Guitar Neck Woods


From plain white Maple to colorful tropical exotics, we offer a rainbow of musical instrument woods. There is no one "best" wood. The choice you make should be based upon your application and personal taste or preference.

Part of the beauty of wood is the uniqueness of each piece. There are wide ranges of color, striping, streaking, figure size, interval, etc. all varied by the touch of nature. Our pictures are for general reference only.



If you have specific appearance expectations, please discuss this with our representatives, before ordering, to establish availability and price.

"Afra" Afromosia (Pericopsis elata):



The short name is Afra - About the same density of Hard Maple with a very similar sound. Medium fine grained. Occasionally we find some of this wood quartersawn and offer it in neck form. This is a great way to get a darker look to your neck without a finish doing it for you!

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Used for neck backs X    
Used for fingerboards   X Unless made as a one-piece neck
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Used for bodies   X  

Bocote (Cordia elaeagnoiders):



Often referred to as Mexican Rosewood, striking grain patterns are the trademark of this dense, smooth wood. The grain is very tight so the feel is extremely fast and luxurious. Because of Bocote’s dense nature, you can expect great sustain and nice attack. Along with the usually wild figure of light and dark brown stripes, light yellow and light green hues are not uncommon and add to the uniqueness of this fine exotic. Limited availability.

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Bubinga (Guibourtia demeusei):



Fine grained and super smooth, Bubinga has long been a favorite of the discriminating ears of the famous. Used by companies such as Rickenbacker for fretboards and Warwick for bodies. As a bass neck, it brings bright midrange and a thick, well defined bottom. Bubinga is also a very stiff wood adding strength and stability to its list of assets. This is one formidable tonewood!

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Canary (Centrolobium ochroxylon):



More properly called Arariba. What we've had of this wood is primarily a yellow color with deep red streaking. Canary has a density that is comparable to Maple with a tone that has a similar brightness to Maple as well. You can apply a finish or play it raw!

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Cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa):



A true Rosewood species and gorgeous to behold. Unfortunately this extremely oily wood is difficult to glue. Worse yet, the dust is very irritating and toxic. Limited availability.

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Standard

Ebony (Black)
At additional cost

Ebony (Diospyros melanoxylon):



Very hard, smooth and fast feeling, it has a bright, long sustaining tone. Chocolate brown or dark gray streaks are not uncommon. Ebony has a long history of a preferred fingerboard choice of high-end electric guitar builders. An excellent choice for fretless necks. Available primarily as fingerboards and occasionally for full neck construction.

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Ebony, Macassar (Diospyros macassar):



The distinctive chocolate brown stripes of Macassar Ebony are hard to miss. A beautiful wood for those wanting the feel and tone of ebony but a more exciting look! Lots of sustain, attack and stability from this dense wood and the feel is very smooth to the touch. Primarily used for fingerboards but sometimes available for solid necks too! No finish required.

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  YES NO  
Used for neck backs X   Limited availability
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Goncalo Alves (Astronium fraxini folium):



Very dense smooth texture with a waxy, fast feel. Color is tan with darker chocolate stripes (used by Smith & Wesson for pistol grips). With an articulate, clean, warm tone, Goncalo gets rave reviews for its overall well balanced tone and great looks. Primarily used as a neck wood, it mates well with Pau Ferro or Ebony fingerboards.

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Imbuia (Phoebe Porosa):



Sometimes referred to as Brazilian Walnut - similar in density and tone to Walnut. Varies from yellow-olive to chocolate brown in color and sometimes features interesting figuring. Has a fragrant spicy smell when cut. Does not require a finish; feels smooth and fast to the touch. Limited availability

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  YES NO Limited availability
Used for neck backs X    
Used for fingerboards   X  
Finish required   X  
Used for bodies X   Occasionally laminate tops

Indian Rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia):



Here we have the most popular fingerboard wood! Indian Rosewood has the warm "rock-n-roll" tonality you’ve heard on many of the most famous rock albums in history. The warm tone is also a favorite amongst blues players. Rosewood contains natural oils so a finish is not required. The feel is also smooth and fast. Colors range from brown to dark purple to lighter purple with yellows and sometimes hues of orange and green.

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Kingwood (Dalbergia cearensis):



Affectionately referred to as "the wood of kings" and for good reason! From South America, this wood is very hard and dense with a fine, smooth texture to it. Sonically you can expect great articulation, fast response and ample sustain. Often the grain is highly figured and varies in amazing ways. Truly an excellent fingerboard wood choice and a customer favorite.

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Koa (Acacia koa):



Koa comes from the Hawaiian Islands. Koa is similar to Mahogany in density and strength though it can look remarkable! Stripes of tans and brown can create interesting figure. Sometimes even flame figuring is available that really comes alive under a clear gloss. Koa sounds especially good when combined with a Pau Ferro or Ebony fingerboard. Koa is highly prized in the wood market because of its limited availability, so it is expensive. Koa must be hard finished.

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White Korina

Black Korina

Korina, Black and White, or Limba (Terminalia superba):



Black and White Korina both come from the same tree. Black is the heart or bottom of the tree; white is from the outer and upper part of the tree. In body woods, it is not uncommon to see both white and black in the same board. Though Limba is its true name, Korina is the name most guitarists recognize for this wood. Its light yellow-green color is unique and looks aged even though new. In both tone and texture Korina is very similar to Mahogany with just a touch more highs. Korina is only suitable for neck stock, not fingerboards. Availability is limited or sporadic.

