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Old 02-16-2017, 02:31 PM   #1
ZERO1
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Best way to darken fret board

Hey guys I was wondering what is the bet way to completely darken a rosewood fret board. I want to hear different ideas. I know some methods will kind of rub off on the fingers. So I am wondering which would be the best as far as aesthetics and long term as well. Thanks

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Old 02-16-2017, 03:04 PM   #2
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StewMac has a fretboard stain. I can't think of a better way to make it completely dark.
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Old 02-16-2017, 03:16 PM   #3
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Shred!
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Old 02-16-2017, 03:19 PM   #4
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#1 Use a piece of gaboon ebony to construct the fretboard.
#2 If the fretboard is already constructed out of another material, simply enjoy that material.
#3 If, for whatever reason, you obtained a guitar that didn't use the fretboard material you wanted, and you simply don't like the character and look of real wood the way it was meant to be admired, and you are fine with potentially misrepresenting the material when you sell the guitar at a later date, you can stain the wood using the above method (water-based india ink). Keep in mind that no stain is 100% permanent, just as wood will lighten slightly over time naturally. Also, please please be aware that this stuff is not the easiest to apply properly, and applying improperly can make the wood look weird (streaky- the ink is fairly transparent) and is likely to leave smudges.
#4 If you go really crazy and use an oil-based black leather dye, the fretboard might look uniformly dark, but any smudged you get on anything will be permanent, including fingers.

So, I know you probably don't care what I think, but I would urge you to leave the fretboard alone. If you must darken it, I would further urge you to educate yourself as much as possible about the process before taking it on to mitigate the chance of something turning out wrong.
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Old 02-16-2017, 03:43 PM   #5
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I'd also advise to just leave it as is. Use Lemon Oil once in a while to keep it from getting excessively dry but other that it should be fine.
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Old 02-16-2017, 04:42 PM   #6
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I third that notion. Swap the entire guitar for one with an ebony fretboard. Or simply just buy another one. Altering the color of the board from its natural color is equivalent to white skinned girls who tan obsessively, it is unnatural and it looks ridiculous
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Old 02-16-2017, 05:01 PM   #7
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Staining the fretboard is your only real option if you want to darken it. I don't advise it, and also say to leave it as is, mostly due to the already previously mentioned reasons and not all wood accepts stain the same way. Even if its not splotchy, streaky or whatever, it might not darken as much as ebony.

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Old 02-16-2017, 05:14 PM   #8
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Ron Jarzombek stained his maple boards black for no reason other than he needed the board to contrast with his fingers in instructional videos. Provided you're careful, the matter is trivial (in spite of what some have claimed) - It's just a guitar, and it's yours to do whatever with. Just try to do it well.
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:27 PM   #9
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if you want it, then do it. Not every guitar has a Ebony board option, most of the guitars that comes with Ebony might be out of the price range for the OP or wont have the specs, looks, shape, brand, ect, that the OP wants.

I get your point, I like to see a darker fretboard, not necessary pitch black, but dark brown, as we know some rosewood can come darker and other pretty light, with might contrast too much with the color scheme of the guitar. "go and admire your wood fretboard", if it was an exotic wood, then yes, but chances are this is a plain cheap rosewod who just looks "brown" with nothing else much going on.

so I would say, go for it. BUT.......:

-do your re-search, and then re-search some more. See if your local luthier can do it, and while you are at it, have him to do some pro settup at your guitar, address/level/polish the frets, accion, ect. Chances are if you doing the full job, he wont charge that much for the fretboard stain..... all this in comparison to you to buy the tools to do it

-re- search a bit more, and practice practice practice. Meassure twice, do it once. Practice how to mask everything, as others point out, if you stain something else (neck/body) it would stay there, so be really careful. Also maybe buy some cheap wood to practice the amount of it you need to stain so you have a even coverage.

-Finally, be aware that this mod would bring the price down of your instrument. I know you are seeing it as an upgrade, but for a buyers POV this is a mod to bring down the price of the guitar

-Have fun, and show us some pics
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Old 02-16-2017, 09:24 PM   #10
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Stain will rub off if not under a clear coat like on a classic maple board.
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Old 02-16-2017, 09:36 PM   #11
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thanks for all the responses guys. I really appreciate the input. Now to just consider my options. I may leave alone. But I am still considering all options. Thanks I appreciate it fellas.
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Old 02-16-2017, 11:41 PM   #12
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My suggestion is to use Howard's Lemon Oil. It's being used a lot on expensive furniture to bring out the depth of the wood grain and it nicely saturates and darkens the wood's color. I don't only use it on fretboards but on all oil finished surfaces. It also give the wood grain a really nice 3d look.

