Fretboards

Apr 21, 2020

Ebony is what you’ll find most good fretboards made from.  Ebony has a few good qualities and a few not so good. It looks great, it is hard-wearing, it is very very stiff and strong. It helps make a very rigid neck. They are the plus points. On the downside, it isn’t all that stable. It takes years to dry – you can’t just buy an ebony fretboard one week and use it the next. The stuff I’m using I bought over ten years ago.

But what are the other options?

Well, one of them is bog oak. Oak from a bog. It is oak. and it is old, and it has been buried in a bog, often for hundreds of years or more. Then it gets dug up dried and sold to people like me. Bog oak varies in colour between a very dark brown/grey/black. But once you oil it, it is hard to distinguish from good ebony. It’s just as stiff, just as durable, and more stable.

That is what I’m using on this instrument – a 22″ scale Session King guitar bodied octave mandolin. That’s quite a mouthful…

 

Pop rivet dots? Yes. Now even pearl dots can cause issues at customs, so seeing as this guitar is for a feller who tours the world playing his music, I don’t want any issues for him. Look smart don’t they? For my more expensive guitars, the dots are brass. Its a shame, as I really liked simple white pearl, but that’s the way things are now…

 

And yes, the heel cap is an offcut from the fretboard. Smart isn’t it? You might spot that dot right in the 13th fret slot? That’s one of the little wooden locator pins that stop the fretboard sliding about when I glue it to the neck.

 

So here is the neck fitted to the body. The top is torrefied sitka, the back and sides are mahogany. I’m really looking forward to hearing this. Should be great. Neck carving and fretting tomorrow.