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Thread: Is this ebony or rosewood?

  1. #1

    Default Is this ebony or rosewood?

    This is my first post so hello from SC! I just purchased a Washburn M3SW mandolin and am a bit confused. The Washburn website list the fretboard as ebony but the Sweetwater website where I purchased the mandolin from list it as rosewood. Iím hoping yíall can help me with this from a pic. I am a guitarist who is just picking up the mandolin and from my experience this appears to be ebony. I have seen dark rosewood but never this dark. What do yíall think from this pic? I havenít gotten it yet to see it in person. Itís supposed to be delivered tomorrow.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is this ebony or rosewood?

    It sure looks like Ebony to me. According to Washburn's website specs, they are claiming Ebony as well.

    https://www.washburn.com/product/m3sw/

    I'm thinking Sweetwater got it wrong this time.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Is this ebony or rosewood?

    Sure looks like Ebony to me. Even stained rosewood is usually a little lighter shade of black and looser grained looking, for lack of a better term.

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  6. #4
    Registered User geechee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this ebony or rosewood?

    FWIW, might want to check the centering of your bridge. Looks a little to the treble side, altho photos can be misleading.

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Is this ebony or rosewood?

    I will definitely check that out. Thank you

  9. #6
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this ebony or rosewood?

    "Ebonized" rosewood (or other hardwood) has been around a long time. My 1946 Kay C-1 bass has a rosewood fingerboard that was originally treated to look like ebony.

    Somewhere along the past 77 years it was returned to a beautiful natural rosewood. The only way I know to check whether real or fake ebony is the float test - ebony sinks. Easy enough on violin pegs and chinrests but not something I'd suggest for your mandolin fretboard.

    Sweetwater has built a solid reputation. Asian-built Washburn not so much. I believe Sweetwater.

    You'll be getting follow-up calls from your Sweetwater sales rep before long. You should ask them about it.

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  11. #7
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    Default Re: Is this ebony or rosewood?

    The difference can usually be noticed in the size of the pores in the wood. Ebony has very small, tight pores whereas the rosewood will show larger, longer pores. Give the fret board a good inspection. Photo looks ebonyish but a close eyeball scan is the best way.

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  13. #8

    Default Re: Is this ebony or rosewood?

    Well the mandolin has been delivered and I will open it later today. It came yesterday but I let it set in the box for 24 hrs so it could climatize to it’s new surroundings. I should be able able to tell once I see it in person. I have a lot of experience with Martin guitars with ebony fretboards.

  14. #9

    Default Re: Is this ebony or rosewood?

    Well after opening her up and inspecting it in person it still appears to be ebony to me. The wood is solid black with a very tight grain. No brown whatsoever and no streaks in the wood. While I know Sweetwater has a good reputation for getting things right. There have been other instances where I have seen them list the wrong specs. I love Sweetwater it’s my favorite online retailer but no one gets it right 100% of the time. If this is rosewood it sure has me fooled as I said I’m a guitarist with many Martins and others with ebony and East Indian rosewood fretboards. Also Washburn’s lower cost mandolins have ebony boards so it wouldn’t make sense to put rosewood on their top of the line mandolin. Thanks for all the replies. I look forward to being a contributing member of the forum.

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