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srpompon
07-28-2014, 11:11 AM
Hi,

Most of my premium ukes have ebony fingerboard, and is no a option... is ebony or ebony, why?

I see some very nice fingerboards woods in https://www.cookwoods.com/shop/category/fingerboards-ukuleles/

Is about sound? durability?

thanks!

Ivan

Jim Hanks
07-28-2014, 11:21 AM
I think durability, but as you point out, there are many alternatives available.

Teek
07-28-2014, 11:40 AM
Durability as it is a dense hard wood, also beauty, also I am guessing because since it is darker it hides finger grunge well.

ericchico
07-28-2014, 11:54 AM
I dont know I have seen them made of Maple, Rosewood, Walnut. Pretty much just needs to be dense and hard. Even dyed black to look like ebony. I like the contrast and the ability to hide inlay flubs.

ksquine
07-28-2014, 03:12 PM
Why not ebony?? Its a great wood for fingerboards...durable and basic black looks great against any body wood and binding combo. Its also traditional for premium guitars so that tradition got extended to ukes. Hiding gaps in inlay is super easy on black so that's another plus. Other woods are fine too and perform just as well... they're just not ebony lol

Doc_J
07-28-2014, 04:39 PM
Hi,

Most of my premium ukes have ebony fingerboard, and is no a option... is ebony or ebony, why?

I see some very nice fingerboards woods in https://www.cookwoods.com/shop/category/fingerboards-ukuleles/

Is about sound? durability?

thanks!

Ivan

It is about the hardest (wears less), it has a fine pore structure, good natural oils, and is more uniform in color (not including Macassar).


I've seen the same fingerboard hardwoods used for pocket knife side covers/handles (ebony, rosewood, cocobolo, mesquite,....).

Makes me wonder why there aren't acrylic fingerboards, just as there are acrylic pocket knife side covers.
There are some pretty wild and beautiful handle designs in acrylic.

http://api.ning.com/files/Ub0qySMGo4MrWH61tqCVHdwJ4ZQCqgykmn22mxc0YPhW09kgVF AhcBHd29QaRWurRqv9Cp3GR-CLR88a2jfIZjk0o9eac9LK/103ed.jpg

saltytri
07-28-2014, 04:52 PM
Blackbird and a number of other guitar makers have used Richlite, which is made of paper and phenolic resin. I had a Blackbird tenor that had a Richlite fretboard and it seemed to be just fine in terms of function and durability. It certainly beats most any wood for stability. Even so, I wouldn't use it on one of my instruments (well, never say never....) for the same reason that I don't use plastic bindings: I just prefer to use wood for its aesthetic qualities.

Bruce Sexauer
07-28-2014, 04:53 PM
Because it actually is without peer the best.

Steveperrywriter
07-28-2014, 05:45 PM
I have three ukes and the fretboards are a) ebony b) Indian Rosewood and c) applewood. They all look and sound great. Ebony is traditional and I like it, but the others work fine. I think it depends on the luthier and what kind of look the client and builder want.

Michael N.
07-29-2014, 12:16 AM
For plain Nylon strings Ebony might be seen as overkill. It's also not the most stable wood in respect to changes in Humidity, so in those terms it's not as suitable as many people seem to think.
For Ukes and Nylon strung Guitars there are plenty of alternatives, less so for steel strings. Bog oak is a pretty good alternative if you want Black. I have a Guitar with an Oak fretboard and not one single player has noticed that it isn't Ebony. It does happen to be a very deep Black example though.

DennisK
07-29-2014, 02:09 AM
For plain Nylon strings Ebony might be seen as overkill. It's also not the most stable wood in respect to changes in Humidity, so in those terms it's not as suitable as many people seem to think.
Indeed. Seriously, steel string guitars have two common features which are pretty much exclusively for the purpose of fighting the instability of ebony fingerboards... that being the double-acting truss rod to counter backbow from its longitudinal expansion, and popsicle brace to minimize the chance of cracks beside the fingerboard extension.

It makes sense for violins, where you really need the wear resistance to keep the playing surface flat. Also, I have a feeling that the use of curly maple necks actually improves stability, since it has some of the side grain aligned with the longitudinal axis, which in theory (I need to run an actual text sometime) should make it expand more longitudinally, matching the ebony's naturally high longitudinal expansion rate and keeping the neck straight.

But for fretted instruments, I don't like it. Unless maybe if I'm using a curly maple neck.

