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ash / swamp ash

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by emielow, Dec 9, 2004.


  1. emielow

    emielow

    Jan 18, 2004
    whats the difference between ash / swamp ash

    i'm planning to build a wormoth slapmonster. what bodywood should i get? ash / swamp ash / alder / something else?

    and what neck / fingerboard?
     
  2. jacove

    jacove

    Apr 12, 2003
    Aalborg, Denmark
    I would say, Swamp Ash and a maple neck. Swamp Ash tends to be lighter and more resonant. With a maple neck it will enhance the snap/brightness of the bass - think Marcus Miller!
     
  3. emielow

    emielow

    Jan 18, 2004
    allright,

    but will a indian rosewood (whole neck, including fingerboard) be a good choice? it looks better, light body and a dark neck. i don't like maple necks to see

    (sorry for my bad english, i hope you'll understand)

    swamp ash body

    [​IMG]

    with a indian rosewood neck

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    It's not so much 2 types but 2 sides of the scale. Ash comes in super light to baseball bat hard and everything inbetween. Calling something swamp ash is often a judgement call. Some "swamp" boards will even change density a good deal from one end to the other.

    With Warmoth look at the weight and compare it with other examples of the same model. I tend to feel the lighter woods are more poppy with a quicker decay and narrower frequency range and the heavy stuff sustains more with more highs and lows, closer to hard maple. I prefer the light stuff for sound and comfort but I've heard many slap monsters with heavy ash basses. A lightweight bridge like a Hipshot B style tends to sound woodier on a light body and a heavier bridge isolates the strings more from the body minimizing it's contribution to the tone.

    That's how I see it ;)
     
  5. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    What kind of tone do you want? Old school? Hi-tech?
     
  6. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    I think Marcus' famous Jazz Bass is heavier ash.
     
  7. emielow

    emielow

    Jan 18, 2004
    "A lightweight bridge like a Hipshot B style tends to sound woodier on a light body and a heavier bridge isolates the strings more from the body minimizing it's contribution to the tone"

    what about a string through body (badass) bridge? the sound of wood AND fat sustain ? :meh:

    oldschool of hightech ? i guess something in between haha, i like the live sound of flea (maybe you know the woodstock version of if you have to ask ?? THAT's the sound i'm looking for)

    i'm planning to put a MM / J pickup configuration in the bass (with a blend), but i don't know what pickups yet...
     
  8. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Swamp ash is usually heavier than its northern cousin, as it has more moisture in the wood. Northern ash, like in Marcus's bass, provide good compression to the overall attack, which is quite brite and snappy with a fairly controlled lowend. I purchased my swamp ash MTD 535 after a/b'ing it with a similar 535 with an ash body, finding that the swamp ash lent a slightly rounder town to the low end, with more extension on the bottom frequencies. The rosewood neck will warm up your sound as well (and it looks friggin badass by the way!!), so between the neck and the northern ash body, you might have the best of both worlds.
     
  9. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Hello again, stringing through the body can only affect the tone by changing the angle of the bend over the bridge saddles, other than that it's just marketing hype as that part of the string does not vibrate, especially with a heavier bridge like the badass. Stringing through the bridge has less effect on your tone than the kind of shirt you wear ;)

    And swamp ash is lighter than northern ash. Moisture content in wood is based on how it's dried, not it's name. Look at the weights on the Warmoth page.
     
  10. FireAarro

    FireAarro

    Aug 8, 2004
    austr-
    One warning, do NOT use a light body with that rosewood neck. That's asking for some crazy balance problems, methinks.
     
  11. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Moisture content does affect the difference between ash and swamp ash due to the difference in climate. Southern swamp ash simply has more moisture, and results in a rounder tone. I've played MTD's that were identical inregards to every piece of wood excepting the difference in the two ash types, and the tonal differences were always there: Northern ash= slightly more aggressive, upper mid sound; Southern Swamp Ash= slightly rounder version of the northern in tonality with a much warmer lowend IMO. Oh, and take heed to the advice about heavy rosewood necks sinking a light body to the floor.
     
