Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Alder as a neck wood?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tjclem, Jul 17, 2004.


  1. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I have some nice pieces of alder and I was wondering if it can be used in necks or is there a reason not to?...t
     
  2. I would advise against it. Alder's not an especially hard wood. Feels like cardboard. Forget about alder and poplar completely when it comes to necks. I wouldn't reccommend them for bodies either. Maybe if you want to keep your cost down, but otherwise... yeah.
     
  3. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    OK. I know it is cool for bodies though. So many customers seem to want as light a bass as possible. Alder seems to be a good choice for a base wood because of that. I have a slab I am going to put a nice top on. Not sure if should go with Walnut or Bubinga though......t
     
  4. A lot of people believe that the wood is the heart of the instrument. It's light, which is fabulous! But as far as tone goes... Hmmm... :meh:

    I've played a lot of instruments with alder bodies, and I prefer anything but. It's neither heavy nor expensive, which I think is why it's so popular (especially with zee big names).

    Depends on the pieces you're looking at! Both of those woods are gorgeous.
     
  5. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Some people like the tone of alder.

    I happen to like it for vintage style basses.

    Sadosky uses it on a large number (majority?) and I doubt most people would say that Sadowsky basses have bad tone.

    Tone wise, its all subjective but pretty popular with a lot of people.

    Its not very stable for necks from what Ive read.
     
  6. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Adler is one of the most popular body woods of, well, all time. I think there is a reason for that, other than cost effectiveness.
     
  7. Kavorka

    Kavorka

    Mar 28, 2002
    Austin, Texas
    I agree. Just because a wood does not cost much does not make it a bad tonewood. I like alder and think poplar can sound really good with the right craftsmanship. Don't let the price determine your opinion.
     
  8. Agreed. But anything can sound good when made by the right person. And, it is just my opinion. I've never liked any alder or poplar guitar or bass that I've played. Again, that's just me. He asked for advice, I gave my piece.

    I also don't like worrying that the instrument I'm playing is going to float away, hehe. I likes my basses beefy.

    But, most everything on here is an opinion. Active or passive. Ash or alder. It's all good, brothah ;)

    I think most would agree that it shouldn't be used on a neck, though.
     
  9. Rick Turner

    Rick Turner Commercial User

    Jul 14, 2004
    I design and build electric basses and pickups under the Turner, Renaissance, and Electroline brand names.
    Throw enough graphite in, and you can use balsa, for all it matters.
     
  10. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    It would sure have to be a lot of graphite if you wanna keep the screws from tearing out of the body/neck joint when you string it up! ;)
     
  11. Carvin's Alan Holdsworth model guitar is all Alder. Neck and Body. Give tham a holler and ask about it.

    www.carvin.com
     
  12. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    construction/scale set-in neck , 25 1/2" scale
    body alder & birch chambered solid body, rounded body edges
    neck set-in maple
     
  13. McHack

    McHack

    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Alder is the "Taste's like Chicken" of wood...
     
  14. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Cool! The alder pieces have a lot of shades of color in them I was hoping to use them for a neck........t
     
  15. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Alder is generally considered to be not strong enough to use as a neck wood. The strength and stiffness demands made on a bass neck are much higher than those made on a 25.5" scale guitar neck.

    But you could indeed do balsa with enough carbon composite, though.

    The necks of Modulus' Genesis line are offered with three different soft neck woods, since the graphite structure is providing the structural integrity all by itself.
     
  16. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I may run a couple of purpleheart stringers through it....t
     
  17. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Alder is not stiff enough for neck use.
    You could use it as a core in a parallel-to-fingerboard lamiate, with e.g. pau ferro top and back, with good result.
    If you try to do with an orthogonal-to-fingerboard laminate and alder bulk...you'll end up with so much stringers, that the alder would no longer be bulk...

    NB! Isometrically compressed alder is much stiffer, enough for neck use!