Guitar Making Tip No. 60 is about choosing an exotic wood for your fretboard. Woods like Padauk, Bubinga, and Wenge all make excellent fretboards, and they are not very expensive when compared to traditional choices. Here is how to make a bold statement on your guitar.
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Choose an Exotic Wood For Your Fretboard
There are many different woods to pick from in the hardwood store and online. The fretboard is one of the places that you can have a little fun without worrying about the instrument sounding awful after the change.
For more areas like that, my 25 Simple Ways to Customize Your Guitar Without Altering the Tone is a fun read.
There are many options for a fretboard that are different than East Indian Rosewood or Ebony, which are the two standards.
If you are new to making a guitar, then I recommend buying a board from a luthier supply house. Some places sell far more fretboard woods than others. Look online and see what options there are. At least this way you will know that the piece you choose is good to use on your guitar. If you know more about woodworking, you can do this instead…
Mill Your Own Fretboard
If you want to save money, just mill your own board. A fretboard is not very hard to make, as long as you have some tools in the shop. In fact, several fretboards can be milled in the shop typically for the same price as one from a supplier.
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Head over to the hardwood store and purchase something that has a track record. Look for a nice species that had the density and looks that you are after. Once you find the piece, you can take it home and mill it to size.
When you make a fretboard yourself you are going to need to slot it. My Guitar Fretboard Slotting Jig makes the task easy. You can actually slot an entire board with the jig and not measure once.
Don’t Be Ordinary on a Custom Guitar
Don’t go too conservative on a custom guitar, but don’t go overboard either. It’s easy to get carried away. Guitar making is fun, and sometimes you can bite off more than you can chew.
The fretboard is a place where you can be extraordinary without worrying too much about the integrity of the build. Make sure that you use a species that has a track record of being used on guitars and you will be fine.
If you are worried about slotting and putting a radius on the board, you can order it that way from several suppliers. Make sure that you spend some time practicing those skills though. That way you can do the next board yourself.
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