Maple or rosewood - Which & why? - Jemsite
Ibanez JEM, UV, JS & Other Signature Models For discussion of Ibanez JEM, Universe and JS (Satriani) guitars only.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-21-2001, 05:42 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: France
Posts: 80
Maple or rosewood - Which & why?

I've decided I need another Jem as an 'everyday' guitar and I am drawn towards getting an older secondhand one. *I've been considering the FP, VDY, BFP and VSK, but I am wondering what impact the fretboard will have. *I have always played rosewood or ebony and have never experienced maple. *What qualities do they have, how is the tone and playabilty/speed affected?


Purplehaze is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-21-2001, 06:00 AM
gitarrero's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Schwobaländle, Germany
Posts: 641
Maple or rosewood

My local luthier Uli Teuffel swears by one-piece maple necks with maple fretboards. He says, rosewood or even ebony boards don't sound as raw and powerful as a solid maple construction.

When I had a RG550WH-M with all-maple neck, I indeed noticed a difference in sound. There was a hint of increased "roar" in the overall tone; compared to other basswood-bodied RG guitars with rosewood boards.

Hope that helps...
gitarrero is offline  
post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-21-2001, 07:47 AM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 373
Maple or rosewood

Maple boards are my favorite for killer tone!. In my opinion, they tend to sound warmer with the various JEM p/u's.
johncowan is offline  
post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-21-2001, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: France
Posts: 80
Maple or rosewood

OK guys, so Maple gets two votes for tone, but what about playability - is there a difference?

I seem to remember that the BSB started life with a maple board, but by the time it reached production it was rosewood, any significance in that?
Purplehaze is offline  
post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-21-2001, 09:06 AM
kennydoe's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 3,422
Maple or rosewood

I LOVE maple fretboards.

I really liked the ebony on the 7v too - Rosewood comes in a distant 3rd on my list, although I'm getting used to it on my UV.

I have a maple neck on my strat and a maple on my RG-550 (my mail player for 5 years) and i just love the feel of it under my fingers over the others. *I can't really 'put my finger on it', so to speak.

I just bought a BFP (should be here tomorrow) but I'm really looking forward to it - I've always loved the vine inlay and it's the only maple board Jem that has one.

So there's your vote *one more for maple.
kennydoe is offline  
post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-21-2001, 09:36 AM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 373
Maple or rosewood

I believe the switch from maple to rosewood was to meet Steve's preference at the time. *

As far as playability differences, the maples are just as fast as rosewood. *As a matter of fact, because of the clear on the board, there may be a tiny bit less friction between your fingers and the wood. *Personally, I always felt slightly slower on the rosewood. *However, there are people that love and swear by rosewood. *I also love the ebony boards of the 7v's. *So I guess what I'm trying to tell you is the main difference between the fingerboard woods is tone!

To me playability is related to the way you set up the guitar more than the fingerboard wood. *If you really want a killer JEM, check out the BFP or PMC. *They are rear routed and have the maple necks, IMHO, they have the most amazing tone. *As a matter of fact, Rich Harris has a PMC with the nicest flamed maple board I've ever seen on a JEM (and it looks much better in person than it does in the pics). *

Hope this helps! *
johncowan is offline  
post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-21-2001, 09:42 AM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 2,295
Maple or rosewood

I have found that Maple has a much tighter and Brighter tone than Rosewood. Harmonics come out a lot sharper than a Rosewood board.
The Rosewood is much warmer and smoother.

IMO, The feel of a maple is faster than Rosewood,,,it is much Harder of a wood, and realy gets a fast feel once they are broke in.

I had EVO Dimarzios in a 1989 Floral, w/Rosewood board, *and EVO's in a 1988 JemSk W/maple board, both at the same time last summer. *The EVO's sounded Great!! in the FP, but way to brittle in the SK. So there is quitre a tone diference IMO.
Rodney James is offline  
post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-21-2001, 10:41 AM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Longmont, Colorado
Posts: 1,882
Maple or rosewood

Ebony is the hardest and slipperiest, hard = bright so it's also the brightest sounding fretboard wood.

Maple is also pretty bright, BTW, JEMs w/ maple boards don't have 1 piece necks, the maple boards are a separate piece just as if it was rosewood or ebony. *I have a clear laquer coat on the fretboard of my BFP to keep it looking nice, it also has 6100 frets instead of the 6140s so I don't feel the fretboard that much. *I really like maple, very clear note definition, works great with a basswood body which is pretty soft and warm sounding. *I want to put a set of Breeds in my BFP, I think that will sound great. *

Rosewood is the softest fretboard material, also the warmest sounding. *I like rw fretboards too, my 3 other guitars have them. *Note aren't quite as defined but fatter. *

They all sound great, play some and pick the one you like the best. *Remember body woods, pups, etc... will also make as much difference as the f'board wood. *Maple probably gets my vote for coolest looking too though, the blue vine on maple on the BFP is pretty killer. *
rgr is offline  
post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-21-2001, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: France
Posts: 80
Maple or rosewood

Thanks guys, I really appreciate all your viewpoints. *That'll really help me in parting with yet more money * *Now it's time to scan the ads and find me a bargain! :cheesy:
Purplehaze is offline  
post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-21-2001, 12:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 961
Maple or rosewood

I've owned Jems with maple, rosewood, and ebony fretboards. * Let me tell you I can't really tell tone differences between them - my hearing is not that 'in tune'. *So here's my review on PLAYABILITY and VISUALS:

1. Maple - My least favorite for the following reasons.
a. The finish that's put on seems to cause more 'drag' on my fingers. *Occasionally, my fingers will almost stick to the fingerboard. *This does very from guitar to guitar.
b. Really difficult to keep clean, but can contrast well with a good inlay and specific body colors.

