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From Rosewood to Pau Ferro....

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Butch Snyder, May 7, 2020.

  1. jrblue

    jrblue Friend of Leo's

    Nov 14, 2010
    Santa Barbara
    Why? Money first, CITES second. The trouble w/ Fender's pau ferro boards is that Fender does a super-crap job prepping them. They are left rough and unappealing. Pau ferro can make a really good fretboard, but too many companies using it are also shortchanging on labor and finish work so you get guitars w/ pau ferro fretboards that are a drag because they're poorly done, not because the wood is terrible. Gibson was doing a terrible job with EIR as well, though the new regime is improving its fretboard prep. It's really too bad when use of more sustainable woods looks like a mistake because the manufacturer also cuts back on skilled prep. The pau ferro boards I saw on fenders in my local GC were so bad that they actually caught my attention for how ugly and rough they looked!
    P Thought likes this.
  2. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

    Apr 9, 2014
    Wokingham England
    I bought a Jaguar Player this week that has a PF fingerboard. It did feel a bit rough (also the frets and fret ends were a little rough too). However, I spent a bit of time rubbing it down with 3M plastic pads ('non wire' wool), then a little drop of fretboard oil from a Gibson kit I have. It's much better now and bends feel smoother too, though the frets still need a bit more work. The quality is a bit lower down than my MIM Classic 50s Tele, which has a maple fingerboard or even the MIM maple neck I put on my Esquire partscaster.

    Now that I've smoothed and oiled it, the finish is really nice and not that much different to a Rosewood fingerboard on my 2019 Gibson Les Paul Junior (which felt fantastic straight off the shop floor, but I guess the Players are built down to a price).

    At least a bit of work has brought it up to scratch, so it's not the end of the world with a happy end result. I couldn't justify 3x the price for an American Pro version that is still finished in poly, so (apart from the presumable better finish) that's a lot more to pay for a Rosewood fingerboard.
  3. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 15, 2014
    My guess is because maple has a tight grain, and is usually varnished to a shiny finish. PF, like rosewood, has high oil content and more open grain and is usually left bare or oil finished, so you are touching the wood, not the lacquer or poly. The shiny surface "feels" harder than the rougher wood surface.
    bsman likes this.
  4. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Mar 11, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    My new CV Jaguar has an Indian Laurel fretboard. It looks, feels and sounds just fine to me. I have guitars with maple, rosewood, ebony, and bloodwood fret boards. None of them seem to make any real difference to the feel or sound.

    Jaguar 3.JPG
  5. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

    Sep 4, 2008
    Hudson Valley, NY
    My #1 guitar has a nice pf board from warmoth , ten years ago it was an up charge from rw, but now that it’s a standard wood on fenders it’s considered Inferior . Whatever.
  6. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    That and cost would be the reason IMO. Bob Taylor is using mottled ebony from Cameroon and it's not his best move.
  7. Recalcitrant

    Recalcitrant TDPRI Member

    Mar 31, 2017
    I bought a maple/pau ferro neck from USA Custom back then, because they said "oh it sounds like maple but if you want a dark fret board." But it doesn't have have the resound of maple, I don't think. It's bright, but flat, says I. Maple or rosewood from now on.
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