Indian Laurel vs Rosewood: In-depth Comparison & All You Need To Know To Decide! 

If you’re in the market for a new guitar or want to upgrade your current one, choosing the right fretboard is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make. Between Indian Laurel and Rosewood, two popular choices for tonewood, here is what you need to know! 

The comparison between Indian Laurel vs Rosewood can be a tricky one. Both have similarities, yet they are different and have advantages and disadvantages that may affect your decision. Not only do these two options provide different aesthetics to your instrument, but they also bring other tonal qualities to the overall sound, and where each has unique characteristics of its own.

So, to help you make a wise decision, in this post, I’ve talked about all the pros and cons and all the details you need to know about Indian Laurel vs Rosewood by comparing the most important factors like tone, appearance, feel, and much more. Besides, we have compared both of them with other fretboard like Pau Ferro vs Maple Fretboards and Ebony vs Rosewood

Indian Laurel vs Rosewood: Fretboard Wood Comparison Table

Features Indian Laurel Rosewood 
Indian Laurel FretboardRosewood Fretboard
Type of Wood   Hardwood Hardwood 
Color hue   Light brown to dark brown Brown/ Golden brown to reddish 
Grain Straight, irregular, or interlocked Straight or wavy  
Density of wood   855 kg/m3/ 53.38 lb/ft3 800 kg/m3/ 50 lb/ft3 
Hardness   10,390 N/ 2,336 lbf 7,900 N/ 1,780 lbf 
Elasticity   12.46 GPa / 1,807,000 psi 11.5 GPa / 1,667,934 psi 
Tone Moderately bright Warm 
Cost Moderate Expensive 

What Is Indian Laurel Wood? 

The Indian Laurel wood is popular among guitarists looking for a classic look and feel. These tonewoods are made from a type of hardwood that is native to India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia and is known for its durability and strength. The beautiful grain and color of the Indian Laurel make it an attractive choice for fretboards.  

Indian Laurel is known for better stability while producing brighter tones. The fretboard of Indian Laurel is usually made of a single piece, which eliminates the need for glue joints and makes the fretboard more durable. It is typically a bit thicker than other fretboard types, which gives it a more solid feel. Moreover, its slightly curved feature makes reaching the lower frets easy. Overall, the Indian Laurel fretboard is an excellent choice whether you are a newbie or a professional guitarist. 

Indian Laurel Fretboard

Pros and Cons of Indian Laurel Wood Fretboard 

The Indian Laurel fretboard is one of the popular fingerboard options available today. It has a lot of advantages. But it also comes with a few disadvantages.  


  • Indian Laurel offers combination of playability and durability 
  • It is hard and dense, which makes it resistant to wear and tear 
  • It is a cost-effective choice compared to the Rosewood fretboard  
  • It provides better resonance than Rosewood 


  • String bending isn’t easy on this type of fretboard 

What Is Rosewood? 

Rosewood is a hardwood that is prized for its attractive and durable qualities. Its distinct reddish-brown color makes it a popular choice for musical instruments. The grain is usually straight and even, and the wood is relatively easy to work with. Brazil, Madagascar, as well as East India are the native habitats of Rosewood. 

Fretboards made of Rosewood have a resonant sound that helps to bring out the natural tones of your instrument. Rosewood fretboards are also known for their durability, which allows them to stand up to years of regular playing without showing signs of wear. That’s why Rosewood fretboards can be found on many of the best guitars and instruments in the world. 

Rosewood Fretboard

Pros and Cons of Rosewood Fretboard 

Rosewood is one of the most popular fretboards out there. But like other fretboards, it also has a few drawbacks. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of the Rosewood fretboard.  


  • Rosewood fretboard can reduce harsh frequencies  
  • Stain-proof 
  • Suitable for long-term use since they are resistant to wear and tear 
  • You can easily refinish Rosewood to make it look brand new 
  • Rosewood brings the best of your guitar sound with a clear articulation 


  • It costs more than other fretboard materials 
  • It requires more frequent maintenance 

Indian Laurel vs Rosewood Comparision In Detail 

The following 5 key differences between Indian Laurel vs Rosewood fretboards will help you choose the right one. 

1. Appearance: 

When used as fretboards, both Indian Laurel vs Rosewood has a nearly similar appearance. It can be tricky to distinguish between the two kinds of wood, especially if the Laurel has a Rosewood-like finish. The Indian Laurel fretboard is a medium brown, rich-looking wood with noticeable grain and a slightly reddish hue.   

On the other hand, the Rosewood fretboard is a deep-colored wood with a more pronounced grain and a brown to deeper reddish color. They have a bit of a coarser texture than Indian Laurel and can have more variation in the color of the wood. 

2. Feel: 

One of the most important things to consider while choosing a fretboard is how it feels. Both Rosewood and Indian Laurel are similar in this aspect. You can glide your fingers easily across the fretboards thanks to the smoothness of both the tonewoods. When I started using an Indian Laurel-made fretboard, I found that it felt a little drier, but I quickly got used to it after two or three practices. Later, I experienced Indian Laurel, which is no less smooth than the Rosewood guitars I have played. 