I mostly use rosewoods. I've also used Texas ebony (similar to mesquite, not a true ebony) and granadillo (Platymiscium sp.), and like them both. Ziricote certainly looks good, but seems a little soft, especially for steel strings. But probably ok for ukulele, especially since you don't get much string-to-board contact with the closely spaced frets anyway. Probably in more danger from long fingernails :)

HBolte
07-29-2014, 03:22 AM
For me I really like the feel of it when playing and ebony also looks best to me. Both my customs, MB and Mya-Moe would not look nearly as good to me with rosewood fingerboards.

Timbuck
07-29-2014, 04:46 AM
Over the last 5 days at a uke jamboree I've played on 40 or more different ukes..The good ones were the one's that I didn't want to put down after 3 or 4 minutes of playing,
There were about a half dozen of those that I really liked :D they sounded great good tone and resonance and were easy to play...I havn't a clue what the fretboards were made of, and some didn't even have fretboards....I guess I was too busy concentrating on what really counted....I did remember that one of the best ukes had a red wood fretboard, so that one was not ebony.:rolleyes:

kegmcnabb
07-29-2014, 05:29 AM
Take a look at any guitar that's been played regularly for a few years with ANY fingerboard other than ebony. Look down at the "cowboy" frets...1-5. You will almost undoubtably find grooves and divots being dug into the fingerboards. This is not from strings so steel vs. nylon doesn't matter. It is from fingernails. Ebony does not do this. In my experience, it is far more durable. I love it.

Michael N.
07-29-2014, 05:55 AM
What on earth gives you that idea? Nails, cut them. That's what most players of stringed instruments do.

Kekani
07-29-2014, 07:25 AM
One word: Inlay.

Steveperrywriter
07-29-2014, 07:34 AM
Yeah, classical guitar players, that's how you can tell -- fingernails on the fretting hand are usually trimmed short, those on the plucking hand are longer. One of the luthiers I know offers a choice of Rosewood, African Blackwood, or Ebony on his uke fingerboards, and for me, the choice would be based on how each goes with the rest of the instrument, since I would expect any of 'em to be more durable than I am at my age ...

Steveperrywriter
07-29-2014, 07:54 AM
I expect luthiers here know this, but as a mostly-ignorant soul, I didn't: The Janka Hardness Scale for wood: http://tonewooddatasource.weebly.com/technical-data.html

According to this, the top ten woods for pure hardness, (which obviously isn't the only factor a builder would use) are:

Wood Variety**** *** Sorted by Hardness

Ipe (Lapacho) * * * * * * * * ** 3680
African Blackwood**** *** ** 3500
Macassar Ebony * * * * * * * * 3220
Brazilian Rosewood * * * * *3000
Bloodwood*** *** *** *** *** *** 2900
Osage-Orange * * * * * * * * * *2500
Jatoba*** ************* * ** * * * * 2350 **
Screwbean Mesquite * * * * 2335
Persimmon * * * * * * * * * * * *2300
Santos Mahogany*** *** ** * * 2200

I find this kind of stuff fascinating ...

The Big Kahuna
07-29-2014, 08:05 AM
tl;dr

Fingerboard material has no effect on sound. When you fret a string, the string is contacting the fret, a bit of metal, not the fingerboard. I'll concede that the opposite end, the saddle material, might have a small effect on sound, mainly in terms of its ability to transfer the vibration of the string to the soundboard, and the varying amount of vibration that different materials "absorb" having an effect on sustain. The only way that fingerboard material could possibly have even the tiniest effect on overall sound would be down to the density and thickness of the fingerboard. Even then, I doubt that anyone could tell the difference between, say, rosewood or ebony.

Just my opinion of course. Don't let the fact that I'm unarguably correct cloud your judgement ;)

The Big Kahuna
07-29-2014, 08:08 AM
Something else just occurred to me...

Take a guitar with block fret markers. If fingerboard material had an effect on sound, every note travelling up the neck would sound different to the preceding note. Wood>Inlay>Wood>Inlay>Wood etc etc

The Big Kahuna
07-29-2014, 08:11 AM
Ok, just read the full thread, and aside from the original question, nobody has suggested or claimed it made a difference to sound.

So...just ignore my comments, and bookmark them for future reference when somebody does claim it makes a difference to sound ;)

Steveperrywriter
07-29-2014, 08:46 AM
Ok, just read the full thread, and aside from the original question, nobody has suggested or claimed it made a difference to sound.

