Are there any significan tonal differences in roasted bodies and necks?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jaminjamesp, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. jaminjamesp


    Feb 21, 2016
    Im about to put in my order to USACG for a custom neck and body for a P. I’ve decided on a quartersawn roasted maple neck, and plain roasted maple fretboard. I really like the look of roasted maple, so I’m set on this.

    What I don’t know is if a roasted body is going to change the tone enough to justify buying the body unfinished, and then having MJT finish it. I can buy the finished body from MJt for $375, but not roasted. The roasted body is gonna be $200, plus the cost of the finish, $295. So the roasted body total will cost nearly $500.

    Am I really going to hear this tonal difference? I do have a pretty sensitive and accurate ear and am a bit of tone geek. Years of owning a studio and engineering will do that for you. I don’t mind spending the money on something that will only provide a subtle improvemen. A bunch of subtle improvements spread across an entire mix makes a big sonic difference.

    What I don’t like is paying extra for snake oil. If you do feel like there is a change in the tone, what kind of differences are you hearing? Some people say the roasted wood is brighter and snappier, some say it’s darker and rounder. So that’s a little confusing to me as well.

    Pbassmanca likes this.
  2. Why do you think it will make it sound better? Why not worse?

    If you think it will make it sound better and you pay for it you will hear it. That's just how our brains work.

    That's because people haven't decided on what they will be hearing. You will find this in woods also, maple is brighter, rosewood is darker but get into pau ferro or bubinga or even swamp ash and poplar and the experts still haven't decided what they will hear and will often contradict each other.
  3. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    I don't think roasting adds anything beyond making it look pretty. If you're interested in tone, focus your attention on your string choice, technique, and pickup(s) - in that order. That's where 95% of your tone will come from based on my own experience.

    YMMV. :thumbsup:
  4. Sid the Kid

    Sid the Kid Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2013
    Roasting makes sense for neck stability which is not an issue with the body.

    Roasting could lower the weight, assuming it was a light enough piece to begin. That would be the only benefit, imho, especially if it is being finished.
  5. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    You will hear whatever you are paying to hear.
    gebass6, TrustRod, Guitalia and 7 others like this.
  6. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    The problem is getting the roasting time correct. Under roast it and it will be tough to play and sound to stringy, over roast it and the notes will fall apart and sound like mush.
    chadds, embellisher, Cris II and 23 others like this.
  7. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Roasting makes it crisper and tastier.
    XtraFancy, Matt R, bassbully and 5 others like this.
  8. nick333


    Nov 3, 2012
    This is a question perhaps better answered by bass builders who used experienced roasted necks
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  9. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    I have three roasted maple/maple necks and it does mellow the tone a bit compared to normal maple, but not in a bad way. I've also noticed when drilling holes that the wood seems a bit more brittle, so I'm wondering if roasting adds a bit of stiffness compared to unroasted wood; regardless, they are very resonant and punchy sounding.
    pcake, Pbassmanca and SpiceMan68 like this.
  10. Trouztrouz


    Feb 6, 2013
    People can't agree on whether the wood makes a difference. I don't expect we're going to find agreement on whether roasting makes a difference.
  11. hermetic


    May 10, 2016
    So nowhere in this thread so far, and I don't really know the reason for roasting maple. I had assumed the reason was to increase wood fiber stability, and therefore obviously increase neck strength and stability.

    What is the reason for roasting?
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  12. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    Theoretically, you get a more stable and marginally lighter neck. It also, theoretically, doesn't need a finish.

    I have heard people say they sound brighter, and now we have someone saying they sound less bright. Draw your own conclusions.

    I have a USACG roasted jazz neck and love it.
  13. comatosedragon

    comatosedragon Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2014
    Rockingham VA {616}
    I think the reason is to remove as much moisture as possible from said piece of wood, as a side effect; it is slightly lightened (in weight).

    From Warmoth:
    Roasted Maple is maple that has been heat treated to remove sugars, moisture, and other impurities that can affect its stability. The result is a neck that is slightly lighter than normal and extremely stable. Because of its enhanced stability a finish is not required, making it the maple of choice for those who prefer the smooth, quick feel of natural wood. The roasting process also brings out a beautiful caramel color in the wood.
  14. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    Taking OP's question literally, you would have to ask some of Ferdinand and Isabella's inquisitors.
    TrustRod and 2tonic like this.
  15. jaminjamesp


    Feb 21, 2016
    A rather grim interpretation!
    bolophonic and Pbassmanca like this.
  16. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I have a bunch of roasted necks. They are definitely more stable (less adjustments), a bit stiffer, and a bit lighter. The last two things raise the resonant frequency of the neck, which moves the dead spot up a couple frets, and makes it far less obvious.

    I do have one with a roasted maple board (the others have rosewood boards), and it's definitely brighter - not sure vs a regular maple neck, but the thing rings like a bell.
    Bass V, XtraFancy, bucephylus and 2 others like this.
  17. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Significant? No.
    gebass6 likes this.
  18. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Always overcompensating Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    It looks damn cool and that's all I really care about. If i want to alter the sound, I will mess with the strings, my eq, or pickups before anything else.
    Fat Freddy, Ghastly and bolophonic like this.
  19. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    I prefer a 15 hour smoking with a dry rub to a simple roasting.
    ahc, XtraFancy, Fat Freddy and 2 others like this.
  20. John Freeman

    John Freeman Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2009
    Happy Valley, PA
    Follow that up with a wet sauce and it money! Here is a plate of wings I smokes like that last weekend. 0FA7E669-CB46-4AA0-A6DE-291B3AB87390.jpeg

    I’m also very curious about roasted necks and bodies. I had a roasted neck Bongo and it did not sound discernibly different from a regular one. I also had a roasted neck Big Al and it was a little more punchier than a regular model but it also had different strings, which could have caused that.

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