maple vs. rosewood. whats the difference for a fretboard?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by shaunze, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. shaunze


    Apr 6, 2004
    Astoria Oregon
    maple or rosewood. which is better? just wondering, sorry if it's been done already!
  2. In general rosewood is warmer and maple is brighter (tone wise that is).
  3. shaunze


    Apr 6, 2004
    Astoria Oregon
    this is probobly a stupid question, but what does a brighter tone mean? and a warmer tone? i think i understand, but might as well be sure!
  4. MAPLE
    more treble
    less mids
    sharper attack (notes jump out at you)

    more mids
    less attack than maple
  5. I think he means less attack than maple.
  6. Oops. I edited a correction. :bag:
  7. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Maple - Marcus Miller
    Rosewood - John Paul Jones

    Miller's fingerstyle tone is extremely bright while Jones' tone is round and quasi-thumpy.
  8. Personally, I see very little difference in the tone caused by the fingerboard material. I think that if people were blindfolded and had a series of instruments played for them, they would discover that technique, string type, pickup type and placement and not fingerboard material was the determining factor. The original P-Basses had maple fingerboards and I've never heard anybody characterize their sound as "bright" while a MM Stingray with a rosewood board can deliver tremendous treble and brightness. There are a lot of factors that each contribute something to the tone of an instrument.
  9. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    For the most part, I agree whole-heartedly with you on this. Wood can vary so much from piece to piece that it's hardly worth stereotyping. Pickups and preamps/lack of preamp, IMO, have the greatest impact on sound. So, because of the influence of electronics, you can have a Maple board bass which normally should have a brighter tone, somehow could sound subdued because of the electronics. The same can be said for Rosewood, but in the reverse where electronics are making it sound overly bright. I will say though that for the most part, the Maple board basses that I have played had a certain highend "sizzle" that I didn't hear with the Rosewood. Likewise, the Rosewood boards tend to favor a darker/midrange sound as a whole, but this isn't always the case because I have had some very bright/trebley Cocobolo boards which are Rosewood as well. Play each bass and make your decision. For the longest time, I didn't like the sound of Maple boards, but recently, I have found a few that are warmer than the others that I have played, and as a result, I have purchased them.
  10. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    There is a difference IMO. JimS highlighted my experiences pretty well.
  11. I disagree. I think the fingerboards have a huge affect upon tone. I have played my Sadowsky swamp ash J bass with a maple fingerboard and other Sadowsky swamp ash J bass with RW boards. I hear a major difference in tone.

    But this has been discussed ad nauseum. Do a SEARCH.
  12. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Its my perception that this is true...

    But, not nearly as drastic as a Marcus Miller vs JPJ comparision, IMHO...

    I've owned both, but I'm on rosewood, atm.
  13. Well, we've discussed the tone aspect of this maple/rosewood thing many times, but I really don't mind seeing the topic come up again. I feel that most times someone will add something to the discussion that might have been overlooked in the past.

    But if all things are equal, I much prefer a rosewood (or any dark colored wood) as a fretboard wood because:

    1) I think it looks better in that the dark wood contrasts with the light colored strings, and
    2) Any instrument with a maple board seems like it's not 100% completed, if you know what I mean.

    Just my opinion.

  14. I agree that there is some difference between maple and rosewood, maple being brighter, but not a whole lot of difference. I sound like me no matter what I play and that leads me to believe that technique makes the biggest difference. YMMV Yes, this topic has been beaten to death (although not as much as "Should I buy a P-Bass or a Jazz Bass?").