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  YES NO  
Used for neck backs X   Limited availability
Used for fingerboards   X  
Finish required X    
Used for bodies X    

Mahogany (Khaya ivorensis):



Commonly called African Mahogany. This is the wood most associated with Gibson guitars. Mahogany is known to provide the warmest, fattest guitar tones. An open grain wood requiring more work in finishing to fill the open pores. Usually a dark to medium brown with only subtle grain patterns.

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Used for neck backs X    
Used for fingerboards   X  
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Standard

High Grade

Maple, Birdseye (Acer saccharum):



Birdseye is a type of figure found in Hard Maple. It shows best in flat sawn wood. There is a wide variety of sizes and shapes in the "eyes." Under a gloss finish, the Birdseye takes on a 3D look for a beautiful visual appeal. There seems to be a recurring rumor that Birdseye Maple is unstable and not suited to guitar necks. Having made tens of thousands of Birdseye necks, we can assure you that it is no different in stability than plain maple. AAA grade means the wood will be a bit more figured than our standard.

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  YES NO  
Used for neck backs X    
Used for fingerboards X    
Finish required X    
Used for bodies   X Occasionally laminate tops

Maple, Flame (Acer saccharum):



While there are several maple species that show the flame figure, the only one hard enough for making necks is Acer saccharum. Identical to plain Hard Maple, except for the highly prized flame figuring. For even more flame figure, AAA grade can be requested. A different species of Flame Maple is used for body laminate tops.

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Maple, Hard (Acer saccharum):



This is the most traditional Fender neck wood. Dense, hard and strong, offering great sustain and stability. The tone is bright. Maple must be finished to protect from warping. The figure varies greatly and does at times contain some birdseye. Most often flatsawn with quartersawn available as an option.

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Maple, Roasted (Acer saccharum):



Roasted Maple is maple that has been heat treated to remove sugars, moisture, and other impurities that can affect its stability. The result is a neck that is slightly lighter than normal and extremely stable. Because of its enhanced stability a finish is not required, making it the maple of choice for those who prefer the smooth, quick feel of natural wood. The roasting process also brings out a beautiful caramel color in the wood.

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Used for neck backs X    
Used for fingerboards X    
Finish required   X  
Used for bodies   X  

Padouk, African (Pterocarpus soyauxii):



Bright vivid red color which oxidizes to a warm brown with use. With an open grain texture like Rosewood, the sound is very similar to Maple; well balanced and tight. It is very stable in use and requires no finish. Feels very natural to play on.

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Used for fingerboards X    
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Used for bodies X    

Palisander Rosewood (Dalbergia baroni):



The color varies from light violet to darker purples, sometimes with darker stripes. The best smelling wood around. Very hard with a somewhat open cell structure. As with most Rosewood, the tone is warm and the natural feel is fast. Limited availability.

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Used for fingerboards X    
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Pau Ferro (Machaerium villosum):



An excellent dense, hard wood with a very tight pore structure. This means it’s fast, smooth and extremely durable. An excellent choice for fretless fingerboards. Not only is it resistant to wear, but often the wood figuring is striking with variations in color from light tan to a dark coffee. The tone is brighter than Rosewood yet warmer than Ebony with plenty of articulation and attack. One of our favorite woods for fingerboards! No finish required!

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  YES NO  
Used for neck backs X   Limited availability
Used for fingerboards X    
Finish required   X  
Used for bodies X   Occasionally laminate tops

Purpleheart (Peltogyne pubesens):



The trademark purple-like color is striking and it is gaining in popularity. A very hard, dense wood for excellent sustain and similar to Bubinga in its thick, well defined bottom. Looks great combined with bodies sporting purple finishes!

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Used for neck backs X    
Used for fingerboards X    
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Satine or Bloodwood (Brosimum paraense):



We also know this as Bloodwood because of its dark red color. A very dense, hard, tropical wood with a waxy, smooth feel. Super tight grain pattern almost like Ebony, this wood is super fast to play on. Extended sustain and brilliant highs. Truly an incredible clean looking exotic.

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Walnut (Juglans nigra):



Walnut is the only North American dark wood. It is somewhat softer than Maple though stiffer than Mahogany. The sonic properties combine especially well with Ebony fingerboards. Under a gloss, the grain is very deep, thick and rich looking.

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Used for neck backs X    
Used for fingerboards   X  
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Used for bodies X    

Wenge (Millettia laurentii):



A black hard wood with chocolate brown stripes. Very hard, coarser textured wood with open grain and very stiff. This wood makes awesome necks with strong midrange tones and warm lows. Combine it with an ebony fingerboard for added highs. Bass players will be wowed by the punchy-ness, and guitar players will be awe struck at the howling mid-tones of their solos. Playing-wise, the coarse grain translates to less surface drag for your thumb while sliding. So though it's coarse, it's actually very fast while playing on it.

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Used for neck backs X    
Used for fingerboards X    
Finish required   X  
Used for bodies X    

Ziricote (Cordia dodecandra):



This dark gray to brown to black wood is similar to Ebony in weight and density. Some pieces have gorgeous striping and spider web grain patterns. The feel is buttery smooth and slick. The density translates to great sustain with a nice, medium tone. Limited availability and a bit expensive.

Tone-O-Meter™
  YES NO  
Used for neck backs X    
Used for fingerboards X    
Finish required   X  
Used for bodies X   Occasionally laminate tops