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Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

Maple or Rosewood neck?

fabian3679

I'm buying a Deluxe Nashville Telecaster. I have the option of getting a maple or rosewood neck. What are the main differences in sound and playability between the 2?
June 17, 2005 @06:21am
rct

I have only been playing the guitar since 1971. I pretty much for the most part have played about every thing that has appeared since the mid 70's. I know that is nothing compared to the incredible amounts of intelligence most of todays 1nt4rw3b super geniuses have, but there it is.
Playability is not at all an objective measure, only you can determine whether or not a neck and/or fingerboard suits you. Sound? No difference at all in my experience. Play them both, pick the one you like the feel of, they'll sound pretty much the same as they themselves can.
June 17, 2005 @12:45pm
R Whittington

There won't be a tremendous amount of difference in feel between the two, but a maple fingerboard will yield a slightly brighter sound.
June 17, 2005 @02:23pm
fabian3679

thanks for the help. i went for the rosewood neck. It looked better to me.
June 20, 2005 @09:14am
PRS_McCARTY_PLAYER

THERE MOST CERTAINLY IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAPLE, EBONY, AND ROSEWOOD FRETBOARDS, MAPLE YIELDING THE BRIGHTEST SOUND OF THE THREE, THEN ROSEWOOD, THEN EBONY, THEY ALL HAVE A DIFFERENT FEEL TOO, EBONY BEING THE SLICKEST FEELING OF THE THREE, NOTICEABLE WHEN USING VIBRATO WITH YOUR FINGERS, THEN MAPLE, THEN ROSEWOOD, YOU PROBABLY WON'T KNOW WHICH YOU PREFER UNTIL YOU'VE PAID YOUR DUES, AND FALLEN INTO YOUR PARTICULAR STYLE OF PLAYING, THAT WILL DETERMINE WHICH FRETBOARD IS RIGHT FOR YOU, I WOULD RECOMEND YOU GO WITH A ROSEWOOD FRETBOARD, ITS THE MIDDLE GROUND FRETBOARD IN MY OPINION, THEN AS YOU ADVANCE IN YOUR PLAYING TRY A MAPLE FRETBOARD, AND AN EBONY FRETBOARD, ONCE YOU HAVE SOME EXPERIENCE, YOU WILL KNOW WHICH ONE FEELS "RIGHT" FOR YOU, AND YOUR PLAYING STYLE. JUST MY OPINION
December 8, 2005 @12:53am
Frugle

hey woah, no need to yell....
its all in how you feel.. personally, I can play better on a maple neck than on a rosewood... but thats just my personal feelings...
you really need to play them both and decide for yourself.
December 8, 2005 @01:23am
panhead

for me maple!
December 10, 2005 @06:47pm
JohnnyR

I personally like maple because it gives a bright twangy sound. However I also have a custom made G&L ASAT and I got ebony on that and I did notice a difference but it was a pretty trivial and did not really make me like or dislike the guitar. I guess what it comes down to is personal preference. Go to (if you must) guitar center or preferably a local music store called Music Authority in the Atlanta Georgia area (I work there) and just try out a bunch of different kinds until you figure out what you like.
December 14, 2005 @04:35pm
FireHazard17

hey woah, no need to yell....

He wasn't yelling, his computer is so old that it only has capitol case.
February 9, 2008 @04:29am
ur86d

THERE MOST CERTAINLY IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAPLE, EBONY, AND ROSEWOOD FRETBOARDS, MAPLE YIELDING THE BRIGHTEST SOUND OF THE THREE, THEN ROSEWOOD, THEN EBONY,

I think the way you have listed the order of brightness, is a little off. I've never actually played an ebony neck/fingerboard. But from all the reading i've done on the subject, most opinions are that ebony is the brighter of the three. Then maple, and finally rosewood. There are other rescources out there to back my claim. But the one i have handy at the moment is here:
http://www.warmoth.com/guitar/necks/necks.cfm?fuseaction=guitar_neckwoods
This is my first post here, So i don't know what the atmosphere of this board is like. And i just want to make it clear that i am not trying to start an argument.
February 17, 2008 @05:28am
GM Reszel

i just want to make it clear that i am not trying to start an argument.

No argument from me just clarification. I think Warmoth's 'tone-meter' is really a bit vague. All woods have inherent tones, ie this one is brighter, warmer, etc. but that doesn't take into account something very important and that is harmonic overtones. I would never tell someone ebony is brighter than maple because that doesn't complete the description. Ebony has few overtones so it is a very sharp and clear bright - the attack of Ebony is so strong but I tend to think of maple as having more of a glassy presence and ebony a smoother presence.....oy, I dunno, I mostly find it difficult to define the tones in words,,,,I know it in my head!!! :o
I have no preference in fretboard wood I just take into account the characteristics of each when I'm making a guitar and go from there, like I know if I have a mahogany neck with ebony board I'll get such & such tone and so on.
Clear as basswood,,,,er I mean mud?
February 18, 2008 @07:12pm
ur86d

No argument from me just clarification. I think Warmoth's 'tone-meter' is really a bit vague. All woods have inherent tones, ie this one is brighter, warmer, etc. but that doesn't take into account something very important and that is harmonic overtones. I would never tell someone ebony is brighter than maple because that doesn't complete the description. Ebony has few overtones so it is a very sharp and clear bright - the attack of Ebony is so strong but I tend to think of maple as having more of a glassy presence and ebony a smoother presence.....oy, I dunno, I mostly find it difficult to define the tones in words,,,,I know it in my head!!! :o
I have no preference in fretboard wood I just take into account the characteristics of each when I'm making a guitar and go from there, like I know if I have a mahogany neck with ebony board I'll get such & such tone and so on.
Clear as basswood,,,,er I mean mud?

I guess i was being a little cautious with my last statement. I'm sure anyone who has frequented any message boards, can understand why. heh heh
But cival discussion on any subject, whether to agree, disagree, or anything in between is always welcome. Like i said i've never actually played an ebony board..so i couldnt even attempt to define the tone in words like you have. I just didn't want anyone who might search the board in the future to get the wrong idea.
The way i see it, most of the time more information is better than less. I found what you had to say on the subject informative. I think i understand what you mean by the harmonic overtones, until i play an ebony board i won't know for sure.
I guess it comes down to what a person's definition of bright is. If they mean sharp attack and smooth presence, they may want ebony. If they mean sharp attack, and glassy presence they may prefer maple.
February 19, 2008 @05:56am
GM Reszel

It is tough to decide which fretboard and that is why I always encourage people to just try, test, use their own ears and go from there. And with that said I think it really takes us a long time to settle on what is that perfect, sweet sound for us. And dare I say also some of us are fickle and change our minds like the wind?,,,,,nawwwww!
The cool thing is we're playing guitars - the greatest instrument on the planet (yes, log that as my humble opinion).
February 19, 2008 @04:39pm
Garvoon

I've been playing since the early 60s, and to be honest, I prefer rosewood probably only because of asthetics. For me, too, it's all probably psychological, but I get a warmer feel with rosewood.
I'm sure there are some differences, but my ear isn't as well trained to pick them up as others. In my book, it's what you feel most comfortable with as far as sound and playability.
Seeing some of the nuclear pedal board rigs people are using these days, I'd imagine they more shape the tone than the fretboard. But, it's different strokes for different folks.
March 1, 2008 @06:45am
Tarktones

I personally love ebony fretboards. I've owned a number of guitars with rosewood which feels very natural to me. But the ebony fingerboard is just so smooth and slick. I love it.
March 1, 2008 @07:18am