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Maple vs Rosewood fretboards?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Matt Sarad, Aug 21, 2020.

  1. bluesfordan

    bluesfordan Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I tend to prefer the feel of rosewood fingerboards but that may be conditioning hammered into me by the sheer awfulness of the maple fingerboard that came on my brand new 1974 Stratocaster. It would be almost 30 years before i would give another maple fingerboard a chance, and that was a GVCG black guard Tele. I regret all those years of passing on beautiful guitars just because they had a maple fingerboard.

    I had a rosewood fingerboard on my avatar CV50 tele for a number of years. I like rosewood fingerboards but they are susceptible to fret sprout and if you live in a lonnng heating season location like NH, unless you are super religious in humidifying your place, you. will. get. fret sprout. Since I was in the process of emptying the family home nearly all last winter, I was unable to humidify as is my wont. All my rosewood fingerboards developed fret sprout so I put my maple neck back on my Tele.

    I bought two more guitars this year, both with maple necks. Until I can get a dedicated workspace (apartment too small, looking for house) I probably won't be addressing the rosewood fingerboards' fret sprout for some time. Which is a shame because this apartment has a naturally higher humidity level than the house (lower level, riverside building and a former hydropower conduit under apartment, had near 35% when moved in February with no extra humidification, currently in the 50-55% range with a/c running. my guitars and I are loving it.)
     
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  2. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Afflicted

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    I used maple boards for years. My hands don't sweat, so, sticky was not really an issue, I just thought it was easier to see on stage.
    Then a funny thing happened: stage lighting changed to LEDs and my fingerboards became reflectors. Couldn't see diddly.
    Now I have the gamut: ebony, rosewood, Indian laurel, pau ferro, and have decided that I am partial to a well oiled board, which rules out finished maple, but not unfinished roasted maple, of which I have one. I might like "roasted" anything.
    I'm sure that minute sonic differences exist in each choice, but there are enough other differences in said guitars to make a comparison impossible.
     
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  3. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    You don't really need a dedicated work space to cure fret sprout. Just a LIGHT sanding with a block (I prefer foam or soft rubber blocks for this) or just a sponge-type sander. If you do more than a light sanding, you may need to re-shape them. But even if you do, the kitchen table works fine. Just don't let your better half catch you...
     
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  4. SamH

    SamH TDPRI Member

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    I wish I did Have the ability to build necks and fb but unfortunately I do not.
     
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  5. The Angle

    The Angle Tele-Holic

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    I suspect the same phenomenon is partly (if not mostly) to blame for tube amps, which generate copious waste heat, sounding "warm" while solid-state amps, which run efficiently and stay cool, sounding "cold." We humans are notoriously susceptible to suggestion.
     
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  6. turfdoc

    turfdoc TDPRI Member

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    Whichever one fits your hand best and has that magic quality of leading you up and down the fretboard. I have had both kinds but some necks just lend themselves better to my playing and improvising. There's more to it than just the kind of wood.
     
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  7. fjblair

    fjblair Tele-Holic

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    Rosewood just because. I have owned dozens of guitars and I think only one had a maple neck/board. That said if I ever get another Tele or Strat it will be maple. Just because.
     
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  8. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    They don't feel much different to me. I like the way maple wears better. Rosewood gets dings in it. Maple gets character.
     
  9. dcm0

    dcm0 TDPRI Member

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    I'm sort of a traditionalist regarding teles. I prefer one piece maple necks over glued on boards, maple or rosewood. Same way I like 3 saddle brass bridges. But ultimately, I think one can get a decent sound out of damn near anything if one uses one's hands in a nuanced manner.
     
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  10. Fmalitz

    Fmalitz TDPRI Member

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    yes they both work fine. youre so right. I have plenty of both examples and once I’m on the stage, I pay no attention. It’s just me and the music. I have 22 guitars all of which are ready to gig but I have to admit I’m amused by all you guys worrying about minutia like what capacitors for the tone controls!
     
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  11. Arafel

    Arafel Tele-Meister

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    I'd disagree. I used to sell stereo equipment for a living. Aside from Krell, the highest end stuff we carried was the top-end Denon and Yamaha stuff, and I sold Denon all every day and twice on Sunday. My co-workers didn't understand why, and I said it sounded better, warmer. One day before morning meeting, they bet me I couldn't tell the difference blind. We did 10 different songs, switching between $1500 A/V receivers. I picked out the Yamaha (brighter, vocal forward) from the Denon (warmer, balanced) every time.

    I have a tube amp and pre combo for my home stereo, plus a tube phono pre, and they sound amazing.

    As for guitars, I think it gets back to even vs. odd distortion. There's a nice curve that happens with tube amps, and the way they break up is harmonically pleasing. The same thing doesn't happen with solid state.

    If all you want out of your guitar amp is cleans for days, that's fine, and in fact some Rolands excel at that, but for rock and blues, tubes are better.
     
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  12. Dik Ellis

    Dik Ellis Tele-Meister

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    I'm a maple board guy all the way, when it comes to Strats and Tele's. Had a Jag with rosewood, no complaints here. It all works for me.
     
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  13. Dik Ellis

    Dik Ellis Tele-Meister

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    I hear you, loud and clear. I only sweat the big stuff.
     
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  14. rockinstephen

    rockinstephen Tele-Meister

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    I've heard it claimed that maple will produce a brighter tone while rosewood gives a warmer tone. I guess it's a feel thing. I have guitars with maple, rosewood, and ebony fingerboards and I really don't notice the difference...
     
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  15. MoHump

    MoHump TDPRI Member

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    To me the dark ebony feels the best; and I know it's all in my head.
     
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  16. telleutelleme

    telleutelleme Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I prefer maple on strats and Teles. Everything else has rosewood or ebony. I have one strat with a rosewood neck and I seldom play it. I'm not sure I have a good reason for my preferences.
     
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  17. soulgeezer

    soulgeezer Poster Extraordinaire

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    I prefer brunettes. Blondes are too trashy... ;) :D :D :D
     
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  18. JunebugJones

    JunebugJones TDPRI Member

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    It’s definitely user preference. I thought I was a rosewood fan until I started playing Strats and Teles with maple boards. I personally don’t find much playing difference between them... though I do have one favorite neck (happens to be maple). I think my preference has to do with the satin finish, as well as the particular wood used on that neck. The feel of that one calls to me.
     
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  19. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Holic

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    jvin:

    Just an FYI - any rosewood in use is pre-CITES i.e. pre international ban on harvesting and international sale. Just before the ban, the major guitar companies scrambled to buy all they could. Some companies have relatively large stocks.

    So, you can feel comfortable buying a guitar containing rosewood. (And now, since this is the Internet, we can digress into a detailed argument of the minutia of CITIES and how buying it is really still environmentally offensive :).
     
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  20. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Holic

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    All fretboard choices should be made based on complimenting the color scheme of the guitar.

    There, I said it. :D
     
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