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Rosewood Fretboard with Swamp Ash body?

photogold

Member
Messages
105
I notice that Strat type guitars rarely have a rosewood fretboard when they have a Swamp Ash body. I want to order a custom Suhr, and I prefer the feel of a rosewood fretboard, but I'm considering a Swamp Ash body for the light weight and deep grain pattern through a trans finish. For sound, I generally don't like bright guitars or scooped mids. I prefer a warm smooth sound, but I would think pickups give you much more of the sound than the wood does. I currently have a Suhr Classic with an alder body, rosewood fretboard, and Suhr ML pickups, and I love the sound, but it's too heavy for me.

Somebody here did a great sound comparison with audio clips:

http://www.petelacis.com/2010/07/08...p-the-definitive-comparison-with-audio-clips/

But, this is with a Brazillian rosewood neck, which may (or may not) sound different from Indian rosewood.

Many people say that if you put a rosewood fretboard on a swamp ash body, it will make a bright guitar even brighter, which sounds counter intuitive. I would think a rosewood fretboard could tame a swamp ash body and even out the brightness.

So for me, a maple fretboard is out, I just don't like the feel. And I need a lightweight guitar, close to 7 lbs. So one possible option might be to try and get a lightweight Alder body. But I would prefer Swamp Ash as long as the sound wouldn't be a problem.

Any thoughts? Any advice is appreciated.
 
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zzzezums

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,077
I have a rosewood fingerboard and swamp ash body partscaster strat w fender custom shop 54 pickups and it sounds great. Not too bright, not too dark, just right.
 

esoteric pete

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,860
All of my guitars have swamp ash bodies and rosewood fretboards both braz and Indian. They all sound killer. Don't hesitate
 

Gearaddict

Member
Messages
1,431
Don't buy into all the BS around here concerning maple vs rosewood. There is -0- difference. Strings touch metal frets not wood fretboards.:nuts
 

stormin1155

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,691
You're agonizing way to much over this. Whatever tiny difference the fingerboard wood might make can be offset by a tweek to your tone control. Get what you want. Tone is in the fingers.
 

J-E-M

Senior Member
Messages
713
From now on, whenever there's a thread about which damn neck to put on a strat, I'll just post this.

(Beware - bad language)

Skip to 4:00

 

Gearaddict

Member
Messages
1,431
Right On! Brilliant video. Like I said, fretboard material makes no difference in tone. I do however like the feel of rosewood better and you are getting more guitar for yor money. Maple's cheap.
 

RockinRob

Member
Messages
1,026
Don't buy into all the BS around here concerning maple vs rosewood. There is -0- difference. Strings touch metal frets not wood fretboards.:nuts
This seems to be a fairly recent pronouncement that I am hearing more and more lately, and I simply dont get it in the least. IMO the type of board DOES have a major influence on the sound, and i have 40 years of playing to come to that conclusion. Maple boards generally are brighter and more resonant, rosewoods boards are generally darker and smoother sounding. Try if for yourself before taking anyone's advice here.
 
Messages
23,961
Don't buy into all the BS around here concerning maple vs rosewood. There is -0- difference. Strings touch metal frets not wood fretboards.:nuts
It isn't that there's never a difference, it is that it may sometimes feel a little different and so may sometimes play a little different; like in excessive humidity/heat playing in direct sun in sweltering conditions.

The other thing is, while the wood may matter on one guitar body, it will not on the second or the third one. Trying to handle this like a chemical formula is not substantiated anywhere.

So, not 100% BS. Just 92%. :drink
 

R13D

Member
Messages
4,688
Brighter,smoother,snappier,darker,more resonant,less resonant,glassier,tighter,looser..........than what?
Don't get sucked into minutia that is ultimately pointless.
And by all means, trust your own ears.
 

Dereksslide

Member
Messages
3,297
Could it make a difference? possibly, but I doubt it. Could anyone here the difference? Nope, not in a fair test too many other things have a much more significant affect on the sound of an electric guitar.

Forget about woods completely, go out and play some guitars and go with what feels best. Personally I prefer ebony, but rosewood works too.
 

photogold

Member
Messages
105
Maple boards generally are brighter and more resonant, rosewoods boards are generally darker and smoother sounding. Try if for yourself before taking anyone's advice here.
So if I'm looking for a darker smoother sound, then rosewood would work better for me. But I hear others say that rosewood on swamp ash can make it even brighter. From what I understand, at one time, John Suhr had a note on his website with a caution to not spec rosewood on a swamp ash body because it might have too much "sizzle". Which I assume means overly bright.

I would love to try the guitar first, but it's almost impossible to find a Swamp Ash guitar with a Rosewood fret board.

But I agree with what others have said: The tone knob is there for a reason.
 

RockinRob

Member
Messages
1,026
no man, it's not that simple. lots of things affect the sound. i am just saying that in my experience rosewood necks tend to be darker than maple necks. Wood varies in density though and no two pieces ever sound exactly the same. My comments are generalizations, not something that always holds true because there are lots of variables.
 

Gearaddict

Member
Messages
1,431
John S. made a totally irrelevant comment and feeds into this stupid debate. Again, fretboard material makes difference - period. If you do here a tone difference it isn't the fretboard. Next someone will chime in that what finish on the maple makes a difference, I.e., flat, satin or gloss. What about RIC fretboards that have gobs of gloss over the fretboard. Use your mind and you will understand that this debate is a total waste of time.
 

blujaz1

Member
Messages
254
My feeling is that if you have an amp that you can control and the pickup configuration that compliments your style ,none of it matters. The setup on the guitar is a bigger factor. I'm only referring to Strats here as that's what the orig post is referring to.
 

K-Line

Vendor
Messages
8,438
Woods make a difference, period. Each change in wood type adds a subtle difference along with pickups and amp, cord, pick, etc. Will you hear a big difference with a change in fingerboard? Probably not. But when you build many of them, you start to hear the differences. What would the guitar have sounded like if you got an alder body? Get what you want and stop worrying about the wee differences that might be.
 

aflynt

Member
Messages
1,759
I have a Tom Anderson Hollow T Classic with swamp-ash on swamp ash body and a Madagascar rosewood board maple neck. It's always been very bright and scooped sounding. It sounded decent for clean country stuff, but through most amps with overdrive it was generally shrill, hollow and somewhat abrasive sounding. I even tried putting humbuckers in it and it still had that stark fizziness to it. On a whim a few weeks ago I switched the neck on it with a 1 piece maple neck from a '93 American Standard tele. The guitar sounds night-and-day different now. While the low end is tighter and punchier, the extreme high end is smoother and it sounds much better with overdrive now.

I hadn't heard John Suhr's thoughts on this until after I did the switch and ran across a thread where he discusses it. My experience bears out his assertion to a "T" ironically enough. I believe his point was that in certain cases a maple neck with rosewood board on a swamp ash body will have a high-presence sizzle to it in overdrive that's hard to dial out, and that replacing the neck with a vintage-style 1 piece maple one seems to help. He also made the point that Tom Anderson has mentioned that a rosewood board neck will often have an extended high-frequency response in contrast to maple (IE: more presence).

-Aaron
 






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