2. Ebony - Love it but it's my 2nd best. *My Jem10 has an ebony fingerboard and I think it's really nice. *It's just too hard, but my fingers can really move on it. *You really can't tell it's wood because it's so hard. *Good thing is it will match just about any color and inlay because it's generally really dark.

3. Rosewood - My #1! *Specifially Pao Ferro Rosewood.
a. I can 'feel' the fretboard more and don't 'drag' too much.
b. VERY beautiful light color streaks in Pao Ferro.

I'd recommend trying the different necks out for a few hours minimum for each and make a decision based on what you personally like. *Dirty the fingerboards up a bit with the oils from your hands and fingers and see how (or if) that impacts the playability. *The best way to figure out which one is best for you is extended play.

I've noticed alot of people here prefer the playablity of maple. *Maybe the oils of my fingers are chemically different than most... can't tell ya, but I don't think I'd ever buy a maple fingerboard guitar ever again - personally.

Gabe Nickelson is offline  
post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-21-2001, 05:45 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
Posts: 168
Maple or rosewood

I must say I prefer my maple-necked guitars, in terms of playability and tone, but I don't know how much of that can be directly attributed to the fretboard.

All of my maple-necked guitars are bolt-on 25.5" scale, and most have 24 frets; most of my rosewood-fretboard guitars are set-neck 24.75" scale with 22 frets.

Most of the maple-necked guitars have a tremolo, while most of the rosewood guitars have a fixed bridge.

Only one of my rosewood-fretboard guitars has single-coil pickups on it; all of my maple-necked guitars have single-coils, sometimes in conjunction with humbuckers.

In terms of body wood, most of the rosewood guitars have mahogany bodies, while most of the maple guitars have ash or basswood bodies.

See what I'm getting at? My preferences are probably dictated by a large array of small differences that add up to the "feel" of the guitar. Only one of my guitars, my RG570, has ever been played with both rosewood and maple necks, and the main reason I stuck with maple was the cool blue sharktooth inlays. So my only real preference that I can directly attribute to maple fretboards is visual, because I think they look better.

I like the inlays on maple-necked JEMs the most. Hope that's scientific enough for ya. :biggrin:
mecca777 is offline  
post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-21-2001, 06:03 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 46
Maple or rosewood

hey man, i have two words for you.........

Eric Johnson. *he plays maple and he has got IMHO the nicest tone in the guitar work. *also lookk at how fast he plays, so punch yet smooth.

i play a vwh and i wouldn't have bought it if it wasn't for the ebony finger board, but maple is the next best thing!!!
swiggy is offline  
post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-21-2001, 06:53 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: California, USA
Posts: 1,901
Reviews: 5
Maple or rosewood

i love the ebony board on *my JEM7VWH. *Definately makes it very slippery. *Maple is my second choice as it as also very bright and I notice little diff betw. it and rosewood otherwise.
jem7vwh is offline  
post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-21-2001, 08:19 PM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 961
Maple or rosewood


Eric Johnson also plays a Gibson 335 (live) with rosewood. *I've listened to him many times live (I used to live in Austin!) *The tone and sounds are just as sweet either way... *Gibson (rosewood) or Strat (maple). *In fact, lots of his studio work was done on a Gibson "Flying V" guitar. *I believe his V did have a rosewood fingerboard. *Check out his website - some of his fav. Strats have rosewood.

I think most of the 'tone' you're refering to comes from the person's playing style and the FX one uses. *Especially when it comes to EJ's sound.

On another note - my old bass player from my 1st band used to have a studio right next to EJ in the 80's. *He saw EJ's setup and noticed he is HEAVILY processed. *

Gabe Nickelson is offline  
post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-21-2001, 08:25 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,629
Maple or rosewood

I don't think there is a huge tone difference between any of them. *Personally, I prefer the look of the Rosewood and Ebony, plus, it doesn't look dirty as fast. *I don't like maple that's been cleared, but without clear, it gets dirty really fast. *
I really prefer the feel of Rosewood, but don't think it's any faster or slower than maple or ebony. *When you consider body material, string types and gauge, amplifier, amplifier eq, processors, pedals, and all the other variables out there, not to mention picking styles, the tone difference (if there really is any) is negligible at best. *I think it's more based on personal preference in the look. *And as for feeling the fretboard, with the profile of the Jem frets, you guys must be pushing awfully hard *to be able to feel the fretboard that much anyway. :biggrin:
littlegreenman is offline  

basswood bodies , basswood body , coil pickup , ebony board , ebony boards , ebony finger board , ebony fingerboard , ebony fretboard , ebony fretboards , eric johnson , finger board , fingerboard wood , fixed bridge , flamed maple , fretboard wood , local luthier , maple fingerboard , maple fret , maple fretboard , maple neck , maple necks , rosewood board , rosewood boards , rosewood fingerboard , sharktooth inlay , sharktooth inlays

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Jemsite forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address

IMPORTANT: You will be required to activate your account so please ensure that your email address is correct.

If you do not receive your activation check your spam folder before using the CONTACT US form (at the bottom right of each page).

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Maple or rosewood - Which & why? Purplehaze Archived Topics and Common Questions 21 12-14-2013 04:59 PM
Rosewood Or Maple??????? jemaholic Gear, Equipment, Recording & Off Topic 18 12-20-2006 05:23 PM
Fretboard - Maple or Rosewood? Rayzor Ibanez JEM, UV, JS & Other Signature Models 33 04-20-2006 01:07 PM
Maple or Rosewood ? megadeth Polls 25 10-16-2005 07:59 PM
Maple fretboard vs Rosewood john1880 Tech: Setup, Repairs and Mods 21 10-01-2005 08:19 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome