Ebony Fingerboards

This is a Handmade Centurion Guitar With an Ebony Fretboard

This is a Handmade Abstract Guitar With an Ebony Fretboard
Ed Roman Offers Full Financing Anywhere In The USA

PRS With Rosewood Fingerboard & Bird Inlays

Why Won't PRS Use Ebony Fingerboards On Their Guitars?

It really rankles me that PRS refuses to offer Ebony fingerboards. I mean what's the deal, I thought PRS was supposed to be a Premium High End Guitar?      Well Excuuuse Meeee!!!     Ok there is a reason and here it is:

Since most people don't know, I must first state the fact that PRS is an entirely machine made guitar.
"PRS Guitars Are Entirely Machine Made"

got that... are you sure?

Ok, because when the next time you are in a Sam Ash Store or a Guitar Center, the 17 year old commissioned sales boy automaton will more than likely tell you it is entirely hand made with violins playing in the background.

That's BS to the tenth power!!!  He's not necessarily lying, he's just ignorant. Ok, enough bashing of ignorant salespeople and on with the show.

If you use an automated fret installation system that rams the frets down into the fingerboard there is a very good chance you will split the ebony. In fact I have seen it done at the old PBC Guitar shop in Pennsylvania when they were Ghost building all of the Ibanez USA guitars back in the mid 90's.

Consequently, I don't think that PRS will be doing any ebony fretboards now or in the future. They are concentrating more on automation than on hand building.

When I took the tour of the Jackson factory, I saw a custom made machine for pressing the frets in, but they were hand installing each one when I was there. They have semi automated it and therefore they have achieved an intelligent balance between hand made and robotic made.  Instead of ramming the frets in like most systems I have seen,  They were chattering them in.  They actually vibrated the frets until they sank slowly into the wood.

All of the small builders are installing & hand fitting frets one at a time. This process is time consuming and requires skill, This gives the hand builder the definite edge.  (I have seen some sloppy hand done fret-jobs but that is usually from the ultra small builders who do less than 10 guitars a year.)

Ebony is a great wood for fingerboard. It costs about 11 times as much as Rosewood but on many guitars I like it better. There are only a couple of exceptions.

Ebony on a Les Paul style guitar is not the preferred fingerboard. The guitar just does not sound like a Les Paul when there is an Ebony fingerboard. Zack Wylde, Peter Frampton, & Ace Frehley to name a few use Ebony fretboards on Les Paul's but their sound is considered by many to not be the Classic Les Paul Tone..

Ebony sounds great on a guitar with a long neck, it's more percussive, as long as you don't have a real hard wood body like solid Maple or solid Bubinga it makes for a great tonal combination.

Good tone is derived from combining different woods. We hang up fingerboards, & body woods & tap them for resonance & pitch. Most small hand builders will at least attempt to marry the different woods together sometimes in thirds, fifths or in unison pitch. I am sure Paul Reed Smith was doing that in the first 2 to 3 years they were building their guitars. I am positive they are not doing it today.

Ed Roman

Quicksilver With Ebony Fretboard & Dragon Inlay.

Look at any PRS with a Dragon Inlay & you will notice it does not have the definition of contrast that the Quicksilver has. Rosewood is a dull brown and therefore less contrasting than ebony.

PRS With Rosewood Fretboard & Dragon Inlay.
The Rosewood Is Dull & Drab, The Ebony Pops & Shows Contrast.

Quicksilver With Ebony Fretboard & Lightning Bolt Inlays

PRS With Rosewood Fretboard & Dragon Inlay.
The Rosewood Is Dull & Drab, The Ebony Pops & Shows Contrast.