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Ebony or maple fretboard for a Strat?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by joebloggs, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. echoes71

    echoes71 Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 15, 2013
    USA
    Everything you said here is wrong, aside from your opinion on 3. 1 & 2 are baseless, and have no facts to back them up. Do you own a strat with an Ebony board? I do, it is far from bright. The board wood has zero influence on sound. Feel, yes, 100%. Sound, no.
     
    nutball73 likes this.

  2. albala

    albala Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 10, 2012
    stamford, CT
    I have maple, rosewood, and ebony boarded guitars and I'm sure no one could tell what's what in a blind study

    The wood, to me, is mostly about the way the guitar looks when I look at it.

    Once I'm playing, I don't look down too often, and sometimes I even forget which guitar I'm playing.
     

  3. Sangetsu

    Sangetsu Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    50
    92
    Oct 6, 2017
    Tokyo
    I have no complaints about ebony, I have two SG’s with ebony fretboards, a MIJ tele with ebony, and of course my Martins. On my strats I have maple and rosewood, my preference depends on the color of the body, surf green looks great with rosewood and a mint green pick guard, maple looks better with other colors. I like ebony for it’s durability, and smoothness. When I play one of my SG’s, I have to make sure my fingers don’t slide up or down more than I want. Finished well, ebony is almost as shiny as glass, but more slippery.
     
    Groovey likes this.

  4. lonegroover

    lonegroover Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    57
    Mar 5, 2016
    England
    They do sound different so it's only reasonable that some will prefer one over the other, even if there are other things you can twiddle with to affect the tone. Not illogical.
     

  5. lonegroover

    lonegroover Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    57
    Mar 5, 2016
    England
    Can you substantiate this?
     

  6. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Strat-Talker

    499
    May 29, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    This was my strat with Ebony fingerboard, until I sold it a couple of years ago.
    http://www.strat-talk.com/threads/ngd-warmoth-hardtail-body-musikraft-neck.241928/
    I also have compared several Warmoth telecaster necks with ebony, pau ferro fingerboards, and also one-piece maple construction. Currently all my guitars have hardtail bridges.

    My comments are my opinion. As you pointed out, I don't not have any rigorous proof or double blind test results to back it up. Here is my "summary version" of what I consider the differences to be in my opinion. This is assuming you take one guitar and swap otherwise identical necks.

    ** One piece Maple: Likely to have resonant and emphasised mids and upper mids. The top end is typically subdued, not actually bright. However the top end brightness is dependant on many factors such as hardness of the Maple, thickness of the neck, truss rod design etc.

    ** Maple with Ebony Fingerboard: Is less resonant that most other necks. The character of the tone from the neck is very flat with exceptionally clear and bright top end. The overall tone will depend a lot on the character of the body it is used with.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
    lonegroover likes this.

  7. dazco

    dazco Former Member

    Age:
    61
    178
    Oct 5, 2017
    california
    Whoa....i didn't say one is better ! I said that I LIKE the sound of rosewood better. If you can't hear the difference, in time you likely will. Took me decades for it to become dead clear. But your gearing DOES change in time, and radically. At least mine did. But i know people who have played for many years and haven't owned many guitars, and if you never own many guitars or experimented with different necks etc etc, how could you ever hear it? You either need experience with MANY of each to hear it, or to swap necks many times. Otherwise no matter how sensitive your hearing gets you won't have THE CHANCE to hear it and won't know why one guitar sounds different. I believe if you spent a day with a dozen rosewood and a dozen maple neck guitars thru the same amp and played them all for a whole day, in the end you would hear it easily. But i would never say you will like one or the other better any more than suggesting you would like a strat or LP better. Also, note that some who don't think they hear it actually DO, they just don't know what it is that made them like that one strat over the other, they just know they liked that one more !
     
    lonegroover likes this.

  8. Gilmourfan75

    Gilmourfan75 Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 28, 2013
    myrtle beach via ny
    I’ve never tried an ebony board to my knowledge. IMO I find maple a bit brighter and defined , and rosewood a bit warmer and rounder. I just recently tried a deluxe roadhouse with pau board. I’m not sure I that had anything to do with it but I didn’t like it. I’ve played roadhouse before and liked them. It sounded brittle to me. Maybe it’s just me though
     
    lonegroover likes this.

  9. qblue

    qblue Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 18, 2009
    Clarks Summit, PA
    None, because fretboard do NOT contribute to sound or feel of said instrument.
     

