look man.
     
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  16. buzzword

    buzzword Strat-Talk Member

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    The problem with dark ebony is that ebony is actually naturally variegated in color and up until fairly recently ebony suppliers would use only the darkest parts and basically waste the majority of the tree that wasn’t dark, many times wasting entire trees after cutting them down and discovering no wood within considered dark enough, literally leaving most or all of the felled tree to rot on the the forrest floor. So much so that ebony became endangered and subject to export controls. Bob Taylor started to advocate for using the wood regardless of color as a means of using what remained of the ebony stock responsibly and making its use sustainable, preserving the ability to use ebony at all. He has lobbied other guitar makers to do the same. From now on you’ll only see dark black ebony used on the very highest end guitars, with everything else using variegated. There’s no difference at all in feel or playability, merely color.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2021
  17. bobalu

    bobalu Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    Ebony is the smoothest/slickest fretboard I've ever played and I just love it. IME, Rosewood has been all over the map. I've seen "new" just arrived Gibsons hung on the store wall with rosewood fretboards as dry as driftwood, and some rosewood boards so porous and open grained that you could get a finger stuck in them!:eek:. I agree that a nice grade of rosewood is very comfortable to play as is Pau Ferro. The light colour irks me a bit but that's my problem. I like maple as well. Don't like any of the synthetics (ebonol, Richlite, etc.)
     
  18. wurly

    wurly Strat-Talker

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    The one it feels better in your hand, I just ordered a Musikraft neck with Indian Rosewood and bugs me because is extremely porous and open-grained, to the degree it feels rough and ridged. On the other hand the Rosewood in my 2005 Tokai Les Paul feels great.

    diapason.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2021
  19. ladewd

    ladewd Strat-Talk Member

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    I don’t own any pau ferro fretboards. I have 2 maple fretboards & the rest are rosewood. My Taylor has an ebony neck. That’s probably because I haven’t bought a new guitar since 2005.
     
  20. echoes71

    echoes71 Senior Stratmaster

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    Pau does not act like Rosewood, I have found that treating it does nothing, it is more like maple in that sense. Personally I prefer Ebony, but you dont get those every day. I do feel that Fender has made a mistake with the Pau boards...