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EJ Strats - Maple vs. Rosewood Tonal Differences

Tiny Montgomery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,835
If you're referring to me you're much much more than mistaken. I said NOTHING in a condescending way and have done nothing but tell you what I experience with gear.

I'm obviously referring to whoever said "some people can't hear it," implying that they could. It was lewguitar who came off with the ":nuts" gem, which is mostly what I'm referring to. Sure, there's a difference, but to claim that it's not subtle, or that somebody's ears aren't as developed because they don't hear it immediately, is arrogant and condescending. The "Oh, maybe you can't hear it..." kind of stuff.

I think I've adequately demonstrated what a "huge" difference really means, though.;)

As for Grove, that guy's of the same arrogant mentality, just at the other extreme. To say that the wood doesn't matter at all is as over-the-top as saying that one relatively thin piece of the entire guitar makes a "huge" difference. Every part of the chain, from pick to strings to electronics and everything after, makes a difference. Getting hung up on any one part of the equation is an example of "not seeing the forest for the trees."
 

robmarch

Member
Messages
1,013
I believe that there are generalizations that are true, on the whole. however, there is a lot of variation. I've seen a lot of people who have sworn that a song was played with a maple fingerboard strat or tele who are very surprised to see that it was played with a rosewood, and vice versa. With all of those variables, in addition to eq and amp and mic and placement and room and technique, singling out one item as a huge difference maker is tough enough when it is the guitar body. I still enjoy hearing how the nut material dramatically effects the tone of all of the fretted notes :)

I also agree that the "emperor's new clothes" argument gets tiresome. Oh, I'm sorry YOU can't hear the dramatic difference between rosewood and maple fingerboards, independent of all other variables on an electric guitar, and variation within the woods themselves. Maybe one day you will be able to, sport.

guitars with maple fingerboards may have, on the whole, some slightly different characteristics than rosewood, or even ebony fingerboards. but there are certainly examples that don't follow the trends, and feel is a huge part of it to me.
 

badhorsie551

Member
Messages
2,142
Unless you change necks on the same guitar to tell the difference,when you a and b two different guitars all you are doing is playing two different guitars with their own sounds.

Rosewood and maple do have a different feel which can make you play a different way.

I could play a show with either guitar but I have to go through a case of batteries to find the right tone for my pedals!
 

dazco

Member
Messages
15,665
Man, is it really so friggin hard to understand that that becoming very aware to small details is something that happens over time? Really? You can't figure that out? If you believe that then it's not lew or me thats arrogant. We aren't the ones telling you what u can or can't hear !

Lets look at me as an example. I couldn't hear, feel or in any way tell the difference between maple and RW when i first started. And that lasted a number of years. It was probably a decade or 2 before i could. But then i COULD. As time went on it became more and more obvious to me. Now lets look at my experience with amp building. It took me 10 years to hear certain things that are now obvious to me. Things i had to A/B a million times i guarantee you i can now hear blindfolded. How the hell is that arrogant? Everyone goes thru the same process over the years and people here are from every degree of that process. How is this arrogant. Trust me, theres only one arrogant person here, and it ain't lew or myself. And if you don't believe that experience teaches you and that some have yet to get to the same level, you;re blind as a bat. I'm done....you will never understand with such a closed mind and arrogant attitude.

I'm obviously referring to whoever said "some people can't hear it," implying that they could. It was lewguitar who came off with the ":nuts" gem, which is mostly what I'm referring to. Sure, there's a difference, but to claim that it's not subtle, or that somebody's ears aren't as developed because they don't hear it immediately, is arrogant and condescending. The "Oh, maybe you can't hear it..." kind of stuff.

I think I've adequately demonstrated what a "huge" difference really means, though.;)

As for Grove, that guy's of the same arrogant mentality, just at the other extreme. To say that the wood doesn't matter at all is as over-the-top as saying that one relatively thin piece of the entire guitar makes a "huge" difference. Every part of the chain, from pick to strings to electronics and everything after, makes a difference. Getting hung up on any one part of the equation is an example of "not seeing the forest for the trees."
 

