59 Guitars with Ebony Fretboards – Plus Our Favorites

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Beautiful black looks, dense enough to sink in water, and sometimes hard to find(it’s protected in some countries)…of course I’m talking about ebony, an exotic wood.

Ebony makes an excellent fretboard, it both looks and feels good, it’s durable and many people also prefer it because of its tonal qualities.

But I’ll say this upfront, with electric guitars, tonewoods don’t matter. Especially fretboard woods. Pickups pick up the vibration of the strings directly from the strings and that’s it. With acoustic guitars, fretboard material can have more impact, but it’s still minimal.

But I can’t deny it, some guitars are a perfect fit for ebony fretboard, it just looks so good. That’s why I was happy to put together this article that lists cream of the crop guitars with ebony fretboards, both acoustic and electric. I also reveal my favorite 3 guitars with ebony fretboards. If you have any questions, check the FAQ section or just leave a comment.

Let’s get started!

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I also noticed that most guitar websites don’t do a really good job, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website. I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as Songsterr, Musicnotes, GuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar. I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog(I guess that went the right way…).


Benefits of An Ebony Fretboard

displays Guitar with Ebony Fretboard

Let’s tackle the pros and cons. If you think I missed something, just leave a comment.

Pros

  • Most people love how dark ebony fretboard looks
  • Usually feels super smooth
  • Wear resistant and durable
  • Easy to take care of

Cons

  • Some don’t like the dark color
  • A bit more expensive than most other fretboard woods

24 Acoustic Guitars with Ebony Fretboards

To me, Ibanez AEG550 is the best cheap acoustic guitar with an ebony fretboard. It offers smooth Ibanez playability, solid spruce top, and overall great bang for the buck.

Price Range Icon Meanings:

$= $220-399

$$= $400-899

$$$= $900-1299

$$$$= $1300-1899

$$$$$= $1900-

*Consider all links in this post to be affiliate links. If you purchase, at no additional cost to you, we may earn a small commission. It helps us to keep the lights on, thanks! 🙂

ModelTop MaterialPrice RangeCheck Current Price (affiliate links)
Washburn Bella Tono Novo S9Select Spruce (laminated)$Sweetwater*
Ibanez AEG550 – Best BudgetSpruce (solid)$Sweetwater
Taylor Baby Mahogany BT2Tropical American Mahogany (solid)$$SweetwaterThomann
PRS SE Parlor P20Mahogany (solid)$$SweetwaterThomann
Taylor GS Mini MahoganyTropical Mahogany (solid)$$SweetwaterThomann
Taylor Academy 12Sitka spruce (solid)$$SweetwaterThomann
Breedlove Organic Artista Concert CETorrefied European Spruce$$Sweetwater
Ibanez ACFS300CESolid Engelmann Spruce$$SweetwaterThomann
Yamaha LL16M ARE Original JumboSolid Engelmann Spruce with A.R.E. treatment$$Sweetwater
Yamaha A3M ARE Dreadnought CutawaySolid Sitka Spruce$$SweetwaterThomann
Yamaha GC12C ClassicalSolid American Cedar$$Sweetwater
Yamaha AC3R ARE Concert CutawaySolid Sitka Spruce$$$Sweetwater
Ovation Timeless Balladeer Deep ContourSolid Sitka Spruce$$$SweetwaterThomann
Yamaha LL-TA TransAcousticSolid Engelmann Spruce$$$SweetwaterThomann
Yamaha AC5R ARE Concert – Best OverallSolid Sitka Spruce with A.R.E. treatment$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Taylor 214ce DeluxeSolid Sitka Spruce$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Martin SC-13E Solid Sitka Spruce$$$$Sweetwater
Taylor 317e Grand Pacific V-ClassSolid Sitka Spruce$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender American Acoustasonic StratocasterSolid Sitka Spruce$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Takamine TSP-158CSolid Spruce$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Martin D-18Solid Spruce$$$$$Sweetwater
Martin D-28Solid Sitka Spruce with Aging Toner$$$$$Sweetwater
Taylor 324ce Builder’s EditionSolid Mahogany$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Taylor 814ce – Best PremiumSolid Spruce$$$$$SweetwaterThomann

35 Electric Guitars with Ebony Fretboards

Epiphone SG Modern Figured is one of the best mid-range electric guitars with an ebony fretboard. It’s equipped with 2 thick-sounding ProBucker humbuckers, GraphTech NuBone nut, and offers comfortable playability.

