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Rosewood or maple fretboard?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Maloy Poor, Nov 24, 2020.

  1. Maloy Poor

    Maloy Poor

    Feb 15, 2020
    I am looking at a short scale bass one is white with rosewood fretboard the other has maple fretboard. I have no ideal which is a better fretboard. Help please!
    JRA likes this.
  2. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic

    Mar 20, 2011
    Eastern Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    They are both good fretboards. Which one do you think looks better?
  3. Maloy Poor

    Maloy Poor

    Feb 15, 2020
    Both look pretty good to me, I do like the dark rosewood. It sucks being a beginner LOL
    retslock, InhumanResource and zie like this.
  4. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    maple = zero maintenance (& less likely to suffer fret-sprout in low humidity)
    there are videos out there of a comparison, but the entire neck has been changed, so not really conclusive
  5. I must have some form of ocd because I feel uncomfortable with different looking fretboard and headstock. So of these two you mention, it's only maple for me.
    TinyE, lomo, jd56hawk and 2 others like this.
  6. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic

    Mar 20, 2011
    Eastern Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    You don't need a reason for your preference. Simply having a preference is enough.
  7. WillyWonka

    WillyWonka "zero" fret Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2019
    I prefer maple, but most of mine are a darker wood.

    I can’t tell a difference sound wise.
    TrustRod, lomo and Maloy Poor like this.
  8. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Both basses are pretty much guaranteed to sound different but how exactly is impossible to know without trying them first. In theory the maple is supposed to be “brighter and snappier” sounding, with more upper harmonics content, while the rosewood is supposed to sound “warmer” with less upper harmonics content and a stronger note fundamental. Wood can vary a lot though (even when it’s cut from the same tree) so reality doesn’t always line up with the theory on this.
  9. No no I really can't stand them, it's more an allergy than a preference and it feels so stupid LOL :laugh:
    Maloy Poor likes this.
  10. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    You're going to need at least one of each. :thumbsup:

    You're welcome! :cool:
    Jxff, keith1r, Williethump and 10 others like this.
  11. Raoul_Duke

    Raoul_Duke Supporting Member

    Jun 13, 2010
    Tonal differences will be minor and unpredictable. You could have a softer sound with maple than rosewood, or vice versa. No way to tell due to all the variables, including the fact that woods are organic and unpredictable.

    I prefer the look and feel of rosewood, but it depends on the overall aesthetic of the bass.
  12. If you’re inexperienced you’ll have to play the two of them and see which you prefer. If you are unable to play them, you can tell us what kind of music you anticipate playing. I personally find the typical adages about rosewood being warmer and less snappy than maple to be true. The body woods can also make a difference. Again, it’d be best if you told us what kind of music you anticipate playing.
  13. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Go for the rosewood. Dirt and grime shows easily on maple. Tonal differences have been argued since Leo Fender started using both. ;)
  14. I have a Mustang with pearl green body and maple neck. If it was rosewood I wouldn’t like it as much. How that affects your decision, I have no idea.

    For years I’ve heard that maple is brighter and rosewood is warmer. I’d like to see some blind testing on that.
  15. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    No such thing as better, except which might look better.
    Personally, I can't stand unpainted headstocks...looks like they didn't finish painting the bass on Friday, went home for the weekend, and forgot to finish the job on Monday.
    Looks much better with a painted headstock.
    Unless we're talking about maple...they don't need to have matching headstocks to look good
  16. Sponson Thrisby

    Sponson Thrisby

    Feb 15, 2019
    Don't fuss over it. Go with whatever looks best to you.
    BlueTalon and coy garcia like this.
  17. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    Get the one on sale!
    Williethump, sabre79, krfoss and 6 others like this.
  18. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I prefer maple but on some basses the darker fingerboard looks better so I wouldn't stress about it. Sonically there are very subtle differences but most people don't notice.
  19. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    They're both great. I had a rosewood fretboard on my '65 Jazz that I bought in '66, and I have a maple neck and fingerboard on my '82 Jazz that I bought in 1985. Didn't really feel any difference between them, although it took me almost 10-years to find another MIA Jazz with the same neck shape, profile, and radius that my '65 had. My '65 was stolen in 1976 and I bought my '82 Jazz in 1985 (the one in my avatar). My '82 Jazz has significantly more sustain than my '65 did. A lot of folks attribute greater sustain to a maple neck and board.

    My Jazz also has different pickup spacing than my '65 did too though. My '65 had that 60's pickup spacing of 3.6" center to center whereas my '82 has the 70's era 4" center to center spacing. I think the 60's spacing is used on the current Jazz Bass but don't quote me on that. I also think that spacing has more to do with the ability to make my Jazz growl more easily than my '65 did because that bridge pickup is located closer to the bridge itself. If I want growl, I just dig into the strings a bit over the bridge pickup and that large cat comes out to play.

    I'm happy to play either one as long as the bass sounds good. I would play both basses if you can and see which one sounds better and feels better to you. I wouldn't let the fretboard's appearance alone determine which bass I bought. I would be more concerned with how the neck feels because you are gong to be spending a lot of time with it. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention my 5-string is a rosewood fretboard too. I do think that maple fretboards go better with some colors than rosewood does, but that's really just a personal preference. Don't really know that one is better than the other.
    zie likes this.
  20. growlypants


    Nov 10, 2012
    Well, I've had the pleasure of owning both. I also found (and your mileage may differ!) the maple neck had a wicked dead spot on it. But, again, you may not have that problem. Whichever you like best!:thumbsup:
    zie likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jan 25, 2021

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