Pau Ferro fretboards on Epiphones blacken the fingers...

Discussion in 'Other Guitars' started by Beery Swine, Sep 5, 2019.

  1. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    Am I the only one that actually likes the pao ferro look? It's technically a species of rosewood, but the lighter brown color and natural streakiness of it is something I like the look of (at least, with darker-colored instruments).

    I'm considering buying another guitar this year and I'm actually leaning towards buying one with a pao ferro board... I can totally see in twenty years people talking about "man, I got this awesome Squire/Fender/Epiphone during the CITES era with a pao ferro fretboard!" :rofl:

    Although part of me leans towards an Ibanez with that beautiful auburn-colored Jatoba board:

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Gibson 2012 SG special with baked maple fretboard... this is what it looked like, new:
    fretboard 1b inlays@100.jpg
    A little bit closer: Some figure to it, and a burl or something at above the first fret.
    I didn't care about that, because I wanted this guitar, it was marked down under $600
    and was totally unique in 2012. It still is, even though they've been re-issued for the
    last four years or so. (but with Rosewood and no Silverburst).
    fretboard 3a@100.jpg

    It was a lovely reddish brown, right out of the box. This is what Gibson
    made guitars with, after their stocks of contraband Rosewood were confiscated
    by the government. It's an excellent fretboard material, hard and smooth and
    made in USA. Closed minded guitarists wouldn't buy them, so they were
    discontinued after one year, and after Gibson found new sources of legal
    "tropical tone wood."

    Here is what it looks like after oiling with Fret Doctor:
    fretboard 8@100.jpg
    Hard and smooth and it darkened up nicely. The fretboard wood makes
    very little difference to tone, IMHO. Maybe a perceptive listener might
    imagine he heard a difference in a quiet room, played through a clean amp
    at low volume. But at band volume, with drums and bass and keys all
    in the mix, played in weird locations with odd walls, made of whatever,
    read that no perceptible difference. So it's a non-issue, IMHO.

    Here is what it looks like, after seven years of playing. I re-oil it maybe
    once a year, if I feel like it. It's hard and smooth and feels great to play.
    I have had no problems with this, and can't think of any reason to
    wrangle over diminishing stocks of foreign wood from burnt over rain forests.
    Let's use what grows here. I don't think the Chinese makers of Epiphone
    are very concerned about the preferences of traditionalists.
    April 2017@100.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
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  3. Voxman

    Voxman Moderator Staff Member

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    Well here's news, I found the Tom Andersen 91' Droptop hangtag and guess what ….. It said palusander for the fretboard not Pau Ferro! Live and learn! So I can't spell palusander so I search and check it out. What dictionary. com says is


    palisander
    [ pal-uh-san-der, pal-uh-san-der ]
    |
    noun
    Brazilian rosewood.

    Origin of palisander
    First recorded in 1835–45, palisander is from the French word palissandre < ?

    I never knew! Now I'm really curious
     
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  4. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    soon you'll be a POW-Phaeroh...
     
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  5. Hector

    Hector Well-Known Member

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    Palissandre is indeed the french translation of Rosewood!

    Palisander is the translation for Rosewood in German.
     
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  6. Hector

    Hector Well-Known Member

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    Man that is an awesome looking SG! Thanks for posting that.

    I'm quite jealous. I'll have to try and find one.
     
  7. HackeIommi

    HackeIommi Active Member

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    I can't understand painting FB issue. Sell them as they are, or find a better alternative. Why to deceive costumers?
     
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  8. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the good word... the silver burst got my attention right away, and then
    the mini hum buckers, and then the small block inlays... the baked maple fretboard
    seemed like a question mark, but I decided to trust Gibson's designers and engineers.

    I've never regretted buying this online, unseen and unplayed... like I tell everybody
    never to do. *grins

    And the fact that Gibson re-issued this model a few years later (with Rosewood FB)
    indicates that the design is good, and players seem to be willing to buy them now.
    They only made the silver burst in 2012... in satin finish. I polished mine with
    Meguiar's Ultimate Compound (an automotive polish) until I was really tired, and
    then declared it was shiny enough.
     
  9. Chubbles

    Chubbles Well-Known Member

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    Now that CITIES will be exempting musical instruments, I can't sell my Squier Bullet with a rosewood fretboard for $1,000 dollars. I do prefer rosewood when available again. It'll take a few months for manufacturers catch up.