3. Tone & Sonic Qualities: 

Indian Laurel fretboards are known for their warm and balanced tone, with a smooth texture that makes them ideal for various playing styles. Laurel tonewood offers a brighter and more sparkly sound compared to Rosewood fretboards. Laurel has a medium-low to low action, which makes it ideal for playing lead lines and fast riffing. The low action also makes it easier to play chords. 

On the other hand, Rosewood has a darker and warmer sound with a more pronounced mid-range. It offers a thicker, solid tone, longer sustain, and a richer harmonic content. It is also easier to bend strings on a Rosewood fretboard. Both tonewood creates a variety of tones, but Indian Laurel is generally better for lead playing, while Rosewood is better for heavier rhythm playing. 

4. Durability: 

Indian Laurel fretboards are known for their durability and resistance to wear, making them a superb choice for players who want a fretboard that will last longer. Rosewood fretboards are also very durable but slightly softer than Indian Laurel fretboards, making them more prone to wear and tear than the Laurel.  

Indian Laurel is also more resistant to scratches and dings, which can occur from regular use or playing with a pick. Overall, both Indian Laurel vs Rosewood fretboards is durable enough to give you a long-lasting playing experience. 

5. Playability: 

Both fretboards offer a smooth and comfortable playing experience. Indian Laurel is known to be very responsive, while Rosewood fretboard tends to be a bit more aggressive. Indian Laurel is known for its smoothness and durability, making it easy to glide your fingers over the frets without any roughness or resistance. The fretboard also allows easy and precise finger movement, making it suitable for chord progressions and complex soloing. 

On the other hand, Rosewood fretboards offer the player more control over their playing as string bending is simpler to achieve than Laurel. The wood’s oily nature helps create a smooth playing surface, making it a good choice for beginners. Both fretboards offer great playability, and the choice comes down to what type of sound you’re looking for. 

Indian Laurel vs Rosewood Vs Ebony Vs Pau Ferro Comparision Table

Features Indian Laurel Rosewood Ebony Pau Ferro 
Indian Laurel FretboardRosewood FretboardEbony FretboardPau Ferro
Type of Wood   Hardwood Hardwood Hardwood Hardwood 
Color hue   Light brown to dark brown Brown/ Golden brown to reddish Rich brown to almost jet black Dark brown to reddish 
Grain Straight, irregular, or interlocked Straight or wavy  Straight  Straight, irregular 
Density of wood   855 kg/m3/ 53.38 lb/ft3 800 kg/m3/ 50 lb/ft3 625 kg/m3/ 39 lb/ft3 865 kg/m3 / 54.0 lb/ft3 
Hardness   10,390 N/ 2,336 lbf 7,900 N/ 1,780 lbf 16,000 N/ 3700 lbf 8,710 N / 1,960 lbf 
Elasticity   12.46 GPa / 1,807,000 psi 11.5 GPa / 1,667,934 psi 18.82 GPa/ 2,730,000 psi 10.86 GPa / 1,575,000 psi 
Tone Moderately bright Warm Bright Warm 
Cost Moderate Expensive Expensive Moderate 

How To Care Indian Laurel Fretboard: Step-by-step 

Caring for or maintaining an Indian Laurel fretboard is essential if you want it to last long. Here are some easy-to-follow steps for you to maintain the fretboard properly.  

Step 1: Clean the fretboard regularly with a mild guitar cleaning solution and a soft clean piece of cloth.  

Step 2: From time to time, apply a fretboard oil. Be sure to remove all dirt and grime before coating the fretboard with a thin layer of fretboard oil or conditioner to keep the fretboard hydrated and prevent it from drying out.  

Step 3: Use a fretboard cleaning brush to remove any gunk from between the frets from time to time. You can use this fretboard cleaning kit from MusicNomad that comes with oil, cloth, and a brush. 

Tips: Always check for any signs of cracks or warping in the fretboard, and talk to a luthier immediately.  

How To Care Rosewood Fretboard: Step-by-step 

Taking care of your Rosewood fretboard is essential to keeping your instrument in good playing condition. Follow the below steps to take care of your Rosewood fretboard properly. 

Step 1: Regularly clean the fretboard with a soft cloth and water. Use a fretboard cleaner. 

Step 2: From time to time oil your fretboard with light oil, such as lemon oil. It will prevent the wood from drying out and cracking.  

Step 3: Use a file or sandpaper to smooth the fretboard if necessary.  

Tips: Always check the fretboard for any signs of wear or sharp edges.  

Indian Laurel vs Rosewood: Conclusion 

Both Indian Laurel and Rosewood are worthy choices for fretboard construction, and both of them offer a unique playing experience. Indian Laurel offers a slightly brighter and more articulate tone, while Rosewood provides a warmer and more resonant sound. If durability is your top priority, I recommend you go for Indian Laurel. On the other hand, if you value a rich appearance and luxurious feel, along with high quality, then Rosewood would be the better choice. However, no matter which one you choose, you can be sure that you are getting quality wood that will be with you for a long time. 

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