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Maple fretboards and Funk??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Captain G, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. Why is it that the majority of the leading Slap/Funk players tend not to use maple fretboards?? Eg. Wooten, Caron, Stanley Clark etc etc. Is maple to harsh and aggressive in the mids to top end ?? Which players do happily use maple??
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I use it.
  3. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    The funk isn't in the board.

    It's in the soul.
  4. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Marcus Miller! There's been lot's of discussion about the impact of the fretboard material, and I think the consensus is that it is pretty unimportant. Actually, most 'old school' funk and slap players do use a maple board, but I think a lot of that comes from many of those 70 J basses having maple board. I would guess the impact of a fretboard is maybe 10%of the sound.... combined with the strings, the body mass, the body material, the neck mass, the pickups, the preamp, etc., etc. I have a rosewood board that funks and slaps great... along with an ebony board and a wenge board... and a maple board.

    So... if you like the look of maple... go for it... it won't make that big of a difference is it's attached to the appropriate bass and your chops and good and you have a good amp and you have bright strings, and..... etc :bassist:
  5. Hi KJung, so what would be your favourite out of all your basses for funk ???
  6. Every video I have seen of les claypool playing a Jazz Bass has a maple fretboard, but it really doesnt matter which one you use...(in my opinion)
  7. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Hello! Well... I've gone all the way back to the 'old school' deal... so the Celinder with that big, heavy ash body, very 'single coil' sounding pickups in 70's J Bass position, and.... the maple board :D really floats my boat for funk. It really has that super aggressive sizzle that Marcus Miller gets in his sound.

    That being said, and if you don't want to break the bank :crying: , a good 70's style Fender Jazz Bass with a good after-market preamp like a J Retro, Sadowsky, etc. would be awesome IMO.

    The MTD with wenge neck and swamp ash body is also very cool for a very modern funk sound (ala Norm Stockton). It has a super high sizzle (Glenn at Austin Bass Traders puts it at 8K) and a very wide, full, fat bottom that really says 'modern' when you slap it. It's more in the Music Man school than the Fender J school IMO.

    However, if you have decent technique... most basses with good pickups and a decent preamp will get you there :bassist:
  8. the word funk has so many meanings these days that it's meaningless. Do you mean modern, slap type funk or old school P-bass-grunt finger style type funk!?!?! (rhetorical question, btw)

    Carl Thompson always talks about the sound being in the fingers, and for the most part I agree. Ever heard ANYONE convincingly rip-off Les Claypools tone? Nor have I.

    It is what it is, take the good with the bad, what goes around comes around etc etc etc.

    Or as me and my band buddies like to say;

    If it feels good, feel it!
  9. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Good point... since he mentioned slap in his original post and gave a number of 'slap' oriented players as examples, that's the context of my reply. The PBass fingerstyle thing is a whole different and equally wonderful thing!
  10. KJung, the reason I'm asking all this, is I love my slap/funk and I'm seriously considering a Lakland 55-02 with a maple fetboard. What your opinion of lakland's ??
  11. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I have a 55-94 maple board with Bartolini's. I am not that familiar with the 55-02. I've only played one for a short time at a store... I found it very well made with great playability, but the one I played was rather dark sounding. I am personally not a fan of the Bartolini pickups that Dan uses in some of his Lakland models for slapping.... but again, it's personal opinion... I'm sure other TBers would disagree. However, I currently have my 55-94 back at Lakland getting the Barts swapped out for the Seymour Duncans, which I understand are a little more aggessive and 'slap funk' appropriate (I've had that 55-94 for a very long time... I kind of got tired of the sound... long story on the pickup swap out!)

    Have you tried the J Bass models (either the DJ Skyline or the other J Bass.. I think it's the Joe Osborne). If you put the J-Retro preamp in either of those, they are just amazing all around basses for any style playing, and especially for the old school funk thing. That Daryl Jones 4 string (even when played passive) is just an amazing sounding and playing bass for under $1,000.

