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FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / Here we go again: Rosewoods and "Rosewoods"

Mark From Hawaii
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The Aloha State, USA

only cowboys stay in tune after all
Jun 1st, 2019 12:47 PM   Edit   Profile  

So I'm waiting on a shipment from Sweetwater for yet another geetar - when it arrives I'll do the requisite post here. ;-) The fretboard is Bolivian "rosewood" which is actually pao fero. I'm not all that picky and the alternative was Indian "rosewood". Lots of other forum talk about the differences and essentially Bolivian RW (pao fero) is denser and harder, yielding a slightly brighter tone. Then a lot of folks say, well if you can really tell the difference you gots a pair of Eric Johnson ears (I'm exaggerating here). Just wondering.

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
Jun 1st, 2019 03:25 PM   Edit   Profile  

There are a whole lot of wood species in the dalbergia genus, including various true rosewoods, tulipwood, cocobolo, jacaranda, kingwood, palisander, etc.

And wood hardness varies greatly even within a single species; the exact same applies to Pau Ferro and maple.

Pau ferro is not in the rosewood family; it's generally a little harder and is probably closer to hard maple for snappier tone. However, snappier tone is never guaranteed in a guitar simply because of the wood used for the fretboard.

I doubt even a guy like Eric Johnson could tell the difference in tone in a blindfold test, with him listening to someone else playing 10 guitars--five with maple fretboards and five with rosewood.

There are too many variables.

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
Jun 1st, 2019 03:34 PM   Edit   Profile  

I tend to think about this wood debate as follows: if there REALLY were a tonal difference, the big makers would've brought in sound experts, with expensive German scientific instruments, to model the tonal differences between rosewood and maple.

They would've developed a three-position switch for a guitar that has ebony, maple, and rosewood settings.

I'm quite surprised no guitar maker has even tried this yet, because most guitar players are goofy about this stuff and easily fall victim to the smoke-and-mirrors game played by most all the makers.

The fact that this has not yet been tried proves to me there's really no consistent tonal flavor associated to fingerboard woods to make an actual difference.

thumbpicker
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St. Louis

"Thumbpicks don't slide into soundholes"
Jun 1st, 2019 03:48 PM   Edit   Profile  

Wood type aside there are so many variables between one guitar and another that that generalizations are difficult to backup. Play several off the same build day wood type model etc. Usually one will stand out to you maybe just a smidge or maybe a lot. Humidity,glue,finish,nut and saddle all play a part.
Close grain,bear claw,silking you name it. And this one sounds better.....to Me. To you maybe not so much.
Other than neck density and weight fretboards would really not be something I’d pick to be a factor. To Me...just me!

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
Jun 1st, 2019 04:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

^^^LIKE

stratcowboy
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USA/Taos, NM

Jun 1st, 2019 05:40 PM   Edit   Profile  

"...the big makers would've brought in sound experts, with expensive German scientific instruments, to model the tonal differences between rosewood and maple."

Well...if they could be that definitive in categorizing materials, that would rob them (the manufacturers) of their advantage of marketing hype. It is the fact that these points and issues are arguable that makes for the back-and-forth conversations and hype that are the fodder for discussion boards, gear snobs, absolutists. Hence the economic opportunity embedded in shifting perceptions and myth.

That would be us...I guess. LOL!

(This message was last edited by stratcowboy at 07:41 PM, Jun 1st, 2019)

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
Jun 1st, 2019 05:55 PM   Edit   Profile  

Precisely.

If you ever want the truth, look at how the money flows. If there were money to be made by applying real science to this issue, it would've already been done.

But the habit of people simply parroting what they read in the Internet--as fact--perpetuates the hype.

60CycleHum

USA

Jun 1st, 2019 06:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

There is a difference. These guys can kinda tell the difference...blindfolded challenge. Tried something similar with some friends and we were right most of the time...easier to tell without gain.

Rosewood vs Maple

budg
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ohio

Home of the Goodyear blimp
Jun 1st, 2019 06:14 PM   Edit   Profile  

I had a SRV strat at one time. My take is it is hard and feels a lot like a maple board. Tone wise I wasn’t hearing anything that set pao ferro apart from anything else. Overall I liked it.

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
Jun 1st, 2019 06:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

That's really not a proper blindfold challenge. They played the guitars and then made the call. Even if they say they're not touching the fretboard, there is a difference in playing feel.

My point is to have someone else play the guitars and have someone not playing make the call. That is the only way to reliably determine if there is a difference in the tone, based on sound alone, with no part of the playing experience to pollute the test.



jefe46
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State of Jefferson

Jun 1st, 2019 08:03 PM   Edit   Profile  

"Bolivian Rosewood"

Morado, Caviuna, Pao Ferro, and a dozen other colloquial names still does not make it a true "rosewood/dalbergia"

However it is good stuff.

I have a few very large very old planks of it.



60CycleHum

USA

Jun 2nd, 2019 08:46 AM   Edit   Profile  

Right, we didn't blindfold ourselves but sat where we couldn't see the player. 2 teles and 2 strats into a deluxe reverb clean...most of us were about 75 pct right..unless we were all lucky in guessing ;)

(This message was last edited by 60CycleHum at 10:48 AM, Jun 2nd, 2019)

ninworks
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Middle Tennessee

Guitar Slave
Jun 2nd, 2019 08:53 AM   Edit   Profile  

The only way I believe a valid test could be done is to take a single guitar and change the necks on it with the different materials, then get the experts to do a blind test between them to see if they hear a difference. Even that is somewhat questionable since all woods are a little different among the same species. Perhaps some kind of composite neck with the different fingerboards would be more consistent and a better test. I dunno. Just thinking out loud.

Peegoo
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Planet Peegoo

Rhythm & Lewd Guitarist
Jun 2nd, 2019 09:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

I think it's not that much of a difference to really matter.

Back in the 70s I read an interview with Leo Fender and he was asked a question about switching from maple to rosewood. Leo replied he had seen players on TV with Fender guitars and the worn maple fingerboards "looked dirty." He didn't want that image representing the brand, so he discussed this with his team and they settled on rosewood. It was sufficiently hard, the same cost as maple, and wouldn't show wear and discoloration like the lighter-color maple did.

Ah, the days when "relicking" on a guitar was not even a word--let alone marketable.

jefe46
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State of Jefferson

Jun 2nd, 2019 04:20 PM   Edit   Profile  

Marketing..

"relic"

or "dirty"

Mark From Hawaii
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The Aloha State, USA

only cowboys stay in tune after all
Jun 3rd, 2019 01:42 AM   Edit   Profile  

I know the online expert talk is much ado about nothing. I'm fairly certain when I receive the guitar on Tuesday I'll fall in love with it as is usually the case.

(This message was last edited by Mark From Hawaii at 03:43 AM, Jun 3rd, 2019)

60CycleHum

USA

Jun 3rd, 2019 04:40 PM   Edit   Profile  

I do agree the feel outweighs the slightest difference in sound. I actually decide more on what neck looks better with the body color :)

Doc Sarvis
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USA/Salt Lake City

Tuned Strings and Tight Lines
Jun 8th, 2019 09:56 AM   Edit   Profile  

My only Pau-ferro fretboard equipped guitar feels and sounds more like my maple boards than my rosewood or ebony boards.

Leftee
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VA

Jun 8th, 2019 10:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

“I actually decide more on what neck looks better with the body color :)”

Ditto. :-P

FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / Here we go again: Rosewoods and "Rosewoods"




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