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Wenge vs. Purple Heart neck center lamination?

Discussion in 'Roscoe Basses' started by Modern Growl, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Modern Growl

    Modern Growl

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    I couldn't find any discussion's about the tonal impact between these two as a center lamination.

    Does Wenge bring anything different to the table compared to the standard Purple Heart lamination?

    Just looks or any different tonal character?
  2. Freddy-G.

    Freddy-G. Supporting Member

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    GOOD question. I've got my sites on a Roscoe with a Wenge neck lamination. :)
  3. RocketMusic

    RocketMusic Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm a big fan of the wenge center lam. I feel it typically brings a little more authority down low, it fattens up the tone a bit without getting muddy. And for just an extra $150 Retail ($112.50 street), it's not a bank breaker.
  4. Modern Growl

    Modern Growl

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    Thanks for the input. So if I understand you correctly, you feel it adds a bit of focus and punch in the low mids, and PH is a bit more on the "traditional" tonal spectrum? More "open"?

    I've heard the Wenge center be called more "midrangey"... not sure what to make of that?
  5. RocketMusic

    RocketMusic Gold Supporting Member

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    Yep, that's my take on it!
  6. Modern Growl

    Modern Growl

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    Thanks Greg.

    Since "we all hear things differently" - I'm curious to hear other RoscoeHeads input. Anyone else?

    I'm only familiar with all Maple necks... So I'm not sure how either Purple Heart or Wenge will effect the tone/response.

    The Wood Database has Purple Heart being both more dense and harder overall.... hmmm.....

    Thanks guys!
  7. benthughes

    benthughes Supporting Member

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    Mine has a wenge center lam, wenge board and wenge shim between the top wood and body wood. It's a huge stretch to compare it to the maple/Spanish cedar Roscoe I had before so I won't even try.

    I find the Roscoes to have a very full, punchy and organic tone. The one I have now has a very vocal midrange quality similar to some Warwicks I've played but less compressed. Hard to say if that's the wenge , the electronics or what. Just my 2 cents.
  8. Modern Growl

    Modern Growl

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    Thanks^

    I have a few Warwicks now and dont want to duplicate. I hear ya on the midrange thing there... Im thinking of going w/ a Maple board FWIW.
  9. JOME77

    JOME77

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    I've owned a lot of Roscoe's and most have had the purpleheart center necks. I only recently (2 years ago) purchased one with wenge in the neck (a 3006 signature with a wenge wedge neck).
    IMO having wenge as the neck center adds a great deal of phattness to the tone. The wenge also seems to make the neck more stable.
    When I started looking for a Roscoe 5 string, a wenge neck center was the one critical spec that I wanted. I found a Century V that had the wenge neck center (and wenge finger board) and was not disappointed. Killer sounding bass..


    IMO worth every penny the cost of upgrade!:)
  10. Freddy-G.

    Freddy-G. Supporting Member

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    I try to keep in mind Mr. Atkinson's experiment with wood, where he used a 2x4 to make a bass. And it sounded.... like a bass guitar.

    I owned an Elrick with a wenge neck and fingerboard. Rather exotic, wouldn't you say? My take is that it has a sound similar to Ebony. A very hard wood. Zonish. :)
  11. Modern Growl

    Modern Growl

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    Excellent input guys - this helps. And yeah, cost to upgrade isn't much at all.

    So would you guys say Wenge adds some warmth and punch, whereas Purple Heart may be a bit more bright and airy sounding?

    Wenge Center = tighter low mid punch, warmth?
    Purple Heart Center = more "open" (not quite as focused) and bright sounding?

    ??
  12. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Supporting Member

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    Greg and Joe pretty much nailed it. I currently have 3 Roscoes with the wenge centers in the necks, and have owned several with the purpleheart. The above descriptions mirror my experience/findings.

    There is no doubt in my mind that when I order a fretless, it too will be spec'd with a wenge center in the neck. It just works for me. YMMV, of course.......
  13. Bipslapper

    Bipslapper Well Ahoy, Paloi Supporting Member

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    I agree with my fellow homeboys. I currently own 3 Roscoes: one with a Diamond Wood fretless board with Maple center (Century Standard), one Maple with Purple Heart center (SKB 3006) and one Wenge finger board, Maple neck and Wenge center in back (SKB Bubinga / Ash 3005 with JJ Pups).

