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Alder bodies on high end basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bassdude15, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
    Why is it that lots of people choose to put alder bodies on basses with otherwise "fancy" wood?
    One example I've seen:
    Alder body, buckeye burl top, purple heart neck, wenge fingerboard.
    Why would you put such a plain body wood on an otherwise exotic bass?
    I mean, if you havre the money for a boutique bass, why not go all- out?
  2. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    IMO, because alder has uniform density and saves a lot of weight.
  3. RickC

    RickC Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2005
    I'd do it because I consistently seem to prefer the sound of alder bodied basses. So in my case, alder is "all out".

  4. blmeier7


    May 7, 2006
    Amarillo, TX
    Alder by itself is typically not that "pretty" of a wood. Many builders will use a top wood over alder for a higher end look. I personally prefer alder bodies for the heavy mids.
  5. Alder and ash have good tone and are reasonable weight.
  6. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
    Now ASH I understand-it can have a gorgeous flame figure:ninja:
  7. But.....alder is so boooooring to look at :rollno:
  8. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I have an alder MTD 535 and an alder Sadowsky on order. I personally like the look of a nice piece of alder but I honestly don't spend a whole lot of time looking at the backs of my basses. I've liked the sound of a lot of alder/rosewood basses (which could just be a coincidence) and alder is generally pretty lightweight. I have to say that if the looks of the back of your bass are at the top of your priority list when choosing an instrument then something is weird...
  9. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer
    My next Roscoe will have an Alder core with a maple top and back. I love the sound Alder produces.
  10. gidbass

    gidbass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    But, listen to it...;)

    A simple veneer over it and that alder body rocks in sound, weight, and asthetics...;)

    Just IMHO..
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I prefer solid finishes so I don't care what it uses as long as it sounds good.
  12. Relayer71


    Jun 25, 2009
    But that's where "buckeye burl top, purple heart neck, wenge fingerboard" come in. You need to balance it out.
  13. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    As John said, alder is a nice, even, consistent, wood. Most "fancy" woods would add weight, and if you have an exotic wood top, people don't see the wood under it anyway.
  14. Nikoubis


    May 3, 2007
    Athens, Greece
    This, though most "traditional" bursts look pretty nice on alder as well.
  15. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Now lets just wait a minute here....... Isn't Alder an exotic tonewood in Australia? :bassist:
  16. roninrindra


    Nov 26, 2013
    Alder and ash is a standard for a bass tone...I think alder wood is more expensive than other body wood ...and become rare now
  17. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
    Funny thing is, other than the alder body, this thing was the fanciest thing I ever saw:-7-string, giant abalone dragon inlay along the fretboard,5-band eq, series/parallel for each of the (3) hand wound soap bars, piezo pickup with separate 3-band eq, macassar ebony bridge, nut, and pickup covers. Not to forget the neck was FLAME purple heart with BASTOGNE WALNUT laminations.
    BUt I guess whoever ordered it must REALLY love the sound of Alder
  18. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    And how about those boring maple necks! Someone should make a buckeye burl neck! :smug:
  19. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
    The trouble is, despite how awesome it looks, buckeye burl literally adds no tone to the bass; maple does. Certain types of spalted or quilted maple can actually be really beautiful IMHO.
  20. seang15


    Aug 28, 2008
    Cary NC
    Why do people still feel wood affects sound!? On a slab?? :confused: