Maple Fretboard on LP style guitars, why rare?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by ChazMania, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. ChazMania

    ChazMania Silver Supporting Member

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    Hey-
    I recently scored a GMP pawnshop std, LP body style, with maple fretboard. It feels awesome! It is also 'strings through body' which seems to really help sustain.
    I have wondered for sometime now, why is it so rare to see a maple fretboard LP style guitar?
    I love my maple neck/fretboard Tele, and other maple fretboards usually feel good to me.
    So, is it a technical reason luthiers don't do this? Or.....am I lame or what?
     
  2. ChazMania

    ChazMania Silver Supporting Member

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    Hmm, noone with ideas/opinions of Maple fretboard pauls eh??
     
  3. Brownie

    Brownie Member

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    It has virtually nothing to do with "feel", and everything to do with tone. Do you think your tele would sound the same with a rosewood or ebony fretboard?



    Hint: It wouldn't.
     
  4. jgraham

    jgraham Member

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    I like maple necks too. My guess is that you don't see it done that much because most people interested in a LP style guitar are interested in the 'classic' LP style tone as well... any change from the basic formula is going to be just that, a change. Of course, maybe I'm wrong...
     
  5. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    From the way you describe it, it sounds like the GMP guitar is a Tele whose body is shaped like an LP. It's not really an LP with a maple neck. Teles and LPs are similar in that they are single-cut guitars to start with. Do you have any pics?
     
  6. SgtThump

    SgtThump Member

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    I've convinced myself that I can feel a difference between maple, rosewood and ebony fretboards. It might be all in my head, but I don't think so.
     
  7. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    I had a 1977 Les Paul Custom with not only a maple fingerboard, but a maple neck as well (until recently). It was - IS - hands-down, the best SOUNDING Les Paul I have ever owned. Simply amazing, present tones from the guitar no matter what pickups were (are) in it.

    My guess would be, though, as to why you don't see it more often is that it's simply not what people want/expect to hear from a Les Paul style guitar.

    --chiba
     
  8. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall Member

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    I love a black Stratocaster with a maple neck and fretboard. Not a better looking combination for a guitar, IMO. No disrespect Chiba, but those maple neck/fretboard Customs are just fugly looking for some reason. I don't know why, maybe because that guitar should look a certain way and it doesn't?
     
  9. 908SSP

    908SSP Supporting Member

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    Bad picture scanned from an old Polaroid only one I have of it.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall Member

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    You know what it is that I don't like? It's the painted headstock. I'd bet if the headstock were matched with the neck I'd be ok. YMMV. :dude
     
  11. ABKB

    ABKB Member

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    Interesting axe. I think (not sure) that the cameo Zak Wilde guitar has a maple neck too. Which is basically a LP custom with EMGs in it. But I have never played one to hear how it sounds or feels. I bet a maple neck in a Paul would sound sweet. There are countless threads about if a maple/rosewood/ebony neck makes any difference, I myself do think there is a difference, but I aint religious about it :D. If there is a difference, a maple neck in a Paul might bring more brightness in them humbuckers. Would be interesting to hear it.

    Has anybody played one of the Zak cameo guitars?
     
  12. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    J Nunis builds SCs using maple necks although he uses Rosewood boards.
    I like what a Maple neck does, make the SC a little sharper, less muddy. I believe fingerboard greatest influence is feel and attack?
     
  13. tim gueguen

    tim gueguen Member

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    Its tradition as much as anything else. Before Fender came along maple wasn't exactly a common fretboard wood.
     
  14. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Supporting Member

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    I strongly disagree. I believe that the most dramatic difference between different fingerboard woods is the feel. Yes, different woods will change the sound, but not nearly as dramatically as they'll change the feel. That's especially true of maple boards since they are finished and most other boards are left raw.
     
  15. bailnout

    bailnout Member

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    Actually Jim Nunis "usually" uses an ebony fingerboard. His maple necks are "usually" 3 piece necks as well. Which in my opinion sounds a little different than a one piece maple neck with a separate piece of wood for the fingerboard. It definitly is a stronger way to build a neck and his look awesome with the middle strip being highly figured.

    I say "usually" because he is a custom builder and will pretty much build your guitar out of whatever wood you want. My Nunis is a one piece limba neck with a Brazillian rosewood board. Oddly enough, that guitar is a string-through-body design too and I agree...more sustain!

    More thread specifice, fingerboard material definitly does have an effect on the tone and feel of the instrument. I agree that it's probably general public perception of what a Les Paul "should be" that drives the sale of maple fingerboard Les Pauls down and therefore drives down the number produced. That's why they are more rare.

    I have a Gibson Les Paul Standard with a maple neck but I can't really tell if the fingerboard is an ebony one or just a really dark, dense piece of rosewood. Either way, I definitly hear a difference between it and my other Les Pauls that have mahogany necks with rosewood boards.

    I may be wrong here but aren't most Customs maple necks with ebony boards and most Standards mahogany necks with rosewood boards? I definitly hear a general difference between Customs and Standards. I'm sure that would play a huge roll in the difference.
     
  16. ChazMania

    ChazMania Silver Supporting Member

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    Was just looking at the GMP site (it's up even tho they are out of bus) and Pawnshop has 3 models, 2 have maple necks, 1 is mahogany. I have (2) of these, 1 is the Deluxe, mahogany neck/ebony fretboard. The one I posted the question about is a Standard, maple neck/maple fretboard. According to the site, maple fretboard was an option. The back of the neck is painted black. The cream humbuckers really make the maple fretboard look sweet, imo.

    I'll try posting a pic. (first time trying this, praying for a miracle:)

    http://photobucket.com/albums/c372/ChazMania/?action=view&current=IMG_3065.jpg
    http://photobucket.com/albums/c372/ChazMania/?action=view&current=IMG_3066.jpg
    http://photobucket.com/albums/c372/ChazMania/?action=view&current=IMG_3067.jpg

    Here is the one w/ebony fingerboard (which has a chambered flame top, it's killer):

    http://photobucket.com/albums/c372/ChazMania/?action=view&current=IMG_3015.jpg
    http://photobucket.com/albums/c372/ChazMania/?action=view&current=IMG_3014.jpg
     
  17. jgraham

    jgraham Member

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    To you. I happen to love the looks of a black LP/maple board, and Chiba's was no exception. Sounded really cool too.
     
  18. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall Member

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    Exactly, to me. I bet they sound great, but if I can't get past the way the thing looks, I can't play it. No flaming intended.
     
  19. Laroosco!

    Laroosco! Member

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    I agree with your disagreement!!! :D
    The biggest difference to me between my maple necks and my rosewoods is the feel.
    My rosewood strat is the slickest feeling neck I've ever played while my maple boards are a bit sticky feeling when I first pick them up(even the newer satin finished one)
     
  20. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    An LP with a maple fingerboard certainly does look 'wrong'.

    Jim, I have to respectfully disagree with you on the sound. I have a friend who has a Les Paul Custom that was made less than 3 months after my '77. It is nearly identical to my former LP in almost every respect - they're even both coated with the same sticky, dulled-with-time-and-wear black paint. Mine weighed only 3 ounces more than his. The pickups metered out less than .1 from each other. The only significant difference was the fingerboard material.

    They sounded quite different when played by the same person through the same amp. We spent several hours A/Bing the two guitars back & forth with several different amps and were both surprised at how different they sounded. Of course, the feel was different - finished maple board on mine, raw ebony board on his.

    But all other things being equal, the material the board was made of made a big difference in the overall tone of the guitars.

    --chiba
     

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