Maple or Rosewood?

StratUp

Dr. Stratster
Sep 5, 2020
10,124
Altered States
I watched that video a few times. Very slight difference when I had it on in the background. Still one has a brass nut, bone nut and something else he said. So they are all not identical and just changing the wood

Yes, he points that out... although he also specifically didn't play open to try to mitigate that issue. But yes, even just having a brass nut could change vibration transfer. But, you'll note his conclusion its not that any wood sounds a particularly predictable way (that's beyond the scope of a three neck test) but that different woods/necks will sound different.

IME, rosewood does generally sound warmer. And his thinner rosewood neck did sound in-between the other two, as we might expect if rosewood does absorb more high frequencies.

We need a 100 neck, side by side, rosewood vs. maple comparison with a machine plucking the strings to get even a moderately reliable scientific analysis.

Me, I'll go with what I hear... and play the guitar I like the sound and feel of.
 

Intune

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 14, 2021
6,263
Edmonton, Alberta
Yes, he points that out... although he also specifically didn't play open to try to mitigate that issue. But yes, even just having a brass nut could change vibration transfer. But, you'll note his conclusion its not that any wood sounds a particularly predictable way (that's beyond the scope of a three neck test) but that different woods/necks will sound different.

IME, rosewood does generally sound warmer. And his thinner rosewood neck did sound in-between the other two, as we might expect if rosewood does absorb more high frequencies.

We need a 100 neck, side by side, rosewood vs. maple comparison with a machine plucking the strings to get even a moderately reliable scientific analysis.

Me, I'll go with what I hear... and play the guitar I like the sound and feel of.

Yes there is a slight difference. I have 2 large maple necks. One has a truss rod and one doesn’t. The no truss rod neck definitely has a different tone then the one with a truss rod.
 

StratUp

Dr. Stratster
Sep 5, 2020
10,124
Altered States
Yes there is a slight difference. I have 2 large maple necks. One has a truss rod and one doesn’t. The no truss rod neck definitely has a different tone then the one with a truss rod.

I wouldn't argue with that one. A tensioned steel rod, potentially picking up vibrations from the head stock and transferring them to heel and into the body would change things.

In fact, I think we now have to start investigating the impact of different styles of truss rods, nuts, and attachment points! Do double acting rods add more tone? Does more tension and relief give you more resonance? Does a Fender style "groove from the back" vs. a Gibson "slotted under the fret board" make a difference?

Inquiring minds want to know!
 

Intune

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 14, 2021
6,263
Edmonton, Alberta
I wouldn't argue with that one. A tensioned steel rod, potentially picking up vibrations from the head stock and transferring them to heel and into the body would change things.

In fact, I think we now have to start investigating the impact of different styles of truss rods, nuts, and attachment points! Do double acting rods add more tone? Does more tension and relief give you more resonance? Does a Fender style "groove from the back" vs. a Gibson "slotted under the fret board" make a difference?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Yes exactly. There’s so many things or variations that can cause a tone change or audible difference. Get 10 of each neck and 100% identical neck just one maple and one rosewood. That would be interesting. This guy has 3 necks but still enough variations that could be causing the difference.
 

tanta07

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2019
2,415
Colorado
Yes, he points that out... although he also specifically didn't play open to try to mitigate that issue. But yes, even just having a brass nut could change vibration transfer. But, you'll note his conclusion its not that any wood sounds a particularly predictable way (that's beyond the scope of a three neck test) but that different woods/necks will sound different.

IME, rosewood does generally sound warmer. And his thinner rosewood neck did sound in-between the other two, as we might expect if rosewood does absorb more high frequencies.

We need a 100 neck, side by side, rosewood vs. maple comparison with a machine plucking the strings to get even a moderately reliable scientific analysis.

Me, I'll go with what I hear... and play the guitar I like the sound and feel of.

You should take KARMA up on his $1,000 wager. What have you got to lose?
 

StratUp

Dr. Stratster
Sep 5, 2020
10,124
Altered States
Yes exactly. There’s so many things or variations that can cause a tone change or audible difference. Get 10 of each neck and 100% identical neck just one maple and one rosewood. That would be interesting. This guy has 3 necks but still enough variations that could be causing the difference.

