Ebony is known for its clear, crisp attack which is often even brighter than maple. It has a similar density to maple, but has oilier pores and more brittle grains. Due to the very tight grains in the wood, ebony does not require a finish and this gives the fingerboard a very slick, fast playing quality which many players favor.
Although many variations exist, ebony is generally the darkest fretboard wood you will find on most guitars, making it very popular on guitars designed for heavier music where everything must be black! Although rosewood can also be dyed to give a darker finish it is easy to spot the difference between the two woods due to the size of the grain which is much larger on the rosewood.
Ebony fretboards are generally favoured by guitarists who prefer a very bright, razor sharp top end or a very tight, well-defined low end.