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Ash - Too bright for carbon fiber?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by silky smoove, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I'm considering building a Warmoth/Status jazz bass (as I can't seem to find a good used price on a Modulus VJ4, or GVJ4). One of my concerns is the body wood.

    I've narrowed down my selections to Alder with a solid Lake Placid Blue finish, or Swamp Ash with a clear gloss finish. My preference would be to Swamp Ash for its tonal characteristic and its look, however my concern is that swamp ashes relative brightness paired with the definite brightness of a carbon fiber neck might be too much. Just for reference I'll be equipping this bass with DiMarzio Model J's which aren't necessarily the brightest pickups in the world.

    So what does talkbass think? Swamp Ash too bright for a carbon fiber neck jazz bass with DiMarzio Model J pickups? Would alder be the better choice?
  2. bigcatJC


    Jul 9, 2004
    I'm coming from an apples and oranges angle, but I can offer some advice. My 6 string fretless is made from a Moses neck with a Warmoth swamp ash body and a rosewood top. The tone is quite nice and well-rounded, in my opinion. Mine's not too bright, but the rosewood may be taming things a bit. I'm guessing you're talking about making a fretted bass, but the basic tone would be the same.
  3. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    My primary concern was that the notes above say.... E on the A string would become overly harsh with this combination. I'm hopeful that the DiMarzio Model J's will tame the high end a bit as they are not an overly bright pickup by any means. Thanks for the advice, I'd like to hear what some other TB'ers have to say, but I'm really leaning towards the Swamp Ash body as opposed to the Alder.
  4. bigcatJC


    Jul 9, 2004
    I would think that the notes on a Status neck would have an equal tone anywhere on the board. That's one of the advantages to a graphite neck :) . I guess if it sounds good down low, it'll sound fine above the 7th position, too. Status makes very good products.
  5. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    I have a Warmoth/Status fretless Jazz - swamp ash (with maple top body), graphite neck, EMGs and a BAII bridge. No way is the tone too bright - all the frequencies are “there” and you can really dial up whatever you want with the amp EQ. It's amazing, possibly the best fretless I've had my hands on, and I've played quite a few.

    In fact I'm so pleased with it I'm putting together a fretted version with an alder body. This may affect the tone compared to swamp ash, but I'm sure the main factor in this is the neck. I don't think the graphite makes it especially bright. As I said, its more a case of all the frequencies being “there” because the neck's resonant peak is so high compared to that of wood. This time I'm going for Nordstrands (NJ4SE) with a J-Retro for onboard versatility. I love the EMGs, but I already have two sets and the Nordstrands will give me more "mix and match" options. I'll post later to let you know how the second one turns out.

    Attached Files:

  6. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    I have an ash body Warmoth Jazz with a Moses neck, Duncan 1/4 pounders, BAII bridge, and Sadowski pre, and it does not have harsh highs at all. I think ash is brighter than swamp ash, too. Mine does get brighter than I need it to, so I keep the knob on at about "8". The nice thing is that if I need a bit more, it's there. This is the nicest bass I've ever owned, too. Even better than my old MM Sabre.
  7. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I have an Ash J with a Moses fretless neck and DiMarzio 123s, and harsh is not a word I'd use to describe the results! Nice, smooth and deep.
  8. AlembicBob


    Dec 28, 2004
    MA, US
    Ash body with composite neck = Zon Sonus. Mine sounds like an old Jazz bass with a maple board. The deep bass notes (B string) aren't as strong in fundamental as I would like, but I have the single-coil pickups on it. I think the multi-coils have a bit more meat to them.

    To my liking, I would rather have vermillion or mahogany in the body for a fiver, but the Ash is great for a four. There are certainly a lot of examples of that combination of materials out there, though.
  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I also have a Zon with an ash body. It has probably the most even response over the frequency range of any of my basses. It can get very bright, if I need it to, but is very warm. I would say it is the warmest sounding bass that I own.

    I am not familiar with the Status 'recipe' for their carbon fiber necks, but ash works great with the Zon recipe.
  10. Lex P.

    Lex P. You've got it awful loud -Kathy P. Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2003
    I just received a finished ash body with book matched birds eye maple top and black accent line from Warmoth. I had them route in a P-Bass pickup. I am pairing it with my Modulus VJ 4 string fretted neck. I have on order a Bill Lawrence P46 pickup. I'm not sure about the electronics I'll be using...if any?

    In the back of my mind I think it may be a little bright. But I guess I kind of lean that way. I have a Sadowsky MS 4 (ash/maple) and don't find it overly bright. And when playing with the band I find that a little brightness seems to cut through a little better, At least I think I can hear it better.

