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Thread: Fretboard and neck wood, opinions?

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    Question Fretboard and neck wood, opinions?

    I am in the process of selecting woods for neck and fretboard and am overwhelmed by the choices.. have traditionally not really put much thought into these until recently. For those who have been down this path, would love to hear your stories and opinions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kerneltime View Post
    I am in the process of selecting woods for neck and fretboard and am overwhelmed by the choices.. have traditionally not really put much thought into these until recently. For those who have been down this path, would love to hear your stories and opinions.
    The neck is almost invisible, but the fretboard material can make a big difference in appearance. I had a couple of plastic Fluke boards replaced - one light and one dark. Each looks great on the particular uke it's on. Lighter-colored woods can look good as a fretboard.

    I'm trying to decide what to do with my latest Fluke project. I'm painting autumn leaves on the body, and I thought I'd have Neck Illusions make a matching graphic for the fretboard. On the other hand, I also thought about making a new fretboard out of lighter wood. There's no sense in covering a nice-looking fretboard.
    Last edited by Jerryc41; 12-09-2019 at 12:21 AM.
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    Neck wood can decide weight and sound of a uke as well as hidden looks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kerneltime View Post
    Neck wood can decide weight and sound of a uke as well as hidden looks.
    Yes, if you deal with a custom builder that knows their stuff they have strong opinions on neck materials. The tried and true from classical guitar necks is mahogany and Spanish cedar. Fretboard material is typically ebony or rosewood.

    I have instruments with both neck materials as well as Port Orford cedar, all have worked well. I like macassar ebony for fretboard because of the brown streaks. Koolau uses it a lot and I trust Noa Bonk’s knowledge and expertise. I have instruments with regular black ebony, macassari ebony and rosewood for their fretboards
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

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    If you're bespeaking a custom ukulele, then ask your builder; that's what you're paying all that money for.

    And just to give you a concrete example of the woods all of us are using: my favorite ukulele has a maple neck and a laburnum fretboard.

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    Aside from appearance, different fretboard woods can also feel different to the fingers and some can have tendency to change colour more, or also wear more easily. I have ukes with rosewood and koa fretboards, and guitars with ebony, rosewood, walnut, and maple fretboards. On the guitars, the walnut is my favourite followed by ebony, while I love the koa fretboards of my Kamaka and KoAloha ukes. The major disadvantage of koa for fretboards is that it changes colour through contact with fingers, resulting in ugly wear patters over time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DownUpDave View Post
    Yes, if you deal with a custom builder that knows their stuff they have strong opinions on neck materials. The tried and true from classical guitar necks is mahogany and Spanish cedar. Fretboard material is typically ebony or rosewood.

    I have instruments with both neck materials as well as Port Orford cedar, all have worked well. I like macassar ebony for fretboard because of the brown streaks. Koolau uses it a lot and I trust Noa Bonk’s knowledge and expertise. I have instruments with regular black ebony, macassari ebony and rosewood for their fretboards
    The builder is great. I am on a self education mission and am in general investigating before discussing the build. The aesthetics play a role here and that is why I am looking at Macassar ebony and other such as Cocobolo and zircote.. the back and sides are going to be an amazing set of pheasant wood, the top might be earthtone cedar (google it), the neck and fretboard are still open in my mind. Curly mahogany neck is one choice.. any how I am dwindling down my UAS and each new uke now has to be that much more special. On that note, I need to sell a few ukes in Jan :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    Aside from appearance, different fretboard woods can also feel different to the fingers and some can have tendency to change colour more, or also wear more easily. I have ukes with rosewood and koa fretboards, and guitars with ebony, rosewood, walnut, and maple fretboards. On the guitars, the walnut is my favourite followed by ebony, while I love the koa fretboards of my Kamaka and KoAloha ukes. The major disadvantage of koa for fretboards is that it changes colour through contact with fingers, resulting in ugly wear patters over time.
    I do notice the varying wear on fretboards but have not paid attention to the role played by the fretboard in terms of feel between Ukes.. will try to gauge my sensitivity to it. Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ripock View Post
    If you're bespeaking a custom ukulele, then ask your builder; that's what you're paying all that money for.

    And just to give you a concrete example of the woods all of us are using: my favorite ukulele has a maple neck and a laburnum fretboard.
    Which maple did you use? Is the neck heavy? How heavy is the overall uke? Why maple?

  10. #10
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    Roasted maple looks pretty good for the neck. Smooth and fast is the description.
    https://www.warmoth.com/guitar/necks/neckwoodspop.aspx
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    Last edited by old and slow; 12-09-2019 at 06:05 AM.
    The crew...Giannini Baritone Uke, Washburn Rover "4-string tenor guitar", Yamaha G-85A classical guitar.

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