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Maple fretboard?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Runnerman, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    I want a maple fretboard because I love the look. Everything I have now is rosewood.

    What other reasons do I want/not want maple?
  2. I like the look of both rosewood and maple.

    But put me in that club of wackos who hear a slightly brighter tone on guitars and basses with maple boards.

    Let the games begin.
  3. Well, since maple fretboards have a finish on them, no more oiling the board (although you rarely have to do that anyway with Rosewood), and cleaning is very simple.

    While no two pieces of wood sound alike, there is a general tonal impact that I've found comparing rosewood to maple boards on otherwise similar instrument. You will get a bit of a brighter response in the upper midrange (again, in general... individual pieces of wood and other components of the bass can result in a lot of variability).

    This brighter upper midrange response can, all other things being equal (which they never are!) give the feeling of a quicker, more rapid attack to the initial note attack, which is one of the reasons that slappers, and also rockers who like a lot of grind up top, seem to like them.

    Lots of drama discussing fretboard materials though, as some say it doesn't matter, and some say it matters more than anything! This again is due to the fretboard material being just one of many interacting components on an instrument, and also the fact that wood is organic, which results in LOTS of variability across different pieces of wood. In general though, most agree that there is some brightening of the upper midrange.
  4. mournblade


    Nov 19, 2006
    Roanoke, TX
    Wacko 2 checking in. I especially notice it on p basses.
  5. brumshine


    Apr 27, 2012
    Call me crazy, but I think that there is a slight difference in feel when playing too. I myself am a Maple Boy. To me, maple feels harder so the strings dont sink into the board as much as rosewood.

  6. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    Really seems to be pure aesthetics to me. I do notice a little different in feel, but nothing to write home about. Get what looks and SOUNDS nice to you.
  7. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    I'm wondering about the finish. I hear about some guys get dirt/grime on the board that is hard to get off. I guess this would be in the case of the finish getting worn off maybe. Is this common or just lack of normal maintenance? Does maple require more maintenance?
  8. I mainly have maple fret boards because I like the way they look....simple as that.
  9. Maybe after some 20 years it´ll be worn out...but that´s normal.

    It actually requiers less maintanance than rosewood because it´s laquered. At least mine. I only wype it after every time I play it with the cloth the bass comes with.
  10. I like both resewood and maple, but I like ebony more.
  11. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Regarding maintenance, I've never had a problem. I try to remember to wipe all of my fretboards (maple or otherwise) with lemon oil when changing strings, but I am not at all diligent about it. Have not had any problems with grime.

    I imagine that you can avoid discoloration issue with reasonable care, although it's possible that it is unavoidable with extremely heavy usage -- I'm thinking hours and hours a day, every day, for decades, as I have no discoloration on my maple-board Carvin, which I have played 90% of the time or more for the last 10 years.
  12. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    The reason I prefer maple boards is that I can see black side dots on a maple board better on a dark stage than I can see white side dots on a rosewood board. YMMV.
  13. sven kalmar

    sven kalmar

    Apr 29, 2009
    my roadw p (as you propably know)has a onepiece maple neck. I generally roll of the tone a bit and it sound very warm and rich. I also think rosewood has a slightly darker timber.
  14. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    Plus Maple/Rosewood seems to look better with different colors. I seem to like Maple with lighter colors, and Rosewood with Darker. Except, I'm getting this tomorrow, and I had no choice in boards, but it still looks cool to me.
  15. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    Like this looks BETTER to my eyes:
  16. I have a weakness for this combo, and I could be weaker for a white/ebony combo.

    Great looking bass!
  17. I like 'em all and generally agree with the observations above.

    My overall preference is for ebony although I am intruiged by the MTD pistachio fretboard.

    Rosewood FEELs softer and sounds WARMER than maple but the note blooms more and as a result seems less immediate. Also the maple sounds slightly brighter to my ears.
    BTW wenge is another option (I have it on an Elrick Platinum and also some MTDs with wenge necks). Wenge reminds me of maple in feel but is a tad darker in tonality to my ear.

    Lined fretless maple boards can be a little hard to see in dim lighting.

    I have had many many basses, and currently have predominantly ebony *especially on my fretlesses, although I also have 3 maple and 4 wenge. No rosewood at the moment but the MTD Honduran rosewood with the right wood combo is a dream.
  18. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    Kind of like a reverse Tuxedo look
  19. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    I would love this...but it ain't gonna happen. Don't have 3 bills to drop right now.

  20. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    See IMHO I would like a rosewood board on that color combo. Pretty bass though.