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  1. #11
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    This is interesting. I've always thought that maple fretboards would result in a brighter sounding guitar, but youse guys are saying the opposite.
    "Life's too short not to enjoy great tone."

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  2. #12
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    Doublestop, you're correct about alder being a standard body wood for Strats, but many early Strats were also made of swamp ash. I do believe there are some current models being touted as "ash" bodies, but its hard to tell whether they're regular northern hard ash or southern swamp ash - I guess the only way is to pick it up, because swamp ash is incredibly light. I do know that many early Teles were also made of swamp ash. My own Warmoth/USACG Strat is a one-piece swamp ash body, and the guitar is so light its easy to forget you have it strapped on - plus when you strum it acoustically, it resonates against your body like crazy. Sometimes you can tell by the grain - swamp ash almost always has a dramatic grain pattern, and alder is almost always relatively plain, which why most solid color Strats are alder and most swamp ash Strats are either sunburst or translucent....or natural. That said, some pieces of alder can look pretty nice, so that may not be the best way.

    My understanding is that since swamp ash has a scooped mid, and maple has a small upper mid peak, the combination of the two gives it a sense of "warmth". Rosewood, on the other hand, has a bit of a sizzle and more pronounced lows, and when combined with swamp ash, tends to accentuate the scooped mid tone. When you combine rosewood with alder, however, it sounds warmer than maple. There are some counterintuitive results like this that are fascinating to hear about. Another one - I have not personally experienced this, truth be told - that I heard from Tom Anderson many years ago when I went to a guitar show, is that if your swamp ash body seems a tad bright, a maple top will warm it up. Go figure!

    Then again, I certainly wouldn't argue with Tom!

    Srini
    Last edited by Srini; 09-16-2014 at 07:51 PM.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAguitar View Post
    This is interesting. I've always thought that maple fretboards would result in a brighter sounding guitar, but youse guys are saying the opposite.
    You're not wrong at all - it depends on the body wood.

    Srini

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Bb View Post
    I like both but one of the things I always look out for on rosewood fretboards (ebony too etc) is that there's sufficient thickness, just in case it ever needs a level and re-fret somewhere down the line.

    Some rosewood fretboards I've seen are woefully thin - I always avoid those.
    That's an interesting observation!

  5. #15
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    Well I've done a bit of research and as far as I can see my American Traditional was a short lived, made in the USA, model based on the MIM spec. It has a maple neck and, apparently, a poplar body. This is the one that sounds more mellow, a bit warmer and has been my number one choice since 2000, when I bought it new.

    My recently acquired American Standard with Delta Tone pups/circuitry has a maple neck with a rosewood cap and is likely to be an alder body. This is the one that sounds brighter and more edgy and I'm still getting used to its sound.
    You know, said Arthur, its at times like this, when Im trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish Id listened to what my mother told me when I was young.
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  6. #16
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    Oh yeah, I forgot about poplar that was used in some MIM Strats, and even some lower priced US made Strats. To be honest I had no idea what poplar would sound like, until your comment - I assume it also has a bit of a mid scoop. Do you think your American Standard's edginess is being caused by the pickups? Something tells me that with an alder body, the rosewood fretboard should be relatively warm.

    Srini

  7. #17
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    Poplar is a great body wood for opaque finishes. Lighter than Alder but every bit as smooth-grained (translation: no grain-filling) and much cheaper than Alder and Swamp Ash. Very resonant, with tonal characteristics between the two, but probably closer to Alder. To my ear, Rosewood fretboards have a rounder, warmer tone than Maple on a Poplar body. Same for Basswood bodies.
    The Human Torch was denied a bank loan.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tele savalas View Post
    Poplar is a great body wood for opaque finishes. Lighter than Alder but every bit as smooth-grained (translation: no grain-filling) and much cheaper than Alder and Swamp Ash. Very resonant, with tonal characteristics between the two, but probably closer to Alder. To my ear, Rosewood fretboards have a rounder, warmer tone than Maple on a Poplar body. Same for Basswood bodies.
    That makes sense. I think maple's perceived warmth only works with swamp ash bodies.

  9. #19
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    Basswood with a maple top is my favorite for rock guitars.

    Where fretboards are concerned, I have found that the contribution a fretboard makes to the sound is really small, unless it's a thick fretboard. Then, typically the guitar will be brighter.

    Woods, in order of brightness would be, Ebony = Brightest followed by Rosewood, with Maple being the least bright of the bunch. Ebony is the hardest/most dense, and maple is the least dense of the bunch.

    As far as preference goes, I'm building a lot more with rosewood these days because it requires no finish, re-frets are much easier than maple or ebony, and it feels good under my fingers.

  10. #20
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    Maple on on my Strats and Teles but I do have some with Rosewood so I obviously like both. Personal choice I guess. If it looks good and feels good and plays good then there you go.
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