Opinions please...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Irie01, Feb 22, 2002.

  1. Irie01


    Jan 22, 2002
    Hi to everyone here. Well, I am waiting to get my Sterling/mapleboard/vintage sunburst from Ernie Ball. I am looking through old threads and they have me once again thinking about the rosewood maple issue. I chose maple with the consideration of how much sweeter it looks on a v.sunburst, and more so because I have been playing a rosewood Stingray now for a few months, and I want to go for something different. Now, one thing that I wonder about, is that I see that people feel that rosewood has that more warmer tone as oppose to the maple.Is that to say that you can not get a nice low from the maple? For example in playing jazz or reggae.I know that most reggae bassists I see are using rosewood, but I am just curious to see what tones and feel the maple is capable of. I also hear snappy when describing a maple. Just what exactly is a snappy tone?What is everyone's opinion on this. I am not asking which one is better, but if maple can get that low warm feel also, or at least does it have a very different tone?Like Eric from Sublime, Familyman, and Flabba from the Roots Radics, for example.
  2. Irie01


    Jan 22, 2002
    Hmmmm...what I am basically trying to ask is if it is unheard of using a MM style bass like a Sterling with a maple board for styles like reggae, ska , and jazz?
  3. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    IMO the differences in tone between maple and rosewood FBs aren't even all that audible to all ears. (Some, absolutely, but not all.) Second, what differences there are, despite the nitpicking we bassists love to do, are IMO not earth-shattering, and not huge enough to prevent you from using the bass for reggae/dub if you want too. Third, the MM has fairly powerful tone controls AFAIK, so you can probably adjust out a little brightness if you want to. Fourth, if you roll off a lot of treble at your amp, as many reggae players do, you might well not hear any of the extra treble a maple FB would give anyway.

    Bottom line: don't worry overmuch about the smaller issues. FB wood isn't meaningless, but it's not the biggest component of tone generation on a bass either. I'd worry more about neck wood, body wood, construction, and electronics before I even got to the FB wood.

    Even more bottom line: don't get too hung up on the idea that particular gear choices (esp. small ones) will necessarily keep you from executing certain styles well. FWIW, I've seen reggae players using Steinbergers and getting a killing tone and feel.
  4. Irie01


    Jan 22, 2002
    Thanks a lot for your reply Richard. I appreciate your opinion and think that what you say is very true.
  5. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    I've got to agree, in my long and varied experience, this is right on.
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Tacking on to Richard's good observations, here's my "real life" experience with two basses that have maple necks and maple fretboards;

    - pre-CBS Precision more closely follows the "maple stereotypical sound": tight, defined, controlled highs and lows.
    - Lakland Skyline 02 can get a fat, wide, bottom end even though it is strung with stainless steel roundwounds. All I do is boost the amp's bass controls plus put more tube into the sound with the Blend control, and adjust the bass's controls for more mids, less treble, more bass and use more of the neck pickup.

    I think the difference in pickup quality and the fact that the Lakland has a preamp is what really makes the difference. They enable the maple to get a loose, louder, bottom end like that of high quality rosewood

    I wouldn't worry about the bottom end much with your Sterling as long as the amp can handle the job.

    Even if you got a rosewood fretboard, whatever tonal contributions it would make would have to pass through a maple neck.
    Not that fretboards don't make a difference. But I'm sure I notice it far more than anyone in the audience can (unless I'm doing some kind of crisp-sounding slap thing).
  7. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    all you have to do is play over the fingerboard. without touching any tone controls on anything i can get my graphite necked sterling to sound like deep dub bass.

    it has more to do with your fingers than your fingerboard wood, so maple will be great!

  8. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    I totally agree with Richard. The slim fingerboard veneer makes such a small difference in tone (if any at all) on a fretted bass. I don't recall if you'll have a choice of body wood, but that would be a significant factor to consider. That said, technique is also a determining factor (as Jason pointed out). IMO, the Sterling will do just fine on any style you want to play.
  9. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    I play a maple FB Am Std. Jazz in a ska/reggae band, and as was mentioned earlier, it's all in the style. I let someone in another band play it at a show, cause he broke three strings in one song (sucker!), and it sounded like crap! To me, my set-up sounds awesome! It's all in how you approach it with your fingers and your mentality. I do roll of a little on the top end on my amp, though, but not too much. I still get the bright crispness of the maple, but playing over the neck with the tone knob rolled a bit I can get the deep, warm tone like an old Gibson.
  10. JimM


    Jan 13, 2000
    Northern California
    I have a '76 Fender Jazz with a maple board.The neck is made from a single piece of maple except for the "skunkstripe".I think this is partly why it is somewhat lacking in the low end.I can get more lows from the amp,so I know they are there although subdued a bit.You can't boost what isn't there to begin with.
    I think it has something to do with the lack of rigidity in the neck.If you check out the excellent thread on "B"string tone,you'll see what I mean.I think that's why,even on their maple fretboard necks pedulla uses two pieces of wood.it increases stiffness so the energy isn't lost in the neck,but stays in the string.
  11. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    I think rosewood's inherently warmer than maple.
    The composition's a lot looser. It's not as hard of a wood, in other words.

    I like the bright sound of maple, so I got my Sterling with a maple neck, and I couldn't be happier. If you want it warm, just cut your treble, and put it in parallel. You'll get a very warm tone, too warm for me. I play with it in series, because I like the brightness. :)
  12. EString


    Nov 20, 2000
    Los Altos, CA
    Actually, series is supposed to be more bass and low mid heavy with less highs. Parallel is the one with more bite. Stingrays are wired in parallel.
  13. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    If you say so, ES.
    Have you tried a Sterling in series, and in parallel?

    With mine in parallel, it gets MUCH warmer, and MUCH less bite. I know how Sterling's and 'Ray's are wired.
  14. to me the the tone of a maple fretboard was never the issue. Ive actually gotten some amazing nice warm tones out of maple fretboards. But, I never liked the feel of maple, and for me that counts for a lot more. you should deffinetley try playing a sterling with a maple fretboard before you buy one, because you just might not like it at all.
  15. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    Spearhead, if you're using Fenders for your comparison, it doesn't hold true for MM's.

    MM's use a better finish on their necks, which is much faster. :)