Maple vs. Rosewood fretboard

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jim Leslie, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. Jim Leslie

    Jim Leslie

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hi All, I am a new bass player, only about four months under my belt. I am looking at getting a Fender Standard Precision (MIM). Any advise/opinions on the fretboard wood... maple vs. rosewood.

    Thanks for the help.

  2. Thebrownarrow


    Jul 23, 2011
    In my opinion, you should just pick one that looks sexy to you. Both are fantastic choices.
    Redrama, StayLow, Bitterdale and 9 others like this.
  3. west al

    west al Road Rex (ROAD KING) Supporting Member

    That somewhat depends on what you like the looks of, and the sounds you prefer. Rosewood is usually a bit deeper tone than Maple. Maple gives a little brighter tone. Your choice of strings may change the tones with the board wood also. It can be a combination of things. The amp you run the bass through has an influence on the sounds also. Try out different combinations to see what makes up your sound.
    Bill Whitehurst and rujulian like this.
  4. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Maple is undoubtedly far more maplier.

    Rosewood excels in rosewooditude.

    For ideal ebonosity, you really want ebony.

    Pau ferro is the best choice for pauferroceousness.

    and so on...

    But the google can come up with some alternative theories.
  5. Pandastylebass

    Pandastylebass The Moon Machine

    May 6, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    jim777 likes this.
  6. gfen


    Aug 21, 2014
    lehigh valley
    stayed at a holiday inn, once...
    When it comes to wood, most people suggest that how you play will have more of an effect than the material.

    That said, "brighter" maple and "warmer" rosewood are the common answers.
  7. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    I have had basses with maple, rosewood and ebony fingerboards and currently own all three types. The difference in tone and feel are infinitesimal to me: I pick a bass that sounds good and feels good regardless of the fingerboard material or the color, for that matter (see ugly fiesta red P in avatar :D).
    ebozzz and Joedog like this.
  8. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    I'm partial to maple. IMO it just looks prettier. The bass in my avatar has rosewood because that's all that was offered.
    shawshank72 likes this.
  9. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    it is cosmetic-
    it doesn't really matter
  10. Petethebassman


    Mar 7, 2008
    String choice (construction and materials) also plays a part, I use flats on my mapleneck '75 P to tone down the brightness a bit and now use rounds on my rosewood P, with Pyramid Gold flats it lacked definition and was too deep and bassy. But choose what feels, looks and most important, sounds the best to you!
  11. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    As said, buy the one you like the look of. Once your guitarist buys his triple rectifier, no-one will be able to hear anything else.
    Aya, joebar, StayLow and 5 others like this.
  12. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I'm convinced the perceived brightness and darkness/warmth of maple and rosewood is all in people's heads. Maple is lighter in color. Rosewood is darker in color. Lightness/bright tone. Darkness/dark tone.
    shawshank72, -Asdfgh-, GregC and 6 others like this.
  13. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    All my basses have maple boards. I don't find them any brighter than any other woods. My Ray4 sounds pretty warm for a supposed 'bright' wood. As mentioned, get out and try them out first if you can. I prefer the look of maple. All my basses are active and I can compensate if they were too bright......but they aren't.
    StayLow and Bret_Salyer like this.
  14. Jim Leslie

    Jim Leslie

    Nov 19, 2014
    That's kind of what I figured... it doesn't make that much difference. That being said the Candy Apple Red Standard Precision with a maple fretboard sure is sharp !!
    Ballin'bass likes this.
  15. Jim Leslie

    Jim Leslie

    Nov 19, 2014
    The "Candy Apple Red Precision with a maple fretboard, is sexy !
    Jbassrockboy likes this.
  16. Eric66


    Sep 23, 2013
    The Netherlands
    There is defenitely a difference in sound. It is a matter of taste.

    Listen to this, close your eyes.
    And pick the Maple neck with your eyes closed easily.

  17. I lean towards maple basses, but in all honestly it's an aesthetic choice.

    The candy apple red Americas specials with black guards and maple finger boards are very sharp!
    Taha-b likes this.
  18. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sometimes you're the dog, sometimes the tree Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2000
    Palm Coast, FL
    I have basses with maple, rosewood, ebony and wenge fretboards and I can get the same tone out of all of them by altering how I play. The only one that *HAS* to be ebony is my fretless but that is about having a hard fingerboard, not about the sound inherent to the wood.

    +100 to the suggestion to pick what looks good to you and to learn to get different tones from your bass.

    SanDiegoHarry likes this.
  19. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Meh. This isn't evidence of anything.

    That video has three different basses that have three different ages, three different pickups, and three different body woods.

    The sample size necessary for any kind of legitimate results would have to be huge. 100 maple board Mexican precisions and 100 rosewood board Mexican precisions played with the same kind of strings by the same player through the same rig would yield some definitive results, but not 3 basses from different countries with decades of use between them.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
  20. dincz


    Sep 25, 2010
    Czech Republic
    It's not a subtle difference and there's no way of knowing what's causing it. Pickup design, pickup position, pot values, tone cap value are all more likely to be responsible. Maybe it's the brown colour?
    StayLow likes this.