If at all?


Most of my builds have been made using red oak neck and red oak fretboard, mainly because of easy availability. On two recent builds though, I've experimented with Walnut and Cocobolo fretboards. I've noticed the sound on these two builds is a little different and seemingly more responsive (though it may just be me). 


I've tried a couple of other different things on these builds as well, so I'm trying to narrow it down as to what exactly it is I've done to create this change. Any thoughts on the fretboard wood?


Thanks, David

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well out of curiousity i did some more research and found quite a few guitars built with oak back and sides that were said to sound good. however i havent found anything with an oak neck

ive been thinking about giving oak a try for a cbg as i have some in my wood pile. guess its the only way to really know for sure 


"The neck was finished with a 24-fret oak fingerboard. Each of the position inlays was hand shaped from a mother-of-pearl button. Brian decided to position them in a personal way: two dots at the 7th and 19th fret and three at the 12th and 24th.

The body was made from oak, blockboard and mahogany veneer; the final result was a sort of semi-acoustic guitar-the central block is glued to the sides and covered with two mahogany sheets to give it the appearance of a solid-body guitar. White shelf edging was then applied as binding..."

well i was looking at acoustic guitars as a pickup will mask any wood tonal issues. i mean you can make a cinder block guitar sound pretty good with the right pick ups and amp setting 

red oak is used in cbg design for its strength and is definitely not "crappy" - "tonewood" is a very misleading term,..all seasoned hardwoods will resonate..

Next to no difference whatsoever. Can you hear the big block inlays on a les Paul? Every other fret you're playing on mother of pearl or something instead of rosewood right?

If fenders maple necks sound different to their rosewood capped ones I'd put that down to the lacquer on the maple ones. I reckon they just feel different (cos of that lacquer) doubt many could consistently pick em blindfolded

well you shouldnt really be touching the mother of pearl, or the fretboard wood itself for that matter. i think the sound difference comes from how the woods transfer the vibrations/sound 

It's the player that makes all the difference.

As regards looking at the woods used in ordinary guitars..my view is, ignore that and do your own thing. Once you start agonising over the tone benefits of one fretboard material against another for a cigar box guitar...then you've taken a wrong turn. It's a stick in a box..that's a STICK and a BOX, good people...a stick and a box.

Thanks Chicken Bone John... I am making (hopefully) two CBG's right off the bat.  My first being a 4 string with a peizo buzzer and a hand-wound pickup I made. I will be chanting that mantra as a bust out this and the other 3 string (my next one).  Thanks again and really like your vids on YouTube.  They have helped out a lot in my pre-planning (over planning more like it).

I agree with this Chickenbone John... I spent ages trying to find hardwood fretboards that didn't cost a small fortune before the words came down from heaven - its a stick and a box.... if it doesn't sound just perfect its a good opportunity to make another one! after all - the next one will also only be a stick and a box... keep it simple...

There could be something in it, most hardwood fretboards seem to work fine to me ,esp. maple and ebony, these have produced great results, though i think maybe it could be down to a bone nut and hardwood/fretted bridge, rigidity and lightness! (-:

...i wouldn't think about it too hard otherwise we'll be living in Custom Shop mumbo jumbo land (0:


custom shop mumbo jumbo :)



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