Is Laurel Here to Stay??

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by goostah, Sep 22, 2020.

  1. goostah

    goostah Electromatic

    Jun 25, 2017
    Just noted some of the Electromatic lines are moving from Walnut to laurel fretboards. Based on what I have seen in pictures and in person I haven't seen a laurel fretboard that looked good. I was hoping laurel was just a stop gap due to CITES. Or is there still difficulty for guitar manufacturers sourcing rosewood? Or is laurel simply cheaper option?
    Back in Black likes this.
  2. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    I'm unfamiliar with " laurel " fretboards . Anyone ??
  3. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    I like unstained black walnut and laurel. I like different fretboard material but I also squeeze strings down so hard I wear my boards out fast. One of the reasons I like bigger strings is I can put a bit more pressure on them and not touch the board. I really like fretboard with lots of grain structure and/or streaking or figure.
  4. sgarnett

    sgarnett Synchromatic

    Apr 14, 2020
    I try to play with as light a grip as possible, but I also like fretboards with a lot of character (except for runout - I hate runout). Even ebony looks better to me with streaking or figure instead of being piano black. I have no problem with using laurel, walnut, etc, but I prefer that it NOT be dyed.
    Robbie, Stefan87, Bertotti and 3 others like this.
  5. mrcoffee23

    mrcoffee23 Gretschie

    Sep 23, 2009
    Virginia, USA
    The new Guild Starfire I series are rosewood, and I saw some total bargain brand just released their stuff with rosewood. I would hope all that pao ferro and walnut etc goes away, but time will tell.

    I have passed on buying some new guitars because I don't care for the fretboard wood, and I imagine I am not the only one.
  6. davenumber2

    davenumber2 Gretschie

    Nov 1, 2019
    Columbia, MO
    My 2622 fretboard is Laurel. I would think it's a slightly lighter shade of Rosewood if nobody told me. Maybe I'm just not that picky.
    GlenP likes this.
  7. sgarnett

    sgarnett Synchromatic

    Apr 14, 2020
    Not matter which species is used, selecting good boards for the fretboard is important. One of the worst I’ve had was the rosewood on an American Original Stratocaster. Runout made one edge of the fretboard feel and look rough, and there was visible end grain on the face of part of the board. Parts of the board were fine, but it should have been used for making small parts (peghead face plates, bridge bases, etc).
  8. Merc

    Merc Friend of Fred

    May 6, 2017
    At first I didn’t care for Laurel or Pao Ferro but it doesn’t bother me now. I’ve grown to like some of the more character it can have. Would I still choose Rosewood or Ebony of given a choice? Absolutely. Will I not buy a guitar solely because it’s got a different species? No. I view it more as a visual thing of getting used to.
    new6659 and GlenP like this.
  9. HypotenusLuvTriangle

    HypotenusLuvTriangle Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2010
    Whittier, Ca
    If no one told me it was Laurel, I wouldn't have noticed my G5232T didn't have Rosewood. All I know is that it wasn't jet black ebony so it required staining. I don't know why I am the way that I am.

    It sounded the same to me as my rosewood equipped guitars.
    new6659 likes this.
  10. BCRatRod73

    BCRatRod73 Gretschie

    Sep 1, 2020
    I prefer rosewood but I'm not all that picky when it comes to actual fretboard woods. I had a Gibson 335 with a baked maple board. I kinda liked it.

    That Richlite stuff? Hmm. I'd probably pass on a guitar with a Richlite board. Same for what Hagstrom uses on some or all of their guitars. I prefer a darker fretboard but a lighter board can be fixed.
    If the guitar with Laurel wood sustains and has awesome tone? Who cares?
  11. wildeman

    wildeman I Bleed Orange

    May 10, 2015
    Until its all gone too.
  12. HypotenusLuvTriangle

    HypotenusLuvTriangle Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2010
    Whittier, Ca
    section2 and wildeman like this.
  13. afire

    afire Country Gent

    Laurel is okay, but I prefer a Hardy board.

  14. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    That’s why I am trying to get black walnut spruce and cherry to grow on my land. Maple also!
  15. journeyman

    journeyman Gretschie

    Aug 20, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    I like it in my spaghetti sauce.
  16. sgarnett

    sgarnett Synchromatic

    Apr 14, 2020
    I’ve got all three of the hardwoods. No red or sugar maple though; only the softer stuff, and some red/silver hybrids. The squirrels help a lot with planting the walnut trees, but the deer help ensure every tree has “character”.
    Bertotti likes this.
  17. rcboals

    rcboals Country Gent

    Nov 21, 2008
    Springfield Oregon
    I sure like that synthetic fretboard I have had it on three Hagstroms they call it Resinator Fretboard same type stuff as Gibson Richlite. It is IMO just as nice as really nice Ebony like on my Black Phoenix.
    Groutsch, section2 and Tony65x55 like this.
  18. Country Gent

    Apr 30, 2009
    I am a huge huge fan of laurel. I think I have two guitars now, both of which I bought because they sounded unusually good. And I realized the laurel fingerboard made a big difference. Just like ebony changes everything.

    Something else that works really well for me is roasted maple. I think it’s really cool when these companies experiment with some thing, and it turns out better than what they had been doing all along. Roasted maple on a Gibson with humbuckers is amazing.
    Bertotti and sgarnett like this.
  19. GlenP

    GlenP Country Gent

    Jul 23, 2019
  20. Back in Black

    Back in Black Country Gent

    Jun 22, 2020
    Ontario Canada

    I hope it's here to stay, what I particularly like about laurel, is that it's cross border shipping friendly.

    I can no longer order a guitar with an ebony or rosewood fingerboard and have it shipped from a US shop into Canada.

    Blame Gibson, I'm sure all the info is still up on the internet, caught smuggling all manners of exotic wood species, the penalty was huge.

    I have a laurel finger board on my Malcolm Young ''Salute'' Jet build. I hand rubbed it with cherry stain...''just beautiful''

    If you stain it with black stain, you get ebony.

    It takes ''Minwax'' stains very well.



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