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Stratocasters - Models, Maple or Rosewood fingerboard, what do you use when and why?
Old 2 days ago
  #31
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I’ll get all kinds of hate for this, but if you have a chance try one of those charvel dk24 2pt’s at a nearby store.
Strat and Tele tones and then some.
$1k for a ton of features and plays great right of the shelf.
Only downside is it’s made in Mexico and it has nickel frets instead of stainless.
Might be able to find one used on eBay or reverb for $6-700.
Old 2 days ago
  #32
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audioforce's Avatar
 

I like the way this thread is going [even if I did start it].

Just the way it shows how different players like the different fingerboards, sometimes even for the same reasons, is interesting to me.


Best,

audioforce
Old 2 days ago
  #33
Not all maple boards are equal.

The difference in feel between a heavily polyestered MIM or Far East model and a “relic” super thin lacquered Custom Shop job with rolled edges is night & day.
Old 2 days ago
  #34
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Zoobiedood's Avatar
 

I just like the raw feeling or rosewood, or other woods, like ebony.
Old 2 days ago
  #35
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
You're starting to sound like Ethan Winer.

Oh my goodness! Yeah, maybe a bit, haha!

But seriously, these kinds of observations are fun and give people something to think about when choosing a guitar... but they are untestable. I think they come from the behavior of acoustic guitar woods, where things are a bit more cut and dry.

I built a 00 with Birdseye maple back and sides (try bending that $#!t) and I have zero doubt that if I had used rosewood or mahogany for B&S, it would sound mellower... less bright. It's the brightest acoustic I've ever played. I can say that after building a bunch, different acoustic woods impart repeatable characteristics.

I've also built a bunch of electrics, swapped necks, etc... and I can't say that observable, repeatable results can be noticed. I'm not saying that maple fingerboards don't sound slightly brighter, just that there no way to confirm that. I haven't been able to, anyway.

Old 2 days ago
  #36
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post

Oh my goodness! Yeah, maybe a bit, haha!

But seriously, these kinds of observations are fun and give people something to think about when choosing a guitar... but they are untestable. I think they come from the behavior of acoustic guitar woods, where things are a bit more cut and dry.

I built a 00 with Birdseye maple back and sides (try bending that $#!t) and I have zero doubt that if I had used rosewood or mahogany for B&S, it would sound mellower... less bright. It's the brightest acoustic I've ever played. I can say that after building a bunch, different acoustic woods impart repeatable characteristics.

I've also built a bunch of electrics, swapped necks, etc... and I can't say that observable, repeatable results can be noticed. I'm not saying that maple fingerboards don't sound slightly brighter, just that there no way to confirm that. I haven't been able to, anyway.
Yeah, I'm not sure anybody's really looking for tested confirmation on something like this, just opinions.

Beautiful guitar BTW. I had a maple acoustic once and it was a great guitar but a little too bright for me. So pretty though.
Old 2 days ago
  #37
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RicTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
I've also built a bunch of electrics, swapped necks, etc... and I can't say that observable, repeatable results can be noticed. I'm not saying that maple fingerboards don't sound slightly brighter, just that there no way to confirm that. I haven't been able to, anyway.
In my lost summer of Strat tone searching a few years ago I did identify one neck that in changing between six different Strats did deliver to each six Strats better tone than the other five necks.

But I can't prove it to myself because I didn't record anything. It was just too much time changing necks. I'm not going to fool myself on the reality of this particular belief, but I do believe that a lot of tone does exist in a neck.


Pardon the pictures, I post pictures because I like pictures lol.

There are four non-maple necks in this picture, and any can be bright. :-) I'm sure everyone can relate to the fact of loving your guitars - I love all those guitars for different reasons.



I do however in terms of playing, vastly prefer maple Strats.

Old 1 day ago
  #38
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicTone View Post

I do however in terms of playing, vastly prefer maple Strats.

What year and model is the cream colored Strat on the left?

Beautiful collection!
Old 1 day ago
  #39
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RicTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
What year and model is the cream colored Strat on the left?

