Grain Orientation of Vintage Fret Boards

Discussion in 'Vintage Les Pauls' started by tabascom16, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. tabascom16

    tabascom16 Member

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    Oct 21, 2017
    With all the legends out there, you always hear that the fret boards on these old Gibsons were premium grade rosewood and quarter sawn. Today's rosewood being passed around would have been "tossed out". While it is usually pretty easy to see the grain in old Gibson necks which most do seem to be quarter sawn or close, it is very hard to ever see grain in the fretboard. Any time I actually see an old Les Paul Jr for sale with respectable pictures of the fretboard they always seem to be noticeably more flat sawn. Just curious how many of you owning actual vintage Gibsons have quarter sawn fretboards or something more rift sawn or flat sawn?
  2. tigger

    tigger Senior Member

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    May 6, 2017
    Well I don't have a really old guitar but I have a '65 SG Standard BRW fretboard in front of me and it is quartersawn.
  3. Greco

    Greco Senior Member

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    Aug 30, 2007
    I think on the whole they were quartersawn (well, straight grained) and mid-brown to black. Although there is nearly always some waviness and spider-webbing in Brazilian boards. I say on the whole because there are always exceptions. Some are beige, stripey, some have crazy grain patterns. If you look at place like Mark's Guitar loft (vintage examples) or they have lots of good close up photos.

    There's something unique about Brazilian rosewood compared to all other rosewood boards in that it seems to lose contrast as it gets played and darkens. I guess finger oils, etc. So you lose a lot of the grain definition that you would have seen with the blanks, and you also see in a lot of today's blanks. When you sand it, it has all sorts of colour variations which darken out. If you look at nearly all Braz veneers, or backs of acoustics, they are lightly coloured, and dry, or with the grain locked in under clear coat. The boards the went on guitars got all funky and oxidizised. Even a lot of the lighter ones. Jimmy Page's #1 has a light brown board.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
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