So...just ignore my comments, and bookmark them for future reference when somebody does claim it makes a difference to sound ;)

Go online and check out the guitar forums -- you'll see a lot of folks there who say it does ...

RichM
07-29-2014, 08:59 AM
Go online and check out the guitar forums -- you'll see a lot of folks there who say it does ...

I bet if I went into a chicken coop, I'd hear a lot of cackling, too. :)

I prefer ebony, because I think it is a beautiful wood. But I will honestly say that after 35 years of playing and owning 200+ instruments, I could not point to anything related to the sound of my instruments that I would attribute to the fretboard wood. If anybody does, more power to them, and they have better ears than me.

Michael N.
07-29-2014, 09:09 AM
I once read a posting on a Guitar forum where a guy stated that one of the most important factors in the sound of a Guitar was the Neck material.
A few posts later he also stated that another of the most important factors in the sound of a Guitar was the soundboard.
I became somewhat suspicious and read through some of his posting history. It is then that I discovered that one of the most important factors in the sound of a Guitar was:
The Bridge and what it was made of.
The Back/Sides of a Guitar.
The Fretboard material.
The type of Linings and the type of wood.
The type of strutting.
Whether the Neck was properly quarter sawn.
The saddle material.
The height of the frets.
The type of finish.

As you will all understand, that's a lot of 'one of the most important/s'.
I still wonder why he left out the strings and the actual player.

The Big Kahuna
07-29-2014, 09:20 AM
If anybody does, more power to them, and they have a better imagination than me.

Fixed for you mate...no charge ;)

ericchico
07-29-2014, 09:28 AM
I dont think that neck wood, back wood, side wood or fretboard wood matters in sound only integrity. Ovation make a great sounding guitar and its got a plastic domed back. My Martin is all laminate except the soundboard. The soundboard is where its at for me. Now if the fretboard is jacked up and not done right then of course it will matter but thats not the woods fault.

SteveZ
07-29-2014, 10:55 AM
Properly cured ebony has a very low heat/moisture expansion/contraction rate. When used as a fretboard, that stability provides a stable intonation set-up since the fretboard's length doesn't vary and the potential for bowing is also reduced. Rosewood is also very stable (though not as much as ebony), but not as expensive.

Using such dense woods as ebony and rosewood for fretboards makes a lot of sense. Setting fret spacing for proper intonation is a precise action. If the fretboard expands/contracts, then intonation and tuning is at hourly/daily risk.

Bruce Sexauer
07-29-2014, 02:01 PM
Nearly all woods, including ebony, expand and contract with humidity about 100 times as much sideways and they do lengthwise. There is some question about humidity changing the grip on the frets (one of the many advantages of ebony is its ability to hold frets), but almost (polite usage) no question about its length changing enough to alter intonation.

BlackBearUkes
07-29-2014, 02:30 PM
I dont think that neck wood, back wood, side wood or fretboard wood matters in sound only integrity. Ovation make a great sounding guitar and its got a plastic domed back. My Martin is all laminate except the soundboard. The soundboard is where its at for me. Now if the fretboard is jacked up and not done right then of course it will matter but thats not the woods fault.

I don't know how many guitars or ukes you have built my friend, but all the wood matters and everything contributes to the instruments sound. If it didn't, we would all use just lumber yard wood and to hell with all these fancy woods. We could also just use plastics and carbon fiber for eveything too. Boring at best, IMO.

ericchico
07-29-2014, 03:48 PM
I don't know how many guitars or ukes you have built my friend, but all the wood matters and everything contributes to the instruments sound. If it didn't, we would all use just lumber yard wood and to hell with all these fancy woods. We could also just use plastics and carbon fiber for everything too. Boring at best, IMO.

Just an opinion from what I have read and studied sorry to get your goat. Maybe you could elaborate on how the fretboard, sides and back make a difference in the sound over the soundboard and teach me a little something, or not.

Oh and I have built 2 Ukuleles so far and I know nothing. I will say what your already thinking I'm OK with it. I'm currently building #3 and #4 so any help you could give would be much appreciated because I'm not stopping.

