Are Fender droping rosewood boards?

SG standard

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Earlier this year I wanted to order a Reverend, but they couldn't export anything with a rosewood board as the certification hadn't come through, and there was nothing they could do to speed it up (so a dealer told me). Luckily for me, they swapped that model to ebony. I heard a rumour that they were also going to use pau ferro instead of rosewood - but they've since announced they'll be using 'blackwood', a composite, which has been more popular with artists trying out test guitars.

I suspect many smaller manufacturers will stop using rosewood, but it's saying something if a manufacturer the size of Fender has decided to do so as well. Shows how restrictive the regulations must be. I know guitarists are OK to travel with an instrument, but even exporting a single guitar (e.g. when selling online) requires a certificate. I do wonder what would happen if you were to move abroad with your entire guitar collection - I guess that would also count as export, and you'd need certification too. Perhaps guitarists will lose their taste for rosewood too!
 

Logan

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The article had a update; it will only be on certain models. I don't know which models, but it could be all models except the American elites, which is sad, but we need to have these regulations so that future generations can build their guitars with rosewood.
 

Col Mustard

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that's the state of the world we live in... as supplies of tropical tonewoods disappear
the guitar makers will have to figure out how to make good guitars without using any Rosewood,
or Ebony, or Mahogany.

This will be no problem. Guitarists tend to be a closed minded bunch, but when there's very little
of the traditional material left, the price will go so high that only the rich will be able afford it.
The rest of us will make good music on instrument made of something else. I guarantee it.
It's really about the music, not the wood.

We've already been through this, as a matter of fact. In 2012 Gibson was forced to substitute
"baked maple" for rosewood on their production guitars, because Feds raided their warehouse and confiscated their supplies of several woods, charging Gibson with importing Black Market wood
obtained illegally in third world nations with dicey politics.

I bought one... An SG special. I still have it, and it's an excellent instrument. The "baked maple" is a fine material for a fretboard, mine is hard and smooth and darkened up nicely when oiled with Fret Doctor. I've gotten great service from my SG special, and if you see a 2012 SG or Les Paul for sale used, you can count on paying less than for a comparable rosewood model from a year before or after. So you'll get one hell of a guitar for a lower price, if you're not scared to own a guitar with
a baked maple fretboard.

Martin guitars also make fretboards out of a substitute material... they call it Richlite.
It works fine, and they use it on many of their lower priced instruments, saving the traditional
rosewood and ebony for the high priced grade guitars.

Anyone wondering about the state of Tropical Tonewood should watch this video:
 

ivan H

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With the situation with Brazilian rosewood you'd think some of the bigger manufacturers would look at alternative, un endangered woods for fretboards. Here's one that is used In Australia, a local timber called Gidgee. Available in straight grained or ringed & is harder than the best ebony (Janka test). It is also a (so called) "tone wood". C__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_IMG_5032.jpg
Cheers
Edit; I should have said used by luthiers on custom builds. Cheers
 
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Raiyn

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With the situation with Brazilian rosewood you'd think some of the bigger manufacturers would look at alternative, un endangered woods for fretboards. Here's one that is used In Australia, a local timber called Gidgee. Available in straight grained or ringed & is harder than the best ebony (Janka test). It is also a (so called) "tone wood". View attachment 26374
Cheers
Edit; I should have said used by luthiers on custom builds. Cheers
c__data_users_defapps_appdata_internetexplorer_temp_saved-images_img_5032-jpg.26374

That looks alright doesn't it!

I'm no corksniffin' Luddite. If it feels good and plays nice I'm not going to worry about it not being made of certain traditional wood species or having engineered materials incorporated into it's construction.

As long as the craftsmanship is good (which can be a bit of an ask even on "Standard" axes these days) I have no issue with it not being a certain species or type of wood.
 

paul-e-mann

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I like the way rosewood looks but if they replace it with something that looks and sounds just as good that's ok.
 

gball

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Martin guitars also make fretboards out of a substitute material... they call it Richlite.
It works fine, and they use it on many of their lower priced instruments, saving the traditional
rosewood and ebony for the high priced grade guitars.

Richlite isn't only for lower-priced models. Gibson has been using it for a number of years now on Les Paul Customs (a $5k Custom Shop-built model), and IMO it is better than the ebony it replaced - smoother, denser, blacker. The corksniffers don't like it but if you choose the guitar with your ears and fingers its a great choice for a fretboard.

