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#1
last night I was on a phone with a friend. who asked me too find him a classic Gibson pickup.. somehow we started talking about the fret difference in fretboards. according too him and im sure a lot of others.. you can hear the difference between maple.. rosewood and ebony.. and I used to agree.. but haven afew guitars with maple boards and a few with rosewood my mind has changed on that.rosewood has no finish.. maple is covered in layers of clear coat.. ebony as far as that goes.. I had an old dean that did sound a bit bright... and a friend of mine recently bought a Gibson voodoo with an ebony board.. however its made from swamp ash which is a brighter tone wood.... im curiuos of what you think.. does the fret board matter?? can you hear a difference??
#2
Possibly... if everything else about the guitar is exactly the same. Thing is usually guitars that come with different fretboard woods are different in so many other ways from other guitars it's pretty damn hard to know exactly where the tiny details of the tone are coming from.
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#3
Just like the body cap. Fretboard does matter. If you are be able to notice it is another matter, however. I can hear the different on these things but some of my friend swear they cannot.
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#4
The fingerboard does make a tiny difference tonally, i think.
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#6
Quote by gregs1020
i only notice the difference in how they feel, not really how they sound.

Same here. As for tonal differences, when you factor in so many things like amps, pickups, body and neck woods as well as guitar shape it's hard to pinpoint just how much or how little the fretboard affects the overall tone (waiting for someone to respond back with a comprehensive scientific study to prove me wrong as usual lol) . I will say this, I've never heard an album and thought "yep those are definitely ebony fretboards on those guitars" or thought "that would sound better if they were playing it on a guitar with a rosewood fretboard"
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Last edited by LightxGrenade at Apr 10, 2013,
#8
I honestly can't hear a difference between fret-board or neck woods.
However, even a non guitarist can hear the difference between different guitars.
The most important thing about the guitar finger board is the Radius, and the fret size.
#9
I seriously doubt any of the people who claim to hear a difference could hear it if identical guitars with different fretboards were played behind their back. I just can't hear the difference at all.

I don't think wood has as much of an impact on solid body electric guitars as a lot of people claims it does.
#10
Quote by takachan

The most important thing about the guitar finger board is the Radius, and the fret size.

most important thing how?

most important to who?

important in how it plays or how it sounds?
#11
its impossible to tell the difference, anyone who claims they can is fooling themselves. the fretboard isnt what make the guitar resonate, body woods will provide more or less sustain but even still the pickups remove most of the guitar's natural sound, especially if they are active. If you have active pickups you have no need to worry about whatever your guitar is made of.
#12
Quote by gregs1020
most important thing how?

most important to who?

important in how it plays or how it sounds?

Important in the playability. A larger fretboard radius means the neck will feel flatter which (for some ppl, not all) makes it easier to do fast runs. Fret size can affect how hard you have to press your finger down. For jumbo frets for example, you can use a lighter touch to fret and bends and vibrato comes easier.
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#13
I would choose a fretboard based on look and feel. I don't think it affects the tone enough to worry about.
#14
Quote by LightxGrenade
Important in the playability. A larger fretboard radius means the neck will feel flatter which (for some ppl, not all) makes it easier to do fast runs. Fret size can affect how hard you have to press your finger down. For jumbo frets for example, you can use a lighter touch to fret and bends and vibrato comes easier.

oh i understand the differences between frets and radii and how they relate to playability.

you said it was "the most important thing about the guitar", and we were talking about how it sounds. you know, the toanz.

so i thought you were going to tell us that fret size and radii had some effect on the sound produced.

which it very well may, i'd never claim to be able to hear a difference though. my ears are about shot.
#15
Is this becoming some kind of trend? There have been so many "tonewood" threads in the recent days. And let's not start an argument here.

Again, I don't care about what woods my guitar is made of. The wood might matter but so do pickups, scale length, bridge, etc. If I'm buying a guitar, I just try different guitars and buy the one that sounds and feels the best. I don't look at guitars made of specific woods. (Though when I was buying my Charvel, I had an obsession of maple fretboards so the guitar had to have a maple fretboard, it was only because it looked so cool. Though I think I would have bought a guitar that had a rosewood or ebony fretboard if it had sounded/played better than the Charvel.)
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#16
Last time I found some site about body woods and neck/fretboard woods, it stated that it did very little sound change, sometimes even not hearable for a human.

Will look for it now.
#17
You do realize the strings usually don't make contact with the neck? They rest atop the frets.
Last edited by RockAddict311 at Apr 10, 2013,
#18
I believe pretty much everything on the guitar contributes to the overall tone.
No idea if I could hear the difference in a blind A/B test though.