Beautiful collection!
It's very interesting you noticed the Strat on the left, it really is interesting, you have a great eye for detail! One of my best friends Dale Fortune, built it for me, it's a Fortune Strat replica. The body is an authentic swamp ash Fender American Deluxe. The neck is an aftermarket Fender. Pickups generally as I gigged it were Fender Noiseless. Great guitar. Dale did the Mary Kay nitro.
Old 1 day ago
  #40
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicTone View Post
In my lost summer of Strat tone searching a few years ago I did identify one neck that in changing between six different Strats did deliver to each six Strats better tone than the other five necks.

But I can't prove it to myself because I didn't record anything. It was just too much time changing necks. I'm not going to fool myself on the reality of this particular belief, but I do believe that a lot of tone does exist in a neck.


Pardon the pictures, I post pictures because I like pictures lol.

There are four non-maple necks in this picture, and any can be bright. :-) I'm sure everyone can relate to the fact of loving your guitars - I love all those guitars for different reasons.
No No! Love pictures. Pictures illustrate the point, and guitars are always fun to look at. When VG comes, I go to the reader's gallery first, just to see what's up.

Anyway, sure, no doubt that the whole neck affects a guitar's tone. Necks are complex systems, involving tuning keys, wood stiffness, fret & nut materials, string trees or not, length of string behind the nut, screw on or set neck, a variety of glues, truss rod integration, and on and on. Big part of the whole guitar.

Another guitar I have is a G&L SC2. A guy took the original neck and left the body as payment for a session. I got a nice piece of flamed rock maple and carved a neck. Glued on a maple fingerboard. That guitar is so damn bright, I can't use it for anything. It wasn't with the original neck, which was also maple and a maple board. I'm looking for ways to tame it, because I love the guitar, just not the icepick-in-ear tone.
Old 1 day ago
  #41
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RicTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post

Another guitar I have is a G&L SC2. A guy took the original neck and left the body as payment for a session. I got a nice piece of flamed rock maple and carved a neck. Glued on a maple fingerboard. That guitar is so damn bright, I can't use it for anything. It wasn't with the original neck, which was also maple and a maple board. I'm looking for ways to tame it, because I love the guitar, just not the icepick-in-ear tone.
I respect your opinion and here is another instance of the neck affecting tone in a big way. Very cool.
Old 1 day ago
  #42
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicTone View Post
It's very interesting you noticed the Strat on the left, it really is interesting, you have a great eye for detail! One of my best friends Dale Fortune, built it for me, it's a Fortune Strat replica. The body is an authentic swamp ash Fender American Deluxe. The neck is an aftermarket Fender. Pickups generally as I gigged it were Fender Noiseless. Great guitar. Dale did the Mary Kay nitro.
Very cool. Looks like a real player. Thanks.
Old 1 day ago
  #43
I've got a J-Strat from the mid-90s with a maple neck.

When I got it, I was coming from fifteen or so years of hammering on an early 60s Mustang. I was coming from having listened to a load of Sonic Youth and what I was doing at the time was all about feedback, reverb, and wild wobble bar weirdness.

I knew I wanted a maple neck. I've always liked the feel and the distinct nature of the sound from those necks on Strats.

But coming from the Mustang, I'm afraid I was insufficiently demanding (or clueless or both) with regard to the 'playability' of the trem system. Mostly these days I keep it 'locked.' But that still doesn't keep double bend stops from going wanky as the 'stable' string is also bent in pitch along with the stretched one -- even with the bar back in 'locked' position.
Old 1 day ago
  #44
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicTone View Post
I respect your opinion and here is another instance of the neck affecting tone in a big way. Very cool.
Thanks... yeah, the whole neck really seems to have an impact. Maybe, I think, more than the body materials. Not sure why.

Nice bunch of guitars by the way!
Old 1 day ago
  #45
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
Yeah, I'm not sure anybody's really looking for tested confirmation on something like this, just opinions.

Beautiful guitar BTW. I had a maple acoustic once and it was a great guitar but a little too bright for me. So pretty though.
Thanks. Maybe my favorite recording guitar for rhythmic chording. It adds a really nice percussive tone to a mix that seems to blend with just about anything.