    The SKB 3006 with Purple Heart sounds extremely focused but I presume that is due to the woods in the body (Ash with Maple top) and the Bart humbuckers. The SKB 3005 Bubinga "The Hoppah" has jazz pick ups but sounds extremely focused and I think the Wenge center has a lot to do with that.

    Plus both Wenge and Purple Heart just plain look cool...

    Good luck, win / win either way.
  14. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist Supporting Member

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    I had an SKB3006 with a wenge center on the neck at the same time as an LG3000 with a purple heart center. Both were spanish cedar bodies with a maple top. The SKB had a purple heart fretboard, the LG cocobolo. Both had the same electronics.

    I found the LG3000 to have a deeper, fuller sound. I couldn't seem to get the SKB to sound as good as the LG.

    There's so many variables that go into these instruments that it's difficult to say this will give more highs/lows/mids/etc.

    I always say that I prefer a mahogany body or spanish cedar and wouldn't want a Roscoe with an ash body but then I hear these sound samples from others that have ash bodies and they sound fantastic.
  15. chaosmic

    chaosmic Supporting Member

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    I've owned quite a few Roscoe's including 3 Signatures with different necks. 1 Purpleheart wedge with Ebony fingerboard, 1 Wenge wedge with Wenge fb, 1 all-Wenge wedge with Wenge fb. I've also owned several standard Roscoe necks.

    There's no doubt in my mind that Wenge adds an incredible depth to the lows, a hugely punchy and accentuated midrange (both low & high), and a crisp treble that is really in the sweet spot for bass guitar IMO. I think it accentuates all frequencies. To put it another way, Wenge has a seriously "hot" sound with an immediacy to the attack that I've not experienced with other woods.

    Perhaps even above sonics though, my favorite aspect of Wenge is the way it feels when you play. No matter how hard I sweat or how long I play, Wenge feels incredibly fast. It's a seriously high-performance wood in every regard.
  16. 5StringPocket

    5StringPocket Supporting Member

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    Any thoughts on ash vs mahogany body for an SKB 3005 with wenge wedge + wenge fingerboard? Mine has a mahogany body, bart p/u's and an Aggie OBP-3. It has incredible focus with singing growly mids but not bottom heavy. I actually have to boost the bass a bit which I leave flat on my other 2 basses. IME swamp ash has a bit more booty with a slight mid scoop. Just wondering about the yin/yang between wenge and swamp ash with the given bass and pre?
  17. JOME77

    JOME77

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    My 3006 Roscoe has the wedge wenge neck, mahogany body and walnut top. It's got more lowend than my ash 3005 with a wenge neck center. Both have Roscoe Barts/Bart 3-band pre. I typically run the bass flat on the mahogany 3006.

    The ash has a more aggressive tone with a bit more emphasis on the mids.
  18. 5StringPocket

    5StringPocket Supporting Member

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    Interesting, I wouldn't have expected that based on my past experience. My SKB 3005 is the lightest bass with the most stable neck of any bass I've played. Mids are very focused, growly, and really sing. Excellent instrument. I really like mine through a GB Streamliner 900 amp on a pair of Baer ML112 mid-loaded cabs.
  19. chadds

    chadds

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    I try not to. :) I wasn't playing it. Were I it would have sounded like a 2x4. I really don't want to bring this discussion here. Mike Tobias's article on wood & tone in BP is documentation. My own experience is sufficient.
  20. Gard

    Gard

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    Ugh.

    I've tried to have sensible discussion on this topic with "Mr. Atkinson", but the fact is he has his axe to grind, and won't even listen to anyone. Trying to continue would have been fruitless, and akin to attempting to teach a pig to sing - it only would waste my time and irritate the pig (and NO, I'm not calling him a "pig", just using an analogy ;) ).

    I can say, with absolute confidence, IT MATTERS. It ALL does. How much will vary depending on the placement of the wood and how much of it, the species, and in a lot of situations, the specific piece of that species of wood. The body wood matters more than the fingerboard, but it does have an effect. Saying otherwise is like trying to convince me that the sun will rise in the north - you can believe it all you like, but it's gonna come over the eastern horizon tomorrow morning, no matter how much you may believe it will rise over the northern one.

    The electronics matter as well, but they are just transmitting what the woods bring to the party, and cannot make a bad sounding bass sound good. I ALWAYS check a bass first by playing it UNPLUGGED, because if it sounds good that way, it will sound good plugged in. You can tailor the electronics to influence the tone, but not CREATE it.

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