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JTV-69 Maple vs. Rosewood Necks

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Hi.  Even though there are plenty of guitarists that think otherwise,  I currently believe there's an audible difference between maple and rosewood necks and here's why.  My JTV-69 (with a rosewood fingerboard) was overdue for either a fret job or neck replacement and I found a JTV-69 neck for sale, so went with that.  This new neck happens to be maple and I didn't think it would effect my sound much at all, but it clearly has in some respects.  On the plus side, my clean sounds have more note definition playing chords and I have more natural sustain, mostly from the new frets, I assume.  But if I strum or pick agressively, the sound can get more harsher on the high end.  Also, distorted presets are now pretty muddy in the low end.  With my Helix, the global eq would be the way to go, I think, with some high and low cuts, which I've just started experimenting with.  But, I'm curious if there's anyone here, like a luthier, who believes this difference still couldn't be related to the different necks.  The neck fit perfectly.  The bolt holes lined up.  After attaching the new neck, I changed the tuners (to Gotoh) and tweaked in the action and intonation.  But this is my first time changing a neck on a guitar, so maybe I missed something that could have caused this problem.  Any non-snarky experts out there willing to chime in on this?

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I doubt you missed anything. There's nothing mysterious about bolting on a new neck...particularly if it's another JTV neck. They should all be interchangeable in terms of dimensions and fit. And assuming that it's properly intonated and set-up so it's not buzzing, then you're good to go. If the alignment were grossly off, you'd know...either the low E or high E would be falling off the fretboard. That aside, there's not much else to do.


Sound on the other hand, is another matter. It's far more subjective, and influenced as much by what you play and how you play it, as anything else. I wouldn't necessarily expect any two necks to sound identical... even if they were made of the same type of wood. Being an organic material, wood is notoriously imperfect and unpredictable. No two pieces will resonate the exact same way. Tone, sustain, bright highs, muddy lows, how it interacts with the individual body you've slapped it on....you can expect any number of things to differ after swapping out necks. Sometimes you like the end result, and sometimes you won't. I've replaced necks on numerous guitars over the years... it's not always a win. It's all personal preference. 


I have a Warmoth neck on my 69... one-piece bird's eye maple. While I much prefer the wider nut and string spacing and have no gripes about the tone, this is by far the least stable neck I've ever owned. It's far more susceptible to even minor changes in temperature and humidity than anything else I own, and requires more frequent truss rod adjustments. I suspect it's because it's just a single piece of wood. Seems that a separate glued-on fretboard imparts some additional stability, regardless of the type of wood in question. I have other 2 piece necks (maple/maple, maple/ rosewood, and maple/ebony), all living in the same environment, that don't need to be tweaked as frequently. Or that one is just a crappy piece of wood... hard to say. 


Either way, no more one piece necks for me...when these frets are toast, I'll be replacing this one again with something else... and with stainless frets. It's always a bit of a crap shoot.

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Hello, I'm the guy at Line 6 who services JTV, Standard and Shuriken guitars.


Maple fret-board is a little faster, as I sometimes over shoot my intended fret.

Neck pocket wise, they are fully interchangeable with the rosewood fret board neck,

with exception of the US build necks,... truss rod nut access is on the opposite end of the neck.


Contour on the back of the neck has a slightly different feel, another reason it feels

like a faster neck. Otherwise the necks are the same maple necks, but with different

fret boards on them.


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Its not just the neck wood that can effect tone, its how it seats in the body pocket. Try this: with the neck bolted on, strings on and up to pitch, slightly loosen the neck bolds until you hear the neck settle into the body pocket. Then tighten the screws back up. This will optimize the connection between the neck and body to give fuller tone and more sustain.


I the neck isn't seated the same way every time, the guitar is likely to sound different. This technique might also help get more consistent tone.


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You asked for a luthier's opinion so...  Yes. A maple board can make a significant audible difference, especially compared to a rosewood board. There are at least a few people who I greatly respect that disagree with me on this. So take my advice with a grain of salt. Rosewood tends to sound darker with more sustain. Maple tends to sound brighter and snappier. Of note, neck stiffness = tone. Also it is true that the "heart" of the solid body is the neck/slab connection. If the neck and slab aren't properly coupled, (which means a wood to wood, friction press fit that is bolted securely) your overall tone and sustain will suffer. My JTV 69 sounded quite dark. The stock neck had a rosewood board. Was going to replace it anyway, so I installed one of my custom necks which is maple on both the shaft wood and the board. When I removed the stock neck, I discovered that the neck pocket on the slab was completely finished over. There was a thick layer of paint and clear over it, which had to be removed prior to installing my new neck. Removing all that crap from the pocket and installing the neck which is all maple construction really brightened it up, but not enough for me. I'll be putting in a new bridge pup to further enhance the high and high mid, while minimizing the lows on the guitar. Bottom line as it pertains to tone: Neck stiffness matters. Wood type matters. Hope that helps. Good luck to you.


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