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Rosewood or maple fretboard ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Matches, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. Matches


    Mar 17, 2012
    Portland, Or
    Within the next month or two, I will be buying an American Standard jazz bass and I wonder if there is that much of a difference in tone if I purchase the bass with a rosewood or maple fretboard. If there is a difference between the two, would it be easier to get brighter tones from a rosewood neck then trying to get warmer tones from a maple neck? Or is it more or less irrelevant and I should just purchase what looks more esthetically pleasing to me? If you are a jazz owner, let me know your thoughts. Thanks.
  2. Go for the looks. If there are any differences (which I doubt) they would be so small it wouldn't be worth making the decision over them.
  3. Oh.

    Here we go again.:help:
  4. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    previated devert
    I say get the rosewood.

    Or, get the maple.

    Remember, it's really up to you.

    That said, I prefer rosewood to maple in most situations.

  5. Lennard III.

    Lennard III.

    Aug 21, 2008
    Endorsing Artist : Fodera Guitars , Harvest fine leather bags & straps
  6. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan.

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.

  7. old-fashioned


    Mar 25, 2005
    I go for jazz basses with rosewood (darker than maple) and precisions with maple (brighter than rosewood) fretboards because IMHO they balance the tendency of their pickups very nicely. If you prefer something really bright, you can go for a jazz with a maple fretboard, or if you're after a really dark tone, you can think of a precision with a rosewood fretboard.
    Don't forget that the bodies matter as well...
  8. Phendyr_Loon


    Sep 4, 2010
    Maple is brighter but can be mellowed with the proper combo of strings, PU's, setup, and amp settings.
    Rosewood is more mellow but be brightened with the variables listed above.
  9. ulynch

    ulynch Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2010
    Nor Cal
    While there may be audible differences in sound between a maple board and a rosewood board, whether it's significant depends on your band context. For me in my context, it wouldn't matter a whit. But I play metal, hit hard, and use a fair amount of overdrive. In a coffee shop jazz combo the difference may be distinguishable. Whether the difference is significant enought to base a decision on is up to you. Keep in mind that other variables may negate any subtle differences between fretboard materials (pickups, strings, technique, effects, other instruments, etc.).
  10. all wood resonates at the same frequencies... didn't ya know! tonewood doesn't matter.
  11. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Rosewood or maple fretboard ?


    Get one of each and take a while and sort out which is better.

    I tried that ... now I have some basses with maple and some with rosewood and I like them all.
  12. TinIndian


    Jan 25, 2011
    Micco Florida
    For years I have always prefered Rosewood over Maple. A couple of months back I played a different brand in both Rosewood and Maple. I prefered the Maple by a margin large enough that I won't consider that bass in anything but Maple. The Maple was substantially brighter sounding than the Rosewood. I think if posible you should try to compare two of the same basses like I did and see where your preference is.
  13. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    If it makes a difference at all, this is it. Maple = brighter, rosewood = warmer. If you can actually hear the difference while the whole band is playing, you have very sensitive ears. Most people will not notice.
  14. JonKim

    JonKim Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2011
    Wenge or ebony IMHO
  15. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Not sure if this was serious or tongue-in-cheek. The anti-tonewood argument, for the OP's benefit, is that in an electric instrument, unlike an acoustic one, what resonates to the strings is not the wood, it's the magnetic coils in the pickup. Now maybe the strings vibrate differently if the bridge is attached to a different type of wood... maybe. But it's not going to be the difference in tone you hear from an acoustic guitar made of koa vs one made of spruce or something.

    But I'm no expert on these things, I'm just passing along a summary of the arguments I've read for the OP's benefit.
  16. FileBass


    May 9, 2012
    I'd choose a maple. It gave a better slap sound but poorer pluck sound IMO! rosewoos is the other way round. They r so different to me. I wonder why Marcus Miller chose maple board (I recommend guys to try out passive jazz vol/vol/tone n maybe the difference is clearer). Marcus's reason is clearly stated on his website. I dont know if im right cos I dont have that much STAGE experience. :bag:
    Marcus does not have that much experience too :bag:
  17. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.


    I prefer the look of a darker fretboard, but i gave up pretending I could tell the difference on a recording or on a gig.

    My main 6 basses are:

    2 x Rosewood (a P and a J)
    2 x Maple (a J and a Stingray)
    2 x Composite (Modulus)

    I gig and rehearse with all of them and I play them all for everything from metal to blues/country.

    Buy what you like the look and feel of and what you think sounds the best.:bassist:
  18. I like roswewood better for looks, but I think maple sounds better.
    My favorite is ebony. It has a certain kind of brightness while also kind of mellowing out certain frequencies that maple does not. I also think it looks awesome on some basses. Wish Fender offered a dlx Jazz with ebony fboard. That would be a wallet opener for me!
  19. drummer5359

    drummer5359 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Pittsburgh PA USA
    Although I believe that there is some tonal difference, most of that can be offset by stings setup and playing style in my opinion.

    I think that it comes down to looks and feel. Some basses look better (to me) with rosewood, and some maple. Personally, I really like the feel of maple better. Therefore I own three basses with maple necks and one with Rosewood.

    I want an American Standard Jazz as well. I'm going to go with sunburst/maple and put a black pickguard on it so it looks like a cousin to my sunburst 60th Anniversary P. Yes, it may be a dumb reason, but it works for me.

    Enjoy your new bass whichever way you go.
  20. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    I agree with that completely, not dumb at all.

    I personally would go maple (ALL of my basses have maple boards), but honestly, between your effects, amp, other band members amps, the crowd noise, the bartenders clinking drinks around..... No one is gonna be able to tell the difference in sound while the band is playing.

    Go with what looks better to you.

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