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How Important is Fretboard Wood?


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  • How Important is Fretboard Wood?

    I have this SX Tele that I really love. Its got a big fat maple neck with a maple fingerboard and jumbo frets. I put in a vintage 3 saddle bridge and new pups/electronics. Its got a Texas Special in the bridge, a Fender era Gretsch filtertron in the neck and a 300k tone pot with a Greasebucket circuit. I also refinished it with Dakota red nitro paint. It seriously sounds great and not just for a cheap guitar. Only problem is I really prefer rosewood fretboards and I think a new rosewood neck would look a lot better with the Dakota red.  I must admit part of me just wants a Fender licensed headstock to make it look like a proper Tele. :catembarrassed:

    So. .  I want to get a Warmoth Tele neck with the same general specs, big round neck, jumbo frets, 1 5/8" nut. . . only with an Indian rosewood board. Im just afraid it will alter the tone of this guitar too much and it wont sound the same. Will having a different fretboard wood, or for that matter a new neck,  alter the tone significantly? In other words, what makes this guitar sound so great?

  • #2

    Its mostly your pickups and amp/effects.

    I highly doubt anyone can hear the differences between different types of rosewood in the fretboard. Especially if you're using effectsor playing dirty.

    Your choice should be made based on specs, price, availability, and looks.

    Warmoth is good stuff, but keep in mind there are great deals to be had on eBay with people selling fender brand tele necks.


    • The Rover
      The Rover commented
      Editing a comment

      I guess this will be a cool little experiment. The last Warmoth neck I got was a huge improvement over the old neck, but that was a Mighty Mite. I really like the feel of this neck so Im mostly concerned with replicating that, which is why I can't buy an "off the shelf" neck. There's very specific specs I need, like the narrower nut and jumbo frets. Also, Ive personally found any kind of Fender brand neck to be way overpriced on Ebay. I can get a new Warmoth neck with all my customizations for well under $200 minus tax/shipping. That would barely cover a MIM neck on Ebay. YMMV

      And of course I save a lot of money by finishing it myself.

      Warmoth charges a fortune to spray 'em.

      Bottle of Tru Oil-$6, paper towels-$2. . .done.

  • #3

    It does affect the sound to some extent but the set up even more, then how thick the neck is. There's also the aspect of how well certain wood hold the frets but all usual fretboard wood do a adequate job at that.


    In your case, it seems you'd be happier with the new look and get some enthousiasm out of making it to different specs. It would make you play more... would make you better... and you know what they say, the tone is in the fingers...

    __________________________________________________ ___________________

    Yamaholic --- PpP --- Old geezer with a grey beard


    • The Rover
      The Rover commented
      Editing a comment

      Jkater wrote:


      In your case, it seems you'd be happier with the new look and get some enthousiasm out of making it to different specs. It would make you play more... would make you better... and you know what they say, the tone is in the fingers...

      Yeah, and worst case scenario it makes the guitar sound weird and I put the old one back on, then use the Warmoth neck for another Tele project. I love Teles. .png" alt=":smileyhappy:" title="Smiley Happy" /> Well see. . .


    • soundcreation
      soundcreation commented
      Editing a comment

      Somebody here posted a sound clip a while back with a direct A/B comparison of the same strat with a maple and rosewood neck. 

      It was a pretty noticable difference from what I remember.  I mean...not a fundamental difference or anything like that, but definitely different.

      Actually here's a different one I found on youtube....


      I don't know about you but I certainly can hear a difference.  I think the typical stereo types apply nicely on that demo....rosewood is more warm and "round" sounding with the maple having much more attack and that old well used word "snap".

      So there you go.  If you think what your hearing there is too much of a potential difference then don't change it.  If not...do. 

  • #4
    Fretboard wood isn't the most influential of woods on an electric guitar, I don't think. Subtle differences will occur, but nothing major.
    Guitars: 3 Fender Strats, Fender Jazzmaster, Squier Bullet, 2 Gibson Les Pauls, Gibson ES-339, Gibson Les Paul Jr. Special, Epiphone Les Paul, Epiphone Dot, Epiphone SG, PRS SE Custom 24, Ibanez AS73, Hamer Duotone, Larrivee D-03R, Takamine EG5013S, 1951 Epiphone Devon, Ibanez SR305 (bass)Pedal Chain: BBE Green Screamer -> MXR Distortion III -> Boss CE-5 -> EH Stereo Pulsar -> Boss DD-20 -> BBE Boosta GrandeAmps: Vox AC4, AC15, AC30, Pathfinder 10, DA5SoundCloud


    • #5

      If you love how the guitar plays and sounds don't mess with it.


      • billybilly
        billybilly commented
        Editing a comment

        If you are only changing the neck for aesthetic reasons, don't, it will sound different.  However, Pau Ferro is the most similar to maple (from personal experience), in sound and looks a little the same albeit a bit lighter.  It's smooth and plays (feels) really good.

    • #6

      My neighbours always compliment me when I use rosewood in the fire, however both maple and ebony draw no comments at all and the smoke from ebony is a tad particulate heavy, 'part friom that it's all good


      Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. - Plato


      • PrawnHeed
        PrawnHeed commented
        Editing a comment
        The papal conclave can be demanding like that.

    • #7


      ***Please check out some of my songs. Thanks!***


      • #8
        Rosewood will sound warmer the maple. Woodier to, in part due to no finish like maple allways has. But it wont be a bog diff. Small, notceable when you listen. You could compensate tone wise somewhat for the most part by adjusting pups for little treblier voice. Or having tone control full open if you now use it partly rolled off.
        Life for its own carnal pleasure.Synths: Novation KS4 & Maudio Venom. Guitar: BC Rich It Warlock.. Bass: BC Rich Warlock. Sight: Aerial lasers by Omnisistem & Chauvet,. Geometric lasers by Extreme.


        • skybluegary
          skybluegary commented
          Editing a comment
          Personally, i love ebony! To me it just feels fast, silky, classy, I like the look too. But, I do agree that you should get whichever neck you really like.

      • #9

        Re: How Important is Fretboard Wood?


        In ny experience, very important.


        Without fretboard wood, the frets kept falling off, and the D and G strings kept getting hung up on the truss rod.

        Axes:Jon Kammerer: Hollow Body; Scorpius: Maple 3SC, Walnut, Cored, Desert Tan; Leo: CherrywoodHamer: 2x USA Centaura, USA Chap 12-string, USA Cali (Nugent signed), XT SATF, Stellar 1, import Daytona (x2)Westone:Corsair GT, Pantera X390 (x2) Pantera X300 (x2), Challenger (x3), Villain Std, Spectrum II, DimensionPeavey Vandy, Parker Nitefly, Cort Garage2, Vantage X-77, Enrique Imperator, Steinberger ZT3Alvarez Dana Scoop Graphite, Dana II, Dana Custom, AES 100 GraphiteYamaha SSC 500; RGX 1212, RGX 420Sd6; PAC1221, PAC812S; RGZ 211M


        • honeyiscool
          honeyiscool commented
          Editing a comment
          I just like the way that ebony looks and feels? Sound? Who the hell knows.

        • JTEES4
          JTEES4 commented
          Editing a comment

          Not needed at all on my old Steiberger and my current Parker Fly Deluxe. No wood on the fretboard.

        • lz4005
          lz4005 commented
          Editing a comment

          Brainfertilizer wrote:

          Without fretboard wood, the frets kept falling off, and the D and G strings kept getting hung up on the truss rod.

          Not so fast, there, chief....

          Attached Files

      • #10
        No sound then?
        “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching”
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