Tiny Montgomery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,835
Man, is it really so friggin hard to understand that that becoming very aware to small details is something that happens over time? Really? You can't figure that out? If you believe that then it's not lew or me thats arrogant. We aren't the ones telling you what u can or can't hear !

Lets look at me as an example. I couldn't hear, feel or in any way tell the difference between maple and RW when i first started. And that lasted a number of years. It was probably a decade or 2 before i could. But then i COULD. As time went on it became more and more obvious to me. Now lets look at my experience with amp building. It took me 10 years to hear certain things that are now obvious to me. Things i had to A/B a million times i guarantee you i can now hear blindfolded. How the hell is that arrogant? Everyone goes thru the same process over the years and people here are from every degree of that process. How is this arrogant.Trust me, theres only one arrogant person here, and it ain't lew or myself. And if you don't believe that experience teaches you and that some have yet to get to the same level, you;re blind as a bat. I'm done....you will never understand with such a closed mind and arrogant attitude.

You guarantee you can hear (not feel) the difference blindfolded? What is the nature of this guarantee, before I run down a RW EJ to do an A/B clip with? Any other minor differences (body wood, for example) would be dwarfed by the "huge" difference the fretboard wood makes, right?

No, it's not arrogant at all, as long as you can reliably back it up.

I just bolded the last part because I think it's funny. Carry on.:D
 

robmarch

Member
Messages
1,013
I can hear differences too, most of the time they are what I expect, and sometimes they are not. and, if you are guaranteeing that you can always identify fingerboard material by listening to someone else play a guitar (the only way to be fair about removing the playing feel), then I am impressed, and can't wait to see the double blind listening test happen in this thread.

by the way, you are indeed telling people what they can and can't hear by telling them that there is a noticable difference, and that you can hear it.
 

mattmccloskey

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,791
I'm pretty confident I can hear some difference while sitting in the room in front of the amp, particularly on overdriven sounds through a familiar amp.

That said, on a recording those differences are likely negligible and factoring in another player and rig I doubt I could say confidently which is which.
 

dporto

Member
Messages
760
"I don't have the right words to describe the diff. It's both subtle and not so subtle."

This sentence is fantastic.:aok

Just a little non-committal no? Sounds as though it could have been crafted by Bill Clinton himself ! I'm a big BC fan btw :D In reality it's probably an extremely subtle difference (if any) at best...
 
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dazco

Member
Messages
15,665
by the way, you are indeed telling people what they can and can't hear by telling them that there is a noticable difference, and that you can hear it.

Wrong. It's telling them there is a difference, and thats a fact. Go debate tom anderson who i'm sure knows far less than us right? But the point is there IS a difference. But if you read my posts you'd realize i said that not everyone is capable of hearing it INCLUDING MYSELF some years ago. You AQUIRE the ability to hear what IS there. Just because you may not yet have acquired that ability doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I didn't at one time, now i do easily. Does that mean it once wasn't true and now is? I honestly don't get how some of you cannot seem to understand the simplest things like the fact that people develop thier hearing over time. It has ZERO to do with those who hear it being better in some way than those who don't, but thats what some seem to be reading into my posts. Seems to be a common practice here reading things into other people's post in order to prove them wrong. You can't prove something with statements that don't exist.
 

hunter

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,153
Wrong. It's telling them there is a difference, and thats a fact. Go debate tom anderson who i'm sure knows far less than us right? But the point is there IS a difference. But if you read my posts you'd realize i said that not everyone is capable of hearing it INCLUDING MYSELF some years ago. You AQUIRE the ability to hear what IS there. Just because you may not yet have acquired that ability doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I didn't at one time, now i do easily. Does that mean it once wasn't true and now is? I honestly don't get how some of you cannot seem to understand the simplest things like the fact that people develop thier hearing over time. It has ZERO to do with those who hear it being better in some way than those who don't, but thats what some seem to be reading into my posts. Seems to be a common practice here reading things into other people's post in order to prove them wrong. You can't prove something with statements that don't exist.

Where things may go astray is the concept that this hearing is experiential. As in, I have enough experience to discern the difference and you don't (a reduction for times sake). Now I have a pretty fair amount of experience and I don't hear a difference. Certainly not a difference that would warrant me developing some kind of skill to detect it.

