1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Fingerboards :Rosewood vs Maple vs Ebony

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Lechuzon, Dec 2, 2002.

What do you preffer for fingerboard

Poll closed Dec 9, 2002.
  1. Rosewood

    31 vote(s)
  2. Maple

    26 vote(s)
  3. Ebony

    40 vote(s)
  4. Pau Ferro

    4 vote(s)
  1. Lechuzon


    Nov 7, 2002
    Washington DC
    Waht's your preference ? what are the tonal defferences ? :) :confused:
  2. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    If you do a search, you will find LOTS of info. But I'll throw in my two cents: don't be overly concerned with fretboard wood, because it doesn't define the tone of a bass, it is only a very small component. A few of us don't think fretboard wood makes a significant contribution to the tone of a *fretted* bass.

    The biggest tone factors: pickups/electronics, construction type (bolt-on, neck-thru, etc), and body wood. (Obviously strings and playing technique are also big factors, but I'm referring only to the bass).
  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    P.S. I didn't vote because I have no preference.
  4. I voted maple. I noted that all the basses I've played now have a bit extra punch, as in, teeny weeny amount more with a maple finger board.

    I also like rosewood, which is what all Fenders have now I think, all the ones I have seen, anyway.. :)
  5. Since IMO the fingerboard does not make a sizeable difference in the tone of a fretted bass, I am listing what I feel are tonal characteristics for fretlesses.

    Maple: Bright, Punchy

    Rosewood: Warm, full-toned

    Pau Ferro: Kind of a mix between Maple and Rosewood

    Ebony: Bright but with growly mids and more bass than Maple; sounds GREAT on fretlesses

    I like Ebony the best.
  6. Ebony.
  7. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    I think fretboard does influence the sound of the bass. I have similar bass [Sadowskys] with different fretboard, they have different sound.
  8. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Oh...ok but even if the bodies are made out of the same wood specie they are different pieces of wood, probably coming from different trees, with a different density...same goes for the neck wood.
    Those factors may have a great influence on your basses tone too (maybe greater than the fingerboard itself IMO).

    Two similar [sadowsky] basses with the same fretboard may sound different anyway.

    just my two cents.

    Peace, JP
  9. rosewood is the best. it gives you a nice solid sound---especially if you have a high quality bass such as the ibanez sound gear:cool:
  10. Jugghaid


    Jun 28, 2002
    Denver, CO, USA
    It depends on the bass and the sound I want. I have basses with all 3. I also have Phenolic on my Modulus Q5. I prefer Rosewood for a warm Jazz sound, Maple for punch on a P, and Ebony on my fretless. Ebony is aso a nice compromise between Rosewood and Maple, has some of the rosewood warmth and some of the zing and punch of maple.

    I voted Ebony.
  11. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
  12. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Excellent point! I have two Fender Roscoe Beck 5 basses, both 1996, which are built from the same materials including fretboard. Even with identical strings and setup, they sound different! Are we to conclude that Shoreline Gold imparts a brighter (sonic) tone than Metallic Teal? I don't think so. :) I've also heard tonal differences in otherwise-identical high-end basses. Variation in woods of the same species is the answer. There's no guarantee that mixing Body Wood X with Neck Wood Y will result in Tone Z.

    I once asked a DIY guy if he'd ever performed any "all else being equal" tests: A/B-ing rosewood and maple necks on the same body. He pointed out that even this test would not be conclusive because tonal differences in the non-fingerboard portion of the necks would not be known.

    Reminder: all of the above assumes that the basses are fretted.
  13. Isn't that an oxymoron?

    :D :D :p
  14. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Fretted? Birdseye maple or ebony.

    Fretless? Phenowood or ebony.
  15. I have ebony special ordered on my G&L L-1500 fretted, with ash body. I'd also order ebony/ash on a jazz type, but would order rosewood/alder for a P type.
  16. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    I like the wenge. Yep
    Want to try some Pale Moon Ebony on my next fretless...
  17. Kudos to the deisgner for keeping it simple!
    I agree with the consensus about it not being much of a factor on fretted, and that ebony rules for fretless. Since most of my work is fretted, I went with rosewood...but all of my fnigerboards are wenge. Still, I cannot fault this poll as is my usual wont. This is TB at its' best.
  18. Rosewood is my favorite. Ebony is second.

    As for the fingerboard wood influencing the sound of a particular instrument, I think it does.

    Yeah you're all going to hear the story again...:rolleyes:

    Two times, the first in August 2001 and the second in December of the same year I A/B ed two identical black Stingrays. One with a maple board, the other rosewood. Playing the same exact patterns on both for almost a half hour, I could hear the notes from the maple board 'Ray were slightly, but, noticeably more focused. The rosewood 'Ray wasn't mushy at all, but the maple one was a little more articulate and brighter. Same tone settings, same amp. I also played a natural 'Ray (ash body) with a rosewood board and that had a different sound than the other two. A little brighter than the black/rosewood, but, not quite as bright as the black/maple. I bought the black/rosewood.

    Those were my findings.

    Mike J.
  19. As I only play fretless I chose Ebony... but if I ever got a fretted bass I'd go with BirdsEye Maple. It's not so much a matter of tone as it is killer looks. :cool:
  20. I use (in order of bass preference):

    Ebony on fretless w/ maple neck thru and maple body wings.

    Ebony on fretted w/ maple neck, bolt on alder body/quilt maple veneer.

    Rosewood on fretted w/ Wenge/Maple sandwich neck thru on maple body.

    Maple on fretted Maple neck, bolt on Ash body.

    I love the ebony boards, great wear resistance for fretless. IMHO, ebony is the board for fretless. The fretted ebony board works good, I'll continue to get basses w/ ebony boards.

    Ebony = Good.

Share This Page