WarrenB
07-29-2014, 04:11 PM
Hey folks, new kid on the block here, starting to build again after a 30 break (life happens). I recently read somewhere that ebony is being harvested to extinction one country at a time. So we may eventually all be using alternatives. And, I'm thinking I'd like to build an instrument with all local wood. With that in mind..... Any thoughts on local Big Island woods that would make good ebony alternatives? I'm thinking dark color to address the finger grunge factor and hard and dense.

Timbuck
07-29-2014, 09:34 PM
I don't know how many guitars or ukes you have built my friend, but all the wood matters and everything contributes to the instruments sound. If it didn't, we would all use just lumber yard wood and to hell with all these fancy woods.

I've built one or two Tenor ukes out of plain ordinary wood ..in fact it was old pallet wood...They sounded as good as some of the best koa/ mahogany ukes..I still own one and play it all the time.:)
See here http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?46202-Something-I-ve-been-wanting-to-do/page1

Michael N.
07-29-2014, 10:22 PM
Properly cured ebony has a very low heat/moisture expansion/contraction rate. When used as a fretboard, that stability provides a stable intonation set-up since the fretboard's length doesn't vary and the potential for bowing is also reduced. Rosewood is also very stable (though not as much as ebony), but not as expensive.

Using such dense woods as ebony and rosewood for fretboards makes a lot of sense. Setting fret spacing for proper intonation is a precise action. If the fretboard expands/contracts, then intonation and tuning is at hourly/daily risk.

Are you sure? Everything I've read about Ebony suggests that it is one of the worst woods in respect to changes in humidity, with Rosewood being better.
Rosewood is more stable than Ebony, which is why fret poke is much more common on instruments with Ebony boards. Ebony boards also induce more of a back bow in periods of high humidity, so it's length certainly does change. Not enough to change intonation but it would need to be extremely severe to have that effect.
Rosewood friction Pegs are also much more stable than those made of Ebony, even though some people still insist on using Ebony for Pegs. It's actually one of the worst woods to use: Rosewood, Pear and Box being much better. It's just the way that Ebony responds to changes in humidity.

HBolte
07-30-2014, 12:28 AM
How much difference does the wood really make? http://www.laguitarsales.com/pages/3157/Taylor_Custom_Shop_Pallet.htm

AndrewKuker
07-30-2014, 01:59 AM
How much difference does the wood really make? http://www.laguitarsales.com/pages/3157/Taylor_Custom_Shop_Pallet.htm

I played that guitar at Taylor and it was good! But even their lower lines sounded better in my opinion, lighter... But they hadn't even gone to Mexico yet when I was there… Anyway, cool discussion. Ebony is sharp/ heavy weight if too thick, but all colors!! that's black and proud.

To actually add something to the discussion I'll share something I have experienced an loved. Madagascar rosewood is very very dense and amazingly light in weight. Something to consider. I have just loved a dozen or more times I experienced it for a fingerboard, bridge and faceplate too. And you can hear by just tapping it. Resonating with tone and lighter than any other rosewood. More expensive too so ya know, if your customer wants to dish it out. Lots will look for a deal even with customs, sometimes rude, other times not. Gotta be real with your investment and the differences you perceive. Often customers reflect their own character and musicality..not always, but best to judge your own work and enjoy the challenge of endless possibility.

kegmcnabb
07-30-2014, 02:04 AM
What on earth gives you that idea? Nails, cut them. That's what most players of stringed instruments do.
Well, I do keep the nails on my left hand very short. What gives me that idea is thirty+ years of playing. Basses, ukes, and guitars that I have used for many, many gigs show a consistent pattern. Rosewood and maple...wear. Ebony...little to none. If you maintain a good left hand arch even the shortest nails will contact the fingerboard at times. This creates wear. Go to a guitar store and examine the used stock. Unless no-one is trimming their nails, the pattern is clear.

This in no way relates to the original question on sound or stability and perhaps I'm wrong about the cause of wear but IMHO ebony is far more resistant to normal wear and tear than most other options. Well, natural options. The phenolic fingerboard on my Steinberger shows absolutely no wear after 25 years of hard use. ;)

Michael N.
07-30-2014, 03:02 AM
It's impossible that the left hand would cause that sort of wear on the fretboard. Hardly anyone plays with Nails that are long enough to cause that type of wear.
Rosewood and woods of similar density are more than hard enough to resist indentation caused by Nylon strings, over the course of a usual lifetimes playing. Eventually everything will wear if subject to friction for long enough. That's why something as hard as stone will eventually show quite marked wear just from shoe leather alone.