I have no idea how you play. Nor do I have any idea what kind of situations you play. I do have to wonder how this idea of some version sonic perfection being necessary to bring ones best performance evolves. Many times when I play, there are so many forces at work that completely blow things like fret board wood away. Knowing and being able to play my parts, being warmed up, getting monitors right, hearing my guitar on stage, helping soundmen, fixing stage lighting, where to set up the band members, fixing stage volume, preparing set lists, on and on. Believe me, the fret board wood never enters my mind except I prefer the feel and yes the look of rosewood/ebony. I can take a humbucker equipped guitar one night, a tele the next and a strat the next. And then there are the regular nylon string acoustic gigs. I use two different guitars for that, both with a different sound but both get the job done if I do my job. If I needed to sweat something as down-low as fretboard wood to play my best or get my best sound, I would never be there.

So my experience has taught me it doesn't matter. If I prepare myself properly, I can get my sound and get the job done most of the time with a wide range of tools.

And to show you how things might be misunderstood I could say, when you get more experience you will understand fret board wood doesn't matter. That could sound condescending. You know, my experience is better than yours kind of thing.

Everyone has different experience and different priorities. Mine is get a good guitar, set it up to suit me, don't sweat the small stuff.

hunter
 

robmarch

Member
Messages
1,013
Wrong. It's telling them there is a difference, and thats a fact. Go debate tom anderson who i'm sure knows far less than us right? But the point is there IS a difference. But if you read my posts you'd realize i said that not everyone is capable of hearing it INCLUDING MYSELF some years ago. You AQUIRE the ability to hear what IS there. Just because you may not yet have acquired that ability doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I didn't at one time, now i do easily. Does that mean it once wasn't true and now is? I honestly don't get how some of you cannot seem to understand the simplest things like the fact that people develop thier hearing over time. It has ZERO to do with those who hear it being better in some way than those who don't, but thats what some seem to be reading into my posts. Seems to be a common practice here reading things into other people's post in order to prove them wrong. You can't prove something with statements that don't exist.

no need to read anything in to your posts.

Wrong. It's telling them there is a difference, and thats a fact.
you keep mentioning this, and nobody has provided any proof. You calling something a fact doesn't make it a fact.

Go debate tom anderson who i'm sure knows far less than us right?
Is Tom Anderson claiming that he can hear the difference between rosewood and maple fingerboards on recordings, with 100% certainty? If so, send him an invitation to this thread. This is another example of the "high fi audio" mentality. "If someone famous in the community says something similar to what I'm saying, anyone who disagrees with me must be wrong, of course."

No disrespect meant to Tom or anyone else. The most I've ever seen any respected luthier make statements of woods is that they "tend to have certain characteristics." nobody who makes their living delivering a product built with inconsistencies speaks in absolutes. Now, if Tom has said "Maple fingerboards are always different from rosewood in these ways, which are easy to pick out in blind tests" then I would love to see the quote.

But the point is there IS a difference. But if you read my posts you'd realize i said that not everyone is capable of hearing it INCLUDING MYSELF some years ago. You AQUIRE the ability to hear what IS there. Just because you may not yet have acquired that ability doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I didn't at one time, now i do easily. Does that mean it once wasn't true and now is?

I get it. once, you were one of us poor losers who couldn't hear the difference. now that you have learned, you hold no ill will towards anyone without the same superior skill set that you now have.

there are just as many people who have played guitar for many years who have just as good hearing and musicality as any expert you trot out who will make just as strong of a statement that condtradicts your statement. They have aquired the ability to hear what is there, and they disagree that there are dramatic differences that would show up in a blind test.