Specs here:

  • Body Type: Solidbody
  • Neck Wood: 1-piece mahogany
  • Neck Shape: rounded profile
  • Top Wood: Carved maple top
  • Back Wood: Solid mahogany back
  • Machine Heads: Metal tulip tuners
  • Fingerboard: Richlite
  • No. of Frets: 22
  • Scale Length: 24-3/4"
  • Position Markers: Pearl block inlays
  • Pickups: 490 Alnico (R) and 498 Alnico (T) humbucking
  • Controls: 2 volume, 2 tone
  • Pickup Switching: 3-way selector switch
  • Bridge/Tailpiece: Nashville TOM/Stopbar bridge/tailpiece
  • Hardware: Gold
  • Case:Custom Shop case, (certificate of authenticity, custom care kit)
 

Chubbles

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Funny thing is, I kinda like Fenders with a maple fret board. Rosewood is nice too.
 

ivan H

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c__data_users_defapps_appdata_internetexplorer_temp_saved-images_img_5032-jpg.26374

That looks alright doesn't it!

I'm no corksniffin' Luddite. If it feels good and plays nice I'm not going to worry about it not being made of certain traditional wood species or having engineered materials incorporated into it's construction.

As long as the craftsmanship is good (which can be a bit of an ask even on "Standard" axes these days) I have no issue with it not being a certain species or type of wood.
Yes, I think it looks good too. I also feel the same way, so long as the construction is good & the materials used have suitable qualities, I'm fine with them not being the conventional types or species of woods. We have many woods that are suitable here as I imagine there is all over, so why not use them. I know Taylor guitars use Australian & Tasmanian timbers in their guitars, & send a rep to hand select timber for custom jobs. Good to see them break from tradition & use sustainable woods. Cheers
 

ivan H

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Here's another Australian wood type used for fretboards C__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_andrew-clarke-mulga-fretboard.jpg
This one is made of Mulga. Here is a piece (not a fretboard) that shows the finish that can be obtained from with a polish. C__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_acacia_aneura-02-large.gif
This also is a very hard timber. It was used by aboriginal's for boomerang's, spear's & clubs. Both this & the previous type I showed are desert hardwoods (acacias) so are very dry even when milled & shrinkage & cracking isn't a problem. Cheers
 

oldrockfan

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first... I have to admit I like rosewood fretboards on my gibsons. I hope they can work out a way to continue to use it. If they can't... the baked maple is a workable substitute and as col said... when oiled up properly, the baked maple doesn't look bad at all.
 

Raiyn

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Richlite ..... The corksniffers don't like it but if you choose the guitar with your ears and fingers its a great choice for a fretboard.
Lucky for us we're not Corksniffers!

Funny thing is, I kinda like Fenders with a maple fret board. Rosewood is nice too.
Many people would agree with that statement.

I know Taylor guitars use Australian & Tasmanian timbers in their guitars, & send a rep to hand select timber for custom jobs. Good to see them break from tradition & use sustainable woods. Cheers
Tradition is great and grand, but when the traditional way of doing things becomes unsustainable, you either innovative or die.

This also is a very hard timber. It was used by aboriginal's for boomerang's, spear's & clubs. Both this & the previous type I showed are desert hardwoods (acacias) so are very dry even when milled & shrinkage & cracking isn't a problem. Cheers
Mulga eh? The marketing monkeys won't like that name....probably call it Alice Springs Acacia, or Tanami Acacia, or "Gibson" Acacia:rofl:

c__data_users_defapps_appdata_internetexplorer_temp_saved-images_acacia_aneura-02-large-gif.26387

I'm already picturing it as a guitar body with a Cherry stain......that grain pattern me-ow!
 

ivan H

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It would be nice, I agree. Botanical name is acacia cambagei. Gidgee is acacia aneura. Here is mulga used as the fretboard & headstock overlay C__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_guitar005n.jpg
The rest of the guitar (Malcolm Rowe custom guitars) C__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_imagesT3EU5JR5(1).jpg C__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_guitar005s.jpg C__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_guitar005b.jpg
Blackwood body & neck, Fiddle back blackwood body cap. Set neck. I like rosewood, ebony & mahogany, of course, have 3 mahogany bodied guitars, 2 with rosewood & 1 with ebony fretboards but we must embrace alternatives. Cheers
Edit; I must say I don't much like his interpretation of the Tele shape. Cheers
 
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GTSG

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I don't get it Fender released a US rosewood one piece neck on the Strat and Tele in 15 or 16. At any rate they are still selling them. Exclusive for GC.
Tell you I played a couple of them and was stunned how good the fret work and action was. Sounded great, I'm not a big fan of fat 50s for strats tonally speaking anyway, in comparison to maple necks boards etc I can't qualify. But if you like fat 50s you'll really like them with the rosewood. Imho. They were light too both were under 7 lbs. Impressive quality control. Doesn't make sense fender or prs etc making rosewood necks it appears at minimal contradictory?
 

Raiyn

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Apparently it's a hoax. There's nothing on the Fender site about this and the article on Reidy's has been pulled.

Still, I'm firmly in the "try something else" camp.
 

cerebral gasket

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How about Pau Ferro?
That makes for a great fingerboard material.
It's used on some of the G&L's.

IMG_1864.JPG

ASAT copy.jpg
 
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