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Maple or Rosewood?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dirk Rockbottom, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. Dirk Rockbottom

    Dirk Rockbottom

    Oct 30, 2012
    I've mostly played rosewood fretboards and have heard they're warmer than maple, tonewise. But the maple is supposed to be faster. I prefer a warm tone, but think a faster fretboard may be what I need. Any comments? Thanks in advance, Dirk
  2. Luke S Mouse

    Luke S Mouse Guest

    Jun 5, 2009
    Are you limited to not have both a bass with a maple fretboard and a bass with a rosewood fretboard in your arsenal?
  3. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Now you've done it... ;) Get ready for the barrage of "the search function is your friend" and "here we go again" posts. :D
  4. invalidprotocol

    invalidprotocol Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2008
    Subtle tonal differences seem to have more bearing to me. Either way own both and enjoy.
  5. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Now I'm really open-minded about wood and its (alleged) effect on tone. In fact, I tend to side with the wood guys. But short of coating it in flubber, someone please enlighten me: how in the name of all that is good and holy can you possibly make a fretboard "faster"? :meh:
  6. MeLikeDaLowNote


    Sep 22, 2012
    Thanks for that post. You have a lot of bass guitars. Rad!
  7. TemplesOfSyrinx

    TemplesOfSyrinx Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2013
    New Jersey
    I prefer maple.
  8. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
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  9. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    +1 - have both at your disposal. Decide for yourself which one you like better.
  10. Dirk Rockbottom

    Dirk Rockbottom

    Oct 30, 2012
    I have a MIM Fender Jazz with rosewood fretboard and am attracted lately to the Fender Deluxe Custom P-bass with the jazz neck and the two pups (jazz bridge and p neck). I also am drawn to the Sterling Ray 34. Both are in my price range ($700).
    I'm very close to pulling the trigger on the deluxe custom P at Guitar Center with their 30 day return policy. I also have a 12% coupon. I prefer the look of the rosewood, but with all the tone options on the custom P, I'm a little partial to the maple FB as my fingers are starting to get a little stiffer in my old age, and if the maple is easier to move around on, well there you go. Thanks, Dirk

  11. I'll never get tired of that. :D
  12. Dirk Rockbottom

    Dirk Rockbottom

    Oct 30, 2012
    How did you do that? Boy, just call me "Mr. Redundant"!
  13. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Wow. Just wow.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I will give $100 to anyone who can reliably tell me whether they're hearing a bass with a rosewood or maple fretboard every single time from recordings. And speed has zip-all to do with the fretboard.
  15. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate

    Aug 14, 2009
    Both! A test of listening to audio clips of my basses blindfolded would reveal the following...you can't identify which ones have a maple fretboard. I guarantee it.

    Another challenge...
    Some are available with only a rosewood fretboard! That limits your maple choices.
    Wait, what if you can't find the bass you like with a maple fretboard?

    Conclusion, it's complicated! Most any maple fretboard bass is also available in rosewood. Only certain basses are made with a maple fretboard.
  16. Sometimes I like maple, but sometimes I like rosewood. That's when I don't like ebony, but sometimes I do like ebony, but only when I don't like wenge, and when I get tired of wenge, I go back to maple.
  17. JellinWellen


    Oct 18, 2012
    Rosewood can kill your strings faster:

    Rosewood is usually unfinished and very porous. It traps gunk and grease in those pores and can occasionally rub off on your strings. Other than that its really about aesthetics.
  18. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Every single time isn't going to happen - each piece of wood is different. But that doesn't mean that the woods in question don't have certain tendencies. As for being able to tell one from the other on recordings, you might as well ask people to consistently identify what is a Precision and what is a Jazz. Most wouldn't be able to do that, but that doesn't mean there isn't a difference between the two. And it isn't only a matter of what is heard "out there" - it's also a matter of how the subtleties of a bass' sound influences the player.
  19. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    That doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Maple boards get just as dirty as rosewood boards. And wouldn't your strings be more likely to collect the dirt not absorbed by the wood and just resting on the surface? I've never noticed my strings going dead faster on my rosewood boarded basses.
  20. fjadams


    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    Prefer the look and feel of maple. Every bass and guitar I own has rosewood.

    Picking up my new bass with a maple neck tomorrow.

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