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Ash versus Alder

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by CliftonBonney, May 12, 2006.

  1. What are the differences between a bass with an ash body and an alder body? Which one is better? Thanks.:bassist:
  2. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Neither one is better. The tone difference is, IMO, hard to describe and pinpoint since the difference between two pieces of the same species can be large.
  3. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Also Ash comes in a wide variety of densitys that will afffect tone.
  4. Thanks for the response.
  5. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Weight, weight, weight...
    Tone? Depends on the weight (density) of the plank.
  6. yes, weight is a big factor. Ash is a LOT heavier than alder, even light weight ash is heavier. With ash you also have to fill the pores. But that said, I have come to the conclusion that I hate working with alder.
  7. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    Kind of related question. First I just a player not luthier like you all so if stupid question forgive me.

    I know in picking out a nice acoustic guitar like my Martin the width of the grain affects the tone of the instrument. The wider the grain the more bass response and the more and tighter the grain the better the high end response. So for my Martin I picked a guitar with a average to close grain for overall tone.

    So question is does gain have as much effect on the sound of a bass. Or is the types of wood used on bass different so a non-issue.
  8. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I don't fill the pores on any wood I like the look and feel of the wood...t
  9. dadodetres


    Dec 19, 2004
    ok, my experience is only with Ash and Alder Fender jazz basses.

    Ash have a lot more low-mids, and crisp.
    It doesnt get lost in the mix, and since its heavyer it has more susatin.

    Alder is a little more scooped. More lows and phatnes, but less defined. More attack but less sustain.

    Also Aleder is way lighter than ash, so is weight is and issue you should consider this.
  10. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Aw, c'mon guys you can tell him the truth...

    We're just messing with you, they're both cheap woods and are used to save cost. What you need is some good old american OAK.

    Now we're talkin'.
  11. brandonwong


    Dec 16, 2003
    From the F Bass website:

    "Explain the difference in sound between alder and ash bodies

    Ash produces more bottom and high end with a reduction in the midrange frequencies. Alder produces more low midrange and a softer high end, usually resulting in a sweeter, more singing tone. The low end is not as solid as with ash. The harder and heavier the wood used, the harder the sound will be, with a very solid low end and bright but often harsh high end."
  12. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Well, not only messing, they are both good tonewoods. So is oak, if the plank is ok, but it might be even heavier than the ash.

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