Most guitarists often get stuck between maple and rosewood body guitars. This is because these two tonewoods are one of the most popular tonewoods. They both sound well and have unique features.
I went through this phase of researching the best tonewoods for my guitar as well – you are not alone!
As a general rule, Maple body guitar produces more of a punchy and bright tone. Whereas Rosewood produces a warmer and soft tone. Maple and rosewood, both sound pretty well. This is why they are the most popular guitar tonewoods.
Which guitar body is better usually depends solely on your taste in music. A maple body guitar is suitable for the rock or hard rock genre. And Rosewood body guitars are best suitable for jazz or punk rock.
Besides tonal qualities, their feel, weight, and even cost also matter a lot. In this article, I will compare these two popular tonewoods based on all the possible factors, so you can make your decision.
I have been playing guitar for more than seven years.. I have played with various guitars of different tonewoods and should be able to tell you objectively about each one.
This article will feature all the possible comparisons between Maple and Rosewood guitars. Let’s start with a summary table.
Note: If you are interested to learn about different guitar tonewoods, check out my other articles.
- 6 Best Tonewood For Electric Guitars Compared!
- Alder Vs Mahogany Body: What’s Better? (Sound, Weight & Cost)
- Ash Vs Alder Body: Which Is Better For Weight, Tone & Price
Maple Vs Rosewood: The Difference
|Sustain||Increased sustainability of notes.||Impressive sustainability of notes but lower than maple.|
750 kilograms – 800 kilograms per meter cube.
700 – 750 kilograms per meter cube.
Average Weight: 3.5 to 4.5 kilograms
|Lighter than Maple
Average Weight: 3 to 3.5 kilograms
|Cost||Medium to higher price range||Cheaper than Maple body guitar|
|Popularity||More popular||Less popular than Maple|
Special Quality: Maple Vs Rosewood
Maple wood is a hard and dense wood. It is white to reddish brown in color. It has a fine texture and smooth grains. These make it look incredibly attractive.
It also produces a bright, clear, and sustainable tone. This happens when you use it as the fingerboard or body of a guitar. These key specialties make Maple a popular choice for guitar tonewood.
Key Specialty of Maple Body Guitar:
- It is a hard and dense wood.
- It is white to reddish brown in color.
- Maple wood is known for its smooth grains and fine texture.
- Its hardness makes the instrument durable and resistant to damage.
- Its produced tone is punchy, bright, and clear.
- It provides better sustainability of tones.
Rosewood is slightly softer than Maple but still considered durable. It is light to dark brown in appearance and looks classy after finishing.
Rosewood is resistant to water damage. This feature makes it a popular choice for making musical instruments. When it is used in guitars, it produces very warm and sweet tones. It also provides enough sustain to the tone.
Key Specialty of Rosewood Body Guitar:
- Rosewood is a little softer than maple
- It appears attractive for its fine texture and classy brownish color.
- It is resistant to water damage.
- Rosewood is known for producing soft, sweet, and warm tones.
- It also provides satisfying sustenance to the notes.
These were the special qualities of Maple wood and Rosewood. These qualities make these two the most popular tonewoods for guitars. I hope you have got an overall idea about these tonewoods. Now, I am going to discuss the difference as a tonewood.
Tone: Maple Vs Rosewood
Maple body guitar produces a bright, clear tone. You can experience clear high ends and tight low ends. So, Maple body guitars produce a unique tone. It helps the tone to be more articulate and specific.
I have been using Epiphone Dove for more than 5 years. Here I shall discuss the tonal qualities that I get from my maple body guitar.
- Clear and bright tones.
- Increased sustainability of notes.
- Specific and articulate tones.
- Punchy and clear high ends.
- Tight and dark low ends.
Rosewood is softer and less dense than maple. That is why rosewood body guitars produce dark and warm tones. It also provides a good sustain to the notes.
In comparison to a maple body guitar, sustainability gets less priority in Rosewood. But, many guitarists prefer the warm toned Rosewood body guitar to the bright Maple-body guitar
Well, I have played rosewood guitar for a long time. It was an Yamaha FG830. The tonal quality was amazing and best suited my kind of music at that time. Here is what I got from my rosewood body guitar.
- Dark and warm tone.
- Impressive sustainability of notes.
- Darker and warmer low ends.
- The high ends are warm and still clear.
Maple produces bright, clear, and sustainable tones. You can feel the bright high ends and tight low ends. But, the Rosewood body guitar sounds warm and dark. The sustainability is good but less in comparison with Maple.
This is the key difference between the tonal qualities of these two popular tonewoods. Some guitarists find Maple too harsh. Some love the tone of the Rosewood guitar. It is up to you, which tone will satisfy your taste in music.
Here I am providing a popular video of the two tonewoods. It will help you to feel the difference between the tonal qualities of these two tonewoods.
Sample Video of Comparison Between the Tonal Qualities of Maple Body And Rosewood Body Guitar:
Sustain: Maple Vs Rosewood
Based on the tones’ sustain, maple body guitars win the race by a few steps when compared to Rosewood. Maple is a hard and dense wood. Its higher density provides better sustains to the notes.
Rosewood is softer than Maple. As a result, the sustainability of tones is a bit compromised here. However, both tonewoods provide impressive sustain.