  12. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Wood is kiln dried to a chosen moisture level. It has nothing to do with the type of wood it is.

    Here's what Ken Smith says about it

    http://www.kensmithbasses.com/woodpages/swampash.html

    OTHER COMMON NAMES: Ash, Light Ash, Southern Ash, Southern White Ash, Light Weight Ash, Guitar Ash, Soft Ash
    Note: Northern White Ash (Hard Ash) is too heavy & dense to produce guitar grade tone wood.

    Origin: Southeast USA
    Avg. Weight (@ 6-8% moisture): 3 Lbs. per Bd.Ft.
    Weight Classification: Light
    Where Used on Smith Basses: Solid Body Wings (BSR only)
    Tone Produced on Smith Basses: Bright Punchy Tones
    Stock Availability: Attractive Grain (Non Figured)
    Avg. Age of Lumber in Stock: 6 Years Acclimated (Kiln & Air Dried)

    Notice the moisture content for all his woods are the same (at least up through cocobolo) They have to be if they are going to be glued together.

    http://www.kensmithbasses.com/woodpages/woodpagecontents.html

    Don't believe stories about swamp ash growing underwater either ;)
     
  13. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    +1

    Also, of the many species of ash, there are several different ones that are called swamp ash, several called green ash, white ash, red ash, etc. Each one of these species is referred to by a dozen or more common names. In the end, the wood with a lower density (lighter weight per board) is sold as swamp ash, regardless of species or where it was grown.
    +1

    Woods for anything (not just guitars) of better-than-trash quality are dried to a common moisture level, regardless of where they start. That's why you'll always see statistics for wood at 12% moisture, which is how it often comes out of a kiln; and why KS uses 6-8%, which reflects a final level after acclimatizing to the atmoshphere.
     
  14. patrickj

    patrickj

    Aug 13, 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    Ash is a lot heavier than swamp ash. Swamp Ash is known for being very bright and resonant sounding, ash is even more so (maybe even to its detriment). Between the two, swamp ash is a more musical (imo, more appropriate - has nothing to do with tonal preferences, etc) tonewood.

    $.02
     
  15. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    The lighter ash is what people generally want, with one exception: CBS-Fender's basses of the 70's were made with heavy ash. They were considered crap instruments at the time, and would continue to be considered so, if Marcus Miller hadn't managed to get a tone out of them that became popular.
     
  16. JTGale

    JTGale

    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    If I remember right, I read somewhere once that Swamp Ash is Ash that grows in wet areas, therefore the tree doesn't have to work hard for its moisture and doesn't take on as much when growing. Other Ash trees have to suck up more moisture when growing due to lack of readily available water. What this means to us? Swap Ash is lighter/more resonant and brighter when dried due to the way that it grew. Does this sound right? ... :eyebrow:
     
  17. hands5

    hands5

    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    none
    I don't know about that,because just about every bass player in my neighborhood during this time period had the early to mid 70's Jazz bass even before we even heard of Marcus Miller(which wasn't until late 78-79 with Lonnie Liston Smith,and Lenny White) and the majority of the players that are" still around still do own them to this day including myself,and they were never considered junk..........at least to most of us.......DAMN ! I'm telling my age.
     
  18. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Mythology.
     
  19. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Welcome to the "too old to rock and roll, too young to die" club! ;)
    Two things. First, It's natural that people were playing them, because that's what new Fenders were at the time. There weren't any alternatives if you wanted a new Fender. Second, I guess our experiences differed, because I remember around 1980 or so that CBS Fenders were (in my area, anyway) considered to be poor instruments, in quality (assembly, fit, and finish), design (3-bolt necks!), and materials (heavy as hell). There were a lot of guys looking at Spector, Steinberger, Smith and the others that started at that time, trying to find an alternative. (I got a Pedulla.)
     
  20. MAJOR METAL

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    Swamp Ash, you might want to try the chambered bodys to save on your back.