Pau Ferro bright? Not sure I agree.... brighter than Ebony?... Really???

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by doghouseman, Aug 12, 2020.

  1. doghouseman

    doghouseman Tele-Meister

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    The Warmoth site describes Pau Ferro as being a bright wood. I am not sure I agree with that. THe guitar I built with it the wood sounded like rosewood to me. Any opinions on the sound of Pau Ferro?

    I know SRV had Pau Ferro fretboards put on some of his guitars. I can't imagine he wanted a bright sound, I think he was going for more of a thick sound.

    I am trying to decide on an Ebony fret board and possible and Ebony neck as well from Warmoth.

    Any of you guys gotten an Ebony neck guitar before? I am interested in the idea that it would not need a finish.
     
  2. Rattfink

    Rattfink TDPRI Member

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    Never tried ebony, but I can attest to the roasted maple from Warmoth and it has a GREAT feel to it, and does not have to have a finish.
     
  3. doghouseman

    doghouseman Tele-Meister

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    Yes, interested in that too. Can you describe the feel more? is it like Pau Ferro or Ebony? Like an oily feel???
     
  4. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    If you're talking about an Acoustic maybe this could theoretically be a problem. But not really.

    It's an electric, turn the tone knob.

    Or change strings.

    Or change picks.

    This stuff is a molehill that we all like to make a mountain out of.

    Do you mean Ebony fretboards or necks? Does anyone make a guitar that's 100% Ebony neck the way necks get made out of Maple?

    I have a Taylor with an Ebony fretboard. It's a bright guitar, but it's a Taylor, and it's a smaller body, those things probably make more of a difference to it being on the brighter side.

    I'd think a 100% Ebony neck would be heavy or have neck dive maybe, just like a Rosewood neck? Seems like a cosmetic choice more than anything considering "turn the tone knob."

    I've had Rosewood, Chechen (Carribean Rosewood), Maple, and Ebony Fretboards. Other than the Maple there's basically no difference. Maple seems like it feels marginally different sliding and bending, that's it for me. The others have been completely interchangeable AFAICT/IMO.
     
  5. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Afflicted

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    agreed beni....


    no ones would ever hear the difference between woods in double blind audio, just pick what you like to look at.
     
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  6. doghouseman

    doghouseman Tele-Meister

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    Not sure I agree. There is a reason Teles are made of maple and Les Pauls are made from mahogany. I made a telecaster out of mahogany and it sounds like a Les Paul.
     
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  7. doghouseman

    doghouseman Tele-Meister

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    I mean freatboard and neck like a maple neck. Yes, Warmoth does make ebony necks.
     
  8. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Holic

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    I have ebony, rosewood, Pau and maple. To me, the nut and frets make more of a difference and that is minimal. I prefer the feel of ebony and the look of rosewood. Good luck on your decision! Roasted maple looks interesting and would possibly be my favorite if I could afford one.
     
  9. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Tele-Afflicted

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    for a solid body electric, I would think the fretboard material would have minimal effect on the sound of the guitar. For me, the fretboard wood is an aesthetic choice. I would be interested to play an all-ebony neck. Sounds pretty cool. I love the look of the all-rosewood necks the Fender does from time to time.
     
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  10. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    I've played one of the All Rosewood Fender MIJ Teles and to me it was mostly just a cool looking but really heavy Tele.

    It sounded exactly like a Tele. Not particularly different. Any difference to my own Tele on that day was down to different pickups. (My friend owns the Rosewood one and he handed it over to me when we were jamming.)

    I can't really see a Tele made out of Mahogany sounding like a Les Paul unless it has Humbuckers or P-90s and a similar 4-knob Volume/Volume/Tone/Tone electronics setup.

    Right now I have the Chechen/Caribbean Rosewood on my G&L and the Ebony on the Taylor and they're both great but I'd have 0 hesitation getting another guitar with a Maple fretboard either. It's a very minor concern.

    The Chechen board might resist getting gunked up better than the Ebony.

    Neither of them resists getting gunked up as much as Maple finished fretboard with whatever lacquer/poly Fender puts on the contemporary Maple fretboards.

    I feel like under the right circumstance the Maple neck feels either stickier or more slippery. The Ebony & Chechen feel more consistent across different temperatures or when your fingers are sweaty.

    All these woods seem really hard & resistant to wear. My Taylor is 3 years old, there's noticeable wear on the frets and absolutely 0 noticeable wear on the Ebony.
     