Price Range Icon Meanings:

$= $220-399

$$= $400-899

$$$= $900-1299

$$$$= $1300-1899

$$$$$= $1900-

ModelPickupsPrice RangeCheck Current Price (affiliate links)
Harley Benton DC-Junior FAT2 x  Roswell P90D Stack STK4P Alnico-5 Dog Ear humbucker$Thomann*
Kramer Assault 220 – Best Budget2 x Alnico V Humbucker$SweetwaterThomann
Kramer Nite-V Floyd Rose2 x Alnico V Humbucker$SweetwaterThomann
Epiphone Nancy Wilson FanaticProBucker FB720 Humbucker & ProBucker 3 Slant Humbucker$$SweetwaterThomann
Epiphone SG Modern FiguredProBucker-2 Humbucker & ProBucker-3 Humbucker$$SweetwaterThomann
Sire Larry Carlton L72 x Larry Carlton Modern Humbucker$$SweetwaterThomann
Epiphone Les Paul ModernProBucker-2 Humbucker & ProBucker-3 Humbucker$$SweetwaterThomann
Charvel Joe Duplantier San Dimas Style 22 x Duncan HB-103 Humbucker$$SweetwaterThomann
Epiphone Les Paul Custom KoaProBucker-2 Humbucker & ProBucker-3 Humbucker$$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez Artcore Expressionist AG82 x Magic Touch-mini Humbucker$$Sweetwater
Schecter Sun Valley Super Shredder PT FR2 x EMG Retro Active Hot 70 Humbucker$$Sweetwater
Epiphone Jared James Nichols Gold Glory Les Paul CustomSeymour Duncan P-90 Single-coil$$SweetwaterThomann
Schecter Reaper-62 x Diamond Decimator Humbucker$$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez Nita Strauss Signature JIVAJRQuantum Ceramic Humbucker & Quantum Alnico Single-coil & Quantum Ceramic Humbucker$$SweetwaterThomann
Schecter Nick Johnston Traditional3 x Schecter Diamond Nick Johnston Single-coil$$SweetwaterThomann
Line 6 Variax Standard3 x Vintage Alnico V Single-coil$$SweetwaterThomann
Jackson Pro Series King VDuncan ’59 Humbucker& Duncan JB Humbucker$$$SweetwaterThomann
Schecter Solo-II Custom Schecter USA Pasadena Humbucker
& Schecter USA Pasadena Plus Humbucker
$$$SweetwaterThomann
PRS SE Mark HolcombSeymour Duncan Alpha Humbucker & Seymour Duncan Omega Humbucker$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD EC-1000S – Best OverallActive Fishman Fluence Modern AlNiCo (neck) & Fishman Fluence Modern Ceramic (bridge) humbuckers$$$SweetwaterThomann
Jackson Pro Series Signature Mick Thomson Soloist SL22 x Mick Thomson Seymour Duncan Blackout AHB-3S Humbucker$$$SweetwaterThomann
EVH Wolfgang Special2 x Wolfgang Alnico 2 Humbucker$$$SweetwaterThomann
PRS SE Hollowbody Standard2 x PRS 58/15 “S” Humbucker$$$Swetwater
Ibanez George Benson Signature LGB302 x Super 58 Custom Humbucker$$$SweetwaterThomann
Schecter Hellraiser Hybrid C-1 FR-SSustainiac Pickup
& EMG 57 brushed black chrome Humbucker
$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD James Hetfield Signature Snakebyte2 x EMG JH-B Active Humbucker$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender Jim Root Telecaster HHEMG 60 Humbucker & EMG 81 Humbucker$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez Premium RGT1220PB – Best PremiumDiMarzio Air Norton Humbucker
& DiMarzio Tone Zone Humbucker
$$$$SweetwaterThomann
D’Angelico Excel 59 Hollowbody2 x Seymour Duncan D’Angelico Great Dane P-90 Single-coil$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP E-II Eclipse DBEMG 60 Humbucker & EMG 81 Humbucker$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Gibson Les Paul ModernBurstbucker Pro Rhythm Humbucker
& Burstbucker Pro + Lead Humbucker
$$$$$Sweetwater
Gretsch G6228TG-PE Players Edition Jet2x Broad’Tron BT-65 Humbucker$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Jackson USA Select King V KV2Seymour Duncan JB TB4 Humbucker
& Seymour Duncan JB TB-4 Humbucker
$$$$$Sweetwater
Fender Custom Shop Artisan Stratocaster 3 x Hand-wound Fat ’60s Single-coil$$$$$Sweetwater
Gibson Custom Les Paul Axcess Custom490R Humbucker & 498T Humbucker$$$$$SweetwaterThomann

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3 Best Guitars with Ebony Fretboards – My Favorites

Best Acoustic Guitar With Ebony Fretboard – Yamaha AC5R ARE Concert

What We like

  • Immersive and natural effects without any external gear
  • True-and-tested dreadnought design
  • Classic, warm tones from the spruce-mahogany combo
  • Narrow neck aids overall playability

What We don’t like

  • The actuator module bumps up the cost quite a bit
  • No onboard EQ provided

Who is it for?

