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Ash necks?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dwjazz54, May 13, 2004.

  1. dwjazz54


    Jan 21, 2003
    Jersey City, NJ
    I was cruising bassnw.com, and there is a simply gorgeous MTD 635 fretless 6-string. But there is something about it that struck me as highly unusual: it has an ASH neck. Not maple, or wenge, but ash.

    I was wondering if anybody here had any experience with ash necks, like tonal quality, feel, etc.

  2. Ari


    Dec 6, 2001
    Mike tobias did a few of these... if you go the the austinbasstraders.com website there is an all ash 535 with maple fingerboard - glenn says it's a very "agressive" sounding bass.

    I think Fodera used ash in the necks also...
  3. I wouldn't be suprised at all if hard ash made a good neck. After all, if its hard enough to hit a baseball with at 100 mph, it should be hard enough for a bass neck. OTOH, mahogany makes the crappiest bass neck ever. No lows, barely any highs, just indistinct low mids. But it makes great guitar necks. So, anyways, my point is that you never know how a wood will do until you try it. Hard ash would probably have most of the qualities of maple in the lows and highs with a whole lot of agressiveness added in. If Tobias and Fodera use it I would expect it to be good.
  4. I've seen Carvin use Alder on the Alan Holdsworth model, and I never would have figured that to be a good neck wood.


    Now Poplar, there's a bad neck wood.
  5. rusty


    Mar 29, 2004
    From what I've read, there's 2 kinds of ash - Nothern Swamp Ash (Hard Ash) and Swamp Ash.
    The wood that's used in most bass bodies is Swamp ash - it's light and open grained.
    Hard ash on the other hand is too dense and heavy to be used as a bass body, but I suspect that it's probably what's being used as the neck for the MTD. Anyways I don't think the quality of the MTD will be compromised in anyway with the ash neck :D
  6. Eyescream


    Feb 4, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
  7. Poplar is not a very stiff wood. It will absorb most of the energy of the strings very rapidly and will cause them to resonate in a less than desirable way. There is no way you could get a tight B string with a poplar neck. For that matter, you couldnt get a tight E string on a poplar neck. The strength of the neck directly relates to the feel of the strings as well as how clear the bass is. The stronger the neck is, the clearer the tone will be and the tighter the strings will feel. A flexible neck will bend more when you pull on the strings to play them, and will absorb highs and lows (usually, but this is mostly due to the resonant qualities of flexible woods), making the bass super low mid muddy.
  8. Yup.

    in the same way I would have never imagined an alder neck, but hey...

    I did a prototype neck (not profiled in back) with a hotrod trussrod and a maple blank, all kiln-dried stuff here, and stuck it on a G&L body I had, and strung it up, and within a day or two a small crack had developed at the endpoint of the rod...like it wanted to punch thru. "poor man's alder"...in tone maybe, but not a very durable wood.

    live and learn. :bassist:
  9. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Excellent point, but intellectually, I gotta counter with "yeah, but that's a single point of contact. What about prolonged stress from the tension of the strings?"

    I suspect though, that your baseball point negates my objection.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    Never seen an ash neck but i am sure the nothern ash would be strong enough for the preasure of a bass neck.
  11. I wonder if the heavy, "hard" ash would cause any neck-dive?
  12. Joelc73

    Joelc73 Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2000
    New York
    We've had a bunch of Ash necked Foderas at the shop. I really like the combo of Northern Ash neck with a softer body wood. It really tightens up the lows and mids. We also had an MTD with an Ash neck, Ash body and a Maple fingerboard. I expected it to be too bright and aggressive but it turned out really nice. It had one of the best slap sounds I've heard in a while. Although, I suspect the Bartolini's in that bass may have softened it up a bit.

    I hope that helps!
  13. I wouldn't want to bet the farm on that.
  14. rusty


    Mar 29, 2004
    I got that off Ken Smith's website actually.
    You can take a look at it <a href="http://www.kensmithbasses.com/woodpages/swampash.html">here</a>

    You might wanna take it up with the man himself :D
  15. I think Ken is talking about his own policies/preferences, not what other manufacturers do. He sets high standards for himself.
  16. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    Ash makes a great neck. Usually, depending on the body wood you'll get a killer slap tone out of it. I think it is another wonderful color to add to the palette of woods one can select in creating a bass.

    I've even used spruce with great success in a fretless. I wish I still had that bass...