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Rosewood Fretboard with Swamp Ash body?

Mc Tanza

Member
Messages
236
I own two ash bodied strats, one with a maple fretboard and the other with Indian rosewood fretboard. The rosewood one is smoother in the highs, less tight sounding, less compressed and lacks de typical upper-mids peak response associated with maple. I haven't tried any ash strat with Madagascar or Brazilian rosewood, so I can't comment first hand if they add the famous "sizzle" that Suhr describes, but certainly it isn't a trait of Indian rosewood.
 

aflynt

Member
Messages
1,768
The rosewood one is smoother in the highs, less tight sounding, less compressed and lacks de typical upper-mids peak response associated with maple.
I heard all that stuff too going from Madagascar rosewood to maple on my Swamp Ash body, PLUS less high presence. It's not the upper mids, it's the super tinkly high highs that are attenuated on the maple board from what I can hear.

-Aaron
 

kingsleyd

Frikkin genyus
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,097
Piece of advice: Talk to someone like John Suhr or Roy Fought @ Tom Anderson. They have a lot more experience than the average TGP member, and judging by some of the comments here so far, a lot more perspective as well.

I went through this same dilemma about 15 years ago, and Roy helped me out greatly.

Rosewood fretboard vs. maple (usually of course means a one-piece maple neck, no separate fretboard, at least with a Strat-recipe build) absolutely makes a difference, but how much of one depends on how carefully you listen, and how much you care. In general, with maple you'll get a pretty distinctive upper-midrange peak but less high end, whereas with a rosewood board you'll get more high end but less of that peak so it ends up sounding "smoother" to a lot of ears. Especially ears like those of the typical guitarist that don't hear the top end of the frequency range so well. ;)

Of course with any given guitar there could be other stuff going on that overwhelms the effect of the fretboard (or lack thereof) but that's the nature of guitars. It's a long equation, and in the end all the elements balance out however they balance out.
 

sliberty

Member
Messages
4,045
I played a Fano RB6 once with a rosewood board and a swamp ash body. They needed a crow bar to get it out of my hands.
 

Gearaddict

Member
Messages
1,431
I laugh at the guys that say they have two identical guitars, one maple one rosewood and they hear a difference. Duh! Maybe so, but it isn't the fretboard contributing to the tonal differrence.

In summary, choose a fretboard that you like the feel of. Maple has a faster feel and I like it, but I also love ebony and rosewood too. Heck, I'd even play a Richlite board. Ohhhh the horror! Wonder how Richlite affects tone. haha haha haha! :nuts
 

kingsleyd

Frikkin genyus
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,097
I laugh at the guys that say they have two identical guitars, one maple one rosewood and they hear a difference. Duh! Maybe so, but it isn't the fretboard contributing to the tonal differrence.
Which is why I recommended talking to someone like Roy Fought, who has played hundreds and hundreds of very-similar-if-not-identical guitars with either rosewood fretboards or plain maple necks. THAT is where you start to hear differences, not in a single A/B comparison.

Don't know why this kind of systematic observation over a large n is so hard for people to grasp as a way to get at class differences, which is what we're talking about here. With something like guitars, a double-blind single-instance A/B test is completely useless, for exactly the reason given above. (although: you don't KNOW "it isn't the fretboard contributing to the tonal difference")
 

MrX

Member
Messages
4,146
Sound is subjective, so MY preference based on feel is (1) ebony (2) maple (3) rosewood.

I can usually hear a difference between woods when played acoustically.
I can sometimes hear a difference between woods when plugged in (clean).
I never hear a difference between woods when plugged in (dirty).

IMHO fret size and material has a much bigger impact on sound than fretboard material.
 
Messages
23,963
IMHO fret size and material has a much bigger impact on sound than fretboard material.
I don't have enough experience with non Nickel Silver wires, but absolutely, the fret wire size has about as big a difference on the sounds coming from the guitar as anything "aboard" the guitar other than the pickups.

Lots of guys using 6100 and even 6000 or "Super" wire sizes and in some cases, the fingertip never makes meaningful contact with the board wood.
As we evolve away from vintage wire, the premise for the board wood meaning much grows dimmer every day. And yet on the Intermess, where one person hears something and it multiplies like a flu outbreak, more people say they notice - no one ever discussed this sort of thing on or around the bandstand in 1970.
 