    I think there are threads talking about hte 55-02... check them out with a search
  12. I have a SR5 w/ a maple board. It does sound pretty good slapping, most say its amazing for it. The tone of the maple and the humbucker is very aggressive and the volume stays constand all accross the fretboard (as I move to the higher strings). The thing I don't like about it (for slap), is that the highs, while they have the volume in comparison to the mids and the lows, they don't really sparkle. They are articulate and clear, like all highs should be, but they have more of an aggressive attack/tone than a sparkling one. Turning the highs up will make them sparkle, but then the lows and mids that I thumb have a harsh clanky sound to them ontop of the lows instead of a nice worm punch. It probably isn't the maple, but for some reason I have the tendency to fell that it is. I also like a nice snap in my slap sound that I can get from my squire jazz bass with rosewood but not the SR5. But the squire doesnt have the lows. Anyway, yeah maples nice but I'm not sure its exactly what I want. Just play around and see what you like.
  13. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    So True!

    It's also been known to dwell in the hands.

    It would seem that the right person could get the job done on any kind of fingerboard material.
    As far as the really dirty stuff goes, there's still nothing quite like a J or P with a maple board and small frets. In terms of funk it's just filthy! A Ray with a maple board is also quite pungent!
  14. Maple tends to be more bright than Rosewood, but like others have said, Maple seemed to be the predominant fingerboard wood at the same time that funk was the predominant style. They kinda go hand in hand now. As far as slap goes, something with friggin large frets always seems to get the job done. I'm more of a "rolling funk" kind of player, and my fretless Maple P takes it like a champ.
  15. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Yup. You know how I feel about threads about the 'perfect' bass to play a genre or type of music. It's all about the player and his feel and how he sets up his full signal chain, not what each piece is.

    Fer example, over the years, I've watched enough Jamaican guitarists play Marshall 4x12's clean and bassists play EVERY type of bass and amp to think it's about the gear.
  16. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    Very true.

    That being said, I've always tried to get a good funk tone out of my Steinberger and Rickenbacker, with limited success. I love early James Brown, Ohio Players, Parliament, Marcus Miller, etc., but I could never quite get the super funky tone I wanted -- slapping or fingerstyle.

    When my Lakland DJ5 w/J-retro and maple board arrived, I couldn't believe the funk sounds I could suddenly get. My playing didn't improve much, but I'm certainly playing a lot more funk these days 'cause it just sounds so outrageously good on the DJ5.

    My wife looked at me with a new respect (and some lust :D ) when I started slapping some Louis Johnson the other day.

    Funk is in the soul, but it helps to have the right tool to get it to come out of you.
  17. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    +1 Obviously good gear won't make a bad player much better... and a great player will sound good on anything... but... a great player with the right gear.... oh yeah :bassist:

    Also... this is a gear forum :) ... of course the vibe, feel skill, etc. is paramount.... but this particular question involved fretboard material.... I have no problem with that!
  18. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    Seriously, where can you get one of these under a grand? The retail price is $1,500 right? If you know somewhere where I could get one of these under $1,000, please tell me where.
  19. Keef


    Jul 3, 2003
    Hollywood, CA
    I've never noticed that. I think it goes both ways.

  20. gruuv


    Jan 23, 2004
    Amen. . . when I lived in Nashville we used to go to 3rd and Lindsley just about every Wednesday night and watch the Wooten Brothers play. One of the guys playing bass there often was John Billings (killer player, deep pocket and a great guy). He plays a Fodera Emperor 5 bolt-on of the Marcus flavor: heavy ash body, bolt-on maple neck/board, Duncan J's. Very fat bass and sizzly snap on the high end. He played it through an SWR SM400 and old Goliath 4x10 cab. He sounded nothing like Vic, a very different vibe altogether, much more vintage 70's tone.

    But, whenever Vic came and sat in and played John's bass, he sounded nothing like John. No 4 string, set-neck Monarch with a mahogany body, rosewood board and EMG P/J's... it was John's bass, John's rig but it still sounded just like Vic.

    So, different set-ups are going to change things to some degree, but you're still going to be you on whatever bass. . . if you're funky the funk will be happenin' regardless. If you're not. . . . . . . well, there can never be too many accountants. Good luck on the CPA exam. :bag: