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Rosewood vs Maple? Is there a big difference?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Anaxes, May 31, 2016.

  1. Anaxes

    Anaxes TDPRI Member

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    I'm looking at getting a early 90's telecaster plus full Jonny Greenwood but having trouble coming across a maple fret board like his. I like rosewood as well but looking for the radiohead tone will it have a big enough effect on it? The guitar it self has a red lace sensor humbucker, lace sensor single coil blue in the neck with a swamp ash body
     
  2. Downshift

    Downshift Tele-Holic

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    This is an age old debate. Fender freaks have been hashing it over probably since 1959. Everyone's got an opinion. Mine is that it has to play some role, but probably not that much. Certainly not as much as the amp, the pickups, the settings, the strings, and of course the player.
     
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  3. Mind Flayer

    Mind Flayer Tele-Meister

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    Go with whatever feels and looks better to you. I don't think it makes a perceptible difference in sound. I prefer the feel of rosewood over maple. I also prefer the look of rosewood, even on telecasters, although for some body colors maple looks better.
     
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  4. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Coming from the Gibson side of things, I only had one maple fretboard out of 60 some odd guitars over the years; and it was my first electric, a Peavey T60. Gave it to a friend a long, long time ago. I think I just kept getting rosewood because all my other guitars had rosewood, somehow habit became a preference. Then I realized I hadn't played a guitar with a maple board for decades and decided I'd better give it a try again.

    Gave it a shot, and I loved it. Now I have two Teles, both have maple boards. IMO rosewood feels slightly gritty compared to the smoothness of the maple. A good part of that might be 'cause I never knew I was supposed to oil my boards up until last year.

    Either way the fretboard material isn't a deal breaker for me. So long as it feels good to me I'm fine.
     
  5. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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    The rosewood looks much darker than the maple... :D
     
  6. Thin69

    Thin69 Friend of Leo's

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  7. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    With so much distortion and so many effects it wouldn't matter even if it made a difference (which it does not anyhow).In fact you could "get his tone" with ANY kind of guitar if you had the amps & effects in order.
     
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  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Also research:
    Neck carve depth and shape, more or less beam strength
    Truss rod style heel or headstock, curved single action or straight built dual action changes the amount of wood removal and where the wood is removed
    Skunk stripe or none, skunk stripe wood strength
    Fret wire tang width vs fingerboard slot width changes over time and how much compression varies

    Meanwhile, the volume pots are completely in spec with +/- 10% of the nominal target value stamped on the can for a spread of 20%.
    Imagine if the neck or body wood thickness varied this much guitar to guitar and how the debate would rage?
     
  9. yazam2014

    yazam2014 Tele-Meister

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    My tele has maple neck, but sometimes i think, i need a rosewood neck too:) luv both
     
  10. Golem

    Golem Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I can't tell the difference in a blind test and I doubt most players couldn tell with any reliability. I prefer rosewood because of how it looks and wears. There's nothing wrong with maple though.
     
  11. Dan Spiffy Neuman

    Dan Spiffy Neuman Tele-Holic

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    I dont know why, but maple has more "mojo" for me. Not that I can hear or feel a difference.
     
  12. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Easy again. Satan prefers rosewood for its dark-as-death tone. You're welcome! My work here is done :)

    OP, seriously, doesn't matter that much---and if you think it does try searching and reading a few older threads. If I was you, I'd just get the Tele w/rosewood--the lace sensors matter the most. Keep it if it feels 'right' to you. IMHO, 'Radiohead tone' is all in the effects/amps/recording technique--those guys use much more than just a Tele Plus nowadays.
     
  13. sonny wolf

    sonny wolf Friend of Leo's

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    Having owned many,many Fenders over the years with both Rosewood and Maple fretboards my observation leads me to say that the Rosewood will enhance the midrange a bit more giving a slightly more compressed tone whereas a Maple neck will accentuate the treble and bass frequencies a bit more.
     
  14. DonM

    DonM Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I'm in the camp that maple looks better with some body colors, but my ear can't tell any noticible difference between the two.
     
  15. jakaj

    jakaj Tele-Meister

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    I think the first thing anyone should define when talking about subtle tone dfferences, is whether they play clean, overdriven or distorted; whether they are looking for tone, strength or speed; strumming chords or dividing picked notes. From the people I know playing strongly overdriven tones, it becomes nearly impossible to tell subtle differences of tonewoods and neck construction (apart from sustain), when people are strumming chords with strong passion the tone gets lost as well. When people seek out the best tone they can get is when the instrument construction differences become slightly noticable, and even that often dissipates in a live setting. At home alone by the amp you hear a difference, in a studio recording you enjoy listening to the lush blooms, but in a local pub you are happy to hear anything at all.
    I prefer to play clean fingerpicked accompaniment and blooming mild overdriven soloing, sometimes I will solo saturated cello like slow melodies with emphasis on shaping tone.
    - In my mind I can tell a difference in snap when playing cleans through a good amp, but only in a side by side comparison. It certainly feels different to me. I prefer maple necks for picking. On shorter scale necks I guess I got used to rosewood, but I certainly love those now. When I record more rock-oriented Bryan Mayish type melodies I will go for a les paul or a 339 with rosewood. With a shorter neck I am not going to be looking for snap but a nice juicy driven tone. Most of the time I will grab a maple fretboard strat or tele first.

    In short, I believe I hear and feel a difference, and I enjoy both using them to different ends, and I love it. You can play great music with either,
     
  16. jpjr50

    jpjr50 Tele-Holic

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    I felt a difference between the two, as for tone it's a toss up. I have high gloss maple neck on mine which I love but the thing I like most is it's 9.5" radius. Generally I like flat fingerboards (Gibson Les Paul is flat, 12") and 9.5 is my limit.

    If I get a Strat it'll have a rosewood finger board for sure just to have both.
     
  17. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Yup, and therefore it has to be Satan's choice.

    Am I right? You know I am. :^)
     
  18. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Meister

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    The difference is very subtle and I'm not sure I could pass a blind test. But a maple board with a gloss finish feels a lot different.
     
  19. badfish_lewis

    badfish_lewis Tele-Meister

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    I highly doubt the vast majority of players could tell the difference between maple or rosewood based on a blind clean sound test with identical guitars.

    Feel for sure but sound? I don't think so. Just my opinion

    I have owned many electrics and I'm not really biased towards rosewood or maple; some look better depending on the body of the guitar but that's about it.
     
  20. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    Wow, must have been all of two weeks since we've had the latest, long drawn out, maple versus rosewood thread. :rolleyes:

    The answer to the OP's question is "no".
     
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