Sustain is a major factor when comparing tonewoods. If you are a lead guitarist, you will need that increased sustain. That is why the maple body guitar is quite popular among lead guitarists.
I have already disclosed that I am experienced with both tonewoods. I feel the difference between the sustainability of tones. For solos, I prefer my Maple body GaYouny Guitar Yellow Electric Guitar Maple Neck Wax Potted Tele Guitar Electric Guitar Beatrice.
It provides me with a brighter and more articulate tone. With a longer sustain of tones, I feel the ease to play.
While playing rhythm, I generally use my Rosewood body guitar, the Ibanez RG440V. It sounds very sweet and brings warmth to the song.
Density: Maple Vs Rosewood
Maple wood is slightly more dense than rosewood Hard Maple, generally used in guitars, has a density from around 750 – 800 kilograms per meter cube.
Rosewood is almost of similar density. Its density ranges around from 700 – 750 kilograms per meter cube.
Density and hardness, both these qualities of tonewood play an important role in determining the tonal quality of the guitar. Due to the similar type of density, both the tonewood provides impressive sustain. However, Maple wood is slightly better in the sustainability of tones.
However, Maple wood is harder than Rosewood. That is why Maple produces a brighter and clear sound. But, Rosewood produces a dark and warm tone. Now, it depends on you what tone suits your kind of music.
If you like warm and dark tones with impressive sustainability, go for a Rosewood body guitar. Else, you can choose a Maple body guitar. You can then get a brighter and punchy tone with higher sustainability. It will take your solos to the next level.
Weight: Maple Vs Rosewood
Maple wood is slightly higher in density than Rosewood because more density brings extra weight to the guitars.
Rosewood is frequently used to make the fretboard because it’s relatively lighter in weight.
- Average Weight of Maple Body Guitar: From 3.5 to 4.5 kilograms.
- Average Weight of Rosewood Body Guitar: From 3 to 3.5 kilograms.
The weight of the guitar is an important factor for a guitarist. Heavier guitars may make a guitarist feel uncomfortable. This situation often occurs while playing. Because you have it hanging from the neck for a long time. So, get a guitar weighing between 3 to 4 kilograms.
If you are looking for a lighter guitar, go with a guitar with a Rosewood body guitar. You will get the Rosewood fretboard with a lighter tonewood body. Otherwise, a Maple body guitar can be a good choice for you.
Feel: Maple Vs Rosewood
Maple and Rosewood body guitars, both feel smooth. But, Rosewood feels smoother while playing. It is because of the lightweight feature.
Maple is a hard and dense wood. It has smooth grains and a fine texture. Moreover, after finishing, a maple body guitar feels smooth and easier to work with. Its white to reddish brown color makes it look more attractive.
However, Maple body guitars are heavier in weight. You may get into an uncomfortable situation in a long-live concert.
Rosewood is also similar to maple in hardness. It also has smooth grains. You can feel the same as a maple body guitar. But, you can feel it after finishing.
However, Rosewood guitars are often assembled with a lightweight tonewood body. This decreases the weight of the guitar. It may feel more comfortable for long-live concerts.
Cost: Maple Vs Rosewood
Rosewood guitars are generally assembled with other tonewood as the body. So, it is slightly cheaper than a Maple-body guitar.
Maple and Rosewood body guitars, both offer varieties of the price range. Maple wood guitar costs from medium to higher price range. Whereas, Rosewood also comes cheaper in some entry-level guitars.
My maple body guitar, Epiphone Dove costs me around $450. But, my Rosewood body guitar, the Yamaha FG830, costs me around $300.
If you are a beginner and looking for a good quality guitar in a cheaper price range, then a rosewood body guitar can be the best choice for you. Otherwise, you can go with a Maple-body guitar. It will cost you slightly higher.
Popularity: Maple Vs Rosewood
Maple and Rosewood both are popular tonewoods for guitars. However, in comparison, Maple body guitars are more popular than Rosewood.
This is because of its tonal quality and smoother feel. A Maple body guitar also features a classy color and looks.
When you think of a guitar, you can feel the smooth and quality tones. So, Maple clearly wins as it provides you these qualities. In addition, the Maple body guitars feature classy looks and colors. It also catches the eyeballs of musicians.
Rosewood guitars are less eye-catching in comparison to Maple guitars. This is the reason behind Maple’s popularity.
Verdict: Should You Get Maple Or Rosewood Guitar?
If you have a slightly more budget, then I recommend getting a maple body guitar because it’s slightly more durable and have a longer sustain than rosewood guitars.
Otherwise, you should get a Rosewood guitar for the sweet and warm tone and slightly cheaper price.
Now which tonewood will suit you the most depends on your taste in music. Maple and Rosewood, both tonewoods are quite popular. They surprisingly sound good. However, they differ a bit in tonal qualities.
Maple body guitars produce bright, clear, and punchy tones with higher sustainability of notes. On the other hand, Rosewood body guitars produce a darker and warmer tone.
Best Guitar With Maple Body
If you made up your to go with a maple body guitar, I suggest using the same maple body guitar as I do – Epiphone Dove. I have had it for 5 years and it’s still going great.
Best Guitar With Rosewood Body
Similarly, if you decided to go for a slightly cheaper Rosewood guitar, then I recommend getting the Yamaha FG830. It’s the classic Rosewood guitar that’s loved by everyone (including me).