Generally I prefer Rosewood fretboards, but that's more of a look/feel thing than anything else. Hell, I'd love to have a guitar with a Rosewood NECK.
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#19
Quote by gregs1020
oh i understand the differences between frets and radii and how they relate to playability.

you said it was "the most important thing about the guitar", and we were talking about how it sounds. you know, the toanz.

so i thought you were going to tell us that fret size and radii had some effect on the sound produced.

which it very well may, i'd never claim to be able to hear a difference though. my ears are about shot.


Oh that wasn't me who originally posted that, I was responding because I thought you were curious about it.
As for the discussion of tonewood picking up as of late, I feel like it's been a trend that guitar players are getting more and more into stuff like that. I remember when I was a little younger the discussions were like "Gibson, PRS, Fender, Ibanez!!! Marshall and Fender Amps!" but there's kind of been a spike in appreciation for more custom instruments and boutique gear. Not saying it's good or bad, just saying I've noticed this in the past few years and the rise in popularity of custom guitar shops.
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#21
Quote by RockAddict311
You do realize the strings usually don't make contact with the neck? They rest atop the frets.

The strings don't touch the body either, but people don't generally claim that there's no tonal difference between a solid and a hollowbody. Strings don't just vibrate in a vacuum, the guitar's resonance changes how they behave. Nobody's saying it's a huge difference, but your claim doesn't hold any water.

To my ear, ebony has a unique attack thing going on that I really like on SGs, and I tend to prefer rosewood on strats and maple on telecasters. I wouldn't say it's a big difference, though. It's more of a trend I've noticed in my taste than an actual conscious preference.
#22
im surprised to learn how many people would say it doesn't matter the type of fret board..
#23
Another tonewood thread.
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#24
I don't think it makes any difference. The main things are how the strings are mounted, the quality of the hardware, pickups, the neck joint, the strings themselves and the electronics. I have a very unpopular opinion and think that the wood doesn't affect the tone. Sustain and resonance yes.

*can of worms*
#25
Quote by Roc8995
The strings don't touch the body either, but people don't generally claim that there's no tonal difference between a solid and a hollowbody. Strings don't just vibrate in a vacuum, the guitar's resonance changes how they behave. Nobody's saying it's a huge difference, but your claim doesn't hold any water.

To my ear, ebony has a unique attack thing going on that I really like on SGs, and I tend to prefer rosewood on strats and maple on telecasters. I wouldn't say it's a big difference, though. It's more of a trend I've noticed in my taste than an actual conscious preference.


LOL! My claim doesn't hold any water? That's a good one. I never made a claim that strings vibrate in a vacuum. So one could say your claim holds no water

I only state this because a large portion of players are unaware of this. I don't doubt that necks have some tonal affect based on the woods used. I do be believe however that the pickups themselves and the amp play the largest role. These pickups are using magnetisim to pick the strings up.

Put a pair of nylon strings on and see what happens. And where did hollowbodies and solid bodies come from? Necks bro :p
#26
Quote by RockAddict311
LOL! My claim doesn't hold any water? That's a good one. I never made a claim that strings vibrate in a vacuum. So one could say your claim holds no water

Your statement was vague, so I tried to address what I thought you meant by it. You don't seem to be posting anything substantial so much as random tidbits that barely relate to the issue.

So yeah - you never made that claim, but the claims you have made so far are inconsequential. Pardon me for assuming you were trying to make a point.
#27
Technically it does, but it's very, very minute. One could argue that the difference in feel will make you play slightly different, hence the change in tone.


All in all, it's not a bid deal in the least. Just practice, get better, and your tone across all mediums will improve.
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#28
Quote by RockAddict311
LOL! My claim doesn't hold any water? That's a good one. I never made a claim that strings vibrate in a vacuum. So one could say your claim holds no water

I only state this because a large portion of players are unaware of this. I don't doubt that necks have some tonal affect based on the woods used. I do be believe however that the pickups themselves and the amp play the largest role. These pickups are using magnetisim to pick the strings up.

Put a pair of nylon strings on and see what happens. And where did hollowbodies and solid bodies come from? Necks bro :p

So what if they are using magnetism? The wood still vibrates and when the wood vibrates, the wood vibrations should also affect how the strings vibrate. Same thing with the bridge. Why would bridge matter to your tone? And it does. I have seen videos when people have added sustain blocks and it has sustained a lot longer. The point of a sustain block is pretty much the same as tonewoods. So I think woods can make a difference but how big is it? I don't know. But as I said, I don't really care about tonewoods if I'm buying a new guitar. The wood just doesn't tell me anything about the guitar.

