Maple/Rosewood neck?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Hobbes, Jun 11, 2003.

  1. Right, I should be getting another bass this coming summer (Musicman Sterling), but was just deliberating over having a maple or rosewood neck. Basically I've never owned a bass with a maple fretboard, and was just wondering if there are any significant differences in sound between the two. Thanks in advance for any opinions anyone might have.
  2. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    Maple has a brighter sound and rosewood warmer, correct me if I'm wrong?
  3. evh


    Jan 3, 2003
    you're right... maple is brighter, but it also has a quicker attack ... F bass web site can give you more info.
  4. If you're a furious slapper, I guess maple would be better. I used to play on rosewood fingerboard, but since I got my fender Geddy Lee:maple,maple,maple...:D I mean for slap, fingerstyle is really good on rosewood. With a pick? I don't know.:confused:

    If you can get the chance to try both in a shop, you'll quickly hear the difference, especially with the same bass and the same settings.
  5. Thanks for the feedback guys. I'll try and have a go on both if I get the chance. The band I'm playing in at the minute is mainly a soul and/or rock covers band, doing 60s/70s covers such as Ike & Tina Turner, Aretha Franklyn, Beatles, Stones, but we're also going to be doing some funky dance numbers and slow songs as well because we'll be trying to do wedding and party gigs as well as pub gigs. I'd be looking at this bass probably being my main live bass, so was just wondering which would suit better.
  6. For that kind of music, both would be ok!
    The final choice depends on what you prefer.
  7. Johnny Alien

    Johnny Alien Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2003
    Harrisburg, PA, USA
    Rosewood=warm, maple=bright is an over simplification.

    There are way too many other factors in a bass to take into consideration.

    I have a maple fretboard fender with an ash body which by all definitions of wood should be super bright but is the warmest bass I own!! Much warmer than an alder bodied rosewood fretboard P I own!!

    A bass is a combination of many things working together to create a specific tone and there is no way to say 100% what makes that tone.

    I know everyone says this but the best thing to do is play a whole bunch of Sterlings in different combinations and find the one that has the best tone in your mind.

    You may be suprised with what you end up with!!
  8. Hobbes, I have a MM Stingray, and I played about a dozen Stingrays and Sterlings before I finally picked the one I have. (black/black pickguard/rosewood board)

    The day I bought my bass, I played two black Stingrays that were identical except one had a rosewood board, the other maple. I went back and forth between the two for the better part of an hour. I played the same scales/patterns/riffs on both basses, and made sure the tone settings were the same as well. What I found was that the 'Ray with the maple board had a more focused fundamental, and had a noticeably snappier & brighter tone that the one with the rosewood board. If I changed my attack and/or tone settings I could get both basses to sound pretty much the same, but, all things being equal, the maple was a little brighter; the rosewood a little warmer.

    I chose rosewood because I prefer a warmer sounding instrument, and I like its look better.

    Neither is better, just different.

    Check out what they say about this at the Ernie Ball site:

    It's the eighth question down: I'm planning to buy a black Music Man Stingray...

    Good luck.

  9. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    That is so funny you mentioned this. I've NEVER had a maple board, after about a dozen basses. I jsut got one last week, identical Stingray 5 to my other two Stingray 5's, just with a maple board. I gigged with them last weekend, and swapped back and forth for comparison.

    First, the feel is different. Maple is a bit more "raw" feeling. Definitely brighter to see on stage. I agree that the maple has a bit more focused fundamental, and a slightly quicker attack. Also a tad brighter, with a bit more transparency in the high end (even with fresh strings on both basses). But with all of these differences, they were SLIGHT, MINISCULE, TINY differences. No major differences at all. You have to be fairly discerning to be able to notice the change.

    Frankly, I think personal preference for appearance and the feel of the fingerboard are more important due to the tiny difference in sonic qualities. YMMV.
  10. Eric, I agree 100%.
  11. Cheers to everyone for their views. I did actually make it over to a shop today and tried out two Stingrays, one maple and one rosewood. Obviously I would have tried the Sterlings out but they're not actually too readily available where I come from. I think I've decided to go with the rosewood. Pretty much everything you guys have said is what I found, the rosewood seemed to give a bit of a smoother, warmer sound, with the maple a bit brighter and cutting. Obviously as this will probably be mainly a live bass I'd like the bass to be able to cut through nicely in the mix, and I thought both basses would suitably do this, but without being too aggressive, and so I thought the warmer rosewood sound would probably suit me more. Now I'll just have to get in touch with Beaver over at Bass Central and get it ordered. Thanks again everyone.
  12. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    Yep, my feelings exactly...I've played bass for about 16 years and done so on all types of neck/board config's...the feel is usually more of a pronounced thing to me opposed to the sound. Nothing that jumps out at me sound-wise...but that's just me. Plug it in....crank it up.
  13. YngwieOwnsYou


    Jun 16, 2003
    pick up a guitar get ebony fretboard bass sux and most bassist are failed guitarists
  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Yep. I choose by appearance only.
  15. Zon Bass

    Zon Bass

    Jan 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    The trolls sure are out tonight.

    I would go with rosewood. In my experience maple tends to get gunky after a while and I don't really like its brightness.