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Burl as a body wood question

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Wyattsgroove, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. Wyattsgroove

    Wyattsgroove

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    Hi guys, question for the pros. I saw a thread where an oak burl was used for a body. It had issues with a "dead zone" as it was described.

    Could it be related to the grain pattern in the burl? Can the grain become a "tone killer" in spots as its all over and not like a typical straight grained body wood?

    Just curious as to thoughts on this. If I were ever going to build a bass, a burl would not be my first choice, as I've cut birds eye and flamed maple before and it's not exactly fun to work with!!

    Thanks in advance.

    WG.
  2. line6man

    line6man

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    It wouldn't surprise me at all if a solid burl body was not resonant, and, personally, I would have no desire whatsoever to make a body out of the burl of any tree. Burl formation has a very distorted grain, and varies considerably in structure and density. To put it simply, it's not good wood. It just happens to look nice.
  3. Teacher

    Teacher

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    Burl is far better suited to being a topwood. Due to structural abnormalities, it can exhibit weaknesses you might not be able to see. As for sound, I have no idea.
  4. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

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    Use the burl as a veneer
  5. DaanW

    DaanW

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    Jens Ritter makes basses with burl bodies
    [​IMG]

    So I don't think its a tonekiller
  6. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    I think there's a very high probability that the ritter's wood is stabilized...meaning, saturated with epoxy and fully cured prior to working.
  7. line6man

    line6man

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    That would be my guess as well.
  8. LightGroove

    LightGroove

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    Agreed!

    More trouble then its worth..perhaps as a top..as a body your asking for it...just sayin ;)
  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Burl can have voids in the wood. When used as a top, any voids have to be filled in, usually with wood dust in epoxy or something similar. Due to the thickness of the body, there may be undetectable voids in the interior of the wood. That can't be good for tone and sustain.
  10. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro

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    i prefer to think of voids as "tone chambers"
  11. Joel Graham

    Joel Graham I Brake for Basses! Supporting Member

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    I had a Wal Bass (an Ian Waller) that had a solid Carpathian Elm Burl body that was one of the most disappointing, lifeless basses I've ever had the displeasure of owning... Thought I'd share that....
  12. Wyattsgroove

    Wyattsgroove

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    Looking at that Ritter ....... Wow! I mean wow! Nice piece of wood there!! Not quite the same as the burl used in the tread ( haha edit thread) I speak of.
    That was I'm sure he selected for many reasons. Not a "hey that looks interesting" "I think that will make an interesting piece".

    Don't get me wrong but... I've used plenty of 1/4 sawn white oak for making furniture and tool box's but an oak burl for a bass?
    Meh... Who am I to judge? I just am curious. I know nothing of tone wood and only how exotic wood cuts ( very difficultly I might add).

    This is the biggest factor (experience cutting exotic wood) that peaked my interest.

    Thanks for the input so far!

    Cheers,
    WG.
  13. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk. Sure - that's where all the tone goes and never comes out.
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Mike Tobias calls it styrofoam.
  15. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    I wouldn't worry so much about a solid burl body being dead or lifeless as far as tone goes. I would worry about how strong the neck joint would be on a bolt on instrument though. Also how strong the bridge mounting would be.

    Burls are really only suited for a top IMHO. It would be a waste of a nice burl to do a whole body anyway.
  16. miziomix

    miziomix Über on my mind Supporting Member

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    this ^^
  17. cnltb

    cnltb

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    +1 on the bridge and neckjoint.
    You can do quite a bit with your onboard electronics to 'help' a burl body.

    I would not use one one a passive only bass.
  18. tjclem

    tjclem

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    :hyper::D

    Excellent!
  19. Nidan

    Nidan

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