I'm actually thinking that the truss rod could be a major difference, all joking aside. One under high tension vs. low might have a big effect. Measurable, I guess, because you could do it with one guitar and vary the tension. But you'd need a vibrometer to measure vibrations at the body.
 

StratUp

Dr. Stratster
Sep 5, 2020
10,124
Altered States
You should take KARMA up on his $1,000 wager. What have you got to lose?

Welp, I'd say $1000 if those particular necks don't sound any different. LOL. Never bet more than you can afford to lose, even on a "sure thing". Famous words of a guy who died poor.

Again, if you watch the video, the conclusion is that different necks sound different. Not hard to believe, is it?

Let's get back to discussing the implications of truss rod nut types!
 

tokaibri

Strat-Talk Member
Jun 22, 2021
19
michigan
for me, Rosewood is warmer and softer to play on. But that also means it can get washed out in the sound pretty quick if you are playing with others using Humbuckers.
When I need that in your face sound I use Maple, Brighter, Harder fretboard, you can literally bounce off the strings like Mr. Blackmore with that soft touch or just flat out hammer it like Hendrix. For gigging in my band, there are other guitar players, so the Maple would be the first choice, but Rosewood I can play all night without fatigue...Maple not as much..
 

stratgeek

Strat-Talk Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jan 20, 2015
51
Richmond, VA
Watch the video posted above by @FatOx and tell me if you hear a difference.
That's a very interesting video -- but about as far from a blind comparison test as you could get. There are SO many variables here:
1. He's remounting each neck to the same guitar body - which sounds like a good idea, except that the very act of mounting the neck can change it's resonance.
2. He's re-stringing each guitar with the same strings -- again, this sounds like a good idea, except that the strings are stretching with each change.
3. Even though he may attempt to use the same electronics path and setup for each test, there's no guaranteeing he can get it exactly the same, and
4. Even though he is playing the same riff for each test, he's human -- so it is impossible to claim that his attack was exactly the same every time.

In reality, it is virtually impossible to do a true A/B comparison, so, your opinion is just as valid as mine -- but you can't prove it! :p
 

Pandamasque

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 22, 2020
1,609
Kyiv, Ukraine
Interesting video on the topic. You should get the fretboard you like the feel and look of, rather than because of the sound. The difference isn't that big.


I'd say the general rule of thumb is that maple has more aggressive high mids which gives it this bold piano-like bark. However this masks the high end sparkle and lower end warmth. The RW necks are more scooped in the high mids so you can hear both the warmer low end and the sparkly highs. If I can use an amp analogy, maple is a tweed era amp with a Jensen, rosewood is more of a blackface Deluxe Reverb :) That's what I'm consistently hearing when comparing guitars like for like, but with different fretboards both in person and on videos like the one above.
Having said that, there's enough variance in the pickups used in different models and sometimes even in just the random wood quality, that you may find the desired tone that you expect from a maple neck guitar in one with a rosewood neck or vice versa.
It's always better to just try a guitar.
My 3 current Fenders all have 1-piece maple necks.
 
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Pandamasque

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 22, 2020
1,609
Kyiv, Ukraine
-Tuning stability: maple necks with maple fretboards are more stable than mixing lumber, the finish applied to maple fretboards further retards the impact of humidity
I always wondered about the difference between a 1-piece neck w/skunstripe vs a "maple cap" neck. Both in terms of tone and stability. Sadly, the latter are quite rare.
 

T-Model

Strat-Talker
Feb 4, 2022
166
USA
I'd say the general rule of thumb is that maple has more aggressive high mids which gives it this bold piano-like bark. However this masks the high end sparkle and lower end warmth. The RW necks are more scooped in the high mids so you can hear both the warmer low end and the sparkly highs.
100% agree with this.
I have a RW & a Maple board Strat and this description fits them to a T.
It’s noticeable plugged in and unplugged. Both have the same strings.
 

wqb3

New Member!
Silver Member
Nov 11, 2021
9
WI
What's the differences between Maple and Rosewood necks tone wise. And I have a 2006 Mexican Standard Strat with a maple neck. Does any one know the shape of the neck for the 2006 MIM? I played hundreds of other guitars(strata included) and I cannot find one with that fits as comfortably in my hand as my 2006 Mexican standard! I also put CS 69 Pickups in her, and she sounds incredible, very Hendrix'y.
Shape is a Modern-C
 


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