Fingerboards: where the magical fingers make melodies
Wood plays an integral role in every musical instrument be it in its design, construction as well as to their behaviour. The importance of wood in stringed instruments is well acknowledged for soundboards that transmit and radiate a string's vibration and function as a filter to alter the timbre. Different types of wood have different types of textures. These textures and differences are not just to feel but also for the tones that are produced from the instruments.
A stringed instrument is a combination of different parts like the body, neck, fingerboard to name a few.
Fingerboard or fretboard is a major part in a stringed instrument, whether it be for a fretless instrument like violin, viola, cello or fretted instruments like guitar, sitar, ukulele. It acts as the neck on an instrument's body through which the hands of an artist run making melodies.
Guitar frets are strips of metal made of an alloy of nickel and brass, embedded on the fingerboards. Musical notes are produced after pressing on each of the frets against the fretboard below a fret.
Why does the wood affect the tone?
The vibrating motion of the string against the metal frets create the sounds of different musical notes. The species of the neck wood affects the production of the tones. Denser the neck wood, brighter the sounding would be but with less sustain as denser woods tend to reflect sound waves whereas less dense ones absorb them. Be it acoustic or electric guitar, ukulele, flamingo the tone produced are dependent on the woods.
Some of the best woods for the best sounding for your guitar
Ebony has a long history of use, and carved items from that material have been discovered in the tombs from the Old Kingdom of Egypt. Coming from several species of Diospyros, ebony is dense enough to sink in water. With its fine texture, it is also used as an ornamental wood.
The most dense and durable wood used for fingerboards, ebony gives the sound more snap and clarity. Ebony has an open tone, bright attack, great sustain and excellent durability. Even when unfinished, it is slick and smooth, giving it a rapid playing feel and excellent responsiveness.
Brazilian ebony is one of the work friendly all around woods which is stable and straight grained.
Mexican royal ebony/ Katalox is a dark purple/black colour accent with the creamy/golden sapwood to create contrast that can be well utilised for a unique look. It is exceptionally heavy and hard. Very dense exotic wood yet finishes well.
Wood, consisting of a smooth grain pattern, high durability, maple wood is a greatly strong hardwood. Belonging to the genus Acer, there are over 100 species of maple trees.
Hard maple, Ambrosia maple, and Birdseye maple are the much used species while in the manufacture of a guitar fingerboard. Popular for maple's sharp attack and biting response, its characteristics yield sustain and bright tone. With tight pores and little natural oil, the playability of maple is quick and slick.
Many guitars have one-piece fretted maple necks as one-piece necks transfer string vibration differently than those with a separate fingerboard.
From the genus of Dalbergia, they are strong as well as heavy. With excellent stability and high density, it plays a major role in the making of guitar fingerboards.
Since rosewood is a natural oil wood, the stray overtones are absorbed into the oily pores which produces the sound richer.
Rosewood, being known for having different hues, is a very hard and dense wood with great clarity and articulation in tone.
East Indian Rosewood
The east indian rosewood, scientifically known as Dalbergia Latifolia,one prominent species among the rosewood, is described as soft under the fingers, warmer sounding with less defined attack.
Exotic zone wood gives you the best wood for your best guitar.
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