Best way to make a rosewood fingerboard smoother.

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Digiplay, Feb 18, 2020.

  1. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Meister

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    Okay, here's the problem :)




    I love the way my rosewood fingerboard looks, but I like the smoother feel of a maple one.


    I ran my finger sideways on the fingerboard, and it's obvious that it's roughness comes from its more porous grain, whereas a maple fingerboard feels slick as glass (I'm sure the poly finish has something to do with it).



    Some say to use steel wool, some say don't because of the pu's magnets, others say wet dry sandpaper, some say Scotch-Brite pads, etc.



    As far as steel wools possible interaction with the pu's, couldn't I simply cover the body with a plastic bag and blue masking tape, and that would solve that potential problem?




    Regardless, is it possible to make the rosewood feel more slick/closer to a maple feel?



    If so, give me your 8 cents (inflation, you know :) ) on how to do so.



    As a side note, I just used the Music Nomad Total Fretboard Care Kit (polishes the frets/conditions the wood), and that helped a lot fret-wise, but it only made the fretboard just a little smoother.
     
  2. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    Unless its ebony, you wont be able to get a smooth surface because, well, rosewood is an open pore wood and its going to be like that always.

    But also some rosewood have tight grains/pores which are really nice.

    my rosewood board necks are quite tight but still has some open pores which is the nature of the beast I suppose and also it boils down to the quality of the rosewood itself.

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  3. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Afflicted

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    Play it for a few decades.

    Sorry, but that's how rosewood is. Pretty variable.
     
  4. AlbertoMilanese

    AlbertoMilanese Tele-Meister

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    Rickenbacker usually puts a finish on their rosewood boards - feels just like maple. So maybe try one of their guitars and see for yourself if you want a finish on yours as well
     
  5. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Holic

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    That's some insanely good action on that guitar. Are those 11-52's? Kudos to whoever does your setup!

    To the OP: Yes, you can sand the fretboard. Because you've conditioned the rosewood, you'll need to use wet or dry paper. And you need to sand with the grain (up and down the neck) in between the frets. No easy feat as they get closer together. I'd start with 400 grit and then go 800 grit. Alternatively, grey Scotchbrite is the equivalent to 0000 steel wool and leaves things quite smooth.
     
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  6. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've smoothed a few of mine out by scraping them with a credit card then polishing with micromesh. Another one I tru oiled and it feels like maple now.
     
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  7. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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    Put a few coats of lemon oil on it then buff it up hard with a cotton cloth obviously you will never get rid of the open pores unless you put some kind of clear coat on it and you don't want to be doing that but it is possible to buff up rosewood to a slick sheen
     
  8. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Holic

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    Rosewood is porous.
     
  9. MatthewK

    MatthewK Tele-Holic

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    Yes, but Tru-oil will leave a crystalline residue which fills pores.
     
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  10. Xtyfighterx

    Xtyfighterx Tele-Meister

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    Guitar nomad F1 oil
     
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  11. silver8ack

    silver8ack TDPRI Member

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    I used this for the first time on a new rosewood neck. Idk if it has anything to do with the stuff but it’s the slickest fretboard I have ever played. I would recommend trying it. I applied EXTREMELY sparingly but it seemed the rosewood needed some oil as it appeared a little dry.
     
  12. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Afflicted

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    I sand my rosewood fretboards if they're too rough. It makes a huge difference in how it feels. One of my guitars was so bad from Fender that I could hear my fingers scratching on the rough wood as I played.

    Like was already said fine sandpaper and go with he grain. That means some painstaking work. I usually start with 600 and go to 800. If 600 is too fine you can go back to 400, but I think that's too aggressive to start out. It's a fretboard, and you have to be careful not to take off any at all.

    So I typically fold a piece of sandpaper in half and with the folded side I Sand the fret back and forth toward the feet wire. I just do half of each fret at a time, going one direction and then go back the other direction and sand against the other side of the fret. After that, a little bit of oil goes a long way.
     
  13. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Imho and ime, IF one is feeling the fretboard then one of two things or both are happening. Either the frets are worn out and need to be replaced because they do not have enough height and/or the player’s fretting technique needs to be changed. The finger should not be in significant contact with the fretboard.
     
  14. Xtyfighterx

    Xtyfighterx Tele-Meister

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    Clean the board then apply a good amount let it sit and about 20 min and keep applying it till it won’t soak in anymore. Then wipe the rest away. Let it sit then until you know it’s not absorbing any more
     
  15. Telekaster

    Telekaster Tele-Meister

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    I tried for decades, maple just feels better to me. I have the same issue as you. That's why the majority of my Fenders are maple neck. I own a RW fingerboard Strat and Tele, but they are getting very little playin' time
     
  16. silver8ack

    silver8ack TDPRI Member

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    Nah
     
  17. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    The pores need to be filled. If it was a rosewood back or side you'd use some kind of grain filler, probably black, to fill the pores, the sand smooth. Some woods need to be grain-filled, some don't

    It's hard to do well if the frets are in place
     
  18. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Play the snot out of it.
     
  19. hollowman

    hollowman Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    is this for aesthetic purposes or playability? For me i can't even feel the fretboard with my fingers unless i need new frets
     
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  20. Robert H.

    Robert H. Friend of Leo's

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    I agree with gkterry - there’s nothing like playing the board. Over time, it darkens and smooths from use, sweat and oil from your skin.
     
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