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Ash/Maple vs Alder/Maple in a P style?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by markob, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. markob


    Mar 2, 2010
    North Cali
    Looking at an Ash/Maple P (type). Never had this combo in a P before. Always Alder. Nor have I ever given it a thought with regard to tone. I know the tone difference between Maple and Rosewood boards but not so with body woods. Give me some education. Thanks.
  2. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    It's nothing more than a personal choice. Alder and ash work equally as well. Ash may be a little brighter and I mean a little. Ash could be northern hard ash or swamp ash. Northern hard ash will be a heavier bass. I presently own two basses made from hard ash and they both are heavy but I like the tone. I also have a bass from alder and I love the way it sounds. To me the ash basses are brighter, and a little more punchier but also a little compressed (slightly moreso than alder). The bass made from alder will weigh less.
  3. Lincoln

    Lincoln Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    depends on how frequently you slap and what tone you prefer when you slap. Alder has always been a sweeter rounder tone when I slap.

    Ash with with Maple/Maple neck is always deeper and higher ( ala Marcus Miller).

    Fingerstyle you don't notice the difference, as much...
  4. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    For some reason, I prefer alder P-basses, even for slap. The last three ash bodied P-basses I've owned (all light weight swamp ash) just didn't work for me, tonally. The claim is that ash is "brighter" than alder, but that did not appear true to me. The ash basses seemed sweeter in the mids, with less treble (though the difference was subtle...)

    Note that ash can vary in weight, from light to heavy and in between. Some believe tone changes along with weight.

    Another caveat is that selecting tonewoods isn't like chemistry: there's no guarantee that a bass with body A and fingerboard B will give you tone C: that's because of natural tonal variation within the same species.

    Overall, though, differences in tone between woods are pretty slight, in the grand scheme of things. You should check out some of the tone comparison threads. For example in this one, it's hard to tell the difference between ash/rosewood and alder/maple even with high quality headphones: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f8/al...alfik-response-danatkinson-experiment-959984/
  5. whatever4


    Dec 12, 2012
    Ash is a harder wood. It won't dent as easily and screws are less likely to strip out of the wood when you tighten them down, so the whole thing holds together a little better.
  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I believe that is true for hard ash, the heavier variety, but lightweight "swamp ash" is amazingly soft.
  7. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Also, "swamp" ash can be lighter than alder.

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