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Astein2006
02-24-2019, 11:56 AM
Hi all. So Iím looking to have a UK luthier make me a ukulele. He canít use rosewood for the fingerboard and bridge due to CITES. He suggested this new product called Rocklite Sundari. Anyone have any experience or opinions on this product as an alternative? He said there were other solid wood choices we could use also. Any recommendations?
Thanks!

kohanmike
02-24-2019, 12:27 PM
I've been seeing walnut recently.

9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 33)

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AustinHing
02-24-2019, 12:33 PM
The typical replacement are:
Ebony, Sipo, Morado, Pau Ferro.

But you could try Cocobolo wood for its swirling pattern too.

MopMan
02-24-2019, 12:50 PM
Rosewood and ebony are what I most commonly see being used for fretboard and bridge, but I have seen other woods used for this as well.

One of my ukuleles is 100% koa, fretboard, bridge and all. Another has blasamo, a south american hardwood, for fingerboard and bridge. Another, mahogany.

Choices seem broad and I imagine this decision is normally based on the physical and aesthetic characteristics desired. I should think any sufficiently hard wood could work.

Regarding Rocklite I have not played any instruments made with it, but it was created to mimic the properties of rosewood. If your luthier recommends it, it should be something to consider.

merlin666
02-24-2019, 12:53 PM
Three of my guitars have ebony and and one has walnut fretboard and bridge. Two of my three ukuleles have koa fretboard and bridges. All of these look and feel great. Ebony has a high density which can be noticeable in increased neck weight, so the fretboard should be a bit thinner for a lightweight uke to maintain balance compared to rosewood or koa. Some of the non-traditional woods that are now used because of CITES may cause skin irritation for a small number of people, so if you have sensitive skin this may be something to keep in mind.

BillM
02-24-2019, 03:21 PM
Aaron Keim at The Beansprout is using pistachio for his fretboards and bridges.
https://www.thebeansprout.com/instrument-models

Strumaround
02-24-2019, 07:32 PM
The reason why I probably won't buy another uke with a walnut fretboard (sorry about bad quality image).

Although someone on this forum a while back suggested that there were different (better?) types of walnut.

115747

merlin666
02-25-2019, 04:55 AM
The reason why I probably won't buy another uke with a walnut fretboard (sorry about bad quality image).

Although someone on this forum a while back suggested that there were different (better?) types of walnut.


How did that happen? There are several different kinds of walnut (claro, peruvian, bastogne, black) that are commonly used for instrument building. My Adamas guitar also has a walnut neck, and this stuff is very hard and there re stories out there how much effort it takes to carve walnut neck compared to other materials. I think black walnut is usually used for fretboards. Like koa (and maple) it will probably discolour over time, so some finishing and/or pore filling will provide some protection. I don't mind a finished fretboard, and wish my old Kamaka and Koaloha ukes had that done, but I have no problem with the stains of previous owners.

hoosierhiver
02-25-2019, 05:03 AM
Ovangkol is being more widely used. I'm sure of you unknowingly have ovangkol fretboards and presume they are rosewood.

Swamp Yankee
02-25-2019, 08:00 AM
years ago I scrounged a shipping pallet that was made of jatoba, aka Brazilian cherry. It seems to me like it would make excellent fretboards - judging by the difficulty I had pulling the nails, it holds fasteners like there's no tomorrow. It seems to work easily - it resists shrinking and warping, carves well, and it's attractive - looking rather like mahogany. I don't think I've ever read about any luthiers using it, though I'm not sure why.

ripock
02-25-2019, 08:06 AM
I have a custom UK uke that has laburnum for its fretboard and bridge.

Swamp Yankee
02-25-2019, 08:49 AM
years ago I scrounged a shipping pallet that was made of jatoba, aka Brazilian cherry. It seems to me like it would make excellent fretboards - judging by the difficulty I had pulling the nails, it holds fasteners like there's no tomorrow. It seems to work easily - it resists shrinking and warping, carves well, and it's attractive - looking rather like mahogany. I don't think I've ever read about any luthiers using it, though I'm not sure why.

Well, last time I searched on it I found nothing about it being used for fretboards... but it seems it's become rather popular for this purpose since then :D

Amazing stuff, that jatoba.. I struggled mightily to pull simple box nails from it with a clawbar. And once the nails were pulled, they were so hot from friction they'd burn your fingers.

I think I busted that pallet up in 2003 so...

Strumaround
02-25-2019, 10:49 PM
How did that happen? There are several different kinds of walnut (claro, peruvian, bastogne, black) that are commonly used for instrument building. My Adamas guitar also has a walnut neck, and this stuff is very hard and there re stories out there how much effort it takes to carve walnut neck compared to other materials. I think black walnut is usually used for fretboards. Like koa (and maple) it will probably discolour over time, so some finishing and/or pore filling will provide some protection. I don't mind a finished fretboard, and wish my old Kamaka and Koaloha ukes had that done, but I have no problem with the stains of previous owners.

It happened as a result of playing the ukulele. :) And my nails are kept short. I've had that Uke less than a year and my three other ukes have had far more playing time on them in that period, with no nail marks or scratches on the fretboard. Also, the walnut is not the smoothest of woods. Unless this is a dud of some sort, I find it a strange keyboard material.

Braddtastic
02-26-2019, 09:33 AM
Aaron Keim at The Beansprout is using pistachio for his fretboards and bridges.
https://www.thebeansprout.com/instrument-models

That is gorgeous!!

Kenn2018
02-26-2019, 04:39 PM
There is an interesting video on YouTube about a Luthier testing Rocklite for use as a fretboard material.

The sample he uses looks remarkably like rosewood.

In the comments is a statement that they are working on a test to tell if the fretboard is made of Rocklite or Rosewood. It didn't say if it was non-destructive or not.