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Basswood vs. Ash

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Dbt25677, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. Dbt25677


    Jun 9, 2013
    People frequently say that ash is a superior if not the most superior wood for making basses and guitars in general.
    Could someone describe the difference in tone produced by these woods? Like Ash: popular, sharp, crisp tones. Something like that.

  2. Basswood is very soft,it's probably the easiest wood to learn carving on,also very even white grain and lightweight.I wouldn't use it except for an inner core protected by another species front and back although I know it is used by manufactorers for painted instruments.I don't buy that ash is superior,it's cheap and stable and has decent cathedral type grain,that's why it's used by manufactorers.Just my opinion.
  3. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I'm not getting into another tone wood conversation. That being said, there are many other reasons to choose a body wood. If it were to be a natural, or trans finish, and weight wasn't really an issue I would choose Ash. If I wanted a light weight solid colored instrument I would choose something like Alder because its light weight, and finishes easier.

    I don't like working with Basswood, because it's very soft and it dents so easy that its hard to keep dents out of it before finishing. It doesn't hold a screw as well as other woods either. Ash isn't as easy to finish because its grain is so deep, and requires heavy pour filling to get a level finish. It also tends to be pretty heavy.
  4. I agree 100%,if the body wood had a discernible effect,why would the plexiglass bodied Dan Armstrong instruments sell for so much?
  5. Its like in movies when two swords hit and one cuts the other in half:rolleyes:basswood is the one that brakes:smug:
  6. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    my mij basswood jazz sounded really sweet, weighed a ton, and dinged easily, sorry i can't be more scientific about it

    i'm sleepy and i have my teacher evaluation today
  7. Even though (in my scientific mind) wood makes up less than 5% of an electric instruments tone, I would go with ash over basswood any day. (Unless you have a bad back!)

    Although heavier, Ash has a more distinct grain, so it looks much nicer stained, and is also much, much more solid. Basswood is a very soft wood and is best friends with dings and dents. It's often used for wood carving because of that property.

    The only downside to ash is that it's much heavier than basswood is.

    Keep in mind that every piece of wood you will ever find is different from all the others, regardless of the fact they may be from the same species.
  8. Broadstbully22


    Dec 5, 2011
    Anyone think ash will become restricted or even endangered because of this ash bore bug.
  9. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    It is rather difficult to find locally in 8/4....so...I don't know about restricted or endangered, but it's definitely become more scarce. I can find maple, alder, ash, basswood, and even walnut and afr. mahogany in 8/4 all day, but no ash.

    Some lumberyards around here just won't stock ash at all because of the bug.
  10. JellinWellen


    Oct 18, 2012
    BassWood is softer, thats the only difference.

    I've had light ash bodies and heavy basswood bodies, and vice versa.

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