Fender guitars Moving to Pau Ferro due to CITES jan 2 2017

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by jerry47, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. jerry47

    jerry47 Premium Member

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    TECH TALK


    What Is Pau Ferro?
    Discover the fretboard tonewood Fender will be using in new guitars and basses.

    [​IMG]
    A pau ferro neck on a Fender Telecaster.



    By Mike Duffy



    Stevie Ray Vaughan signature Stratocaster has its own eye-catching style.

    But there is one important feature of this legendary guitar that sometimes gets overlooked—the pau ferro fingerboard.

    A great wood for instrument fingerboards, pau ferro is a South American tonewood with a smooth feel and sonic characteristics similar to rosewood, but lighter in color and harder.

    And it is a wood that Fender will be using much more of now that CITES laws regulating how rosewood is traded internationally came into effect on Jan. 2, 2017.

    CITES (or the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna) is a global agreement that has existed since 1975 to ensure international trade of wildlife does not threaten the health of species and ecosystems.

    In a conference held late last year, it was decided that rosewood, namely Indian and Indonesian rosewood (more specifically, the genus Dalbergia and three bubinga species—Guibourtia demeusei, Guibourtia pellegriniana, and Guibourtia tessmannii), will be protected under CITES Appendix II. That means any transportation or shipment of an instrument or instruments for commercial purposes with any amount of rosewood requires a CITES Export Certificate issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and possibly a CITES Import Permit required by the receiving country.

    Enter pau ferro. The wood that has been the fretboard for the Stevie Ray Vaughn Strat for many years will see wider incorporation into instruments made in Fender’s Ensenada, Mexico, factory.

    Pau ferro’s warm tone is tempered by its snappy attack, creating a crisp, clear sound ideal for fingerboards.

    “Pau ferro is actually called ‘Bolivian rosewood’ in some circles, and we’ve used it on models in the past,” said Senior Vice President of Fender Products Justin Norvell. “It’s actually been used as a well-known alternative for rosewood for a long time, and it’s often available in wider widths, so we used it on a lot of our five-string basses in the ‘90s. It’s a wood we’re familiar with.”

    Pau ferro was one of the first solutions Norvell and others on the Fender product team landed upon when discussing the CITES regulations in January around the annual NAMM Show.

    “In looking at options, our main focus was first and foremost on guaranteeing the best possible sounds and feel,” said Fender Director of Wood Technology Mike Born. “We were already using Pau Ferro in some models right now, so we could successfully switch to Pau Ferro. By January, we made the decision to jump on Pau Ferro and start getting it into our process. And it’s a good thing we did right at that point.”

    The SRV Strat is not the only instrument that currently has pau ferro fingerboards, as the Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass also carries one.

    “The reason that Pau Ferro was one of the best options is that we’ve had experience with it for a long time,” Born noted. “It’s got a very similar hardness and oil content to rosewood. We know it’s got a good tone to it. And it’s got a nice, dark color.”

    Fender players can keep an eye out for pau ferro fingerboards on guitars and basses in the Standard Series, Deluxe Series and Classic Series, in addition to many other instruments made in Mexico.

    “Fender is committed as a brand to comply with all CITES regulations and to ensure we are continuing to deliver the best quality and accessible products to our customers and dealers," said Fender CEO Andy Mooney.
     
  2. Uncle Remus

    Uncle Remus Silver Supporter

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    Fenders have other fretboards besides Maple? Blasphemy.
     
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  3. Bobby Mahogany

    Bobby Mahogany Senior Member

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    Everyone gonna sound like Stevie?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Malikon

    Malikon ジャンプアップ V.I.P. Member

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    if it's not maple I like the board to be dark. I dislike all the streaky grain light colored fretboards.

    Maple or black,..or very dark chocolate brown.

    just my 'pinion.
     
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  5. I Break Things

    I Break Things Senior Member

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    I'm not a fan of anything other than maple on Fenders, so... this doesn't really make much difference to me... Cool they're finding a way to cater to the people who like dark boards though.
     
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  6. dsmcl77

    dsmcl77 Senior Member

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    Who needs a three when one got richlite.
     
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  7. redcoats1976

    redcoats1976 Senior Member

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    thought they were moving production to another country to save labor costs.i could dig sounding like stevie...
     