Staining the fretboard, even when using a leather dye, could have the fretboard look strange when it wears off, and might require you to go through the whole procedure of re-applying and drying the dye from time to time, just to maintain the darker look.
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:51 AM   #13
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I use gibson brand fretboard conditioner on my rosewood boards and it will darken. But that's just a temporary fix. Don't think any 2 of my dozen rosewood boards look exactly the same. That's fine with me!
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostjan View Post
#1 Use a piece of gaboon ebony to construct the fretboard.
#2 If the fretboard is already constructed out of another material, simply enjoy that material.
#3 If, for whatever reason, you obtained a guitar that didn't use the fretboard material you wanted, and you simply don't like the character and look of real wood the way it was meant to be admired, and you are fine with potentially misrepresenting the material when you sell the guitar at a later date, you can stain the wood using the above method (water-based india ink). Keep in mind that no stain is 100% permanent, just as wood will lighten slightly over time naturally. Also, please please be aware that this stuff is not the easiest to apply properly, and applying improperly can make the wood look weird (streaky- the ink is fairly transparent) and is likely to leave smudges.
#4 If you go really crazy and use an oil-based black leather dye, the fretboard might look uniformly dark, but any smudged you get on anything will be permanent, including fingers.

So, I know you probably don't care what I think, but I would urge you to leave the fretboard alone. If you must darken it, I would further urge you to educate yourself as much as possible about the process before taking it on to mitigate the chance of something turning out wrong.


I'd leave it alone. Finding a guitar with the material you want would be a safer bet, albeit more expensive.

I much prefer ebony over rosewood, and thought about dying my 1527's rosewood board but after some research it seemed to be a pita and too risky. So next guitar purchase, instead of making the mistake of buying one with a board I don't like so much, I'm getting something with ebony. Most likely that new Schecter Apocalypse 7.

But it's your guitar, do what you want. Just be careful.

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Old 02-17-2017, 07:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcwormjim View Post
Ron Jarzombek stained his maple boards black for no reason other than he needed the board to contrast with his fingers in instructional videos.
Interesting...
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Old 02-17-2017, 07:52 PM   #16
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I agree with the post above stating it is your guitar, do as you wish. One other possible consideration: The recent CITES treaty was brought in for a reason, and because of it, at least in the short-medium term, I fully expect the price of rosewood to increase based on the simple concept of scarcity. You may wish to leave it alone for a bit just to see what happens to rosewood (rosewood that looks like rosewood, mind you) prices over the next year or so.
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:17 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostjan View Post
the character and look of real wood the way it was meant to be admired
To be honest 90% of the reason guitars have rosewood is because players insisted on real wood and not synthetic materials and it [was] cheap. I think rosewood looks horrid with all black guitars; big name brands like ibanez sure as hell aren't using rosewood over ebony on $1k+ instruments to be "enjoyed", they're just cheap and want to maintain their overhead. I'd suggest if it's an expensive guitar not to, but if it's some $300 guitar centner thing then go ahead and do whatever. If all you want is a blacken fretboard and don't even mind losing inlay's, I'd suggest just getting painters tape to protect the frets and neck and going at it with a thing layer of regular flat paint. If you're able to smoothly cover the whole fret in one or two passes it looks very uniform and from a few feet away looks like pure black ebony (I had a guitar I did this with but not anymore, or I'd post pics). Staining with ebony stain also works nicely, just make sure to use painters tape to cover up the inlays.
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:24 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamaom View Post
To be honest 90% of the reason guitars have rosewood is because players insisted on real wood and not synthetic materials and it [was] cheap. I think rosewood looks horrid with all black guitars; big name brands like ibanez sure as hell aren't using rosewood over ebony on $1k+ instruments to be "enjoyed", they're just cheap and want to maintain their overhead. I'd suggest if it's an expensive guitar not to, but if it's some $300 guitar centner thing then go ahead and do whatever. If all you want is a blacken fretboard and don't even mind losing inlay's, I'd suggest just getting painters tape to protect the frets and neck and going at it with a thing layer of regular flat paint. If you're able to smoothly cover the whole fret in one or two passes it looks very uniform and from a few feet away looks like pure black ebony (I had a guitar I did this with but not anymore, or I'd post pics). Staining with ebony stain also works nicely, just make sure to use painters tape to cover up the inlays.
As with any wood, there are different qualities of rosewood. I have a few very expensive guitars with rosewood and the feel and grain isn't anything like entry level.
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