rich menga books search contact

***Secret FSR Fender guitars? Yes, they exist, and they're right here

Amazon links are affiliated. Learn more.

Do maple fretboards sound different compared to rosewood?

Fender Deluxe Players Stratocaster

Are there tonal differences between the two? Let's find out.

Above is a Fender Deluxe Players Strat, which does have an all-maple neck option.

My first guitar, the '89 Squier II Stratocaster, does have that traditional one-piece all-maple neck. I posted a video for it recently:

In all honesty, I've always preferred electrics with one-piece maple necks. To me, they just feel correct. Yes, it's totally true that I have owned guitars with rosewood fingerboards, which includes my Jazzmaster, but I've always liked the maple best.

At some point, possibly this year, I will be picking up another all-maple-neck electric.

Do all-maple necks sound different on an electric compared to rosewood?

No, and they never have. Why? Because the neck is not where the pickups are.

It's my honest belief that the reason some players think these two fingerboard materials sound different from each other is because of the visual and not the physical.

I'll explain.

Rosewood fingerboards have open grain while maple fingerboards do not. The maple board is sealed because as I've said here before several times, if it weren't, the wood would quickly discolor, turn green and look like total crap in short order.

I have seen some guitar players drastically change their playing styles after switching from a guitar with a rosewood fingerboard to one with maple. The guitars could be brand new, identical to each other and have everything be exactly the same save for that the fingeboard material is different, and the player significantly changes the way he plays on switch from one fingerboard wood to the other.

Why does the player's style change so drastically from one fingerboard material to the other? It's the visual. The maple board is not only lighter in color but also shinier because it's sealed. For many players, that visual will send a message to the brain to play differently. The neck is grabbed more tightly or loosely. Picking becomes harder or softer. Notes are bent more or less.

Take away the visual however, and the player's style does not change.

If you don't believe me, go with a friend to the guitar store, pick up 3 Strats with 1 maple and 2 rosewood and perform a blind test. I guarantee all 3 guitars will sound the same, provided they all have the same electronics.

Why 3 guitars? Because it makes the player think more about it. If you only use 2, that's not enough of a sample.

In the end, go with what you think looks best

Fingerboard material alone does not dictate what an electric guitar will sound like. You're not going to get a "lighter" or "darker" or "cooler" or "warmer" sound based on the fingerboard wood.

Choose a neck that feels right in the hand and looks good to your eye.

Maple fingerboards work on any electric, even for "metal" guitars like this Jackson Pro Soloist SL2M:

Jackson Pro Soloist SL2M

I'm showing this particular guitar to prove that the Soloist, a guitar obviously built for rock soloist players, does the job with maple just as well as it would with rosewood.

Similarly, a Strat with a rosewood board would get just as much "jangle" or "chime" as it would with a maple board.

There is no tonal difference between the two fingerboard materials.

📰Get Rich's newsletter to be notified of new articles

Best ZOOM R8 tutorial book
highly rated, get recording quick!

⭐ Recent Posts

Boss RC-5 Loop Station Guitar Looper PedalWill looper drums ever not suck?
It is amazing that this problem still exists.

The best looking Dean Z I've ever seen
This is an example of when Dean does the Z right.

Black Sabbath - Black SabbathMy favorite Black Sabbath track from their first album
It's not what you think it is.

Epiphone Prophecy Les PaulA secret of the Epiphone Prophecy Les Paul hiding in plain sight
It's right in front of your face and you probably didn't even notice it

Fender Player MustangShorter scale guitars with the most bang for the buck
You can go short without spending too much nor getting something too cheap.

🔥 Popular Posts 🔥

Boss RC-5 Loop Station Guitar Looper PedalWill looper drums ever not suck?
It is amazing that this problem still exists.

Casio F-91WCasio F-91W cheat sheet
A quick guide on how to set the time, date and a few other tips and tricks.

Casio A700WThe one reason why you should buy a Casio A700W
All F91W type watches should be this good.

Casio G-SHOCK GWM5610All atomic watches are saved... for now
There will come a time when buying a watch with atomic time sync functionality will be completely pointless.

Fender EsquireThe 5 types of guitars you should never buy
Some guitars that exist where the day after you buy them, you know you've made a mistake.

Gibson MarauderGibson's "Norlin era" electric guitars
Norlin era Gibsons are some of the worst guitars Gibson ever made. Find out why.

Ibanez AR420List of 24.75" scale length guitars and other shorter models
24.75" scale electric guitars and other models down to the 24.0" scale.