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Old June 30th, 2011, 11:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Maple vs Rosewood Fretboard

When I play Strats with maple fretboards, the smoothness, playability and feel of the guitar seem so superior to the rosewood versions. And when I watch my two favorite guitarists - Gilmour and Clapton - play their Stratocasters, it seems they also prefer maple. I wonder if others share this - or if not, tell me why you disagree.

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Old June 30th, 2011, 12:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Superior? Watch yourself. Everybody on here will tell you maple vs. rosewood is a matter of personal preference. Maple has a smoother feel, but rosewood gives a warmer tone.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 12:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally, the thought of a finished fretboard was very distasteful to me. When I went looking for my strat, I was definitely looking for rosewood. After playing some maple FB's in the shop, I wouldnt say maple was a plus for me, but it didnt deter me from buying the guitar I liked best.

I think I still prefer the look and feel of ebony with a bit of linseed oil. And I am a little worried about the finished maple over the long term, it just doesnt seem to age well.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 12:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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i think they are pretty similar. i can tell little difference in anything other than looks, tbh....and i like both in that department
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Old June 30th, 2011, 12:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My favorite thread topic. Aha at first I was a rosewood guy because John Mayer played rosewood but after playing a maple board I was hooked. David Gilmour is my second favorite guitarist, my playing is alot like his. I like a one piece maple neck with C Shape.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 12:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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my favorite thing about the maple is that not a lot of companies offer it much, so its sort of a fendery looking thing
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Old June 30th, 2011, 12:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I prefer maple as well, but rosewood definitely gives a better tone and sustain. My all time fav has gotta be ebony, gives the best of both worlds.. warm tones, incredible sustain, and the speed of a maple fretboard..
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Old June 30th, 2011, 12:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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maple maple and maple syrup as well
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Old June 30th, 2011, 12:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I definitely prefer maple, but I cant pinpoint why....I personally don't think it sounds better or worse than rosewood boards, and as far as looks, I dont really have a preference either, (except with seafoam green, maple is a must), something just draws me to them, if there are two guitars sitting next to each other and one is maple, I will pick that one up every time. Most of my favorite guitarists even play rosewood, I really cant pinpoint what makes me like them so much
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Old June 30th, 2011, 12:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You have to count in neck thickness as well - I had a guitar that went from a thin rosewood to a thick one and it pretty dramatically changed the sound.

Generally maple tends to have more mids and treble - I find my maple strats have better string-to-string definition, especially on distorted chords.
Rosewood has a flatter, overall warmer sound but with some high end presence - that's why some guitar builders say rosewood necks and ash bodies are a bad combo because the ash can bring out that sharper high end more than alder (tell that to Mark Knopfler, I guess.)
With most players though it comes down to look and feel - I guess it depends how sensitive your ears are as to whether sound will be a deciding factor...
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Old June 30th, 2011, 01:06 PM   #11 (permalink)
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To me its the reverse.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 01:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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not superior but I prefer the maple. Probably all in my head but it seems to play better for me.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 01:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
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my favorite thing about the maple is that not a lot of companies offer it much, so its sort of a fendery looking thing
My usual response. Most other companies, if they offer maple, look weird and pale (Like Music Man, Ibanez, etc). Fender maple is awesome looking, unique, and I like the feel better than rosewood. It is not a deal breaker, but my Tele has maple and my #1 strat has maple.

My favorite guitar is my black strat with maple board. So plain and simple, yet so beautiful. It is also the best sounding strat I have played. I know most people will say this about their strats, which is why we all have our own moified to our liking.

You know who else loved black with maple? Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Jimi, and others.

***This is not to say I do not like rosewood. My Explorer has a really nice rosewood board on it that I love. Just in general, and for Fender products, I prefer maple.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 02:14 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the well considered viewpoints. And when I said the maple seems superior to me, of course, I was expressing my preference, not asserting an absolute fact by any means.

Follow-up question: When you buy a Strat with a maple fretboard, is that fretboard the same piece of wood as the rest of the maple neck, or is it laid on top of the neck, just as the rosewood would be?
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Old June 30th, 2011, 02:39 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the well considered viewpoints. And when I said the maple seems superior to me, of course, I was expressing my preference, not asserting an absolute fact by any means.

Follow-up question: When you buy a Strat with a maple fretboard, is that fretboard the same piece of wood as the rest of the maple neck, or is it laid on top of the neck, just as the rosewood would be?
Most, if not all newer Fenders have a 1 piece neck. So the neck and fretboard are the same piece of wood.

I think back in the day you could get a "maple cap" neck, where all maple necks were built the same, and then Fender laid either rosewood or maple on the top for the fretboard. You can tell these because they will have a maple fretboard but no skunk stripe, meaning the truss rod was inserted before the fretboard.

**I just answered that the best I could, but tons on here should be able to correct me as necessary.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 03:01 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Some one needs to do a video where they whack the two necks together and see which breaks first. That will decide the winner once and for all. ... or maybe not.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 03:35 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Some one needs to do a video where they whack the two necks together and see which breaks first. That will decide the winner once and for all. ... or maybe not.
take the neck off you tele build from tdpri, and whack it against a steel pole as hard as you can, until it breaks, and post the result.

i will take the neck off my bullet, and give it the same number of hits....if it doesnt break, rosewood wins, and i can put the neck back on
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Old June 30th, 2011, 03:37 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Some one needs to do a video where they whack the two necks together and see which breaks first. That will decide the winner once and for all. ... or maybe not.

Those with the most guitars should volunteer for this experiment. ^^^

All the coolest people prefer maple.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 03:42 PM   #19 (permalink)
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My usual response. Most other companies, if they offer maple, look weird and pale (Like Music Man, Ibanez, etc). Fender maple is awesome looking, unique, and I like the feel better than rosewood. It is not a deal breaker, but my Tele has maple and my #1 strat has maple.
my sss strat is the mim roadhouse, which has an amazing looking tinted maple fb, and i adore maple, but i think most of my dream combos are rw....the gold finishes, sunburst and like bsb maybe, are the only ones i strongly prefer as maple, and then white, black, surf and a few others are pretty much tied, and then most everything else i like the rw....even teles, i now love the 60s colors and rw, and far prefer them....much more so than a strat, oddly, and my position used to be that a rw tele was unacceptable

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My favorite guitar is my black strat with maple board. So plain and simple, yet so beautiful.
i saw a strat on here once...black, maple, white pickguard, black knobs, and just a single black humbucker in the bridge....lovely
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Old June 30th, 2011, 03:48 PM   #20 (permalink)
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"I think back in the day you could get a "maple cap" neck, where all maple necks were built the same, and then Fender laid either rosewood or maple on the top for the fretboard. You can tell these because they will have a maple fretboard but no skunk stripe, meaning the truss rod was inserted before the fretboard."

Yes, starting sometime in the 60s, and ending in 68.
Some think maple cap necks have a slightly different tone possibility, "to me" they do.
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