  10. Fuzzpop

    Fuzzpop Ryan-Ola Silver Member

    Age:
    36
    Aug 14, 2012
    Washington, D.C.
    Anyone saying they notice a difference between a maple and an ebony fretboard, I want a blind test.

    The problem is it'll never work unless you take the same guitar and cap it with a maple board and then an ebony board. That's because every guitar, including two strats that come off the line one after the other, play and sound differently in some increment. Yes, two AmStd Strats will sound more alike than an AmStd Strat and an LP Standard, but they'll never sound exactly the same and there are dozens of factors to that.

    That's not even getting into cables and amps and everything else that goes into what sound comes out of a guitar.

    Also...

    Is hearing the difference between fretboard woods like going to Neverland? You can only hear it if you truly believe? I've played hundreds of Strats and owned a couple dozen over the years (not including other Fenders and Gibsons). I've played Strats with maple boards that sounds a lot like ones I had with rosewood boards and I've played Strats with maple boards that sounded nothing like ones I had with rosewood boards. There are so many difference at play that you can't simply attribute tonal difference to fretboard wood. Even if you switch necks on the same guitar you're affecting more than just the fretboard wood.
     
    Kester and nutball73 like this.

  11. dazco

    dazco Former Member

    Age:
    61
    178
    Oct 5, 2017
    california
    Believe what you want, but i don't appropriate the "neverland" comment. You simply can't hear it, don't blame me for that. Thats not the case with me whether or not you want to believe. But if you want to insult me because you disagree with what i know for a fact i easily hear, then i'm done responding to you. I don't come to forums to be insulted and i sure as hell didn't give you any reason to do so.

     
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  12. Fuzzpop

    Fuzzpop Ryan-Ola Silver Member

    Age:
    36
    Aug 14, 2012
    Washington, D.C.
    You don't know anything for a fact. All you've stated is a qualitative analysis with no controls or measures. You've played dozens and dozens of guitars and have formed an opinion about fretboard wood. Nothing wrong with that. I've just formed a different opinion. You have a sonic perception and I have a different sonic perception. There are very few facts involved with something as subjective as tonality.
     
    nutball73 likes this.

  13. dazco

    dazco Former Member

    Age:
    61
    178
    Oct 5, 2017
    california
    It's there, you just can't hear it. believe what u will, done.
     
    lonegroover likes this.

  14. Fuzzpop

    Fuzzpop Ryan-Ola Silver Member

    Age:
    36
    Aug 14, 2012
    Washington, D.C.
    Well, the tonewood truthers are out in full force today, so I'll retire from this thread. But thanks for the fun, guys!
     

  15. joebloggs

    joebloggs Strat-Talker

    159
    Jun 18, 2017
    Canada
    Well, after going over these posts, and doing some research.... If, and when(more likely) I decide to buy a Strat I will be going with a maple board. I am looking at the Elite Stratocaster in mystic black to match my Tele. Thanks for the spirited conversations! There is a lot of great info and advice on these forums!
     
    Teleplayer, Hash McBrown and Fuzzpop like this.

  16. Fuzzpop

    Fuzzpop Ryan-Ola Silver Member

    Age:
    36
    Aug 14, 2012
    Washington, D.C.
    Hey, even with all our arguing, we can at least agree that Strats rule. Rock on, man!
     
    brians and albala like this.

  17. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    51
    Nov 14, 2013
    Alabama

    You mean other than insulting everyone who does not agree with what you believe?

    Condescend much?

     
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  18. joebloggs

    joebloggs Strat-Talker

    159
    Jun 18, 2017
    Canada
    Well.... It was a Tele that brought me to this point. So I would say that Teles rule! ;) :)Lol(which is probably blasphemy here on Strat-Talk) :D All I can say is that my American Elite Telecaster has given me a newfound love of single coils. Not to mention the neck profile exclusive to the Elite... Best neck I have ever played.
     
    Fuzzpop likes this.

  19. Fuzzpop

    Fuzzpop Ryan-Ola Silver Member

    Age:
    36
    Aug 14, 2012
    Washington, D.C.
    Well, somebody's always gotta be difficult! Hahaha. My dad played a Tele for about 20 years. Now he's a Strat man. But I do have love for Teles!
     

  20. joebloggs

    joebloggs Strat-Talker

    159
    Jun 18, 2017
    Canada
    I have always loved a good Tele. Looks like a great working man's guitar. It can be country or super heavy.... Gotta love that! :thumb:
     
    Fuzzpop likes this.