Try guitars made of different woods and listen to how they sound different unplugged. I know pickups don't pick sound, they only pick how the strings vibrate. But again, the wood vibrations should have an effect on how the strings vibrate.

But yes, the thing is, electronics matter more. And I wouldn't really choose not to buy a guitar because it has a fretboard made of "wrong" wood. If it sounds good, it sounds good. If it feels good, it feels good. I don't think the tonewoods tell that much about a guitar before you have tried it. And I wouldn't pick a guitar just because it uses certain woods. And I wouldn't refuse to buy a guitar that uses different woods than I prefer.
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#29
neck wood matters more than body wood.

fact.

anyone who thinks otherwise please hold up two neck blanks and ring them.

report back after.
#30
Is there a tonal difference in guitars with and without inlays? What about different types of inlay materials?
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#31
Quote by TunerAddict
Is there a tonal difference in guitars with and without inlays? What about different types of inlay materials?

No. They are such miniscule parts of the guitar that it makes no difference.
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#32
yet there are guys on strat-talk that swear clay dots sounds the best.


i am not lying. :p
#33
I wonder what the results of an A/B/C test of a Vigier Excalibur Special (maple) Vigier Excalibur Special (rosewood) and a Vigier Excalibur Surfreter Special (Imetal*) tell us?

Anybody got $12k so we can buy the guitars to test?


* which is either their new proprietary name for the delta metal fingerboards they use, or a new alloy entirely.
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#34
Quote by TunerAddict
Is there a tonal difference in guitars with and without inlays? What about different types of inlay materials?

If there is, it's negligible to most people. If you've ever handled a fretboard blank, it's pretty substantial, plus it transfers vibration from the string and frets to the neck and body - so it's right in the middle of things from a resonance standpoint, in much the same way that the bridge is on the other end. Inlays, not so much. Maybe there's some interaction there but probably nothing consequential.
#35
Quote by gregs1020
neck wood matters more than body wood.

fact.

anyone who thinks otherwise please hold up two neck blanks and ring them.

report back after.

That's interesting because I've always understood that the wood type effects how the guitar sounds, but I've never thought of which one (neck or body) was more important. Care to divulge a bit more on what makes the neck wood take precedent over the body wood?
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#36
Quote by gregs1020
yet there are guys on strat-talk that swear clay dots sounds the best.


i am not lying. :p


My lord.
#37
Quote by LightxGrenade
That's interesting because I've always understood that the wood type effects how the guitar sounds, but I've never thought of which one (neck or body) was more important. Care to divulge a bit more on what makes the neck wood take precedent over the body wood?

i will not comment on body wood. pick ups mount to plastic rings that have screws and springs holding them in place etc. not sure what the wood could do there. the bridge mounts to it, so something is transfered that way. like roc8995 said the vibrations transfer through the neck to the body etc.

i don't know how you would test a body.

but testing a neck is easy.

you ring it and see how it rings.

here, check this out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSbjCfK5Iq8

we tap tested a bunch of neck blanks when i was out there and each one sounds a little different.
Last edited by gregs1020 at Apr 10, 2013,
#38
Tone woods don't exist. If it did, you'd get a different tone every time you play a fret with an inlay. "But it makes the string vibrate differently" then it'd make the note different.
#39
Quote by Sullinger
Tone woods don't exist. If it did, you'd get a different tone every time you play a fret with an inlay. "But it makes the string vibrate differently" then it'd make the note different.

Dejavu...

Nooo... Again the same argument as in the old thread that was closed IIRC. This is wrong. Did you read my post? Actually the "vibrating part" of the string doesn't even touch the fretboard, it touches the fret. It doesn't matter if the string touches the wood or not. That's not the point. But why the wood could matter is because the string vibrations make the wood vibrate. You can also test this when you play unplugged. You can feel that the whole guitar vibrates in your hands. That's because the wood vibrates. And when the wood vibrates, it should also affect how the strings vibrate. (If it's really resonant wood, it should increase sustain and make your guitar sound full.) As I said, sustain blocks work the same way. They are just a piece of metal attached to your bridge. The body wood should work the same way. You could think it as a big sustain block made of wood (it's attached to the bridge just like sustain block is). And sustain blocks do really work. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sZ3w_Qwq2Q

Oh and didn't you know that when you play an A on your guitar, there are more frequencies than just 440Hz? They are called overtones. They are what make guitar sound like guitar and not like trumpet. And different woods should "amplify" different frequencies differently.
Quote by AlanHB
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Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Apr 10, 2013,
#40
Frequency isn't the only property a wave can have. The note is different, just not its pitch.

I love that line of reasoning, though. I must be super lucky, because my guitar stays in tune even when I use a different kind of pick! I swear it sounds different, but it must not because it's still in tune.
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