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Report - Maple vs Rosewood on P Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by KingOfTheRoad, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. KingOfTheRoad

    KingOfTheRoad Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2005
    Hangtown, CA
    Hey everyone,

    There has been much discussion over the years as to the sound differences between Maple and Rosewood, Ebony, etc. I have recently had the opportunity to do a real A/B comparison of two necks on the same bass.

    I have a P Bass Deluxe with a Maple neck. I have wanted to try a Rosewood fingerboard on this bass. I recently found (and won) a J Bass Deluxe neck on eBay. I received the neck, with 'lite' tuners in good condition. Before changing over, I play the bass amplified and un-amplified.

    The first this I noticed, was a dramatic difference in weight of the two necks. The maple neck (circa 1996) was much heavier then the rosewood neck. I don't have a scale, so I found the balance point of the neck. The maple, P Bass neck balanced on mid point of the third fret. The J Bass neck, on the mid point of the fifth fret. There are two obvious reasons for this. The P Bass has the old style (heavy) tuners while the J Bass has the newer style 'lite' tuners. Also, the J bass neck is narrower.

    I swapped the neck over, using the same set of strings, tuned up and play amp'd and un-amp'd.

    Here are my, very much subjective opinions...

    UN-AMP'd - The maple neck was acoustically a bit louder. I noticed no difference in tone although the maple neck always seemed to have a dead G string. The rosewood neck seemed a little more balanced in volume up and down the neck.

    AMP'd - The rosewood neck seemed to be slightly brighter and the strings more evenly balanced.

    Conclusion - I my opinion the differences in the two necks is so subjective that no one except the player might know the difference. If I had to quantify, I'd say it was 1%. There was a more dramatic difference on the G string, which was much more alive on the J neck

    Up till now, I haven't mentioned the playability. This was my main reason for going to the J neck to begin with. The J neck is significantly easier for me to play and noticeably lighter. The narrower width is great and the lighter tuners make a difference.

    Cheers, Roadking
  2. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    for me P-bass with maple and J bass with rosewood
  3. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    My guess is the small differences you are hearing are due more to the different mass of the necks than the fingerboard.
  4. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

  5. Just another review proving that fingerboard woods only make a SLIGHT difference.

    So puhlease no more "I'll get a maple neck for a brighter tone etc.." The difference is oh so little ...
  6. parttimeluthier


    May 7, 2005
    KingOfTheRoad, It would seem to me you are comparing apples to oranges here instead of apples to apples. You stated that the rosewood neck was a P-Bass Neck where the maple neck was a J-Bass neck. Aside from the fingerboard wood differences the two types have different profiles and nut widths. this alone is enough to make them sound different.
    I can see p-bass to p-bass neck comparison or a J-bass to J-bass neck comparison. But otherwise it seems too subjective.
    Well just my thoughts. :)