bass woods

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by K Dubbs, Apr 24, 2002.

  1. Alder

    88 vote(s)
  2. Ash (Swamp or Northern Hard)

    139 vote(s)
  3. Basswood

    11 vote(s)
  4. Koa

    10 vote(s)
  5. Korina (Black or White)

    12 vote(s)
  6. Lacewood

    2 vote(s)
  7. Mahogany

    45 vote(s)
  8. Maple

    40 vote(s)
  9. Poplar

    13 vote(s)
  10. Redwood

    8 vote(s)
  11. Walnut

    38 vote(s)
  12. Wenge

    17 vote(s)
  1. K Dubbs

    K Dubbs Just graduated from OSU, Go Bucks!

    Mar 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    what woods does everybody like for bass bodies?
  2. Ask a simple question, get a simple answer.
    I like alder. I like other woods, but, that would be my first choice.

    Mike J.
  3. Both of my basses have alder bodies, but I wouldn't say that I'm partial to any particular body wood.
  4. i'm partial to Maple.

    I like it's brightness and and attack. I currently have an all maple bass and i can dial in any sound i want, its active to that helps a lot.

    I'm also undertaking a DIY jazz bass project with an all maple body, which came about because i'm getting the maple for free :)

    you can't beat free maple .

    still undecided about a top wood, i may just do it plain maple ?

  5. the Korina (black) body of my MPulcinella Level 5 surprised me. Really light weight - but resonant. bass gives a very full, broad tone.
  6. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    afzelia!!! followed by bubinga as a close second, and swamp ash as a third.
  7. K Dubbs

    K Dubbs Just graduated from OSU, Go Bucks!

    Mar 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    hey paddy. Is the korina black a hard wood? You said it was light, but is it soft and dentable like basswood? Is yours painted or stained/oil/dyed? Does it have nice wood grain for leaving clearcoated of some sort?
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I like swamp ash or maple, although I have alder and poplar basses that sound good too.
  9. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    I'd have to go with the white korina. That's what'll be the back of my DP. Really clear and well balanced. The light weight is nice, too.
  10. k dubbs -

    here's the answer to some of your questions. The black korina on my bass seems soft (I haven't had the misfortune of seeing whether it is highly dentable!)

    I like the grain on this bass, I would have preferred a satin finish on it but it came with a clear lacquer over it. Minor nit - I still love it. I think it would be a waste to paint over it. It's not quite as dramatic an effect as a flame maple or walnut or redwood - more along the lines of koa.

    It has more of a reputation as a guitar wood that Gibson used in its guitars in the past. I was initially skeptical about its applications for electric bass but I was pleasantly surprised. Works for me!
  11. I voted ash but having owned over 60 basses, I like the following for Fenders:
    P-Bass: Alder
    J-Bass: Ash

    I also love the late 1980's Yamaha BB series and have the following:
    BB1000S: Mahogony
    BB1100S: Alder

    I think basses sound so different based on their body wood that you have to find the right wood for the right bass according to what your ears tell you.
  12. In order:

    1) Walnut - warm and full; I love it!!!!!
    2) Koa - like mahogany, only warmer and with better fundamental (at least for bass; maybe i'm wrong)
    3) Alder - very neutral with an edge toward warmth, allows for MASSIVE tonal colorations, which is cool
    4) Swamp Ash - a little bright, but very resonant and clear and punchy
    5) Bubinga - sounds awesome; warm and full with an emphasis on the fundamental; a stereotypical "neck-through" sound to me, I would rank it higher but it is rather HEAVY

    I haven't heard the other woods.

    I couldn't have said it better myself.
  13. My favorite kind is not there - although I don´t know if it is wood. It´s Luthite! My bass´s body is made of that, and I love it!
  14. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    Over all, I voted for ash. My best sounding bass has a burl myrtle body, a little heavy, but I have to check for loose fillings after I play it.
  15. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Shoot, couldn't say because this seems to be a veiled "best" poll.....and "bests" are a fool's game.

    Laminates do some things better, mono-woods do some things better. The tap tone of the wood, how it was dried, the grain, the finish, luthier/builder skill, et al, just add so many dimensions to what the final result is.

    Then there's the aspect of "which one for which application." (In real life, I really dislike complication. But as I said, it seems to be a "best" poll).

    Pin me down to one single wood with all those elements disregarded, and I'll say a fatass slab of cocobolo, (unless there's some legal, old growth, Brazilian rosewood around)........and, of course, with no paint or thick coat of poly-candy goop.
  16. patrickj


    Aug 13, 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    I'm building a bass now with poplar and a maple quilt top for the body, and a maple and oak laminate neck (i've heard good things about oak - but mostly that it's a PITA to work with).
  17. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Patrick - If you've seen Queen, you've seen that little red guitar played by Brian May, "The Red Special"?. The central section of the body is oak from an old table and the fretboard is oak, (the body is covered with mahogany veneer, so it all looks the same).

    The few comments I've read by the few builders/luthiers who have tried it said;

    - white oak sounds better than red
    - it isn't stable enough for necks (remember, I said "few" as in "a couple of" comments; plus you're using it with good ol' steady maple)
    - it has a lot of tannin. So some said it oxidizes/rusts metal parts except stainless steel, some said only if there's moisture
    - the most consistent complaint was that it splintered way too much and was hell to use a scraper on, and with many so better woods available they won't bother with it again.

    I've seen some beautiful oak furniture (even in my house). Hope it works out well for you. :)

    FWIW, I saw another plug today for cocobolo by a luthier who tested the tap tones of 5 different woods he bought.
    He rated cocobolo above the others in a class by itself. (BTW, please don't think I'm implying that my selection of cocobolo is THE best choice).

    But he said, "The Cocobolo has it all, the sound is rich, deep and ballanced with as much sparkle as bass."

    As with any wood, YMMV with respect to the level lutherie skills handling it.
  18. incubus2432


    Mar 21, 2002
    Grafton, Ohio
    Rickenbacker uses Maple....therefore my choice is Maple.........Love That Tone:D
  19. PICK


    Jan 27, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    anybody here tried Chechen???? For either fretboard or body???
  20. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Shoot, PICK, I don't want to seem to be trying to monopolize this thread, but I'll "talk bass" anyway;

    - I was looking hard at chechen when I was spec'ing out my custom......can be beautiful, resembling a red rosewood. Because it is very hard and heavy, I was thinking of using it as a fretboard wood before I even knew Modulus uses it.

    Paired with a lighter, more resonant laminate, it may be great for a body. One the reasons for its poplularity seems to be that it is ecologically sustainable, (not that we bassists really care since our instrumnets account for so little of endangered wood depletion :D ).

    Matt Schmill, (Bass Gear Review website), has used it for basses. Perhaps he would share his experience with it. It looks great in the picture of a bass made with it that he has on his website.