Forbidden Wood Combinations

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Smallmouth_Bass, Feb 6, 2014.


  1. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    Okay, I know it is all personal preference, but you often see many standard wood combinations on basses (body/fingerboard), the most popular being ash/maple and alder/rosewood.

    Is there anything wrong with swapping those (ash/rosewood and alder/maple) and what is your experience with these or other alternates? Are these combinations the most common because they are tried and true? Or are they popular because that's what we've come to know?
  2. Baird6869

    Baird6869 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Disclosures:
    Nobody is stupid enough to actually pay me to play their gear.
    Lots of ash/swamp ash and rosewood basses out there, but I am very interested to hear if there are actually universally crappy combinations out there!
  3. JellinWellen

    JellinWellen

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Location:
    Houston Tx
    No theres nothing wrong swapping them, only differences would be feel and cosmetics.
  4. bobpond

    bobpond Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2005
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    My Fender HotRod P is natural ash/rosewood. My favorite combination.
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    If you really mean FINGERBOARD and not neck, the thing is that you want a really dense, hard wood for your fingerboard. Maple is about as soft as you would want to go for that, with rosewood and ebony being denser still. An ash or mahogany NECK can be OK, but I don't think a fingerboard made out of either wood would wear very well. Maple is the one wood I know that could be a good body, neck, OR fretboard.
  7. JFOC

    JFOC

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    Location:
    The Shire
    Price & weight are the main factors.

    You could make a bass out of rosewood, but it would be pretty expensive...
  8. PazzoBasso

    PazzoBasso

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Location:
    Great White North
    lots of ash/rosewood - all my stingrays are a/r

    alder/maple is cool too - just ask Geddy...
  9. JellinWellen

    JellinWellen

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Location:
    Houston Tx
    EBMM made a rosewood necked bass not too long ago IIRC.
  10. bobpond

    bobpond Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2005
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    Comment on rosewood got me thinking.

    Warmoth has a rosewood/rosewood J neck for less than a finished rosewood/maple neck and it needs no finish for warranty.

    Pairing that with the heaviest ash body they have to counterbalance is on my list for potential next bass.

    I saw a guitar once that was a neck-through made from a single piece of ebony with something dark and heavy for the wings. It weighed a ton. If a big enough ebony log even existed I would imagine making a bass that way would result in something almost unplayable without a winch.
  11. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2013
    Location:
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    IMO, pretty much yes to both. I can't think of any combination that would be forbidden, but there are certainly some woods that would not work well for certain things. A basswood fretboard, for example, is probably not a good idea. Not a real good choice for a neck, either; but for a body? Works fine. If you're willing to pay for the experiment, of course you can have anything you want. ;)
  12. kevteop

    kevteop

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Location:
    York, UK
    I think they should outlaw figured maple bass bodies but that's just because I have the modesty and good taste that most middle-aged bass players with a good salary seem to lack.

    Staining them turquoise and putting gold hardware on them should probably be punishable by death. OK maybe I'm being too harsh. Quick and painless death. I am nothing if not a merciful despot.
  13. Gaolee

    Gaolee The Fat Violin Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    As long as we are getting into forbidden combinations, drinking beer with barbequed pork is a known way to get very sick in Paraguay. In other parts of the world, NOT drinking beer when you have barbequed pork is a known character flaw. So, what's taboo in one place might be manditory somewhere else. Out there, somewhere, there's a beautiful bass guitar with a knotty pine fretboard...
  14. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    Of course… I knew that! In fact, I swapped a couple and have (what appears to be) an alder/maple combo. I can't say I notice a huge difference.

    Overall, I would say I generally prefer the aesthetics of a rosewood or darker fingerboard.

    Yes, MusicMan has also offered special edition rosewood necked instruments.
  15. awilkie84

    awilkie84 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nanaimo, BC, Canada
    I would love to see a rosewood neck with a maple fingerboard on an ash body with a maple top. :p
  16. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    I was under the impression that maple was not generally used in body woods due to the weight (not including tops).
  17. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    I was under the impression that (most) maple is quite hard and dense. It grows slowly around here, so you would think that it was.
  18. KingRazor

    KingRazor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Location:
    Beaverton, Oregon USA
    Don't understand this. I love stained figured maple tops.
  19. SnappyFerret

    SnappyFerret What it is, what it is Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2009
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    Rickenbackers are maple. And they weigh about 9 lbs.
  20. bobpond

    bobpond Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2005
    Location:
    Long Island, New York

    Maybe that's why Rickenbacker bodies are relatively a little smaller than P or J type bodies. I have not found the 4001 or 4003 to be particularly heavy.
  21. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    My Godin BG5 is maple/maple/rosewood, and only 7.2 lb.
    Sometimes it's the builder, not the size of the plank.

Share This Page