Maple vs Rosewood fretboard on a Strat

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Jeremy A, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. Jeremy A

    Jeremy A Member

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    Ok so I'm going to be getting a Fender American Standard Strat soon. I already know that maple fretboards are smoother and rosewood fretboards have more warmth and sustain. The problem is, I like the look of the maple fretboards much more, but I want a very warm, thick, and full sound. I plan to replace the stock pups with Fralin Blues Specials, but is there anything else I can do to give me a warmer sound other than pups and fretboard? I'm only talking about what can be done to the guitar, not amps and pedals. I hope this makes sense. Thanks!
     
  2. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    I wouldn't assume rosewood has more sustain, and I believe tonal differences to be mostly in the listener's imagination. Whichever fretboard you get, the neck is still maple, and that's what the nut is attached to. Get whichever one you want. People like Robin Trower seem to get warm, thick and full sounds with a maple fretboard.
     
  3. AD_

    AD_ Member

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    This might be overkill, but if you want it to be a bit darker sounding you could swap the controls for 100K pots. Strats typically come with 250K pots, and 100K would make it warmer sounding.

    http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/ATP-100K/100K-AUDIO-TAPER-POT/1.html

    Another thing you could do is install a Tonestyler instead of the standard tone pot. Rolling the tonestyler back changes the sound from bright to warm differently than a standard tone pot. The sound doesn't die and sound muffled like a tone pot. If you have the money ($110 approx) that would probably be the route I'd go vs 100K pots.

    http://www.stellartone.com/Page.asp?NavID=50
     
  4. burningyen

    burningyen Vendor

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    This isn't always true. When I swapped the maple neck on my '57RI for a rosewood-maple neck, it became brighter and glassier. You have to try it in person to know for sure.
    Get the pickups as close to the strings as you can without causing "stratitis" (magnets pulling the strings out of tune). Use heavier gauge strings. Deck the whammy unless you plan to use it. Use the tone knobs.
     
  5. djg714

    djg714 Member

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    I couldn't decide and got both.
     
  6. peskypesky

    peskypesky Member

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    :agree
     
  7. itstooloudMike

    itstooloudMike Member

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    Ever heard of a guy named Eric Clapton? He seems to get a pretty warm and full tone out of a maple fretboard Strat. All joking aside, I've had both, and don't find the sound difference all that significant. I prefer the feel of the maple board, so that's what I usually go with. I can't say that one is better than the other, it's just a personal choice. If you like maple, then go with it. The tones you are looking for will be there.
     
  8. c_mac

    c_mac Member

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    Ironically, I prefer a rosewood board yet my four main guitars all have maple. Just worked out that way I guess.
     
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  9. Jeremy A

    Jeremy A Member

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    So there's not really a huge difference in tone? If I got the maple fratboard and put in some fralin bs pups would it be warm & thick like I want it?
     
  10. guitarz1972

    guitarz1972 Member

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    Just along with what everyone else has said, pick it like you would your favorite color. Any warmth, brightness, etc., dial it in or out from your amp, pedals, those little knob thingies on the pickguard etc.

    I personally like maple necks, so I went with that a few years ago when I got a deal on a '56 Relic that I love. It's very bright with the Tone knobs full-up, but if I need to darken my tone, I certainly can. But I don't think the maple neck is necessarily "bright" or "dark" (to my non-Vulcan ears), anymore than the relic job instantly gives me street cred as a battle-worn, old-skool, firmly-established hard-rockin' geetar hero. LOL It's all aesthetics and personal taste, mostly.
     
  11. rmhomer@btinterne

    rmhomer@btinterne Member

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    People like Tom Anderson and John Suhr beleive rosewood boards have more extreme high end and a looser, more extended low end than maple. Thus maple tends to be more focussed in the mid range, which lends itself towards driven tones. Not only does EC get a fat sound out of maple necked Strats (which admitted probably has a lot to do with the onboard active mid boost in his guitars), but also lots of Tele players as well (Arlen Roth for example) - ditto EVH's guitars. I've never found maple to be 'ice-picky' in the treble - always smooth IME. I suggest you try a few through the same amp and make your own mind up.
     
  12. jamesie

    jamesie Member

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    +1 that´s it and maple is not maple
     
  13. dazco

    dazco Member

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    The difference between maple and rosewood isn't the same clean as dirty. Thats another thing to consider. I feel rosewood works better for clean to mid gain tones with most any playing and maple best for high gain lead tones. Thats how I feel anyways. I like both but if i only had one strat it would be rosewood.
     
  14. omfg51

    omfg51 Member

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    Virtually, maple = brighter and rosewood = warmer. Simple. The implications that come along with these however are anything but simple. To be truthful, if you want to achieve a certain strat tone, you will be torn one way or another. You just can't play Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan with a maple fingerboard. Conversely, you can't play Pink Floyd or Gilmour on a rosewood board. Two totally separate sounds, two totally different beasts to conquer. I prefer rosewood myself because I'm a huge fan of Jimi, Stevie and John Mayer. But I love those classic Floyd tones too, just not enough to buy a guitar with a maple fingerboard. Eric Clapton has been a huge influence on me too, but I think he sounds better on Gibsons anyway.
     
  15. Jeremy A

    Jeremy A Member

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    ^Interesting. I didn't think there was THAT big of a difference.
     
  16. jfwund

    jfwund Member

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    Respectfully, I completely disagree. Although there are tonal differences between the two, I really think that the Indian makes more of a difference than the arrows

    So does Jimi: [​IMG]

    Stevie: [​IMG]

    Gilmour: [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Luke V

    Luke V Member

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    Lower the pickups and you will get a warmer tone. I like them very low in the pickguard.
    I prefer rosewood on my Strats as it sounds warmer to me.
     
  18. Smakutus

    Smakutus Member

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    I believe you are wrong.. Take a Fender style guitar you like and swap necks from rosewood to maple etc.. and you will hear a difference in the way the guitar sounds. More sustain though? Nahh.. I don't think it would make a difference there.

    Jeff
     
  19. Kidcotton

    Kidcotton Member

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    "So there's not really a huge difference in tone?"

    No, not a huge difference at all. Some argue none, but definitely not a huge difference. I had a '99 Am Standard with RW. Always wanted a maple board and recently got a 2010 maple board Am Standard. Played them both side by side for about a month. Neither was brighter or warmer. In fact my newer strat (maple) has a fatter sound in my opinion. I just sold the RW, but it was equally as good a guitar soundwise, I just prefer the look of maple.

    Steve.
     
  20. Binaural

    Binaural Supporting Member

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    Agreed that maple is brighter and rosewood is warmer. However Gilmour's Black Strat actually had a '63 rosewood neck for the recording and touring of, Dark Side of The Moon, Wish You Where Here, and Animals.
     

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