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sound diff.. between maple and rosewood??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassman454, Apr 6, 2005.


  1. hi,
    jsut looking at musicman stingray's.. is there much of a sound different between the maple and rosewood necks?? and is the peizo pick up worth the extra money??
    thanks regards tim
     
  2. WarwickFan

    WarwickFan

    Feb 7, 2005
    Florida
    I can't answer the peizo question since I've never tried one. Now as far a maple vs. rosewood I could never hear a difference, but some say maple is brighter and rosewood is warmer. So feel and looks would help me make the choice. Now here is one more thing. I have heard, all things being equal, a rosewood FB neck has less of a chance to warp than a maple FB neck. Now this would be for a one piece necks with the maple fretboard as part of the neck. So if the maple neck says "lets warp" the rosewood may say "no. I don't think so, I'm staying straight."
     
  3. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    I prefer maple necks, but mostly for the look. Truth is, electronics make MUCH more diff, and they physically must. Once the string is set into motion, the energy is transfered to the pickups and through your cable at the speed of light. No matter how much the wood may influence the sound, the electronics will always be what you hear first. In summary, I'm not suggesting that wood doesn't matter...it does, but not as much as electronics. I've had MM's with both rosewood and maple FB's, they were both bright and sounded like MMs.

    All things being equal, a maple FB will tend to sound brighter, with a bit more click and also the FB will feel a bit "harder"...rosewood has a bit more "give" to it. But all things never are equal, of course. I've got 2 basses that are pretty damn identical, and the one with a maple FB is darker than the rosewood one. So....?

    Really, it comes down to the individual bass. There are general tendencies, but nothing iron-clad.
     
  4. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I'm of the thought that the sound between rosewood and maple is entirely psychoacoustic. You have body wood, neck wood, construction (bolt on vs. neck through vs. set neck vs. bolt through), pickups, pickup placement, preamps, strings, amp preamp, amp powers section, and cabinets, along with speaker and instrument cables, and the hundreds of different manufacterers therein. No to mention left and right hand technique and placement.

    That said, if you can tell the difference, I wouldn't say you've got a great ear, I'd say you're making it up.

    Also- the string terminates on the metal fret itself, meaning the string doesn't even vibrate behind the fretted finger (for all intents and purposes), so even assuming you pushed the string onto the fretboard, it'd still sit on the fret as it's witness point. So, why would the fretboard material matter at all, given the above variables in addition to the fretboard material; not even counting such minor trivialities as fretboard thickness, grain orientation, and fret material.
     
  5. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    Well...I don't completely disagree. I think your point(s) are well made. There's a lot of voodoo in this kinda stuff. I also think there are/might be more variables than we are aware of. There might be some sort of interaction between the longest vibrating piece of wood (the neck) and the fingerboard. I dunno, I'm sure the physics can get kooky, but I'm not so fast to dismiss it as "you just THINK you hear a difference". Like a thread I posted to a while back where someone said that the difference between WAV and MP3 @192 or MP3 v WMA was indistinguishable. Bull. I've A/B'ed em, and my guitar playing friend and I heard the diff every time without prompting or knowing in advance, If you're predisposed to believe otherwise, you'll come up with SOME reason otherwise. "well, you must have done this or that, or whatever, but there's NO WAY you heard a difference...it's IMPOSSIBLE" It's always interesting how people who weren't there can give 100% accurate assessments of what happened....

    I had a bass that I tried 3 different necks on, and they all sounded different and they were the only variable. The first 2 were pretty close, but the 3rd (made of fir) was VERY different, and guys noticed the diff who were unaware (until afterwards) that I had changed the neck. Some will say, yeah, well, you subconciously tipped them off, or you played differently without knowing it or something like that. That's possible, I'll concede. It's also possible that there really WAS a difference, and it may be due to some factor we are unaware of or perhaps an interaction that hasn't been explored.
     
  6. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Well, is there a difference? Sure, at some level, they're not the same wood. At listening volumes? I'll say 99.9(and so on)% not, and in a band situation, definitely not.

    I just think the difference we hear is entirely (enough so that I dislike qualifying it with "almost") in our headbones.

    I mean, if Mike Tobias isn't full of crap, basses made of consecutive cuts of wood off the same plank and all parts identical will sound different. But does that translate down to the fretboard wood? I submit that it does not. I'm not saying wood doesn't equal tone, I'm saying the fretboard is such a miniscule part of the tone equation, that I stand by my previous post.
     
  7. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    That's cool, but I submit I was there and you were not. We can just agree to disagree. ;)
     
  8. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    It's cool. It's not a popular position I have, so I don't hold it against you or anything.
     
  9. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    While I think that there IS a difference, I just thought of something.

    Assuming you are right, and that the percieved difference is just me subconciously altering my playing or other parameters (the best explanation for others hearing a diff without knowing), then it still has the same result, eh? I mean if I believe it's gonna sound different and subconciously alter this and that to stay in line with what I believe, then it STILL makes a difference, just through a different mechanism. Could be the placebo effect, with the same result...

    I'm just sayin'...
     
  10. I must have big ol' ears!

    I distinctly hear a difference. Maple is to "clacky sounding". Simply pressing the string to the board causes a sound that is not as evident on a rose wood. And on graphite, forgetaboutit!!!!

    Full on band, not very noticeble....nice, quiet jazz gig, I can hear every one of them. Oh, the keyboard players pedal squeaks too....

    SB
     
  11. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    People hear what they wanna hear. Especially when they pay for it.
     
  12. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    No argument. I would just "like" you to admit, (as I did) that it's POSSIBLE you're mistaken about this.. ;)

    But that's just what I would like.
     
  13. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Oh, it's entirely possible. Nigh but likely.
     
  14. Rene

    Rene

    Mar 8, 2004
    Canada
    Ask yourself a question and you might have the answer
    Where do all the strings vibrate the most?
    If you find out , you might see or hear the difference between a maple or a rosewood fingerboard.

    Luthier with 20 years experience
     
  15. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    You're killin' me... :smug: