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a wood question for yall

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by sloppysubs, May 3, 2004.

  1. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    i suppose different luthiers chose to build bass bodys different ways. if that is the case this applys more to zons. however, for a zebrawood body (top) what woudl be the better core wood, poplar or mahogany? im looking for really deep lows, good resonation, sustain, really pronounced mids that cut through and really killer highs, again that cut through. i tend to tap a lot so id like a bass that tends to accent the tonal spectrum.

  2. I'd probably go with mahogony, but that's purly on preference.
  3. Skorzen


    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA
    My impression is that mahogany would have a darker sound while Poplar will sound brighter.
  4. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    i thought it was opposite. mahogany brighter...poplar darker?
  5. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Wait, I thought mahogany was "warmer".

    My opinion: If you can't get an authoratative answer on what wood x sounds like (and you generally can't), then it probably isn't making a whole heck of a lot of difference or it's too hard to tell among all the other factors that go into tone (of which there are many).

    Wood colors tone because different woods resonate differently and the resonant qualities of the bass feed back into the strings. Some ranges of the spectrum may be enhanced by a particular piece of wood, some may be subdued. But it's all very subtle.

    Now, look at your wish list - deep lows, pronounced mids, killer highs. That's the whole frequency spectrum. Arguments about what mahogany or polar sounds like aside, I don't think you're going to get this out of any particular piece of wood.
  6. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    that makes a lot of sense. thank you very much. your right abotu the wish list and that its gonna take more than one type. thank you again
  7. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Yes, yes, yes :hyper:

    So ultimately to the point! Impressive!
  8. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE



    PS: Matt's post needs to be kept in a text file for future copy/paste work!
  9. The Zebra wood, being dense as it is, is going to provide your "top", but it's also open grained, so it may be a tad less "zingy"...

    Mahogany is going to sound darker / warmer, whereas poplar is very open and "neutral", like alder...it's very on par tonewise with alder, actually.

    Here's an idea, do your bass side mahogany, the treble side poplar, and top it with Zebrawood...who knows, it might be really interesting.
  10. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    when you say bass side adn treble side, you mean the strings correct? could you give me a little more info on that?
  11. Yes, I mean in re: to strings...

    I've toyed with the idea a few times, just hav yet to try it....


    I think it's a plausible idea... you just would have to paint it, unless you like the look. v:O)

    I actually think I'm going to try it...can't , in theory, be any worse than some butcher-block creations I've seen from some makers...
  12. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    ok so as far as the body is concerned for my low strings (E and A) poplar and for the highs (D and G) mahogany and then top the whole thing with zebrawood? it could work, itd be weird but could definately work.
  13. Actually, I meant Mahog on the E & A, but heck, experimentation is a beautiful thing, if you have the time, resources, and hutspah, why not, right? :bassist:
  14. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    my fault, thats what i meant. i got them backwards. thanks that isnt a half bad idea?
  15. I personally like the idea.

    If executed well, it may yet yield some nice results.

    Again, anyone else have experience like this, thru experimentations? Just looking for opinions...I rekon this is just as "multi-lam" as the next thing...

  16. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Isn't Dingwall alrady doing this ?
  17. Yes, it appears they are. And coming to the same conclusions we speculated.

    Thanks for the tip.

    So, there you Zongeek. v:O)
  18. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    yea they are.

    it seems though that they, if i read it correctly, are doing it the way i said when i goofed. lowed end wood on the highs and highend wood on the lows....interestering to say the least.
  19. mnemonix


    Apr 27, 2004
    Interesting... yes, but given the whole bass is vibrating as a complex system through the mechanical connection of not just the two body halves, but also at the bridge, the neck and pickups, not just the side where the specific plucked string is located, i'd be really surprised if there was a significant effect here, certainly orders of magnitude less than the simple issue of which tone wood produces which tone as a whole body.

    Everything has an effect that's undeniable, but the law of diminishing returns applies to the efforts one might reasonably go to. Having said that, research for its own sake is cool and there IS a reason why a Stradavarius supposedly sounds absolutely unique - I believe the mineral content of the varnish used by its maker is a factor amoungst other things.

  20. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Since the addition to tone from body wood is so inconclusive, why not concentrate the body work to aestetics and experments?
    Mixing different speices in different pieces is a nice idea.
    It will look intriguing (sp?) in one way or another, and whatever tonal coloring will be interesting.

    Re. Stradivarius, the material issue is a really interesting one. Recent research has put the light on something, that is quite obvious to anybody who knows basic mechanics. The density, i.e. the growth of the trees/grain width, of Stradivarii and Guarnierii from this period is higher than usual. You will also see, that the same speices but different grain width will show remarkable differences in stiffness (at least remarkable to me...). And stiffness by weight is resonance.