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Maple or Rosewood FB??

Discussion in 'G&L Bass Forum' started by David Studenick, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. I'm this close to pulling the trigger on either an L-2000 or 2500.

    One question - is there a noticeable difference in tone btw the rosewood and the maple boards?

    I've read elsewhere that strings have more effect on the tone than the body woods, but don't know about the fretboard wood.

  2. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Fretboards have far less impact than even body wood. When you fret the note, the string doesn't even touch the wood between the frets unless you REALLY squeeze.
  3. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    The "standard" wisdom is that maple FB's are brighter sounding and rosewood FB's are warmer sounding. I can't tell much difference, so I pretty much agree with what lug said.

  4. +1

    Exactly right. Even if you do REALLY squeeze, the last point of contact between your finger and the pickup is going to be the fret, so the FB material is irrelevant.

    So its all down to aesthetics now mate!
  5. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    True, but the fret is embedded in the fretboard wood, so the way it responds to the string's vibration can affect tone. Some luthiers say it makes a bigger difference than body wood, but opinions are all over the map on this. I think it makes a slight difference, but we're talking averages, i.e., some rosewood boards will sound brighter than some maple boards, even if on average maple boards have more "snap."

    When I've played U.S. G&L basses, I've been impressed with the resonance of their necks with maple boards, and I generally prefer maple, so that's what I ordered on my L-1500. I'm told I have another 12 weeks to wait for it! :crying: But when it arrives...:bassist: :bassist: :bassist: !

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    It really depends on the kind of tone you are looking for.
  7. spideyjg


    Mar 19, 2006
    San Diego
    I usually swear by maple but my honeyburst rosewood L1K is pretty "snappy".

    Tim page of Buffalo Brothers said fretboard wood can affect the sound by 10% on an instrument.

    Works for me.

  8. If you want some extra snap, go for the ebony board.
  9. CentralCoastBass

    CentralCoastBass Guest

    Feb 4, 2004
  10. I think it is 90% esthetics, 10% tone, I never liked a maple until I bought my G&L and now I'd never buy anything else.
  11. I agree with Todd on the percentages, but for myself at least, I prefer the darker look of Rosewood and Ebony boards.
  12. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    I'd agree with this, on both points... FB wood does make a diff, but not so much as you may think. But, darker wooded FB's look sweet!

    Interestingly, i think much of what I perceive, might actually be FEEL, instead of tone alteration.
  13. Masher88

    Masher88 Believe in absurdities and you commit atrocities

    May 7, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    I agree. The Maple boards feel different to me than Rosewood ones. Not that they are worse or better...just different. For what it's worth, I'm really diggin' the look of the gun oil tint maple necks and fret boards. Does the gun oil make them feel any different or is it just looks?
  14. spideyjg


    Mar 19, 2006
    San Diego
    GOT, gun oil tint, is always a glossy finish not satin.

  15. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Yes, they are gloss, which definitely feels different from satin. Sometimes sweaty hands will stick to gloss, so I avoid it. I much prefer satin even without the "sticky" factor. Too bad, because I think GOT looks awesome, and a local shop offered me an amazing deal on a cobalt blue L-1500 with GOT neck and fretboard. I just couldn't do it. (But I did order an L-1500 a couple of weeks later. :D )
  16. eastcoasteddie


    Mar 24, 2006
    I'm a Maple man, myself.
  17. calebbarton


    Aug 25, 2007
    I manufacture for several companies including but not limited to: Bridge City Sound, Catalinbread, more.
    i think ebony is actually softer than maple.
  18. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    I've tried to narrow down a consistent tonal difference, and the most noticeable to me is ebony- it really does seem to have a clearer, livelier/snappier tone to my ears. All the ebony-fretboarded basses I've ever owned have played really fast too, though that could all be coincidence. I also have noticed a certain percussiveness I get with a finished maple board that I can't recreate nearly as easily with rosewood. Its been awhile since I've had a rosewood board though...

  19. I have four L2000s (three US one Trib) and they all basically sound the same with the same strings. Different body woods, different fretboards, different years of production...so I would say, get whatever you want! The differences, in my opinion, are so small that they disapear as sound as you play with a drummer.

  20. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Holy 3 Year Old Thread Batman!

    As previously noted: folks generally say maple sounds brighter than rosewood...but, folks will say a lot of things. A softer piece of maple, compared to an old, dense peice of rosewood...hmmmm...

    What I've always said is "if you can hear the difference blindfolded, I'll buy you a beer."

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