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Maple Vs Rosewood Fingerboards - The Age Old Debate

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by aznsk1d, Apr 17, 2009.


  1. aznsk1d

    aznsk1d

    Jan 8, 2009
    Toronto
    Folks... I know this is a common question, but to date, I still don't know if there is a consensus.

    What are your thoughts on Maple vs Rosewood?

    I think Maple is probably the way to go for slap and pop, but if you are a fingerstylist, would it be a fair statement that Rosewood is the way to go in order to achieve a fuller sound, more low end?

    Also, for live performing, do you find that one cuts through the mix better than the other? Again, when playing fingerstyle.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. Bassgrinder77

    Bassgrinder77 Banned

    Jan 23, 2009
    I've come to the conclusion that I like maple best for a Fender type - especially a Jazz. The one-piece maple neck helps strengthen the higher notes which can be weak on a Fender. The one-piece maple neck also has more overall zing and life to it, IMO.
    The body wood matters a lot too. I favor the harder, more dense woods over the softer, less dense ones like ash or swamp ash.
    I think the one-piece maple and a harder, denser body helps compensate for it being a bolt-on.
    I built a Jazz from Warmoth a few years ago with rosewood fingerboard (for looks) and swamp ash body (for light weight). That bass just doesn't have life. Live and learn.
    Re rosewood for fingerstyle and low-end, I don't necessarily agree. It depends on the sound you want. Lots of fingerstyle players have an aggressive top-end, like Geddy and Flea. I don't think the rosewood gives you more low-end, I think it just deadens the top and overall vibration of the instrument. I've heard players get a great non-toppy tone out of the one-piece maple neck too. No matter what tone you use, I think the one-piece maple gives better articulation.
    I think the Geddy Lee Jazz is a good combination - one-piece maple neck and alder body.


     
  3. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=531618
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=529207
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=519333
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=511292
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=495822
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=490615
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=486961
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=479038
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=465869
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=472699
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=464312
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=385876
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=459246
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=446904
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=453700
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=442211
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=440780
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=440551
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=67268
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=434807
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=424205
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=247977
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=428388
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=409725
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=395275
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=405680
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=401710
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=385840
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=375757
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=366282
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=365579
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=346188
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=315100
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=299228
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=309205
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=78304
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=276014
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=266525
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=262997
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=249972
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=233090
     

  4. :D

    This is going to become a talkbass meme.
     
  5. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I don't have time right now to make a more complete list, so this is just the tip of the iceberg.
     
  6. aznsk1d

    aznsk1d

    Jan 8, 2009
    Toronto
    i think i hear what you're saying.. rosewood doesn't necessarily have more low end.. it just has less top end vs maple. right?

    I've posed this question to the forum because I'm finding that my bass frequencies are being chomped into by the numerous guitars I share the stage with, so thought if I can get greater seperation in the spectrum that it would cut through more.



     
  7. RickenBoogie

    RickenBoogie

    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Imo, it's more to do with looks than anything.
     
  8. Fresh Eddie

    Fresh Eddie

    Nov 13, 2008
    I love the sound of maple, but I think it has to do more with the thick layer of finish on those older Fender maple fingerboards than the wood itself.
     
  9. Bassgrinder77

    Bassgrinder77 Banned

    Jan 23, 2009
    That could be.
    Similar to the finish that Ric puts over their rosewood.
     
  10. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I hate you so very very much!! :bag:
     
  11. CapnSev

    CapnSev

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene

    This should be sigged.
     
  12. ravenhawk82

    ravenhawk82

    Apr 12, 2009
    Epic. Win :D
     
  13. Stone Age

    Stone Age

    Apr 13, 2008
    Connecticut

    What is this magic you are using? I've heard of this thing called a "search" before, but thought it was only a myth.
     
  14. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    Oregon
    So which one is the best Rosewood vs Maple thread? :bag:
     
  15. bmaxd

    bmaxd

    Sep 23, 2005
    Saint Louis
    Mmmm. Is that snark I smell?
    :D
     
  16. Hey, did you guys hear Fender raised their prices?

    What's better, pick or fingers?

    ANY1 HVAE TABZ F0R YYZ /MSG ME PLZ!!!!!!!!!

    :bag:
     
  17. Dee_01

    Dee_01

    May 19, 2007
    For what it's worth, I'll offer my thoughts anyway.

    I did a complete 360 in my preference. I used to crave maple when I was playing only rosewood boards, then I got maple. Now both my main guitars and basses have maple boards and I especially wish the bass didn't. Too much 'clank' with maple, which is annoying with a low action. Rosewood sounds a bit smoother and rounder to my ears, but maple has more of a percussive attack and harmonics seem more pronounced.

    For my next bass (another Jazz, probably with an alder body), I'm definitely going with rosewood. I like a warm, vintage tone rather than a bright, modern-tone. Even for slap and pop, I prefer the warmer sound of rosewood.

    As for looks, I don't like how maple wears down and looks like crap after a few years of intense playing. Some people like relic-looking instruments. I don't, and I certainly wouldn't purposely relic a bass. It's like buying jeans that are already dirty. I have ancient rosewood boards than have been played to death but they still look good.

    So, overall, my preference for bass is a rosewood board.
     
  18. NOVAX

    NOVAX

    Feb 7, 2009
    Kalifornia
    Rosewood is a dark backdrop, against which people can see my
    horrifying technique, which involves several physical coping
    mechanisms due to severe wrist injuries, waaaaaaah!
    Maple does a better job of obscuring this.
    When I close my eyes, I dont hear any difference.
     
  19. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    I LOL'd
     
  20. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    Props to the above poster who managed to work the relic debate into this thread. I'm sure consensus will emerge on both of these questions if we just ask the questions often enough, because that's how things work in the real world.

    I'm going to go pick at some scabs...
     

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