How much does the material of the fretboard affect the tone of an electric bass?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mastershake, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. mastershake


    May 12, 2011
    Would it make a noticeable difference in tone and sustain if I changed the neck on my electric bass from a neck with a maple fretboard to a neck with a rosewood fretboard. Although the string doesn't come into direct contact with the fingerboard itself the fret still resonates with the fingerboard. In addition Im not sure if electric instruments respond the same when it comes to difference in materials as acoustic instruments do.
  2. The whole neck being changed will have more impact than the fingerboard alone.
  3. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    I hesitate to wade into the whole tonewood debacle, but I think in regards to the question about noticable difference in tone from maple to rosewood, the general consensus would be yes. Whether you could determine that reliably in a blind test, who knows? :) Regarding sustain, no idea...
  4. I've been pretty well convinced regarding body wood choices not having an effect on the tone of electric instruments but I can't let go of the idea that wood choice in regards to fingerboards has to have some negligible effect on at least the attack and sustain of an instrument's sound.
  5. Scott in Dallas

    Scott in Dallas Commercial User

    Aug 16, 2005
    Dallas, north Texas
    Builder and Owner: DJ Ash Guitars
    I'm starting to think people ask this question just to start another fight. In the interest of peace and respect for my fellow TBers, my response from now on will be the following: Do a search.
  6. IMO - (you asked) unless the fingerboard is made of Sta-Puff marshmallows, it should have so small of an influence that only the whales can hear it.

    I'm more moved to consider that the paint type or the thickness of it on the body may have somewhat of an influence though.

    I have had this experience in a refinish I did for a friend and it just sounds better now since I lightened up the coating and left everything else the same.