#1
Me and one of my freinds were talking about this the other day. The question is how much does the fingerboard/ neck wood type affect the tone on bass? Is there really a differance between maple, ebony, and rosewood besides the look, or is there more? I love the look of a maple fingerboard but people tell me that is not good for bass because it has makes a"brighter", tinny sound? I though pick-ups were solely responsible for sound? In case you didn't know my next bass is going to be a P bass but I can't decide if i should wait for that maple neck model to come next month (and i would wait because i love maple) or just get the standard rosewood right now. Would there be any tonal diffrence?
#2
Pickups are not solely reponsible. Construction, body wood, neck join, strings, electronics all make up a bass' sound.

Some people will say they can hear a difference between maple and rosewood. Others will say that the feel is different. I say wait for the maple model and see if you can try them both out side by side.
#3
maple is brighter ebony warmer rosewood in between
yes it does ffect the tone of your bass but putting your bass against your body more also effects the tone (meaning its not a huge diffrence) pickups also dont effect sound too much also amps deal mostly with tone about 90% bout 5%p/ups and 5%wood
also i ccant really tell the diffrence i just dont like looking at a light fretboard but i dont want it overally dark thats why i like rosewood
the fretboard is such a small piece it really doesnt effect much
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#6
Quote by alternitivebass
maple is brighter ebony warmer rosewood in between
yes it does ffect the tone of your bass but putting your bass against your body more also effects the tone (meaning its not a huge diffrence) pickups also dont effect sound too much also amps deal mostly with tone about 90% bout 5%p/ups and 5%wood
also i ccant really tell the diffrence i just dont like looking at a light fretboard but i dont want it overally dark thats why i like rosewood
the fretboard is such a small piece it really doesnt effect much


did you just say something to the effect of pickups dont matter much in tone?
you just made me lol my nuts off.
pickups play a huge role.

anyway... what that other dude said, wait til the other model comes out, and try them both. see what sounds and feels better to you
#7
Quote by alternitivebass
maple is brighter ebony warmer rosewood in between


Ebony is actually the brightest, densest wood out of all of them.

As for the question of the thread, I don't personally hear a huge difference in tone, maybe maple is a LITTLE brighter, but the feel is out of sight. Maple just feels so much nicer than rosewood, to me. But that's all personal preference. If you're worried about the tone difference, I wouldn't worry too much, there's not a whole lot there. But the feel is definitely very different.
#8
maple-rosewood-ebony?

I thought it was maple-ebony-rosewood.

hmmmph.

but fretboard is very important to the tone.
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#10
Quote by the humanity
maple-rosewood-ebony?

I thought it was maple-ebony-rosewood.

hmmmph.

but fretboard is very important to the tone.


I personally don't think so, but that's just my opinion. I certainly wouldn't out it near the top of the list of things that affect tone.
#11
In the woods overall effect of the tone the fretboard makes up about 10% of the WOODS effect on the tone. Mainly it is the feel though, and the order from warmest to brightest is rosewood, maple, ebony.
#13
^wikipedia

i personally love the look of maple
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#14
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
I'm saying rosewood-maple-ebony. From warm-bright. I think...


You think right.

TS, the way wood affects tone is kind of difficult to qualify. Few can hear a recording of a pretty clean, only mildly eq'ed bass and just tell you what the fretboard is made of. On the other hand, listening to similar recordings of two basses with two different fingerboards, you will very likely pick up some difference. Instruments tend to get their own unique voices too though, so a lot of times you can listen to two of the same bass made from the same body wood and same neck wood and set to the same settings, and still be able to hear some kind of difference.

It's by no means a science, but there really is a mild something there and it is something to listen for when you try out basses.

And your friends are being too prescriptive. Yes maple is bright, but that doesn't mean it sounds "tinny" and is bad for bass. Lots of people like maple and ebony fretboards because they supposedly add a little spank and sizzle to the sound. It's all up to personal taste, I wouldn't ever go for a mahogany bass because my playing style and gear couldn't likely handle the heavier mids and lows; that doesn't mean that someone else, playing with a pic and a very transparent amp wouldn't love the tone a mahogany bass offers.
#15
You fingers have the greatest affect on your tone, followed by your pickups and tone settings. What wood it's made of will not play NEARLY as big of a role in a bass's tone as those two factors unless you're talking about the fingerboard wood on a fretless. That's not to say they don't make a difference, but most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference between an Agathis bass and a n Alder one.
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#16
Quote by sonsie

i personally love the look of maple


+1
I think I prefer maple over rosewood and other darker woods.
#17
Yeah, the neck and fretboard wood is more a question of feel than tone, though it does affect tone. The wood of the body moreso. But, as has been said, not nearly as much as pickups, EQ, technique, and definitely amp.

I'm personally a rosewood kind of guy. Maple feels a little too... I don't know, smooth? for me. Not that I wouldn't be perfectly happy if you gave me a bass with a maple neck. And as far as tone is concerned, it seems to me to have more of a viol vibe to it. I could be completely making things up here, who knows.

The bottom line is this: none of the woods that you will commonly find on a fretboard or neck are "wrong". Especially that dope about maple being too tinny for bass, that's nonsense - ever heard of a Stingray? I DO prefer maple on those babies.
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#18
I can tell the differance on a bass between the maple and rose wood. It's not a huge differance, but it does play in. I can also tell the differance between 250k and 500k pots and .047pfu caps and .022pfu caps. But, I spent alot of time modding my P-basses and have both maple and rosewood boards.

Every peice on a bass effects tone. Well, except the tuners. And the reason that the wood on the fretboard affects the tone has to do with the wood's density. If the wood is denser, it doesn't absorb as much vibration off the string and the string rings brighter, so Ebony is actually one of the brighter tone woods.

I've got a Rosewood fretboard P-bass with a Bad Ass II bridge and a Duncan SPB-1 in it and a Fender Deluxe P-bass with the stock bridge, maple neck and Fender Vintage P-bass p/up and a Fender American series Jazz. I can tell the differance in both feel and tone on the basses. I've swapped necks on them as well, put them back the way they were cause I didn't like the look of a maple neck on a purple body, and I could hear and feel the differance.

Even playing a 1954 reissue and a 1957 reissue A/B you can hear a differance without plugging it in, you "shouldn't" because they both have contoured ash bodies and 1 peice maple necks and fretboards. But they sound differant. the 1954 has a bit less sustian, but has a touch more bright in it's tone, reason: the headstock on the 54 is smaller, which does affect tone, and the bridge saddles are brass, which vibrates a bit brighter.

What I'm getting at here is basically: to anyone who says that "the fretboard doesn't make a sound differance" or "the only differance is in your fingers" or "those things don't effect tone," I say: go out and play differant basses and guitars and you'll see that these things affect tone, greatly.
#19
Quote by A Certain Death
did you just say something to the effect of pickups dont matter much in tone?
you just made me lol my nuts off.
pickups play a huge role.

anyway... what that other dude said, wait til the other model comes out, and try them both. see what sounds and feels better to you

... i never said they dont matter much in tone its all in comparison to a good amp good amp makes bad pickups sound ok good pickups will not make a bad amp sound ok
Ebony is actually the brightest, densest wood out of all of them.
hmmm i always thought it was the warmest guess i heard wrong
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