Brazilian Boards

55special

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I totally agree that wood makes a massive difference on an acoustic instrument, which is not what this thread is about.

Ah I think I missed that part of the message; I have it now; pretty close to what I surmised: "There's no twang on that guitar. It's just beefy, round, and clear. " Those are subjective attributes on a guitar.

What does beefy mean? It has more low end?
What does round mean? It has more midrange?
What does clear mean? It has more high end?

Doesn't that just mean it has more amplitude in every part of the audible hearing range then?

I don't know about you, but this sounds very wishy washy to me...
Guitar players aren't physicists. But we generally all understand the application of those terms that aren't scientific. When someone says a P Bass is beefier than a jazz bass, we know what they're talking about. Or if something is clearer, it has better note definition and articulation. Does it have more high end? Not necessarily. The absence of problematic frequencies can make something clearer where the high end is identical.

But we're not sitting there with meters taking down notes to determine what is scientifically happening when we hear these things. There's nothing wishy washy about that. It just makes it easier for guitar players to communicate characteristics that we're all familiar with.

While wood selection on an acoustic instrument is more obvious, it is still apparent on electric guitars. I have no reason to make up what I'm hearing. I A/B'd a Strat and swapped necks. Made a significant difference going from RW to maple. If people don't hear that, it's not really incumbent upon me to get a grant from the government and do a lab study. I'm just going to go with what I think sounds and feels best for the style I'm playing.

As someone who has worked with quite a bit of wood. I can say that low grade IRW has a subtractive quality to it. It's weak, porous, and brittle. BRW has completely opposite characteristics. The best stuff looks like glass. Purely from a quality standpoint, I could see why one would be subtractive to tone vs the other. I've also seen bad BRW and very nice IRW. But as a general rule, one is a lower quality wood.
 

Cozmik Cowboy

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You might as well of said “ I iz dum. I candt till da diffence bitween sownds uv da instroomints”. That’s okay though…. You are probably good at other things. Is your slogan “if I didn’t see it or hear it, IT DIDN’T HAPPEN!” ?
I am a trained and experienced audio engineer & a half-century + guitar geek; I assure you, I can tell the differences that are there (I can, in fact, hear the difference between BRW & IRW in an acoustic body; I'd be surprised if you can, as very few can). The fact remains, variety of rosewood in a solidbody fretboard makes exactly 0 tonal difference, and no amount of wanting it to be so can change that.
 

Rigidarm

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I had a 2018 wildwood spec (“poppy” burst) R0 with BRW… 8.0lb. Crazy guitar, awesome tone and neck but sold it cause I didn’t like that it was gloss / wasn’t aged… I’m conscious that eventually my eyes will wonder and I may need to resell/trade, I don’t hang my guitars on a wall (an aged guitar that I ding… is still “mint”/“as new” when you resell it hehe >:] ). Coolest hard rock eastern maple top I have ever seen and maybe will ever see on an LP though.

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Most beautiful wood on a LP I’ve ever seen.
 

LtDave32

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A lot of the “Brazilian” seen today comes from that and/or the stumps that remained after the tree was cut. It’s “b” grade

This is true.
 

jwinger

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I don't know if they make a difference in sound alone to be honest, but it's a different look and feel...it always seems very well moisturised naturally Brazilian, it has an exceptionally smooth, lightly oiled feel without any sort of conditioning or anything. That's my experience

I think with woods, same with old mahogany and maple, it's probably hard to hear a single factor, but taken together with glues, metal composition for bridges and tailpieces etc, it does all add up...the 'right' stuff, collectively, does make a palpable difference
 

Brek

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the response of any tone-wood on any given build will be unique. However, I don't thinks its quantifiable. I can certainly hear a different response on a ebony boarded custom to a standard. Its snappier and with brighter attack. Stick that same board on a guitar thats not solid mahogany and it'll change slightly.

I think our obsession with BRW is from a historic accuracy angle. Why was it ised as a first choice wood back then might because it looks to be naturally high in 'oil' which will surely help with stability in the long term? If its a more rigid wood as others state then again this should aid stability.
 

loren

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Do people think Brazilian are worth the extra money. I own 3 and one has a Brazilian board and I sure can’t tell the difference in sound
I do. Choosing wood for fretboard aesthetics and sound are an okay endeavor. But the density and stability is key to a long life of strait and true neck, and of course, staying in tune.
 

moreles

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I'm a tonewood advocate and an "everything makes a difference" player and maker, but even so would make no case for Brazilian in current or recent builds. In the market, there is value to Brazilian because the market says there is; it's expected on older vintage instruments, and apparently desired on newer ones. I don't think there's a lot of thinking behind this. It's just the antiques market. "It should be the way it used to be." For current builds, it's reprehensible to be using wood from an endangered species and I would be embarrassed, personally, to be seeking out, using, and paying for BRW. Much of what is being used is a material that would have been rejected by all builders in the past, as the flashy graining and figure, dramatic contrasts in color, etc. all reflect wood structure that is inappropriate for instrument-making, where, when this wood was more abundant, companies selected for straight grain above all. Unfortunately, the fretboard woods being used by the mass makers in lieu of BRW have mostly been a bust. The East Indian stuff is now down to mostly ugly, purply wood (dark even boards are now an upcharge or just not available); pau ferro and granadillo are mostly used in ugly colorations. Nobody can keep track of the Brazilian look-alike species and even for the potentially excellent stuff, what you often end up with is a crap-looking piece, not a select one. And to top it off, even the functionality is compromised because Fender and Gibson are not processing and prepping and surfacing their fretboards nicely at all anymore. Ironically, ebony is making a comeback because the sourcing has been a success story, it's a great wood, and it's easy to get a great surface even in an industrial system. I have one BRW-boarded guitar. It has a dark, unflashy, absoultely beautiful playing surface. Hilariously, it's on a late '30s Gibson-made-for-Montgomery Ward's 00-size acoustic, which was Depression-cheap when made and still a bargain today. Pretty soon, people will probably start buying those up just to rip off the fretboard to plop it on some new guitar.
 