I've also got a Guild J-30 that's all maple back and sides. Big jumbo with deep bass, but also a sweet, cutting high-end that mahogany or rosewood just doesn't offer. A super "smile EQ" kind of tone right from the box.
Old 1 day ago
  #46
Poly finished maple fingerboard necks sound dark. Thin nitro finishes are better sounding. Rosewood is even better. Listen to the tone progression on Jimi Hendrix albums as an example. The earlier stuff sparkles, the later stuff (Cry of Love) sounds all mid-rangy.
Old 1 day ago
  #47
ccg
Gear Maniac
 

I'm a Maple Man.
Old 1 day ago
  #48
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Thanks. Maybe my favorite recording guitar for rhythmic chording. It adds a really nice percussive tone to a mix that seems to blend with just about anything.

I've also got a Guild J-30 that's all maple back and sides. Big jumbo with deep bass, but also a sweet, cutting high-end that mahogany or rosewood just doesn't offer. A super "smile EQ" kind of tone right from the box.
Yeah with maple acoustics it seems the low end is so tight and manageable in the mix. Never overwhelming or mushy (unless the mic is too close). And the high end is so solid, never thin. High mids punch through so clear too.
Old 1 day ago
  #49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunar Attic View Post
Never quite liked the feel of maple. Rosewood on my 1985 Contemporary. One of the first batch out of Japan after CBS closed shop. Serial nr A018939.

Rosewood or ebony on pretty much every instrument I own. Use linseed or (trade secret!) sandalwood oil to keep them in shape.

T
"Trade secret"?

Are you f*ing kiddiog us?

Disclosure or it didn't happen.

Why would anybody refuse to disclose a fingerboard treatment?: Unless you're making a joke that slipped by me, which is entirely possible.... especially since i spent the afternoon at a live show at a local winery.....
Old 1 day ago
  #50
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RicTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
.... especially since i spent the afternoon at a live show at a local winery.....
Sounds like fun.
Old 1 day ago
  #51
Gear Maniac
 
Lunar Attic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post

Are you f*ing kiddiog us?
Yes.

Linseed oil is actually fine. It's just that sandalwood oil smells so much nicer.


T
Old 1 day ago
  #52
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
Not all maple boards are equal.

The difference in feel between a heavily polyestered MIM or Far East model and a “relic” super thin lacquered Custom Shop job with rolled edges is night & day.
That's a very good point, for sure.

I have a maple board Tele [an old Custom Shop '58 Mary Kay], and it plays very easy. My Fullerton '57 Strat reissue played very easy. My Stingray 5 Bass plays very easy.

On the other hand, I played a new "Eric Johnson Thinline" [with an F-hole, no less] yesterday, and it played, and sounded, like total crap. I don't know what they glommed onto the neck, but it was just awful.

In fairness, I also played another Strat, with a Rosewood board, at the same store, and it played weird too. But it was not the fingerboard. It just had super tall frets that made it almost like a scalloped neck guitar, and it would not play or stay in tune. It sounded pretty good, though, which is more than I could say for the other one.

Both guitars were strung with 9s, which didn't help.


Best always,


audioforce
Old 1 day ago
  #53
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PdotDdot's Avatar
I've always preferrd the feel of rosewood vs maple for electric instruments.
Old 20 hours ago
  #54
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicTone View Post
Sounds like fun.
It was.

Back on topic, one of the best Strats I've ever played was my first real electric guitar, a '60 Strat with a slab rosewood fingerboard with clay dots. Unfortunately it burned up in a fire.

In most cases I prefer Rosewood, although I've played some '50s Strats with a well worn finish on the neck that I really liked, too. Unfortunately when the finish on the maple board gets really well worn it also gets pretty ugly.

