ESP E-II Eclipse: Ebony Fretboard Stain?

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by kingneptune117, May 29, 2019.

  1. kingneptune117

    kingneptune117 SS.org Regular

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    Hey all,

    Yesterday I received my brand new ESP E-II Eclipse (Red Sparkle!). Everything about it is absolutely perfect with the exception of two things:

    1. After I played it for around a half hour, I am noticing black stain on my fingertips.
    2. On the fretboard there is a very small spot that appears to be a much lighter color, almost a "natural" wood color, i.e. not black. It looks like they must have missed a spot when staining, or the stain got rubbed off, or something.

    As for number 1, I assume that ESP must stain their ebony boards to give them the jet black appearance?

    As for number 2, is there any way to fix this? Is the stain they use commercially available? If it was, would I even want to attempt to stain that one spot? I notice the fretboard is quite shiny and polished - if I applied stain to that one area, would I have to buff it out to blend it in with the rest of the fretboard? Again, it is hardly noticeable since it is so small, I don't want to turn a small problem into a big problem.

    Any information is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
     
  2. Fenceclimber

    Fenceclimber I love Ibanez

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    I have no real experiences with MIJ ESP’s but I know that some brand new guitars that I’ve had before had some sort of coating on the strings from the factory which then rubbed of on my fingertips.

    As I said, no idea if that’s the case or if the board is stained. I’ll let someone more knowledgeable about ESP answer. :)
     
  3. The 1

    The 1 SS.org Regular

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    ESP do stain their ebony, and the dye rubbing off is normal. I don't know about #2, but I personally wouldn't bother trying to touch it up.
     
  4. CapinCripes

    CapinCripes Trem Snob

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    I wouldn't be surprised if it is dyed black and some stain came off. The days of pure jet black ebony are over. it exists in small quantities but is not likely to be on very many if any production guitars at this point. The industry and consumers as a whole needs to either accept dying and streaks or move to composite materials like richlite. stains are commercially available and arn't that expensive or difficult to use as long as you mask the hell out of any area you don't want it on.
     
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  5. BlackSG91

    BlackSG91 Loves Black Guitars

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    I stained the rosewood FB on my '98 Fender American Standard Strat with ebony wood stain and the results turned out great.


    ;>)/
     
  6. setsuna7

    setsuna7 Poor Gearwhore

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    Yep. Ebony is not Jet Black entirely, ESP does stain their fretboard,
    just clean your fingerboard with naphtha thoroughly, and don't forget to apply lemon oil afterwards, let it sit for one night. Do this at your next string change.
     
  7. olejason

    olejason SS.org Regular

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    I would avoid lemon oil. Use 'bore oil' if you want the rich dark color to remain for a long time.
     
  8. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    ESP generally does dye their ebony boards.
    Is it dye? Maybe.

    It could also be defective strings (sometimes strings will leave a black residue on your fingers if the employees waited too long to change one of the machine components--It's felt head run-off or something if I remember correctly).

    It could also be residue from not wiping off the lemon oil or whatever ESP USA tech's use in their inspections of guitars that come into North America. I have had this issue with a PRS SE of mine which has a rosewood fretboard, when I use Dunlop lemon oil I have to spend a lot more time scrubbing it off afterwards than all my other guitars; and if I don't then I get black residue (dirt/grime) on my fingers.

    I can't remember now from memory, but ESP in the past at least would put a finish over their ebony boards, so I'm not sure if you could easily re-stain it yourself. Does yours have a glossy finish on top of the ebony?

    Ultimately, if you see an ebony board nowadays that is jet black it is 99.9% going to be stained. If there is a place that didn't take the stain very well then you may see a lighter streak in the board still--this is normal--and a lot of manufacturers now are not staining their ebony boards anyways, so its much more common to see brownish streaks in ebony on guitars today. I have a Gibson LP with an Ebony board and there is a small brownish streak in a few areas here and there--it's all good, and relatively normal. Again, not sure if your issue is the staining or not. I would try putting on new strings and cleaning the fretboard first with whatever cleaner you normally use. If you are still having the issue of black fingers then maybe consider taking it back to the store for a replacement?
     
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  9. angl2k

    angl2k SS.org Regular

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    I have 3 ebony boarded ESP's and while I believe they're dyed, there's no black stain on my fingers after playing. Maybe it's a little bit of residue from the factory?
     
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  10. Johny2wong

    Johny2wong SS.org Regular

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    I agree. E-II fretboard is definitely stained.

    I have 2013 E-II standards M-II. I bought it in 2015. So, it has sit in the store for 2 years. On early 2019, I learnt to play a solo part on one song. Half of the solo is played above 12th fret. After playing it, I noticed black stain on my fingers. My guitar was made almost 6 years ago and the black stain is still there. Off course your guitar, which I assume was made on 2018 or 2019, still has the black stain. FYI, I usually play only rhythm. I almost never play anything above 12th fret.

    My ebony fretboard has a small very light brown section. Luckily, it is located at the very end of the fretboard near the fretboard binding. So, I never really notice it.
     
  11. theicon2125

    theicon2125 SS.org Regular

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    My Eclipse was definitely stained. After the first time I conditioned the fretboard I never had more stain rub off.
     
  12. Humbuck

    Humbuck SS.org Regular

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    I know you're all gonna call bullshit on this but I'm going to put it out there in this thread anyhow. I've had more than one conversation with people at ESP, including more than one visit to the custom house in Shibuya, and it's been relayed to me every time I ask that ESP uses no dye on its ebony boards and there's never any finish applied...ever. I was told they were only ever highly polished.
     
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  13. olejason

    olejason SS.org Regular

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    It may depend on the model/year as well. I have an early 2000's ESP and never experienced any kind of stain rubbing off. It just looks like a really high quality black ebony board.
     
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  14. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    interesting!
    if that is the case, then it could be dirt/grime/whatever or a cleaning agent that wasn't cleaned off well enough. Or, as I said earlier, it could be defective strings.
     
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  15. jephjacques

    jephjacques BUTTS LOL

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    I had the same thing happen with my new EBMM, I suspect it's just grime from the factory.
     
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  16. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    This has been my experience, at least with actual ESP (not E-II, Edwards, etc.).

    What's rubbing off on your hands is the residue from the polishing process. Which is why it goes away quickly, especially after a simple cleaning.

    The polishing process leaves a shiny, smooth, uniform appearance. But, as you play the process is somewhat undone, which means besides residue, you get some color variation back.

    They sometimes use an oil/wax polishing compound, which gives the almost wet/glass like sheen on their ebony boards.
     
  17. Andromalia

    Andromalia Pardon my french

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    There's also a good chance their supply has changed. My newest ESP with an ebony board dates from 2005. It's black and unlikely to be stained, I can compare with my amfisound which I know is not stained (got build pics showing nprocessed materials)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2019
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  18. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Did some cleaning. Let's keep it on topic. :yesway:
     
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  19. Alex79

    Alex79 SS.org Regular

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    Most likely the dirt is residue from polishing and the whiter parts are natural variations in the wood. There are a lot of excellent videos from Taylor Guitars on Youtube on the supply of Ebony - most of it isn't actually jet black - and how we'll all see more ebony with white marks in the future on all guitars (not just Taylor).
     
  20. Alex79

    Alex79 SS.org Regular

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    Could you post a picture please?
     

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