Maple vs Rosewood finger boards.

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Henry Mars, Feb 6, 2016.

  1. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    The Tele that I use is an American made re-issue (52?) anyway after doing some surgery on the neck pickup's bypass cap (cutting it out) the guitar really sounds great. This ax has a maple neck ... I'm looking at another buying another American Tele with a rosewood finger board.

    Everything else being equal what is the difference in sound with the rosewood fingerboard vs. the maple fingerboard? Or is there any difference in the sound?

    [Title edited by MOD]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2016
  2. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

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    Every guitar is different. The fingerboard isn't going to have a predictable affect on the tone IMHO.

    Pickups are more likely to determine a guitars sound.

    Pick fingerboard wood for looks and feel.
     
  3. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

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    Theres a huge difference, but as crazy as it may sound after saying that, some can't tell. It's a matter of experience, how long you've been playing, how many guitars have you owned, how much do you experiment with gear, etc etc. So i can't tell you whether YOU will notice a difference. I can only tell you i hear a huge difference and i will describe what I hear the best i can.

    Maple has a more fundamental tone, in other words less overtones more of the fundamental note. That tonally translates to being more glassy and snappy when playing clean to slight gain settings. Once overdriven it generates much more overtones at that point and the lows stay tight. IMO it's a dip in the hi mid frequencies that has a lot to do with the way it sounds.

    Rosewood has a much flatter frequeny curve and is very balanced. It is also very rich sounding with any degree of clean to dirty. In fact, when you use OD and roll your volume down to get those semi clean tones, thats where rosewood is head and shoulders above maple IMO. The richness is fantastic. With a lot of gain it can be sloppy in the low end compared to maple, but it has even more overtones there too and sound really rich. IMO rosewood is the most versatile sound, but they both have thier strong and weak points. I wanted little to do with maple in the past but in recent years i have changed and really love the snap of maple. Not that i like it more, but that i spent decades playing rosewood almost exclusively and i just need a change and came to understand the attraction to the sound of maple boards. But i like them both and i think you should always have both. I think however if i had to pick one for the rest of my life to gig with especially, it would be rosewood.

    But again, whether YOU will hear what i do or not i have no idea. When i started i couldn't hear it and probably didn't for a decade or 2. Now it's nite and day different to me.
     
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  4. Wayne Alexander

    Wayne Alexander Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Henry, if you were to replace the neck on your EXISTING guitar you would probably hear a difference. On average, I agree with Fender4life's observations - I find that on average, a maple fingerboard will be snappier and slightly brighter sounding than a rosewood one on similar necks, but between two separate guitars, one with a rosewood and one with a maple fingerboard, those characteristics may or may not be discernable, each separate guitar has a different body, neck density and thickness, hardware, strings, pickups. I personally usually prefer rosewood fingerboards for what they feel and play like, and what ON AVERAGE they sound like compared to maple ones, but that doesn't mean you would.
     
  5. Fazeblue

    Fazeblue TDPRI Member

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    Maple is harder than rosewood and the tone difference is harder, sharper. Rosewood is a softer touch and bluesier.
     
  6. indiobravo

    indiobravo Tele-Afflicted

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    i tend to agree with songtalk - for me it's looks and feel. i started with rosewood and always loved the natural unfinished feel of it. i used to hate maple boards but only because they felt sticky to me - the finish of whatever guitar i was trying out. i know have some good maple necks too, so i got over my maple phobia.
     
  7. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    I just want another Tele and I really don't want to alter the one I have. My band mate is a luthier. I mentioned that I was looking around at another Tele and he said that I should check out the rosewood ... so I looking for some input. If I get another one I'm going to do some surgery to the electronics and put a stacked humbucker in the neck so that I can go single coil when I want it
    So I guess another question would be do I go Mexican or American?
    I kind of new to the Fender thing ... I have been playing Gibson and Gretsch mostly for the last 52 years.
     
  8. Thin69

    Thin69 Friend of Leo's

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    Time for a double blind study!
     
  9. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity

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    Oh boy. Do a search on that and read for HOURS-DAYS-WEEKS.

    I have a Gibson LP with an ebony board and it sounds darker than rosewood, because it is darker. :D

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Rayner

    Rayner Tele-Meister

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    I've got a rosewood board on my American, had a maple Mexican and still have a maple squire. Personally I love rosewood for the look, first time I played it I loved the feel and it sounded great too, if that's down to rosewood then great if its not then I really don't care. I still love it.

