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Maple vs. rosewood fretboard? Opinions/info please!

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(@musica23)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Topic starter  

I'm new to this forum and am happy to be here. Please forgive me if this topic has been brought up before or if you find it boring or whatever, but I'm going crazy with something here...

I was able to purchase a Strat Deluxe Ash last week (I was hoping for Christmas, but even that was a stretch!) because my hubby finally gave in. So I played a Strat Classic American with a rosewood fretboard and it felt like butter. I'm used to rosewood and it seems easier for me for some reason. But when I saw the Deluxe Ash in cherry sunburst I fell in love! Only problem was they had only a maple fretboard in stock, so I decided to get it after 3 hours of indecision. I still have a chance to switch it for rosewood, which I may well do.

I know that this is all subjective and a matter of personal preference, but can anyone here tell me their personal pros and cons of both maple and rosewood and help me decide before my time's up? Obviously, I'll be thrilled with either, but I doubt I'll ever get my hands on a Strat again and I want it to be right!

Thanks for any feedback you may have to offer, and please don't be rough on me for something that's entirely up to me! (P.S. While I love and play various types of music, blues is probably my favorite. Lots of lead and still working on some good chords.) Thanks! :roll:

Love and Peace or Else,
CC


   
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(@greybeard)
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First of all, welcome to the madhouse.

All I can suggest, is to shut your eyes and play both. Whichever sounds and (more importantly) feels best is the best.

I know it's not what you want to hear (or read), but it really is a matter of personal preference.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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(@musica23)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 277
Topic starter  

Thanks for the welcome, greybeard, and I know you're right.

I sorta jumped the gun here with this post. I just called a store nearby who will have the rosewood fretboard in stock on Friday (same guitar, just rosewood instead of maple) so I'm sure I'll be able to make a decision then!

Still, I'd be interested to hear about who likes one or the other and why. I know it obviously changes the look and that the maple tends to be somewhat brighter. Anyone care to share their preference?

Love and Peace or Else,
CC


   
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(@stormymonday)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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Some people say maple brings out a brighter tone while rosewood brings out a darker type tone. But, personally, I can't tell at all. If there is a difference in tone between the two, it's very little.

Now, how it feels is something where I can tell a difference. I find rosewood to be smoother to play, while maple to me feels a little "sticky", for lack of a better word. Of course, the look of it is something that's personal preference. I prefer the look of maple, but feel more comfortable playing on a rosewood fretboard, probably because that's the only type I have.

Basically, whatever one you think feels and looks better. I doubt you'll notice any difference in tone, though.


   
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(@musica23)
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Topic starter  

StormyMonday said...
Now, how it feels is something where I can tell a difference. I find rosewood to be smoother to play, while maple to me feels a little "sticky", for lack of a better word.

That's it exactly! That's my problem with the maple. I do like the maple look slightly better, but the actual guitar is so beautiful that I don't care what the neck looks like as long as it feels right.

Thanks! Now I know at least one person understands. :twisted:

Love and Peace or Else,
CC


   
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(@clazon)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 502
 

Yeah.

Whilst I'm pretty sure maple sounds brighter and rosewood is a bit fuller in range of/middle tone, your pickups and so on will have a far greater effect on the tone, so it'd only be a tiny difference. I've played both and I have to say that maple boards being "sticky is a controversial point for me. I've played some and I'd say they're sticky for sure (I've heard the description "like a gym floor" used) however, this doesn't appear to all maple boards. I think it's just the laquer that is used on some.

Personally I happily interchange between the two.

(Welcome and very nice guitars by the way.)
*no green eyes here*... :x

:D

"Today is what it means to be young..."

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(@greybeard)
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Rosewood is unfinished, unlike Maple. Fender offers different finishes with different places of manufacture. The MIA Strats have a very thin, matte finish to the maple fretboards, whereas the MIM Strats have a more gloss finish, which I perceive as far thicker (whether it is or not is really irrelevant) and "stickier".

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
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(@kingpatzer)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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I like the feel and sound of maple on a strat. I have rosewood or ebony on all my other guitars, but maple on the strat. it's just right there :)

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(@rparker)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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When I shopped for my MIM strat, I chose the maple based on the tone. However slight, there was a difference.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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(@anonymous)
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you can always oil your fretboard a little if you feel stuck with the maple, no pun intended.


   
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 Bish
(@bish)
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I own both but don't have the same guitar with different fretboards. So I can't give a true fair comparison. Surprisingly, both my Tele and Strat (Fender) are maple while all others are rosewood. Visual preference was also a small factor and prefectly enough Fender offered the choice and I happened to like the Maple.

I personally prefer the feel of the maple over the rosewood. Guess I'm different than most. I find the maple smoother than the rosewood. I really don't notice much difference in tone but that is probably due to my untrained ear.

I think either way you go you will be very happy.

Enjoy and Welcome to GN!

Bish

"I play live as playing dead is harder than it sounds!"


   
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(@dogbite)
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I have maple on my strat and tele. I like the crisp tone it gives, and the great look when aging and wearing thru.
funny, on all my acoustics I have rosewood.
I cant complain that they sound softer, as my Martin is bright and deep at the same time.

rosewood looks good on acoustic.

Ive played an SG with rosewood. I think there, it adds to that sound SGs have.

jazz guitars have that mellow woody sound and those guitars are rosewood.

tough answer. all I know is that I love the sound of maple on my Fenders. I had a tele custom with rosewood and I ddint like the lack of twang.
my two cents.
and welcome aboard.

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(@ivankaramazov)
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I'm not a fan of maple. Might be my imagination, but it makes my playing seem slippery. I also go with rosewood because I tend to shed a lot of skin while playing and that can be visible on a maple fretboard fairly quickly.

Rosewood smells better as well, in my opinion.


   
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(@akflyingv)
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I agree with StormyMonday, I think the rosewood plays a little smoother. I can't hear a huge difference in tone between my dad's maple and my rosewood.


   
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(@slejhamer)
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Maple looks great with ebony block inlays.

Rosewood looks great with abalone block inlays.

FWIW, Godin says this about the tonal differences:
Equipped with a rosewood fingerboard the guitar will produce a focused sound emphasizing the midrange. The maple fingerboard tends to accentuate the top and bottom frequencies with a dip in midrange. In guitar playing terms, the rosewood guitar tends to be the choice of rock players. Rhythm and blues players often prefer maple fingerboards.

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


   
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