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Ebonizing Your Fretboard

Make your rosewood fretboard black in a few easy steps. It doesn’t take long, and the result looks cool.

I brought a 2012 Jackson King V as a new project from Russ Dumond (metalhead great doing business) from Facebook Marketplace. It only had one Bridge Fishman pickup installed so it is a great base for my new project. First I wanted to stain the rosewood finish on the fretboard to ebony black. Why? because I love black King V’s simple as that and because I have never done it before.

Using 200/220 sandpaper, lightly sand the fretboard, you don’t want to damage your frets, or make your fretboard uneven so go lightly.
Light sanding will make the fretboard more receptive to the ebony stain.

When that’s done, I wipe down the neck with mineral spirits, wearing latex gloves because the spirits/stain will go everywhere ask my bulldog.

Use ordinary blue painters tape to mask the areas of the neck that I didn’t want to stain. Cover the majority of the neck and guitar this way and I also add shrink wrap as you can see in the photos.

The black stain I use is Minwax Ebony 2718. Used a foam brush to apply it to the neck.

Stain over the fretboard, the inlays and white binding (you can tidy those up later with mineral spirits and a rag, and it won’t stick to your frets at all). Once you have it on there, leave it alone for at least 20 minutes. The longer it’s on there, the darker your finish will be.

Use a rag rub off all of the stain. Repeat this step again and again until the cloth comes up clean. If you think the fretboard isn’t black enough, re-stain and wait another 10 – 30 minutes, then wipe the stuff off again repeat.

When it’s “dry,” you can now remove the painters tape. You will notice that some of the stain has bleed under the tape (it’s unavoidable), but it’s easy to clean that up using mineral spirits and a rag.

Let the fretboard dry overnight. If you need to tidy up the inlays, wait until this drying phase is done.

Once happy with the end result I use Dunlop 65 Lemon Oil to polish the neck and its done.





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