The only Strat I have right now is a mid-line Squier (maple) - it's OK, we keep it strung in Nashville tuning. My lead guitarist has a CS Strat that he uses quite a bit, it's pretty nice. Maple. He also uses my Squier Teles a lot and sometimes a Chibson SG Les Paul Custom that plays like a real one and has had the electronics completely redone with Gibson and SD pickups and has the middle pickup with a flipped magnet set up on a separate volume control independent of the selector switch. With the ability to blend in the out of phase pickup to taste it covers Fender tones really well.
Old 19 hours ago
  #55
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RicTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
It was.
I liked the mention of your winery adventure because it reminded me of band practice I think the same day :-) But we practice responsibly and drink responsibly as I'm sure we all do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post

Back on topic, one of the best Strats I've ever played was my first real electric guitar, a '60 Strat with a slab rosewood fingerboard with clay dots. Unfortunately it burned up in a fire.
That's about as major a bummer as bummers can get.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post

In most cases I prefer Rosewood, although I've played some '50s Strats with a well worn finish on the neck that I really liked, too. Unfortunately when the finish on the maple board gets really well worn it also gets pretty ugly.
Totally agree on Maple necks in grossed out condition. I assume there is a biological reason why Maple does not naturally repel factors that cause more mold or other discoloration?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post

The only Strat I have right now is a mid-line Squier (maple) - it's OK, we keep it strung in Nashville tuning. My lead guitarist has a CS Strat that he uses quite a bit, it's pretty nice. Maple. He also uses my Squier Teles a lot and sometimes a Chibson SG Les Paul Custom that plays like a real one and has had the electronics completely redone with Gibson and SD pickups and has the middle pickup with a flipped magnet set up on a separate volume control independent of the selector switch. With the ability to blend in the out of phase pickup to taste it covers Fender tones really well.
Cool. A friend of mine, my favorite guitarist in Oregon, a monster player, plays a CS with Maple, super nice. I played a Squier for years, loved that guitar, still do. Regarding the Chibson, it's amazing what intelligence applied to electronics can do.
Old 2 hours ago
  #56
Here for the gear
 

Rosewood, maple, hardtail, tremolo bar, strings, pickups, signal chain, amp... there are so many things to determine the tone and feel of a strat. Best way is go play the guitar for a while and feel if you like it.
Old 2 hours ago
  #57
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
In most cases I prefer Rosewood, although I've played some '50s Strats with a well worn finish on the neck that I really liked, too. Unfortunately when the finish on the maple board gets really well worn it also gets pretty ugly.
Allegedly this is one of the main reasons Leo switched to rosewood in the first place... too many complaints about the worn grey colour maple turns to when it's heavily played-in.
Old 56 minutes ago
  #58
Gear Head
 

Blind Sound Test Comparison Between Rosewood and Maple Fingerboard

Here is the sound test. All variables are the same except the neck. This is a blind test so don't fool yourself. Listen and write down your choice while it is playing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRuk0vdoeeg
Old 43 minutes ago
  #59
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobF View Post
Here is the sound test. All variables are the same except the neck. This is a blind test so don't fool yourself. Listen and write down your choice while it is playing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRuk0vdoeeg
Okay I haven't seen this video in a long long time so I too took the test without knowing which was which, and yes there is a difference however slight. I picked the right one on each of the three tests. I won't give away which is which, you will have to see the video, take the test, and hear the results at the end.

Personally I like rosewood necks. Why? Because when I get under the lights and play for extended periods of time I sweat. The board gets slick with this extra moisture, and oils. So maple fingerboards tend to make me drop strings when sweated up. I'm going a vibrato bend, and BONG the string may occasionally drop. For some reason that never happens on the rosewood board. Also on maple necks I never drop a string either as long as I am not all sweated up.

One final note is that I prep my rosewood fingerboards with #0000 steel wool. I mask off the frets and rub up and down on the fingerboard. That eliminates any uneven surfaces that can happen with un-prepped rosewood. Eric Clapton said he finds the maple necks to be more even in the resistance for bends. With my polished ones, that does not happen.

I feel like the rosewood fingerboards are also smoother, and mellower, but after doing the blind test in my above post I am now realizing that yes there is a minute difference, but not enough to make a buying decision for tone alone.
I do want to say that oftentimes our thoughts dictate the truth. Feeling like the rosewood neck being warmer actually affects our playing. On a maple neck, and I have multiples of both, I tend to play quackier, a little more country style of tunes, and with rosewood I get into more jazzy, and soulful playing. This confirms my assumption, but unfortunately mostly because of my bias.
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