You’ve probably heard by now that Rosewood is in trouble. It’s no longer as sustainable, and due to CITES regulations guitar manufacturers are looking at new alternatives to deal with it.

One of the most popular alternatives has been Baked Maple, but how does it sound? How does it feel? Is it any good?

What Does It Look Like?

Baked Maple looks closer to Rosewood than it does to Maple, with a darker brown look although some inconsistency does exist as a result of the baking process. Depending on the results, you’re looking at somewhere between Rosewood and Pau Ferro. When the process is all said and done, you’re looking at a medium-to-dark brown color, with potentially some streaking.

What Does It Feel Like?

The softness and feel of the wood is extremely close to that of Rosewood or even Ebony. It’s a natural feel and very different from the traditional glossy maple feel you may have tried with unprocess maple fretboards such as that on Stratocasters and Telecasters.

What Does It Sound Like?

Despite being a replacement for Rosewood, the sound is slightly closer to Ebony. If you don’t have experience with Ebony, it’s essentially a brighter version of Rosewood. It’s got a bit more snap and sparkle to it without being sharp. If you like the sound of Rosewood, think of it like “Rosewood Premium” – the same great sound with a little more definition and edge to it.

Try It Yourself

It’s impossible to say whether or not it’s the right wood for you, but with Baked Maple increasing in popularity it will be pretty easy to walk into any guitar store and try it out for yourself.

Baked Maple is a great substitute for Rosewood, and just like any fretboard wood it’s neither good or bad, it’s just one of many great options.

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