frehley76

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I'm a tonewood advocate and an "everything makes a difference" player and maker, but even so would make no case for Brazilian in current or recent builds. In the market, there is value to Brazilian because the market says there is; it's expected on older vintage instruments, and apparently desired on newer ones. I don't think there's a lot of thinking behind this. It's just the antiques market. "It should be the way it used to be." For current builds, it's reprehensible to be using wood from an endangered species and I would be embarrassed, personally, to be seeking out, using, and paying for BRW. Much of what is being used is a material that would have been rejected by all builders in the past, as the flashy graining and figure, dramatic contrasts in color, etc. all reflect wood structure that is inappropriate for instrument-making, where, when this wood was more abundant, companies selected for straight grain above all. Unfortunately, the fretboard woods being used by the mass makers in lieu of BRW have mostly been a bust. The East Indian stuff is now down to mostly ugly, purply wood (dark even boards are now an upcharge or just not available); pau ferro and granadillo are mostly used in ugly colorations. Nobody can keep track of the Brazilian look-alike species and even for the potentially excellent stuff, what you often end up with is a crap-looking piece, not a select one. And to top it off, even the functionality is compromised because Fender and Gibson are not processing and prepping and surfacing their fretboards nicely at all anymore. Ironically, ebony is making a comeback because the sourcing has been a success story, it's a great wood, and it's easy to get a great surface even in an industrial system. I have one BRW-boarded guitar. It has a dark, unflashy, absoultely beautiful playing surface. Hilariously, it's on a late '30s Gibson-made-for-Montgomery Ward's 00-size acoustic, which was Depression-cheap when made and still a bargain today. Pretty soon, people will probably start buying those up just to rip off the fretboard to plop it on some new guitar.
How do we know what the original boards really looked like? Mine has darkened significantly over the past 19 years to where I can no longer really see the grain. I think people are making a really big deal about the subject, just go play and enjoy whatever you have.
 

strat1701

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Proud member of the "Excommunicated for blasphemy by the Holy Church of Brazilian Fretboard's Ancient Order of Tone"

Only the worthy shall receive Braz......in their honor....(assumes the secret position of the consecration of obedience)
 

Sharky

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Anyone know if a ‘63 SG is BRW or IRW?

Maybe someone has a less blury and not watermarked version of this picture. I know Rudi posted it sometimes and I stored it, but cannot find it anymore


specsyears.JPG
 

NINFNM

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I recently replaced the meesed fingerboard on my Les Paul (indian) for a new thicker (+0,6mm), darker and denser madagascar one.


It's not Braz but definitely I can hear a difference in tone, and I'm mostly tone deaf for other things. Now it now sounds deeper, and thicker, and also more consistent. These are little things that you hear/feel while playing, sure the audience not, but I don't care, I play guitar mostly for my own satisfaction.

The scientific reason is nothing more that the mechanical characteristics of wood/harware affects the way the string vibrates.
 

Pesh

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Seeing as it’s subjective (the “feel”, the “sound”, etc), then no.
Timbers have an effect on tone, yes, but within rosewoods? Can we tell the difference, really? And if we can, is it significant enough to charge more for something that some people might not “get”…?
NOPE.
 

mudface

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Then why do I find PRS guitars lifeless tone flat guitars..... ?

Maybe it’s the other parts his brazy fretboards are attached to that are killing it.... or maybe I should use them as a percussion block.... that’s it..... I’m doing it wrong.

My bad.
 

DaveSG

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Yes if it’s dark / chocolaty (purely looks though, no difference in tone on an electric solid body). I won’t buy a “reissue” Gibson/Fender without it (unless of course it’s supposed to be an ebony/maple board model).

Also, if the BRW looks ugly/ashy like this, whether it’s on an original vintage instrument or on a reissue, I’m not gonna buy it no matter how great it sounds… it’s disgusting to my eyes…

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I'm late to the party, but did anyone notice that the high E is basically falling off the fb?:shock:
 

Jer

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The only way you can really audibly differentiate between two fingerboards is to cut them to the same spec and tap test them before attaching to the guitar. Indian Rosewood is full of pores compared to Braz. In that respect one would think there would be an audible difference in tap tone, rigidity and feel. But every piece of wood is different. I have two guitars from the 80’s with IRW and I have played the shit out of them. They both look very dark, feel smooth and waxy and solid. They both have many pores but otherwise look close to Braz. There’s good and bad in both. But you cannot compare 2 different LP guitars that have Braz fretboard on one and Indian rosewood on the other and try to put the differences in sound down to the fretboard material. No 2 guitars are the same. The only way to compare the 2 boards is before they are attached. Or try both boards on the same guitar.
 

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