SteveZ
07-30-2014, 03:32 AM
Are you sure? Everything I've read about Ebony suggests that it is one of the worst woods in respect to changes in humidity, with Rosewood being better.
Rosewood is more stable than Ebony, which is why fret poke is much more common on instruments with Ebony boards. Ebony boards also induce more of a back bow in periods of high humidity, so it's length certainly does change. Not enough to change intonation but it would need to be extremely severe to have that effect.
Rosewood friction Pegs are also much more stable than those made of Ebony, even though some people still insist on using Ebony for Pegs. It's actually one of the worst woods to use: Rosewood, Pear and Box being much better. It's just the way that Ebony responds to changes in humidity.

Michael, as a luthier who has to deal with this a lot more than the "user" I respect your opinion. My thoughts are based on "user research" and many years of questioning to the why of use. What I've learned (right or wrong) is that: rosewood has a higher oil content and endures dryness a little better than ebony; ebony is harder and holds frets/inlays the best (rosewood a close second); ebony is becoming more difficult to get and costs accordingly; both woods should be user-maintained with a little lemon oil rub every few months or so; the hardness of the woods helps prevent nail/pick damage, but nothing is perfect; ebony is graded, and that the blacker the ebony the higher the cost; and that a very few scurrilous builders even stain inferior woods and claim its ebony.

Have had to change out bridges on carved-top mandolins and found out the "hard way" (pardon the pun) how difficult it was to precisely sand-and-fit ebony and rosewood bridges to a carved top - this despite some good lessons and advice. It's tough to appreciate how hard these woods are until one has to work with them. Despite dealing with some high-end temperature changes (+30C) have not noticed any minute gapping between the bridge and carved top which it would seem would occur with expansion/contraction. (also, no indentations in the carved top due to string pressure to hide any wood changes). Also, the mandolins (ebony fretboards and steel strings) seem to keep tune/intonation over time and conditions despite lack of special treatment in the medium-high humid environment where I live. As unscientific as this may be, it's impressed me with the value of well-designed fretboards made of ebony (especially) and the better rosewoods.

Michael, do you find that customers ("users") are not as climate-concerned as they may or should be concerning instrument choices, esoecially in woods? Or should climate be a consideration at all? As an example, I live in a relatively humid area with temps ranging from a wintery 5C to a summer 35C (going to be 34C today), with most of the year above 24C. Should folk look mainly to instruments which are made of woods from climates similar to where the instrument is going to be kept, or do the tropical/subtropical woods endure cold/dry as well as woods from those areas?

kegmcnabb
07-30-2014, 06:28 AM
I guess I don't understand what you are saying or perhaps I am not explaining myself well enough.
It's impossible that the left hand would cause that sort of wear on the fretboard.
Well, of course it can. Do quick Google for "fretboard wear" images and you will find dozens of examples. Here is just one of many.
69524This wear is certainly caused by the left hand. This is where I don't seem to understand what you are saying.
Hardly anyone plays with Nails that are long enough to cause that type of wear. Yes, I agree that hardly anyone plays with long nails, but even short nails will contact the fingerboard and as you state later, anything "will wear if subject to friction long enough". The fingers and the nails generate friction on the fretboard. Over time this creates wear. And the nails, being much harder than your skin, would logically seem to create more wear.

Rosewood and woods of similar density are more than hard enough to resist indentation caused by Nylon strings, over the course of a usual lifetimes playing. Agreed. It is not the strings. It is the fingers and nails. Furthermore, with proper technique and pressure, the strings should rarely even touch the fretboard. That is why the most wear occurs between the strings in the photo. This wear is certainly caused by fingers and nails.

My only point is that in my experience, ebony is far more resistant to this kind of wear than other woods. YMMV. But if you Google "fretboard wear" images, you will notice that almost all images are of rosewood or maple and those that are of ebony show considerably less wear.

Really, I am not trying to argue. I am simply trying to understand what you are saying. My observations are the results of many years of playing and observing not only my own instruments but of those who I work with.

Sorry to spend so much time on this. Just offering my observations and trying to understand your points. You obviously have a great deal of experience with instruments and wood.

CTurner
07-30-2014, 06:30 AM
Hodge: Acrylic is also used now quite a lot in fountain pens and pencils of quality. Amazing design possibilities.


It is about the hardest (wears less), it has a fine pore structure, good natural oils, and is more uniform in color (not including Macassar).