  11. bumnote

    bumnote Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    This...
    The stings on a Tele passes thru a metal ferrule, bends over a metal saddle, over a pickup and plastic pickguard up a neck thru a bone/brass/plastic nut to a metal tuner.
    When and where does the string touch wood? Behind a metal fret. Les Paul, 335, Strat...I can't think of any common mass produced electric where the string makes real contact with either neck or body wood on the guitar in the same way an acoustic would or how the projection of the string vibration and tone would be shaped by the wood type and internal structure like an acoustic. 99% of electrics reproduce sound by magnetic coils, not microphones.
    The wood matters little to none, IMO.
    I've got ash, alder, laminate maple, sen, rosewood, ebony, roasted maple, flamed maple, bird's eye...the pickups & amp dictate all the tone.

    Acoustics, yes the types of woods makes a huge difference.

    Electrics? No they don't & I'd wager if you took someone's electric guitar collection, blindfolded them and played their guitars with your own setting on an amp you'd still never convince me that any correct ID of a guitar wasn't a lucky guess. An unplugged electric? Who cares...no one 6 inches away is going to hear it anyways.

    Get what you like to look at & what feels good under your fingers...that's all that matters.
    Roasted maple necks are also far more resistant to fret end sprout during the winter. I've got a double roasted Strat neck that's never experienced any noticeable shift in setup over the winter months.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2020
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  12. Downshift

    Downshift Tele-Holic

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    On an electric guitar, you can not hear the difference of the fretboard material.
     
  13. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Holic

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    I agree. The material of the NECK itself may contribute slightly to sustain and subtle overtones, but again, minimal. Proper string selection would make much more of a difference - as well as their age.

    If it looks and feels like crap, but is brighter, will you play it?
     
  14. doghouseman

    doghouseman Tele-Meister

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    Well, of course it has humbuckers.

    The other key is a short scale conversion neck from Warmoth. The wiring is just a three way tele switch with two humbuckers and a single volume and tone, so it is not wired like a Les Paul.

    Honestly, I have built multiple versions of this guitar, or a mahogany Tele with 2 humbuckers. My motivation was that I liked Les Paul sounds but I hated the configuration of 2 tone and 2 volumes, and the fact that they were really too heavy. The telecaster body is not nearly as big as a Lester, and a mahogany body telecaster is not too heavy. I also tried various combinations of woods because I was worried that the mahogany would be too heavy, but the mahogany is really the only thing that nails the tone of a Les Paul.

    The bridge is another factor. I tried various different kinds of bridges. But even a Strat blocked bridge, that is string through, would still sound like a Les Paul, but just a hair brighter. The key was really the wood and the short scale, and of course the humbuckers - are a given.
     
  15. doghouseman

    doghouseman Tele-Meister

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    Looks are not a huge factor for me. Never really has been. I am much more concerned with tone over looks.
     
  16. doghouseman

    doghouseman Tele-Meister

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    I have built a Mahogany Strat, and I could hear the difference. The best way to describe it was that the "qwack" was gone with the mahogany. I replaced the mahogany neck with the maple neck, and the qwack was back.

    I really do think there is a good reason why certain woods are used on certain guitars. Maple for Teles and Mahogany for Les Pauls. It adds to the overall tone. The vibration of the wood adds to the tone even if the strings are not directly contacting the wood. The wood vibrates with the strings and the rest of the guitar.

    If the wood doesnt make a difference, then builders could use any wood for guitar building, but they dont.
     
  17. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    Maybe I'm deaf, but I've owned stratocasters and Telecaster with rosewood and maple fretboards, and did not hear anything difference between the two types of wood.
     
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  18. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    Oh that totally makes sense that a Tele body with a non-Fender scale length and Humbuckers doesn’t sound like a Tele.

    I’d just think the pickups and scale length were more important than the wood.

    You didn’t by chance angle the bridge pickup did you? What about the position of the pickups relative to the bridge?
     
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  19. doghouseman

    doghouseman Tele-Meister

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    Good point. Not an angled pickup.

    This is just the latest version. I have tried 3 different bridges, most of which were more similar to a Tele than a Les Paul, but it still sounded like a Les Paul. I use the current bridge because I break fewer strings with it.

    Picture here:

    https://www.warmoth.com/Gallery/GalleryItem.aspx?id=6352
     
  20. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Afflicted

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    Ebony I have experience with. I have made two tele partscasters and used Warmoth maple necks with ebony fretboards. Being an acoustic player for 50 years, I just love the look and feel of ebony and pearl. It's also very low maintenance. Oil it every few years. I do agree with other posters that an all ebony neck would be (too?) heavy.

    Pau Ferro makes a very good fingerboard wood. It's much more closed grain than rosewood and it's hard and takes a really smooth polish (much like ebony). I have it on my MIM Deluxe Strat and like it. The only downside is the more orangish, stripy color which really turns a lot of people off. I've heard lots of good things about the cooked maple necks Warmoth is doing. I'm guessing it brings the resins out and crystalizes them, leaving a very glassy texture. Last I heard, Warmoth requires a hard finish applied to keep from voided their warrantee. Maybe it's different for cooked maple.
     
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