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Q&A: African Blackwood vs. Ebony Fingerboards

African blackwood is no longer regarded as ebony, a name now reserved for a limited number of timbers yielded by the genus Diospyros; African Blackwood is formally known as Dalbergia melanoxylon and so related to other famous timbers such as Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra), Dalbergia cearensis and cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa) (see the Wikipedia entry).

Hanika uses African Blackwood for the fingerboards of several of his guitars. Comparing the two,

  • African Blackwood is harder than Ebony
  • African Blackwood is less sensitive to humidity variations than is Ebony
  • African Blackwood is less “anisotropic” than Ebony – it responds to changes in humidity more evenly in all three dimensions than does Ebony
  • (It is more expensive!)
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Q&A: More on Hanika Neck Profiles

Q: I was wondering if you could tell me how the different [neck] profiles would compare to my [La Mancha] Rubi 7/8 guitar?
I’ve been trying to work it out but I’m not sure I am understanding the diagrams on your website correctly?

SD 2/2/2021


The Hanika C profile is closest to the rubi.

The D profile is wider and flatter at the back (under the thumb). It is typical of south Germany but not at all common elsewhere in the guitar world.

On a standard scale guitar i would recommend a c-1 profile, all the guitars i keep in stock have this, even if it is not standard on the original. If you are going for a shorter scale guitar you might want to consider a c-2.