    I had this neck on a Korina J body and could clearly tell the difference between that and the alder VJ body. Much warmer.

    Attached Files:

  11. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I'd vote Alder ... the VJ is an alder bass (a '60s J copy), and so is my Quantum 5. Both sound fantastic. I'm sure ash would work as well ... but if you're trying to reproduce the vibe you liked so much when you tried the VJ, stick with the recipe.

    Actually I'd reccomend holding out for a VJ ... they are killer! You'll find one eventually if you are patient.
  12. FWIW, I've got an ash-bodied Curbow with a rockwood neck, and it's not harsh-sounding at all.
  13. This is one of the coolest looking basses I have ever seen, in the traditional Fender style.

    If you have any recorded examples of this bass, please e-mail me at jay@grasstain.com. :)

    I've been in the market for a very simple 5/6 Fender style bass for session work here in LA, and it looks like I'll be most comfortable going with a Status jazz neck, since I am already accustomed to the stability and clarity of Rob Green's work.

    Maybe, I'll go with a Musicman style? :)



  14. Silky, IMO you are giving wood combination far too much credit for shaping overall tone in a solidbody than it actually has. A bass is a system of parts and subsystems working to form a whole. Ash and carbon might be bright in one system but warm in another. It's the sum of the total you want to judge. And once you get past the materials and the parts, there are other details that affect the tone like assembly methods and quality, parts fit tolerance. even the type of finish has a small affect. So while you are looking for advice on which is the "right" combination of woods for the sound in your head, keep in mind that there will be literally a hundred other details that could add up to negate or over-emphasize the desirable traits you worked so hard to achieve.
  15. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    You're probably right Hambone, and you definitely have more experience in putting together basses than me.

    I'm going for the Swamp Ash route I've decided. I was a bit torn on which carbon fiber neck manufacturer to use, but I think (about 95% sure) that I'm going to give Status a try. I've tried Modulus and they make a fantastic product, but I really want to see what the other 1/3 of the market share can do. Guess I'll have to build another one with a Moses neck to get the other 1/3 as well :D

    Thanks for the help everybody!
  16. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Thanks for the compliment on what you'll have gathered I think is a pretty great bass! The pic doesn't actually do it justice as I'm a lousy photographer.

    The tone, as I said, is very versatile, but the whole bass sings out really well...mwah, sustain, etc, etc, etc. If you gently tap the back of the neck with your knuckles whilst keeping your hands off the strings the whole thing just rings like a weird sort of bell! I haven't recorded with this yet (the last recording I did with a fretless was with my old Yamaha, just before I got the new one), but I will try and find time to put something on mp3 and mail it to you. I was thinking about trying to get some samples down anyway, but I'll probably wait until the fretted one is finished and then do them both together. Sorry I can't respond straight away....

    Rob Green at Status is a really excellent guy to deal with and his products are absolutely top quality. I cannot speak too highly of Rob or the stuff he makes. His wife Dawn is pretty cool too! He does J4, P4, MM4 and MM5 necks, but he may do other styles as a custom order. You can contact through his site www.status-graphite.com

    Anyway, to finish off, have a look at the body that will be matched up with the Status fretted neck.... :hyper:


    Attached Files:

  17. I ordered one of those blow out Moses 5 necks and it's destined for one of my chambered Fairlane bodies with a flame ash top and a white ash back with a wenge accent line between and black hardware all round. I'm going to let the electronics to the talkin' :D
  18. My personal experience with composite neck + ash body (Zon Sonus Special 5 Fretless) is anything but overly bright and harsh. In fact, every Zon I've played has been very even and warm sounding, and with the exception of the Studio model (which has a mahogany body), all of the Sonus basses are ash bodied.

    My Special is very sonically aggressive, but that is in the mids, not the highs. As Hammy mentions "the sum of the parts" is the key. This particular bass has a bubinga top, unusual pickup placement, and a custom preamp that is very "mid-heavy", to intentionally punch a huge hole through any guitarist's distorted tone. I call it the "P!$$ off the guitarist" tone.

  19. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Excellent. + several million :D Gard, mind if I use this for my sig file?
  20. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Jay - if you should see this before you check your mail, I've just sent you a sound clip of my fretless jazz that I just recorded (no gig tonight - damn!)

    I'd be interested to know what you think of it! :eek:


    EDIT Actually the mail bounced as your mailbox seems to be full!

    Let me know when or where you would like me to retry sending it.

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