Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Maple vs Rosewood fretboard... which do you like?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Webfoot, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. Mr Green Genes

    Mr Green Genes Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 23, 2016

  2. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    My money is on Hardness and not Density. Lead is denser than either; soft soft material.

    I've long since lost track of all the divots I have seen on rosewood over rock maple and more than can be explained by a thin protective coating.

    I think when it comes to selection, the North American rosewood guitars have hard but not especially dark or pretty rosewood, and the Squiers and so forth have gorgeous rosewood except it isn't nearly as wear resistant. Maple and rosewood can vary so much. Supplies of legal and wear resistant rosewood are uncertain while the supplies of tough maple are actually improving to some degree.


    Anyway, in the heat/humidity of summer I like rosewood and in the depths of winter I like maple (unless I have a rosewood board that is grainfilled and sealed).

  3. AndrewG

    AndrewG Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2007
    Exeter, England
    "Heat and humidity"? These are terms with which, living in cold and wet England, I'm not familiar with in tandem!
    According to the scale in the chart below, rosewood ranks as being harder (as well as more dense), than maple.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016

  4. Lefty Addams

    Lefty Addams Tele-Afflicted

    May 6, 2012
    You're not wrong there mate!

  5. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 4, 2009

    I cant tell much difference in sound, altho, that may be my own partially destroyed hearing.

    Maple boards are too slick and make my arthritis flare up. Something about them hurts to play for long periods of time.
    I sold all my maple necks. All I play is rosewood now.

  6. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    He's no doubt right about the weather.

    But this Hardness Chart leaves much to be desired in today's market. This chart says the maple in most of my necks is the same hardness as the ash in the bodies I use? That's preposterous. Once upon a time, hard rosewood was the standard but much of that has long since been cut and we cannot get it anymore. Meanwhile, we're experiencing a major recovery in the quality of woods available in North American from North America. I've seen a few guitars with 1400 maple necks and I'm not interested in them - gave away a number of Squiers with the necks that were like that.

    I still say the best evidence of the relative durability of commonly used rosewood and commonly used rock maple is in these divots. The images of those worn rosewood fretboards are everywhere, and there's nothing of a similar nature in the posted images of these hard rock maple necks. And I'm thinking about the scores of both maple necks and the East Indian Rosewood 1 piece neck I have and how the time and effort sanding the correct profile into each was roughly equal. By this chart the Rosewood should've taken twice the time, or more (much more, really) and it did not. I've got to go with what I have seen with my own eyes, sorry.
    Owenmoney likes this.

  7. Gary in Boston

    Gary in Boston Friend of Leo's

    Apr 17, 2003
    The contrast of a maple fret board with a TTSB body and white pick guard is just too beautiful ............. to me

    AND i like the way maple feels. I have other guitars with rosewood but ............. the above combo :)


  8. TheletterJ

    TheletterJ Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 13, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    It depends on the make and color of the guitar!

    Black Strat, Jazzmaster, Jaguar = rosewood

    Telecaster, pretty much any color Strat = maple.

    I can go from fingerboard to fingerboard regardless of material, fretwire, radius or scale length and be okay. Variety is good.

  9. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Has anyone here ever done a Hardness test on test blanks of the maple and rosewood we actually use?

    I mean, I don't expect someone to ruin a nice neck to get a value, but my gut tells me these old Hardness charts are tired and desperately in need of revision.

    When I think of the possible range of hardness in pieces of Southern Yellow Pine or Ash or "Mahogany", I can imagine some easily twice as hard as others, and sometimes more, even before aging is considered.

    Put another way, if someone like Warmoth did maple necks and rosewood board necks with the same customer and sent the shipment of some of both, wouldn't the customer see evidence of the hardness difference in how the fretwork came out? Likewise Allparts? But there is no such difference. Everyone who has done carpentry has watched the compressor be lazy when running a nailer through "lite" wood and see the compressor never shut off when nailing wood from another source. IF the maple is really as soft as some chart says it is, we'd see manufacturing defects (dents, etc.) but we don't and likewise, if the rosewood was really way way harder, we'd see where the fretwire got damaged or the rosewood split. But we don't.
    Owenmoney likes this.

  10. cyberglad

    cyberglad TDPRI Member Gold Supporter

    Oct 14, 2016
    Morges, Switzerland
    On a maple neck I can't move across it as quickly as on rosewood. I don't know why it happens and whether it's psychological. The fretting hand just doesn't slide as fluently. No matter the price - I tried Suhrs and CS Fenders. If I stay playing in 1 position or don't change them - then it's ok, I like the sound of maple neck even better. But with rosewood the position change is just more fluid.
    Pity, coz, as I said, I honestly like the response and sound of maple necks.

  11. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    My preferences in order:

    1) Ebony
    2) Maple
    3) Rosewood

    P.S. - This post should have been a Poll Question!
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017

  12. Dobronaut

    Dobronaut Tele-Meister

    Dec 11, 2016
    Leicestershire UK
    I like both maple and rosewood. When I was studying classical guitar, my guitar had ebony, and it felt lovely. And unique. With the softer feeling classical strings there was more finger contact with the board. I had a Lowden steel string at one time that had ebony. Couldn't tell much difference between the feel of it and rosewood, but it looked great. One day I'm going to have a tele with an ebony board, just to try it. Although I suspect that on a telecaster or strat, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between ebonised rosewood and ebony by feel.

  13. Reggie77

    Reggie77 Tele-Meister

    Jul 16, 2017
    Rosewood all the way, it feels better to me and I prefer the way it looks

  14. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

    Jan 14, 2015
    All my guitars have rosewood boards, although I've had ebony in the past. I don't like the feel of maple boards.

  15. henrikrock

    henrikrock TDPRI Member

    Oct 11, 2013
    I play both and like them equally. The radius is important to me and I really prefer 7,25.
    Modman68 likes this.

  16. guitar0621

    guitar0621 Tele-Meister

    May 30, 2017
    Don't care for maple on strats aesthetically. Like maple a lot on a tele when it's a really clean un-tinted "bare bones" musical tool sort of thing.

  17. ToddinTX

    ToddinTX Tele-Meister

    Dec 12, 2012
    Tyler, TX

  18. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    What if it's not really a Fender Telecaster, but just a "T-style"?

  19. rooboo

    rooboo Tele-Meister

    Aug 18, 2017
    I have both and the real difference for me is this:
    Rosewood boards are not covered in finish. Maple boards are. I like the feel of the non finished rosewood board better, I like the look of maple board better. Classic Catch 22.
    grooveiron likes this.

  20. Mr Green Genes

    Mr Green Genes Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 23, 2016
    Yup. I prefer the feel of the wood over the feel of polyurethane.

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