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Maple Fret Boards

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by iriegnome, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    Why is it that Maple board basses have seem to be headed for the extinction list? They are not that easy to find, especially on higher priced basses. Music Man is one of the few that regularly produces them. Fender has all but stopped making them. Not to mention trying to find an unlined fretless version.
    What is the deal? I love my maple board basses and would add more if I could run across them. That is the whole point though. I usually have to run across one.
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    They're more expensive to produce due to the extra finishing that goes with them, so they're less likely to be produced. They're not extinct, though. Some of the most popular Fender models still have them like the Sting and the Geddy.

    My new Dingwall will have one with some very special block inlays. :)
  3. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
  4. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I know what you mean.

    I really wish the Highway 1 p-basses came with a maple FB option.
  5. Not sure I agree. I see lots of maple boards on Fenders in the stores. As mentioned, Lakland does them. G & L also come to mind
  6. +infinity...it would make more sense.
  7. Maple boards, IMO, are seen as not as "cool" as Wenge, Bubinga, Bocote, Cocobolo, Pau Ferro, etc. So, I think that's why you don't see them on the upperscale instruments as much. I am getting a custom made with a plain hard rock maple fretboard right now, so maple isn't dead. Popular woods will change and I'm sure maple will be back as a regular soon.

    I do see it still in many of the fenders and fender copies out there.
  8. I have a maple neck sterling and jazz, and i must say, they are the ones that get played the most. Play like butter, great tone. Look great as well. As for maple going extinct, i think they are on lower end basses, alot of higher end basses have them. But rosewood is the preffered of most bassists.
  9. jsamans


    Mar 11, 2007
    Fall City, WA
    I love maple necks! One day I will own one of those sweet 70's Fender Precisions with the maple fretless neck. They are just awesome.
  10. MTD USAof course and MTD Korean Made are available in maple too.
  11. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    does Birdseye Maple count?

    IMO the little bit of added work in finishing Maple is preferable to the added pains/expense that some of the exotics bring into the picture. radiusing a Maple fretboard is a snap, and I can do loads of them without much wear on my sanding belts ... but I can only get about two Cocobolo fretboards out of the same $20 belt due to how it loads the belt with its waxy dust particles. now if I figure that I need to step thru 80/120/150/180/220 grit belts for each fretboard, that's a lot of extra ca$h for a two measely fretboards

    I'll take the little bit of extra time to shoot, scrape, and buff a Maple fretboard any day

    I will assume, though, that the mega shops with their CNC driven processes see a $ one every extra minute and have come to the conclusion that milling a fretboard radius is significantly faster/cheaper than belt sanding it. for this reason, I can see where they find the finishing process to be an added burdon

    all the best,

  12. Without a good coat of epoxy or polyester, maple isn't a great for a fretless bass since it's softer than something like ebony or pao fero. Although, I decided to order a fretless with a bird's eye top and fingerboard and just coat the fb. Oh yes, it will also be unlined!! With the custom companies, ordering maple fingerboards is usually fairly easy.

    Most mass production companies offer lined fingerboards because fretless probably will never be a main stream seller and some might consider learning on a lined fingerboard to be less intimidating. This also allows the company to keep production nearly identical in the sense that they all get slots for frets. Most will be fretted, some will have the slots filled in with lines.
  13. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    I sure don't see many maple fbs in this neighborhood. The only bass with maple that has been in the local music store for many years is the one I traded in on a '50s P (no, it wasn't in the store, he had to order it).
  14. Standalone


    Jan 17, 2005
    New Haven
    Ibanez used to produce maple unlined boards for their roasters-- late '70s- early '80's
  15. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    Any of the MIA Fenders can be ordered with maple boards, and I see a few in stores around here. Carvin offers maple fretboards at no additional cost. A Peavey Cirrus can be ordered with a maple board costing the smae as rosewood, also. Warmoth charges the same for a maple board as rosewood. So, I don't think it's that it costs more to produce or that it's not offered by manufacturers. I think it's a consumer preference. I'm not sure why, because maple boards look great.
  16. Andy V.

    Andy V.

    Nov 5, 2006
    I've played rosewood, pao ferro, wenge, bubinga, brazillian exotic woods, but at the end of the day maple just feels right to my hands.

    Are there MIM Fenders with maple fb?
  17. Wingviper


    Aug 3, 2006
    I picked-up a stingray few months ago, its black with maple fret board, sounds as good as it looks too. :bassist:

    Just walked into GC and there it was.
  18. I also enjoy the tone of a maple fretboard on guitars and basses, although there might be a TB user or two that says that there is no tonal difference and we can't hear the difference. :rolleyes: Ya certainly gain a certain punch on bass and twang on geetars that sounds great! :hyper:
  19. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Most inexpensive basses aren't available with maple boards, but several Fenders are, and even SX models are too. And it's not just MIA Fenders: the Classic 50's Precision, Sting signature, Deluxe Active P-bass Special (optional), and Geddy Lee all have maple boards. I see plenty of maple fretboards in shops around here, including Fender, MusicMan, G&L, and the huge variety of delicious axes at Bass Specialties.
  20. I also like the "other" benefits of maple. On a dark stage it is easier to see where you are on the neck, and a maple fingerboard does not require the oiling that a rosewood fingerboard does.
    I like maple!!
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Mar 8, 2021

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