Ebony has an unmistakable tone to which I don't think anyone would argue. It's hyper-resonate - it's virtually impervious to wear - and emits an unmatched authoritative attack. Ebony is one the heaviest of the hardwoods - it is extremely dense - it machines well - and it resists warping. Because it adds strength & stability to your neck, is the preferred fretboard wood for achieving the best intonation possible. (Intonation is omni-present... It's not just measured during the tuning process.) Most builders don't like to use ebony because it can be difficult to work with. It tends to wear-out cutters, and it can crack if not handled properly. The main reason why builders (especially Gibson) don't like using it, is because it is 20 times the cost of an equal sized piece of rosewood! Rosewood and maple are cheap in comparison, that cost only pennies to that of ebony. Another thing to consider is that frets cannot be installed into an ebony fretboard through automation. They MUST be installed by hand! This presents a problem for companies like PRS who do not offer ebony fretboards on any of their guitars. This is because all PRS guitars are made by machines... They are not hand-made instruments. Not only will Gibson save money on the cost of construction materials - they will save BIG on labor costs as well. Ebony is without a doubt the absolute best wood to use as a fingerboard. Any builder who argues that is more concerned about price - not sound or quality. Benefits Of Using Ebony 1. Ebony is much harder and polishes up beautifully so that the neck feels smooth and slick. It's much harder and therefore you can get a better percussive tone when doing two hand tapping and hammer-on's, or playing without a pick. 2. Ebony reduces finger fatigue. If you play for hours your fingers will appreciate the smoothness. It's barely noticeable but the smoothness makes it so that you can play longer without getting sore fingers. 3. Cosmetically Beautiful, The Jet Black Ebony contrasts nicely with the binding and/or inlay material, also it effectively hides any filler for a much cleaner look. 4. Ebony is much stronger and much more stable. It helps keep your neck straighter and also protects it from breakage and most importantly warping. Some would argue that rosewood is indicative of "the Les Paul sound". I beg to differ here. The Les Paul Custom (and ebony equipped semi-hollow Gibson's) exhibit some of the most unique guitar tones ever recorded. Most classical musicians won't play any guitar that has not been constructed with an ebony fretboard. The reason for this is that ebony emits the most highly detailed production of string harmonics. For this reason it is considered by some to be the most "unforgiving" of fretboard woods. A truly practiced player can envoke harmonics from an ebony fretboard that one would never be able to muster from any other fretboard wood. Randy Rhoads for example favored ebony for this very reason. In the end, it's all about what you prefer... I play both - but I've always preferred ebony over maple and rosewood. I purchased my first guitar which was a Gibson Les Paul Custom in 1978 after making payments for 12 weeks! I walked up-hill through 3 feet of snow every day, just to get a look at it! Okay - it doesn't snow in FL, but I would have done it just the same. The Les Paul Custom has always been the most hand-made of Gibson's Les Paul line of guitars. I know times change - but it's not always for the better. It's truly the end of an era.