Rosewood is great for guitar necks, but there are other dark woods out there that are worth considering. One of the really good ones is Goncalo Alves.
Also known as “Zebrawood” or “Tigerwood,” the species that yield this wood go by such barely pronounceable Latin monikers as Astronium fraxinifolium and Astronium graveolens. But who cares about lineage, right? What we want to know is how does it feel and sound? Answer: Great and Great, which is what we want to hear when we consider the Goncalo Alves neck.
Warmoth describes this wood as having a very “waxy” feel, which pretty much nails it. You can find the Warmoth description of this wood here. The truth is, I love this wood because of that waxy feel, and the fact that it might be the fastest neck wood I know of. The color is also great. It varies quite a bit from one cut to another, but in general you get very nice grain and streaking. I think the fingerboard woods that work best with Goncalo Alves are Pau Ferro and ebony. Since Goncalo Alves is a fairly warm wood, Pau Ferrro will balance it very nicely, and ebony will take you in a bit more of an extreme direction as it is a very bright wood.
All in all, the Goncalo Alves neck is worth checking out; it looks great, plays great and sounds great.