As you probably know, in recent years the availability of high quality, old-school, style fingerboards—the kind players have come to expect on their guitars—have been harder and harder to find.
As a result, our team set out on a mission to scour the world to find sustainable stashes of the best quality fingerboards available anywhere, and now, after much searching we're proud to stock one of the finest assortments of fingerboards you'll find anywhere.
Each of our fingerboards has been kiln dried and is stable and ready for use once it's been acclimated to your shop's environment.
Each board measures approximately:
2-3/8" x 20" x 15/64" (60.32mm x 508mm x 5.95mm)
Our Ebony (Diospyros crassiflora) comes from West Africa and tends to be more uniformly black than we have seen from other sources, however, most African ebony is not perfectly jet black, most boards have some visible grain and occasional streaks of greys and tans. We think these visual variations offer character and enhance the aesthetics of most guitars, but if you desire a perfectly dark, jet black appearance consider using our Black Fingerboard Stain to darken the board and create the desired visual effect.
StewMac is extremely proud to be one of the only luthier suppliers of Crelicam Ebony (Diospyros crassiflora). This is the same species of ebony that you know and love, but each piece has been hand-selected for its gorgeous looks and exceptional feel. Each fingerboard is unique, the colors range from tans and golds, to blacks, greens and purples with a mix of variegation, light and dark lines, and even some flame. Crelicam Ebony is very hard, super smooth, and holds frets well—you'll make an excellent playing fingerboard with a boutique, one of a kind look.
It's easy to assume that due to Indian Rosewood's (Dalbergia latifolia) low price this is a lesser quality rosewood, but nothing could be further from the truth. For decades Indian Rosewood has been the choice of boutique builders as well as major manufacturers because it is extremely stable, beautiful, and is (often) much less expensive than more exotic rosewoods. In recent years there have been wide swings in the quality of Indian Rosewood, but our team has procured sustainable sources of some of the darkest, most even and straight-grained Indian Rosewood fingerboards available anywhere.
Madagascar Rosewood, Master Grade
Madagascar Rosewood (Dalbergia baroni) is the closest commercially available substitute—in both tone and visual appearance—for Brazilian Rosewood (Dalbergia nigra). Our Master Grade offers strong variegation, black ink lines and color contrast from golds to browns to blacks that make many of these boards virtually undistinguishable from their Brazilian cousins.
Our standard grade Madagascar Rosewood (Dalbergia baroni) fingerboards are just as high quality as the Master Grade, however, these have a more uniform, brown, straight grained appearance. These offer a more standard understated visual effect and are similar to what you would find on most vintage instruments.
Cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa) is another true rosewood that is an excellent choice for fingerboards. Freshly sanded Cocobolo often appears somewhere between orange and red, but over time it oxidizes nicely to a deep burgundy—almost black—color. Cocobolo is denser than most other rosewoods and thus wears very well, especially on guitars that will see a lot of heavy use.
Since all rosewoods are now part of the CITES treaty and international export is prohibited, Granadillo (Platymiscium yucatanum) has been rising in popularity among European and North American builders. It is an extremely inexpensive, dense, non-porous wood that resists wear, has a strong resonant tap-tone and glues well. Most boards range between sandy and “brick" brown and oxidizes over time to a warm dark brown patina.
In recent years Pau Ferro (Machaerium scleroxylon) fingerboards have become quite popular—especially with electric guitar builders—due to its sustainability, excellent resistance to wear and ability to hold frets like a vise. Plus, its non-porous surface makes it feel silky smooth and almost effortless to play.
Ovangkol (Guibourtia ehie) has been used for years for acoustic guitar back and side sets, but more recently it has become a popular choice for fingerboards. Similar in density to Indian rosewood Ovangkol is another suitable substitute for CITES restricted rosewoods. Most boards are light to medium brown with dark brown and black grain lines that have an exotic, refined look that makes it a great choice for custom guitar makers.
Padauk (Pterocarpus soyauxii) is an opened grained wood that is easy to machine and glue, and offers an extremely beautiful, exotic look to your next custom build. This wood is extremely popular with high end electric guitar makers and its striking pink/red color and perfectly straight grain create a stunning visual effect.
Ziricote (Cordia dodecandra) is considered by many builders to be one of the most visually stunning tonewoods available today. Its gorgeous "marbled" or "spiderweb" figure gives a totally unique look to any build. It also has an amazingly diverse range of colors—prominent dark black lines often intertwine beautifully with shades of gray, gold, green and rusty brown. It is heavier than most Rosewoods and works like Ebony.
As all rosewoods are now part of the CITES treaty, our Indian Rosewood, Madagascar Rosewood, and Cocobolo are not available for international export.
Ebony is usually not uniformly black. We offer Black Fingerboard Stain, as used by Gibson®, Paul Reed Smith® and other makers for darkening the streaks on ebony fingerboards, bridges and peghead overlays.
Need help calculating your fret locations?
Our online fret scale calculator can calculate any scale length you want to use. It will also give you accurate measurements for locating the bridge on your instrument.
CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 65 WARNING