  8. Benjammin

    Benjammin Senior Member

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    I prefer maple boards for looks, do many people actually feel or hear a difference?
     
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  9. Malikon

    Malikon ジャンプアップ V.I.P. Member

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    yes and no. maple is harder-feeling/brighter-sounding, rosewood is softer-feeling/darker-sounding.

    but you know,..it's hard to quantify feel and ears.

    Some will say, 'That's BS',..others will swear by it.

    ...and they both have a point. And honestly some people just have much better ears than other people. So they could both be right in their opinion. One swears he doesn't hear a difference, the other swearing he does.

    ...and there will be a third guy to say they're both full of sh*t. Because that's Guitar World. :laugh2:

    edit: and a fourth guy to say, "shut up and play your guitar no one cares once the drums start."

    ..and they're all kind of 'right',..in their own way.
     
  10. Benjammin

    Benjammin Senior Member

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    I guess if there is any difference, I must prefer maple, since that is always my go-to, but I don't know. I don't think I could tell by listening to someone else what kind of fretboard they used, and without actually trying a bunch of different guitars while wearing a blind fold, I don't know if I could really tell the difference in my own sound.

    I saw a video where Eric Clapton was talking about how he didn't like the feel of rosewood because of the grain or something. Far be it from me to argue with Clapton, but that's operation on a whole other level from where I'm at
     
  11. Malikon

    Malikon ジャンプアップ V.I.P. Member

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    I like the look of maple and the feel of rosewood. Life is hard. :laugh2: on Fenders anyway.

    On a LesPaul I'd want rosewood or ebony. I think they look 'wrong' with maple fretboards.
     
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  12. WaywerdSon

    WaywerdSon Senior Member

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    There can be a difference in feel, but i seriously question how much fretboard material changes tone. The vibrating part of the string is only touching the fret and the bridge, not really touching the fretboard. Now maple boards have always felt a little slippery to me, my fingers tend to slide off the strings where an ebony or rosewood board has a little more grip. But it all a matter of personal preference. I wouldn't put alot of weight into the tonewood the fretboard is made from
     
  13. fett

    fett Double Platinum Supporter Premium Member

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    If I understand it correctly, the CITES Ban included all Rosewood. It was too difficult to determine which species was actually in danger.
     
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  14. 45WinMag

    45WinMag Senior Member

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    More complicated than that. It was about a combination of demand from China, West-African countries wanting protectionist policies to keep witch-doctors employed (rosewood is used in "traditional medicines" which were becoming prohibitively expensive due to external demand for the wood), and the EIC wanting to stomp on Madagascar. Plus, enforcement officers don't know what they're doing, so instead of making them learn to differentiate between species, eff it - ban everything.
     
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  15. Dun Ringill

    Dun Ringill Premium Member

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    That just summed up 4 pages of a typical thread right there!
     
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  16. Rich

    Rich Non sequitur Premium Member

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    /thread
     
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  17. Death Incarnate

    Death Incarnate Premium V.I.P. Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Interesting. I wonder if it feels more like rosewood, baked maple, or ebony.

    I just picked up my first baked maple guitar, a 2014 ES-335 Studio. I prefer the feel over rosewood and it has more of a brushed-soot ebony feel, but less slick and more "paper-ish".
     
  18. Greco

    Greco Senior Member

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    I'm with Mal, to me a good rosewood board is almost black. I like ebony as an alternative or maybe something more exotic. This school of thought that an alternative to rosewood is obviously something consistently light brown bothers me. Besides if you absolutely must have a rosewood board, then getting something else is pointless. Maple is the alternative on Fenders, which I don't mind. I don't know what Gibson do. Maybe shut the company? :laugh2:
     
  19. TheX

    TheX Voice of Reason

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    A lot of rosewood boards are dyed. Easy enough to do.
     
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  20. 45WinMag

    45WinMag Senior Member

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    I've felt it in the form of pistol grips (it's been one of the main wood choices from Hogue for decades). The stuff is hard and the grain is tighter than rosewood. Makes a slick, smooth grip. Very plain looking light to medium-brown wood, no reddish overtones like rosewood and not as dark, nor as figured. The Tele board in the first post is the most figure I've ever seen in a piece of Pau Ferro, and it's darker than I've ever seen on a gun grip.
     
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