The AC5R is one guitar that all guitarists will love, but it’s primarily designed for gigging musicians and singer-songwriters.

With its all-solid construction, high-quality hardware, smooth-playing neck, and premium electronics, it’s a worthy guitar if you need a deluxe acoustic without shelling out $3000 in cash.

Do you like Yamaha guitars? If yes, check this article out: 5 Best Yamaha Acoustic Guitars in 2022.

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Best Premium Acoustic Guitar With Ebony Fretboard – Taylor 814ce

What We like

  • Amazing looks add major stage appeal
  • High-quality tonewoods produce sweet, singing tones
  • Very comfortable and extremely easy to play
  • Versatile and great for every experience level

What We don’t like

  • This guitar deserves a real bone nut and saddle! I’m just not a fan of Micarta or Tusq for these very important parts. 

Who is it for?

The Indian rosewood sings in harmony with the Sitka spruce top and provides an incredible mid-range tone with plenty of presence and warmth.

The playability is second to none. A smooth-playing action allows you to venture up into the higher frets courtesy of the cutaway. I’m a fan of the smaller Grand Auditorium body style, and I could not stop playing fingerstyle blues licks on this thing.

This guitar is an investment that players from any level can appreciate, but it’s of course meant for pro-level players. Play one and you’ll be hooked. 

Do you like Taylor guitars? If yes, check this article out: 5 Best Taylor Guitars in 2022.

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Best Electric Guitar With Ebony Fretboard – ESP LTD EC-1000S Fluence

What I like

  • Great metal tones
  • Stunning looks
  • Spot on the action and smooth neck make this axe comfortable to play
  • Works well with small hands too
  • Fishman Fluence pups are versatile and sound amazing
  • Versatile
  • High quality
  • Tons of different color options are available
  • You can get LTD EC-1000’s with tons of different extra features from piezo pickups to Floyd rose

What I don’t like

  • Upper fret access is not great
  • The use of plastic nut feels a bit cheap for this price

Who is it for?

I’ve been lovin’ this guitar since I first tried it out a couple of years ago. With this axe, you get excellent value for money. It’s built for metal but can handle different music too. For people who mostly play metal, but want to explore other genres too, this guitar is definitely worth the money.

And another awesome thing is that there are so many different versions of this guitar available. Versions with:

  • Evertune bridge
  • Seymor Duncan pickups
  • Floyd Rose
  • Piezo pickup
  • etc.

I know, it can be hard to decide which one, but it’s awesome that there’s an LTD EC-1000 for almost everyone. It’s an awesome, versatile metal machine.

You can read my full review of ESP LTD EC-1000 here.

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FAQ

Is Ebony Good for Fretboard?

It’s excellent fretboard material.

  • It looks stunning with most colors (black fits almost everything in my opinion),
  • it’s really dense and hard, so it’s extremely wearing resistant and durable,
  • ebony fretboards usually have a really smooth feel,
  • plus guitars with ebony fretboards aren’t that expensive.

All that sounds great to me.

Is Ebony A Good Tonewood?

Ebony is a dense wood that produces a bright, but still well-balanced tone. It’s a good tonewood if you like the sound of it. But it’s good to keep in mind that fretboard material doesn’t affect the sound of the guitar almost at all. But if you get an acoustic guitar that has some ebony body woods, that will impact the tone in most cases.

How Do I Identify My Ebony Fretboard?

It’s really dark in color. This photo reveals how the ebony fretboard is visually different from the maple and rosewood fretboards:

displays different guitar fretboard materials
1. Maple. 2. Ebony. 3. Rosewood.

Some ebony species are a bit lighter in color, but most are really dark and you can easily spot the difference between ebony and other fretboard woods.

It should be noted that some cheap guitars, ESP LTD EC-10 for example, have engineered hardwood fretboard, which looks relatively dark, but it’s still not an ebony fretboard. Here’s a photo of EC-10:

ESP LTD EC-10 displayed for readers

How Do You Care for A Ebony Fretboard?

An ebony fretboard is really easy to take care of. It just needs oiling once in a while. This way ebony maintains its beautiful looks and durability.

Ebony is really similar to rosewood when it comes to taking care of, I personally oil rosewood necks of my guitars 2-3 times a year, and they look just beautiful. MusicNomad F-ONE Fretboard Oil is one of the best options available.

Do Ebony Fretboards Need Oil?

Yes. An ebony fretboard needs to be oiled once in a while.


Conclusion

That’s it! Ebony fretboards are stunning, and while I’m not currently owning a guitar with ebony fretboard, I’m always checking them out in music stores and online. They have stolen my heart a little bit if I’m completely honest. I think that you are in the same situation.

I hope that this article helped you out, and maybe you even decided to get one of the guitars featured. If you have any questions just leave a comment, I and the GND team are here for you.

I wish you all the best and keep rocking!

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