I honestly don't get how some of you cannot seem to understand the simplest things like the fact that people develop thier hearing over time. It has ZERO to do with those who hear it being better in some way than those who don't, but thats what some seem to be reading into my posts. Seems to be a common practice here reading things into other people's post in order to prove them wrong. You can't prove something with statements that don't exist.

people can develop their critical listening over time, while their hearing is degrading. many people in this thread have done that, I am confident. Your statements are that there is a significant difference to notice between the two fingerboard materials, and that it can be identified with accuracy. You also state that you have developed the ability to identify these differences in a blind test. Your implication, extremely thinly veiled, is that those who don't share your claims have simply not refined their listening skills as finely as you have, which absolutely is making a claim that anyone who agrees with you has superior listening skills when compared with those who don't agree with you.

one more
Lets look at me as an example. I couldn't hear, feel or in any way tell the difference between maple and RW when i first started. And that lasted a number of years. It was probably a decade or 2 before i could. But then i COULD. As time went on it became more and more obvious to me. Now lets look at my experience with amp building. It took me 10 years to hear certain things that are now obvious to me. Things i had to A/B a million times i guarantee you i can now hear blindfolded. How the hell is that arrogant? Everyone goes thru the same process over the years and people here are from every degree of that process. How is this arrogant. Trust me, theres only one arrogant person here, and it ain't lew or myself. And if you don't believe that experience teaches you and that some have yet to get to the same level, you;re blind as a bat. I'm done....you will never understand with such a closed mind and arrogant attitude.

do yourself a favor and reread what you wrote here. it's pretty much the definition of arrogant.

from webster:
having or showing the insulting attitude of people who believe that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people

you have gone on and on about how much better your "hearing" is than everyone else in this thread, because of your unsubstantiated claim that you can hear the significant differences between maple and rosewood fretboards in blind tests. you have then piled it on about how you used to be normal, but are now superior, and condescend to everyone who doesn't share your opinion, which you present as FACT with no objective support. You insult other players who have also finely trained thier own listening skills and don't agree with you by claiming that they must not have refined their skills to the extent that you have.
 

slopeshoulder

Senior Member
Messages
7,860
It's like makeup on a woman. Different styles make a huge difference, but it's still her.

I can hear and feel a real difference, but it's still a strat. It's a question of how much attention you are paying. Switching to a tele makes a bigger difference.
I have rosewood and maple strats and teles, 4 in total.
 

jiml

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,646
Unless you change necks on the same guitar to tell the difference,when you a and b two different guitars all you are doing is playing two different guitars with their own sounds.

Rosewood and maple do have a different feel which can make you play a different way.

I could play a show with either guitar but I have to go through a case of batteries to find the right tone for my pedals!

This. Not discounting the amazing sensory capabilities of those that can definately hear a difference, and have the amazing talent to discern the neck wood of the guitar that was played from listening to a recording, but some of this stuff is comical...

Somewhere Eric Johnson is chuckling. "look what I have created"!
 

still.ill

Member
Messages
3,240
One of the guys at my fav guitar shop said he preferred maple because it was of the same wood as the neck, he said it resonated better because it was maple fretboard on maple neck, vs rosewood fretboard on maple neck.

I did find the am standards i played... the maple's just sounded more "alive" to me as well, so I could sort of see what he was getting at.

That and my favorite strat players..... corgan, uli jon, hendrix..... all liked maple as well.
 

robmarch

Member
Messages
1,013
seems to be enjoying this one :)

21863d1306171248-jimis-strats-jimi-hendrix-wallpapers-11.jpg


hendrix played a lot of everything.
 

still.ill

Member
Messages
3,240
seems to be enjoying this one :)

21863d1306171248-jimis-strats-jimi-hendrix-wallpapers-11.jpg


hendrix played a lot of everything.

Yeah if somebody handed him a strat, or any guitar, he would play it, but

the last 2 most famous strats he had were maple

the white woodstock strat--- -maple, and the BoG black strat was maple as well. Fender didn't reintroduce maple on strat necks till 1967, so before it was probably easier to just grab a rw strat, than find a maple one from the 1950's
 

robertkoa

Member
Messages
4,200
I am not a big fan of Stratocaster ( Fenders ) - I think they are overrated .

BUT the EJ Guitars I played ( never owned one ) were all pretty special good sustain and even tones all over the neck across all the strings and easy to get great Strat tones right off the guitar - BANG .

Most Strats aren't like that [ Andersons and Suhrs are somewhat overpriced but they are also like that ] - but oddly the Great EJ has a great signature guitar .

I assume someone at Fender really makes sure they don't eff these up in production - right ?
 




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