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View Full Version : I wonder if my fretboard is really Rosewood?



cyber3d
10-25-2017, 02:52 AM
I have a fairly new Kala Spruce Soprano with Rosewood Fretboard. But, since Rosewood has been on the endangered list I wonder if it is dyed to look like Rosewood. Any way to tell if it really is Rosewood?

Croaky Keith
10-25-2017, 04:16 AM
I would think that you can trust Kala to say what it genuinely is. ;)

cyber3d
10-25-2017, 04:39 AM
I would think that you can trust Kala to say what it genuinely is. ;)

You are right, of course.

hoosierhiver
10-25-2017, 04:54 AM
There is rosewood that is from CITES approved sources, it just has to be documented when imported. However, several brands are moving away from rosewood to avoid the fees and paperwork.

cyber3d
10-25-2017, 05:10 AM
This Rosewood question prompted me to find a very interesting webpage on Brazilian Rosewood vs East Indian Rosewood. http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/distinguishing-brazilian-rosewood-from-east-indian-and-other-rosewoods/

Took a magnified look at the fretboards and bridges on my Kala, Islander, and Romero ukes. The Romero has the finest woods of course. The Rosewood looks to be choice Brazilian and the Ebony is super fine too. The Kala does indeed have Rosewood. Brazilian Rosewood in fact. The finish is a bit haphazard perhaps. The original MSRP on this Kala is pretty high at $490 (though I got it for only $165 - thank you Walmart!). That's one of the reasons I posed the question. To the point, "Is it a knock-off?" I think not. The Islander is likely East Indian Rosewood. At least by the grain of the wood.

Does it matter? Not to me, in reality. But, curiosity got the better of me. I love each of my "children"

besley
10-25-2017, 05:32 AM
I'd like to see more uke builders follow guitar builders such as Gibson and just use Richlite for their fretboards. I've seen it used on guitars costing several thousand dollars, and not only does it look great, but it will never shrink to expose the fret ends.

hoosierhiver
10-25-2017, 06:04 AM
This Rosewood question prompted me to find a very interesting webpage on Brazilian Rosewood vs East Indian Rosewood. http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/distinguishing-brazilian-rosewood-from-east-indian-and-other-rosewoods/

Took a magnified look at the fretboards and bridges on my Kala, Islander, and Romero ukes. The Romero has the finest woods of course. The Rosewood looks to be choice Brazilian and the Ebony is super fine too. The Kala does indeed have Rosewood. Brazilian Rosewood in fact. The finish is a bit haphazard perhaps. The original MSRP on this Kala is pretty high at $490 (though I got it for only $165 - thank you Walmart!). That's one of the reasons I posed the question. To the point, "Is it a knock-off?" I think not. The Islander is likely East Indian Rosewood. At least by the grain of the wood.

Does it matter? Not to me, in reality. But, curiosity got the better of me. I love each of my "children"

I don't think so, Brazilian rosewood has been banned for 25 years now.

kohanmike
10-25-2017, 06:17 AM
My builder in Vietnam, Bruce Wei, advertises his ukes with solid Indian Rosewood.

multiplicity
10-25-2017, 07:22 AM
my two new kala ukes have fingerboards and bridges that look really significantly lighter in color than the online pics. the site i got them from said they are rosewood, but since the kala website says 'rosewood or walnut' for the materials i'm inclined to think the ones i have are walnut. may be the same for your uke. mine don't look dyed at all, they are just unapologetically really light wood.

bratsche
10-25-2017, 07:44 AM
I'm not a botanist, but have done some reading on this. There are a whole lot of different true rosewood species (dalbergia genus), including those mentioned here. And there are some woods commonly referred to as rosewoods that are not dalbergias, such as pau ferro (so-called "Bolivian rosewood"). Dalbergia genus also includes non-rosewood species such as African blackwood, which makes an excellent fretboard. Some makers are substituting it for ebony. Personally, I prefer a fretboard that is black, for the high-contrast aesthetic.

bratsche

Nickie
10-25-2017, 09:58 AM
I used to have an entry level Kala. I never did think to ask what the fretboard was made of, but I scratched it very deeply one day and what was revealed was very light colored wood underneath the black (paint?) that seemed very soft, almost like pine. But that was a $100 uke. I expect that is very rare on a more expensive uke.