    An old short Looney Toons cartoon comes to mind. Damn, you can find anything on Youtube.

    We need to conserve our resources...

     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  10. Voxman

    Voxman Moderator Staff Member

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    Guess what I just stumbled across … @Stew-Mac

    Screenshot (7).png

    This might be related to that nasty stuff on those necks!
     
  11. PixMix

    PixMix Well-Known Member

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    Higgins ink can be purchased at any art supply store, in the states, places like Michaels, Joann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, etc. also stock it. It's a common drawing ink that also comes in walnut (reddish brown) and many other colors.

    I've never used it on wood, but I would expect it to get absorbed and dried to the point that leaves no residue behind. It certainly doesn't on drawings on paper.
     
  12. Satellitedog

    Satellitedog Active Member

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    I'm wondering about using ink as a stain since it's either too dark, or it can drift in hue towards purple or green when diluted. I'd certainly try it on some blank piece of similar wood before soaking the fretboard.
     
  13. Satellitedog

    Satellitedog Active Member

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    You could ask a local-ish art supply store for other kinds of stain.
    Another question to jump in mind is whether or not one should use some sealer after staining?

    I have a Rick bass with a lighter red rosewood fingerboard, that is lacquered over (will be a pita once it needs a refret) in gloss. I'm not thinking about such a finish, just a sealer layer.
     
  14. Demon Dave

    Demon Dave Member

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    Palissandro is the italian name of rosewood
     
  15. HackeIommi

    HackeIommi Active Member

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    Sorry, I am confused. You mean, Palissandro and Pau Ferro are the same? For me, if Pau Ferro is good as rosewood or they are the same kind of wood or not, no problem to use it. Just don't paint the fingerboards. Painting the PF to show it like rosewood or to paint the rosewood to show it like ebony is not ethical. Any suitable materials are ok for me to build a guitar. Just don't paint them like snake oil salesmen. This is all I meant.

    EDIT: Btw, Merry Christmas SG people!!
     
  16. Demon Dave

    Demon Dave Member

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    I only said: in italian rosewood is called “palissandro” and pau ferro is called “Pau Ferro” and they are off course, different woods. And anyway, merry Christmas everybody :cheers:
     
  17. HackeIommi

    HackeIommi Active Member

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    Oh, ok! Sorry for the confusion. Sometimes a tired mind can be tricky :)

    :cheers:
     
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  18. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Comments: "Pau Ferro is a wood of many names, and is sometimes called Morado: and because the wood is so similar in appearance and working properties to rosewood, it is also sometimes referred to as Bolivian or Santos Rosewood. The wood has been used in various capacities as a substitute for the endangered Brazilian Rosewood. Although the wood is not technically in the Dalbergia genus, it’s in a closely-related genus (Machaerium), and contains the same sensitizing compounds found in rosewoods—about as close to a true rosewood as a wood can get without actually being a Dalbergia species."

    Col says, I don't get why people get upset over substitutions by guitar makers.
    They have to use whatever they can get, at this point in the collapse of the
    "Tropical Tonewood Biz..."

    In the future, guitar fretboards may be made out of
    recycled tires: (The Open Road series)... and during the
    great Gibson baked maple fiasco of 2012, I remember saying
    on these boards that Gibson ought to go about buying up all
    the dead bowling alleys in the U.S.A. and making guitar fretboards
    out of the lanes. I'd buy a Gibson SG "Brunswick" model, or a
    Les Paul "AMF" Special. You'd have to pay extra to get one of those
    red triangles at your Xll fret.
     
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  19. semka

    semka New Member

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    I just got an Epi Les Paul that has Indian Laurel fretboard and it blackens my fingers, too. So, it's not just Pau Ferro.
     
  20. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    No, it's not the Pau Ferro, it's something the Epiphone factory puts
    on whatever wood they use. Pau Ferro makes a fine fretboard material,
    as does Richlite or Striped Ebony or baked maple or Indian Laurel or Pallisandro.
    All those substitutes are just part of the life and times we must live through.

    Remove the strings, clean the fretboard with windex, treat it with fret doctor
    or Music Nomad's F-1, wipe it down with Gorgomyite, wipe it down again with
    a cloth bandana, re-install the strings and rock.

    Ignore the blacking, any left is just residual. It's because of the
    "slow boat from China syndrome...'
     

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