I've seen the same fingerboard hardwoods used for pocket knife side covers/handles (ebony, rosewood, cocobolo, mesquite,....).

Makes me wonder why there aren't acrylic fingerboards, just as there are acrylic pocket knife side covers.
There are some pretty wild and beautiful handle designs in acrylic.

http://api.ning.com/files/Ub0qySMGo4MrWH61tqCVHdwJ4ZQCqgykmn22mxc0YPhW09kgVF AhcBHd29QaRWurRqv9Cp3GR-CLR88a2jfIZjk0o9eac9LK/103ed.jpg

Bruce Sexauer
07-30-2014, 06:40 AM
There are at least 33 different species of "Ebony" identified in the wood industry, each with unique properties of hardness, stability, and durability. This makes it bit challenging to generalize. Most of the ebony we luthiers use is confined to 3 species, and even then their characteristics are at fair variance. All, however, are harder than almost any rosewood, and each is available black enough to hide the most quick and dirty oversize inlay cavity.

The advent of CNC inlay cutting has made the use of lighter colored substrates more viable. Not for me though, as I will "John Henry" my work till I drop! I am a steel drivin' man.

DennisK
07-30-2014, 07:26 AM
You know, now that I think about it, ebony does come in curly. If my theory is correct that curly woods expand more longitudinally due to some side grain being aligned with the long axis, I wonder if the reports of particularly bad backbowing are due to curly ebony fingerboards. Or maybe due to guitars being left without strings for years, but the truss rod still tightened and cold bending the neck over time, which could happen with any wood.

I still don't like the high horizontal expansion of African ebony (even quartersawn is a fair bit higher than flatsawn rosewood), but if the longitudinal expansion really isn't a problem, then maybe a straight grained, quartersawn fingerboard glued to the soundboard and fretted at sufficiently low humidity to avoid the cracks and pokey frets really is as great as Bruce says.

Though I still contend that worn rosewood fretboards aren't that big a deal anyway since it's not the actual playing surface like it is for violins. And I like the lighter weight and wider variety of appearance.

And straying from the fingerboard topic, I do agree with Michael that rosewood friction pegs are better than ebony. Actually, I've been wanting to try some of the super stable desert woods for even less seasonal trouble. Mesquite, Texas ebony, desert ironwood. Hard pieces of Honduran mahogany would likely be good as well, given its nearly equal tangential and radial rates so it won't go out of round like most woods. But then, planetary gear pegs are the best of all :p

srpompon
07-30-2014, 08:55 AM
this is the reason why I like this forum, a simple question and you can learn a lot!

Dan Uke
07-30-2014, 09:09 AM
this is the reason why I like this forum, a simple question and you can learn a lot!

Now you have to figure out what is fact and opinion. :p

RichM
07-30-2014, 09:38 AM
Now you have to figure out what is fact and opinion. :p

It's not that hard :) :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

Bruce Sexauer
08-02-2014, 06:54 AM
It's not that hard :) :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

I am not competent to say how accurate the article is, but it is definitely interesting! I have noticed in my years of forum activity that perhaps half of the participants seem unable to tell who is competent and who is not, while it seems obvious to me . . . most of the time. Thanks for the wiki reference.

coolkayaker1
08-02-2014, 07:00 AM
One thing not yet mentioned: nothing tastes quite like thinly-sliced macassar ebony paired with a California Merlot.

Michael N.
08-03-2014, 03:16 AM
Don't know about the taste but I'm still trying to find out how the left hand Nail touches the fretboard if they have been cut. I've been trying to get the Nails to dig in but I can't. I'm pressing so hard that it's hurting. I better stop. . . . or perhaps I should let my Nails grow.

Mark Roberts Ukuleles
09-19-2014, 06:52 AM
Ebony is traditional. Tradition for production guitar companies came down to what will work and can I get a steady supply of it.
There are a number of other woods that will bork as good or better.
What do you look for in a fingerboard?
It should help transfer string energy into and through the neck.
It should help stiffen the neck to resist string pull.
It should resist wearing due to the rubbing of fretted strings.
Lots of are woods will do that.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
09-19-2014, 07:20 AM
The best, and most stable fingerboard wood (that is still legal to use) is African Blackwood.

It is also black so its good for inlays.

Ebony aint that stable....its good enough though, obviously.

Slab sawn ABW is great for headstock veneers as it has beautiful figure which is hidden unless in direct sunlight.