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What is it about maple fret boards?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bryan Hassing, Nov 13, 2003.

  1. Hey there: I've seen that some folks here insist on having a bass with a maple fret board. I don't perceive the same feelings toward other fretboard materials like ebony, rosewood, etc. To me, there almost seems to be some "maple neck consortium" out there. Is it the looks of the light colored fret board that turns some people on or do they actually feel and sound that special? Just fishing for opinions on this. Thanks.
  2. Ive owned basses/guitars with all sorts of fretboard materials. The only one i noticed a real difference in personally was ebony.
    That being said...i love maple fretboards the most...but it is just a cosmetic thing for me. I find the differences between rosewood and maple are almost un-noticable when it comes to tone.

    Maple Ownz j00!
  3. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    I like Bird's eye maple...

    umm... sexy
  4. jivetkr


    May 15, 2002
    Really? I have owned both & there is a big difference in tone. Maple has a brighter sound than rosewood.
  5. I agree, however i really dont find it that big a difference. I think if you were playing live and have all the instruments going full throtle, you wouldnt be able to tell IMO
  6. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com
    Theres quite a bit difference in woods. Maple will give you a brighter and brighter midrange tone verse rosewood is much warmer and rounder sounding. Ebony is very sharpe and aggressive and has wonderful response with being a little more even sounding.
  7. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    I find that most people don't see much of a difference, like B'Aces.

    For me, I do notice a moderate difference. I have and like both. Ebony does have a bigger gap of difference I agree. For me my favorite is Rosewood for looks and feel. OTOH, Maple, especially a birds eye version is very beautiful and also sounds great. The brightness of a maple board is equated to me as extra clarity not really more bright. A guitarist also, I always liked rosewood, but when switching permenetly to bass I started off liking Maple for the "clarity" I mentioned. As time went on and I started trying and buying more and more bass gear, I now prefer Rosewood more again. My reasoning for this is the different type of gear. I now use Bergantino cabs, Walter Woods amp, Demeter pre and QSCPLX amp. All these rigs are very accurate and clear, almost no "coloring" at all. I guess you could say HiFi. My previous equipment was Mesa Boogie, Eden, SWR, and all were very good, but had some character/color/tuning etc. of there own design.

    Of course I'm the guy who can detect differences in sting brands, cable, connectors, etc. I get flamed all the time. I guess it's good to see a differnce and not so good for my wallet. I am a hopeless gear junkie, but I have learned a lot and consider myself very lucky to experience so many different brands of gear. You must always trust your own ears, and I always make my final decision by playing live with my band.

  8. Thats what i was trying to say, you just say it better then i did :D

    BTW excellent new avatar SMASH...very trippy! lol
  9. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    I think theres a big difference between maple and rosewood. Much more high end snappiness with maple. I like the aesthetic of it too. It feels nice to my hands and looks good. All my basses have rosewood boards though.
  10. We wouldn't even be having this discussion if Leo Fender hadn't realized that he could saves a couple of bucks per unit by not cutting, sanding and gluing a roseboard board to his necks.

    A maple fretboard looks great when new, looks like crud when it gets the inevitable finger grime. Or maybe you think the finger grime is a badge of honor. To me, it's just crud.

    If your bass tone needs brightening, try: (1) EQ; (2) ebony; (3) new strings.

    You don't see maple fretboards on acoustic guitars, and you don't see them on Les Pauls. (And the tone of jumbo acoustic guitars could use some brightening up, which is why the Gibson J-200 has a maple neck, back and sides. But not fretboard.)
  11. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I like the brightness of maple, and the look of it.
  12. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    All other things being the same on a bass, there is a difference. Maple has more of an "attack" to it where rosewood is rounder, not as sharp. Ebony is it's own animal

  13. Boozy


    Apr 29, 2002
    Kelowna BC, Canada
    I completely agree.
  14. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    Ah, what do I know...:rolleyes:
  15. basses55

    basses55 Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 24, 2003
    Endorsing artist: Alleva Coppolo Basses and Guitars, FBass, La Bella-Olinto Bergantino Audio Systems
    I'm usually partial to maple boards..there is a signifcant difference in tone between the three mentioned -to my ears. I like the bite and sharpness...also the openess of maple. I much prefer to get the tone I'm after through wood choices than any EQ or strings....more organic and natural IMO....
  16. I can't detect any difference between rosewood and maple, at least not on stage in a band setting. Of course I use flats, play fingerstyle, never use a pick or slap and and my maple boarded instrument is a P-Bass clone.
  17. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    I really like the "liveness" that maple boards add to my sound. I like purpleheart for fretless basses, as I find it less compressed sounding than ebony.

    Maple Fingerboard Consortium
    Member in good standing
  18. I also believe that rosewood is mellower than maple, but even if it weren't, I strongly prefer the look of a dark wood, such as rosewood or ebony or pau ferro to give an instrument a "finished" look. A bass with a maple board doesn't look like it's completely finished to me.

    Also, the contrast of light colored strings against a dark background is much more pleasing to my eye.

    Imagine a Stradivarius with a maple board.

    To each his own. ;)

  19. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    They're maple.

  20. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    Looks = maple
    Sound = maple
    Feel = rosewood
    fretless = pink ivorywood

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