Pau ferro

Chiogtr4x

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Here is my 2018 Blueridge 000 style-
Except for Spruce top, everything here is Pau Ferro ( body is solid)

Blueridge switched from Indian RW to 'Santos Rosewood' ( which is Pau Ferro, and not a RW species) on most ( maybe all, not sure) of their previous RW.

This wood ( I've seen various examples) is all over the place in terms of grain pattern and coloring.

I can't make a judgment on the sound of my Pau Ferro 000, vs. a rosewood 000-28 ( as I've never played one!).
I just know it sounds different than my other acoustic, a Martin dread w/Spruce and Mahogany.
I think the sound difference is more about body size vs. wood but don't know.
Both guitars are loud- type Martin is warmer and strong bass, but not boomy.
The Blueridge is snappy with midrange- almost a hard 'green' tone. Could be the size, wood, or a young guitar.
Just wanted to show the Pau Ferro here:
 

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arlum

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It depends on the quality of the wood. Top notch Pau Ferro is quite beautiful and reminds me more of Rosewood with added streaking. It certainly sounds or feels nothing like Maple. I've got a Suhr Custom T from the early 2000's with a Pau fretboard and it's amazing. The feel is identical to Rosewood with the little open pores rather than a slick smooth surface like Maple or Ebony. I'm not dissing Maple. Never ever. With a swamp ash body maple rules. I'm just saying that Pau Ferro doesn't begin to remind me of maple. Next to Ziricote or Cocobolo I thinks Pau Ferro is possibly the next most beautiful fret board wood available..
 

Greggorios

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A decent lower cost alternative but not a substitute for rosewood. Some of the examples that are darker or have interesting high/low shades look OK but I'd just as soon pay the extra $ for rosewood. Just sounds better.
 

Recalcitrant

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I play mostly bare-finger through a clean amp, and totally buy into the maple-bright-and-high-transient, rosewood-rolled-off-and-compressed generalizations. I think ebony has too bright an attack for my preference. My pau necks are (were) USACG, so they should be good stock. Anyway, maybe my attitude toward pau ferro is that it’s different in a way I don’t know how to use yet. I have one of the necks still and haven’t put it on every Tele I have, so maybe it’ll find a place.
 

Brett Faust

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I play mostly bare-finger through a clean amp, and totally buy into the maple-bright-and-high-transient, rosewood-rolled-off-and-compressed generalizations. I think ebony has too bright an attack for my preference. My pau necks are (were) USACG, so they should be good stock. Anyway, maybe my attitude toward pau ferro is that it’s different in a way I don’t know how to use yet. I have one of the necks still and haven’t put it on every Tele I have, so maybe it’ll find a place.
The differences people hear between fret board woods are frequently due to things other than timber choice.
A lot of the sound difference is actually due to tang size and the way the frets fill the slots, compression strength of various woods, which can make a neck much more rigid. Believe it or not, straight bottom slots remove structure beneath the frets,thus weakening the neck, radius cut fret slots make a neck more rigid and let it ring better.
What we actually hear is a balance between wood choice, construction details and workmanship.
I hope that helps,
Brett
 

ahiddentableau

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I don't notice a consistant difference in sound but I don't like the look of most pieces. I've seen the odd example that looks close enough to rosewood to pass the eye test but I find most of them have an almost orangey tint to them that puts me off. I think it's years of conditioning. My brain is used to the lightness of maple or the darker contrast of rosewood or ebony. So I think anything in the middle ground looks wrong. It's a silly prejudice, I guess, but it's how I feel.
 

tfarny

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I have absolutely NO idea how anyone thinks they can separate out the "sound" of the fretboard from the overall sound of a guitar. Cmon people! :)
My parts tele with a Pau Ferro board is 11 years old now, back when a pau ferro board was actually an upcharge from a standard RW board at Warmoth. To me, it just feels like ebony and looks like rosewood with tighter grain. I have never played a rockin' tune on it and thought it sounded "dry" or "soapy"! In fact the only thing I ever think about the fretboard is "I should really clean this thing someday."

I have seen some ugly and dried out pau ferro boards on stock Fenders in the stores, but I think it's not the wood species in general but Fender's sourcing and treatment of it that is not so great.
 

hepular

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I don't know. I like the sound of pau ferro. You look back at '90's fender catalogs (see bottom of pic below) and pau ferro was a premium wood on basses back then when rosewood was plentiful and available on low end guitars. Now that rosewood is less common and being replaced by pau ferro on budget models, it is viewed as a less desirable wood. IMHO availability and marketing determines if wood is desirable or not.

I have a couple of MiM Fenders with pau ferro fretboards and to my ears and fingers it feels harder than rosewood and softer than maple. Soundwise not as bright as maple and not as mellow as rosewood. YMMV

View attachment 1017456
marketing will say whatever it takes.


now, for the fretboard wood making the induced electro-magnetic signal from the pickups sound different. REALLY? are you playing fretless?

possibly, POSSIBLY, the characteristics of the wood might affect at some infinitesimal level, how the fret and your fingers clamp the string.
 

Peegoo

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In the early 80s when Stevie Vaughan got huge (Texas Flood era), there was an article in some guitar rag containing an interview with his guitar tech Rene Martinez. He described the fretboard on Stevie's #1 as being pau ferro. In less than a month, the price for pau went up, and Fender and other makers were hawking the tonal benefits of the wood. Goofy!

Until that point, virtually nobody had ever heard of the stuff unless they were familiar with exotics.
 

bsman

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This Reverend Contender is the only PF-I’ve ever had. Blindfolded I bet nobody could tell the difference between it and RW.
full
 

Maguchi

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marketing will say whatever it takes.


now, for the fretboard wood making the induced electro-magnetic signal from the pickups sound different. REALLY? are you playing fretless?

possibly, POSSIBLY, the characteristics of the wood might affect at some infinitesimal level, how the fret and your fingers clamp the string.
🥱
 

Freeman Keller

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In the early 80s when Stevie Vaughan got huge (Texas Flood era), there was an article in some guitar rag containing an interview with his guitar tech Rene Martinez. He described the fretboard on Stevie's #1 as being pau ferro. In less than a month, the price for pau went up, and Fender and other makers were hawking the tonal benefits of the wood. Goofy!

Until that point, virtually nobody had ever heard of the stuff unless they were familiar with exotics.

Have you seen the setup that SRV ran on No1? 13 to 58 strings, 7/64 action on the low E... I don't think it was the Pau Ferro that made Stevie sound like Stevie.

And in an interview in one of the lutherie magazines Ken Warmoth commented that when Fender started selling Pau Ferro people started asking him for it so he had to add it to the options.
 

Peegoo

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Have you seen the setup that SRV ran on No1? 13 to 58 strings, 7/64 action on the low E... I don't think it was the Pau Ferro that made Stevie sound like Stevie.

That's right.

But guitar players will try anything no matter how goofy, e.g., angled springs in the rear rout of their Strat, etc., to get that Creamy Endless Sustain.

Pedal-TDPRI-Pedal.jpg
 




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