    Mexican vs American, I've only owned one of each but my US feels a lot more refined than my Mexican did. Just my experience.

    I spent a long time researching if rosewood made much difference but the long and short of it is what does the guitar sound, feel and look like for you. Just my opinion of course
     
  11. Mayas caster

    Mayas caster Tele-Holic

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    I love maple necks on telecaster, just for the look of it...
     
  12. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yes.

    Unpredictable is the key word here. I frankly don't care if this guy or that guy can talk about how they could tell something was different about a specific guitar he owns or used to own. You simply cannot convert that experience into the creation of a sort of Recipe or something that would enable you to select a guitar out of an Internet Inventory and hear that special "Rosewood Sound". That's (with all due respect) a bunch of hooey.

    Guys who wanna brag about their ears being better are missing the point. We're not comparing people's ears. With kindest regards we're comparing their ability to correctly analyze and make useful sense of what their ears have heard. If you draw a conclusion based on six guitars, or even twelve, you're guilty of what must be called junk science. With all due respect, of course.
     
  13. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    Nope. Look up them up on the Janka hardness test. Rosewood averages about 1800, maple a little under 1500.

    Oh no, not another "maple versus rosewood" thread. :eek: We've only discussed this about 500 times before.

    Personally, while they do have a different feel, I certainly couldn't tell the difference tonally in a blind listening test, especially with a large sample size which would be the only scientific way to compare them. And I agree with Boris, effects of these different fingerboard woods are totally unpredictable. There again, I've only been playing for a little over 50 years. I guess when I have some more experience...:rolleyes:
     
  14. HWTele

    HWTele Tele-Meister

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    More to do with aesthetics, than sound i would bet if I blindfolded 100 players not one could repeatedly tell the difference.

    I'm currently contemplating a Partscaster with off white vintage blonde over ash, white pick guard and a dark rosewood board. Why? Because I love the look.
     
  15. bchaffin72

    bchaffin72 Friend of Leo's

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    I can honestly say I don't pay much attention to anything other than how they feel under my fingers and maple feels better to me. Other than that, I have to agree with Boris and songtalk. I just don't think there's any level of predictability to any of it. Not enough that I worry about it, anyway, in terms of sound. Every guitar, even "identical" ones have so many variables in play that there are no guarantees on anything.
     
  16. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Platinum Supporter

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    I agree with everything here. But I too have only been playing for a little over 50 years.

    But why does the myth that maple is harder than rosewood still live? Because a maple fretboard is usually covered with a more or less thick layer of poly and the rosewood is unfinished?
     
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  17. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Understood.

    Just go to the shops you can get to readily, and just play the heck out of a bunch of them. You've got the skills you need to make a choice, a personal choice.

    My main issue with Fenders with rosewood boards is, they tend always to be on the slim side - that is, the section of the neck is skimpy.

    I will say that a seldom played rosewood board guitar can kinda burn your fingertips in the winter if you get back to it and play it a lot. Conversely, in the Sweltering South, playing for instance in the late afternoon in direct light, and you're sweating your butt off - the open pored, unfinished surface of the rosewood can drink up some of the liquid and I personally find I can stay in contact with this type of board better in extreme conditions such as these. I've gotten into a habit of playing mostly maple boards in winter, and more often than not rosewood on super sticky summer or early autumn days.
     
  18. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    I guess so. But, just pick up a Rickenbacker with its lacquered rosewood fingerboard and unsurpringly it feels just like maple. ;)
     
  19. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

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    I prefer the look of rosewood with late 50s and early 60s GM car colors or bound bodies and maple boards with Blonde/Black/White/unbound Sunburst. Not always, but most of the time. I like some colors like Fiesta and Surf with either but mostly they just pop better with rosewood to my eyes.

    I prefer the feel of rosewood boards personally. I like the unfinished wood that drinks finger moisture better than the finished moisture retaining maple necks. Strings corrode just a little slower for me with rosewood boards for this very reason, I'd bet.
     
  20. Boblets

    Boblets Friend of Leo's

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    A rosewood fingerboard is less sticky than maple when the weather is humid.
     
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