Mc Tanza

Member
Messages
236
I laugh at the guys that say they have two identical guitars, one maple one rosewood and they hear a difference. Duh! Maybe so, but it isn't the fretboard contributing to the tonal differrence.

In summary, choose a fretboard that you like the feel of. Maple has a faster feel and I like it, but I also love ebony and rosewood too. Heck, I'd even play a Richlite board. Ohhhh the horror! Wonder how Richlite affects tone. haha haha haha! :nuts
I laugh at the guys who think other guys with two identical guitars except for the fretboard have only tried those two guitars along the years. I also laugh at the guys with seemingly untrained ears and complete disregard for basic physics who expel absolutes in an authoritative fashion.
 

Mc Tanza

Member
Messages
236
I heard all that stuff too going from Madagascar rosewood to maple on my Swamp Ash body, PLUS less high presence. It's not the upper mids, it's the super tinkly high highs that are attenuated on the maple board from what I can hear.

-Aaron
I'm not sure if I follow you. Do you mean that what I described about Indian rosewood is what you generally hear about maple? Regarding the high frequencies, I don't have experience with Madagascar rosewood, but I hear that extended range that you describe from Brazilian, but not so much from Indian.
 
Messages
3,765
I pulled the audio to cut through that A$@ hole's soap box bitching:

Audio clip from Video


Here it is in reverse order.

I hear a difference. Even in the crappy youtube compression. Then you amplify that a few hundred times in a preamp (100 x incoming voltage) and you've got something.

I think the wood matters vs wood doesn't matter is really an argument between people who can hear and those who can't. There is enough tone demos on this website and youtube to prove there is plenty of folks that can't hear.

Just because one has touched 1000s of guitars, worked on 1000s of guitars, doesn't mean they can hear for crap.



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

 

shredtrash

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,091
Like others have said, getting caught up in minutiae like that is pointless. Get what you want and play the hell out of it.
 

slogger

Member
Messages
1,720
I played the Crimson Red 2012 ash am std tele(rosewood neck) and could not put the thing down! Sounded awesome. Like buttah… I didn't find it overly bright more like just right and I prefer maple necks.
Sorry, I stand corrected... rosewood fingerboard
 
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sahhas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
18,224
my old steinberger M model musicyo guitar (the maple neck version)
it had a swamp ash body and and a rosewood fretboard (probably indian).
it sounded very bright, but very good also!!!!
 

slogger

Member
Messages
1,720
I pulled the audio to cut through that A$@ hole's soap box bitching:

Audio clip from Video


Here it is in reverse order.

I hear a difference. Even in the crappy youtube compression. Then you amplify that a few hundred times in a preamp (100 x incoming voltage) and you've got something.

I think the wood matters vs wood doesn't matter is really an argument between people who can hear and those who can't. There is enough tone demos on this website and youtube to prove there is plenty of folks that can't hear.

Just because one has touched 1000s of guitars, worked on 1000s of guitars, doesn't mean they can hear for crap.
I couldn't make it beyond 5:00. Kind of amusing but turns obnoxious quickly. I feel strongly that in his video there is a distinct difference of the maple fretboard(not neck) being brighter when he was snapping the b string off the fretboard.
I've always felt that there is a slight difference between maple and rosewood, but not so striking that I can listen to a piece of music and say: Hmmm…that sounds like a rosewood neck. The differences is nothing significant but it's there, for me. I guess I'm just a dumb mother f*&%$er.
 

aflynt

Member
Messages
1,768
I'm not sure if I follow you. Do you mean that what I described about Indian rosewood is what you generally hear about maple? Regarding the high frequencies, I don't have experience with Madagascar rosewood, but I hear that extended range that you describe from Brazilian, but not so much from Indian.
I hear the same differences between the two as you noted, in addition to less high-highs from 1pc maple.

-Aaron
 

TheFlyingBear

Member
Messages
875
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
So do you think the same guitar would sound identical if the fretboard was Lego plastic vs. granite? Pine vs. steel?
 




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