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Jason Isbell: "If I Was a Beginner Guitar Player, I Wouldn’t Use a Maple Fingerboard"

Jason Isbell performs with the 400 Unit
(Image credit: Erika Goldring/Getty Images)

Back in January, Jason Isbell teamed up with Fender to create a new signature Telecaster.

Asked recently by Music Radar (opens in new tab) why the guitar – like many of his Telecasters of choice – sports a rosewood fingerboard, Isbell discussed what he sees as the "forgiving" quality of rosewood. He also pointed out why – in his opinion – this very sonic quality makes it a better choice for beginner guitarists than guitars with maple fingerboards. 

"I love maple fingerboards too, but there’s something very forgiving about rosewood," Isbell said. "If I was a beginner guitar player I wouldn’t use a maple fingerboard Tele, because whatever you play is what you’re going to hear. 

"It’s very precise, and if you make a mistake you’re going to hear it. The rosewood just softens things up a little, rounds it off. For this particular profile [his signature Telecaster] it felt right, plus you’ve gotta have a rosewood board for a Telecaster Custom!"

Jason Isbell

(Image credit: Future / J.B. Lawrence)

Of course, as with so many age-old gear-related debates, fingerboard choice comes down to personal preference. As we all know though, these same debates will continue to rage on, matters of preference or not!

Jackson Maxwell
Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.