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Basswood vs mahogany

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Wakizashis, Dec 2, 2019 at 12:48 AM.


  1. Wakizashis

    Wakizashis

    Jun 15, 2019
    Czech
    Hi guys, can anyone tell me how big different from each other might be those two woods? I love sound of friends SR505 which is mahogany body with bubnga/jatoba I think, even not plugged in. But watching old japanese SR probably from basswood (i think) and maple neck. I was happy with my RG550 and 570 but those were guitars not basses...

    I am fan of deep, warm darker sound of bass and wondering if EQ might be enough to get similar result when plugged in. Thanks. :)
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I am not a fan of basswood but mahogany is OK by me. Every bass I've played with basswood just sounds kind of blah to me. I am not by any means a "tonewood" type of guy but I've never dug basswood on basses or guitars.
     
    Big Boz, Iristone, b_carville and 8 others like this.
  3. bench

    bench

    Dec 28, 2007
    Germany
    in my experience the sound from the SR line of basses comes mainly from the electronics. The 505 has the MK1 Barts with an active EQ. I know there are basses that sound better than others when not plugged in, but that could be the strings or sth. else. PRetty sure you won´t here any difference when amplified if a bass has those electronics.
     
  4. Wakizashis

    Wakizashis

    Jun 15, 2019
    Czech
    Well, thing is, this SR I am looking at, is passibe, so maybe the wood makes bigger difference here. But hoping the P near the neck would be pretty beast. Read post from the guy with same passive model his sound was huge... so hoping it is gonna be my case too. Used only models with big MM type humbucker SRX, Bart Mk1 and MK2. Liked all of them.
     
    Outtaseezun likes this.
  5. bench

    bench

    Dec 28, 2007
    Germany
    If you have a bass with MK1 you´re fine. The 505 won´t give you anything new then. But a nice SR PJ Bass would be a nice adition imo.
     
    pellomoco14 and Wakizashis like this.
  6. Wakizashis

    Wakizashis

    Jun 15, 2019
    Czech
    Having btb470 now with MK2, but I do not like the bass that much. Sound and look is great... But feeling I am fighting still with it. Maybe it is action only tho. Maybe it is only high nut, compared to other. But still I think it is combination of longer scale and thicker neck so looking into SR. Or back to SRX.
     
  7. bench

    bench

    Dec 28, 2007
    Germany
    But then you definetly know the sound. So you can decide what to do. As you can see: i like the SRX...
     
    Wakizashis likes this.
  8. Wakizashis

    Wakizashis

    Jun 15, 2019
    Czech
    Well, noticed it now,
    actually i have lost in auction yesterday when tried to get SRX430 (had before SRX400 but sold it...) So now it is SR with PJ and then I do not know how it is gonna sound. But I guess with Ampeg head and cab, it will shred and tear anyways. BTW. I think that SRX was mahogany body with maple neck. So still the sound of SR in basswood will be different a bit. We shall see. I think still playability for me is the main point...
     
    bench likes this.
  9. Blackie Jr

    Blackie Jr

    Nov 1, 2019
    Martin, Gibson, Taylor, Guild, Collings, Santa Cruz, other boutique acoustic guitar builders....

    Not a single acoustic guitar company / builder uses basswood

    (Maybe some lower quality / inexpensive models exist, but certainly zero high quality builds are basswood)

    Yes there are basswood electric guitars and basses - perhaps the more important the pickups and electronics, the less important the wood ?

    Maybe I was better off decades ago when I played what I liked and knew nothing about tonewoods, building techniques, etc

    FWIW, probably less than nothing, I do not consider basswood a "musical wood"
     
    Jesuguru, bongostealth and Wakizashis like this.
  10. Bodeeni

    Bodeeni Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    NYC
    I have a MTD K6 with a basswood body. It is a monster. No issues with the wood at all. Not promoting bass wood, I do have a lot of other basses, but the bass wood works fine for that bass. It is nice that my 6 is my lightest bass. I think of mahogany as being heavy.
     
    Wakizashis likes this.
  11. Leo Thunder

    Leo Thunder

    Sep 27, 2018
    Wood barely makes a difference in solid body instruments and varies a lot from regions, from trees and even from location in the tree it is cut from. Some want to believe that it matters a lot and that a very vague species denomination like mahogany offers particular characteristics in spite of the above. None of what they have to say is worth consideration.
     
  12. Spupilup

    Spupilup

    Jan 11, 2019
    I have a G&L CLF L1000 with basswood and it sounds fine to me. I think the MFD pickup, substantial bridge and other elements of the design more than makeup for a wood some think isn’t very good. I have an ash L2000 and can’t say it sounds better because of the wood.
     
    Flog and Wakizashis like this.
  13. Leonid Nidis

    Leonid Nidis

    Jan 1, 2018
    Who knows...the squire VM precision 5 loved by most is from basswood and its great.
    Some japanese basses and guitars are basswood and are amazing.
     
  14. This has not been my experience at all! I have been playing and tinkering with basses for nearly 30 years and I have absolutely heard differences coming from the tone woods even with the same electronics! The wood is not THE defining element in the overall tone, but I do personally note the differences.

    Case in point, basswood is why I cannot fall in love with the tone of Music Man Bongo basses (even though it's my avatar...). However, Stingrays sound so much better to me and those use ash bodies. Both use the same pickups and the Bongos have more versatile preamps (4-band). It's also not the pickup placement that makes the difference for me because I very much prefer the pickup placement of the Bongos.
     
  15. nilorius

    nilorius

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    Can't say which is better, but for your request basswood could me the one, also i think it's a little more durable than mahagony.
     
    Wakizashis likes this.
  16. projectapollo

    projectapollo Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2009
    Tennessee
    I've owned MusicMan in both mahogany (Stingray and Big Al) and basswood (Bongo). I thought basswood was every bit as good and lighter than mahogany. (I did like the Bongo tone.) I understand basswood has unattractive grain so they tend to be solid colors. But builders use it because of its tone.
     
    Wakizashis likes this.
  17. I had a neck through that was part mahogany, it was a beautiful bass. I can not say that it sounded any better. My own experiences, wood type is a very far distant 4th behind strings, pickups, electronics in affecting the sound. I would not sweat the wood type very much. I simple turn of the tone control can resolve that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 8:27 AM
    TrustRod, juggahnaught and Wakizashis like this.
  18. mouthmw

    mouthmw

    Jul 19, 2009
    Croatia
    No, they do not use the same pickups, nor have they ever used the same pickups. Nor is the preamp the same. Not even the new Special Stingray uses the same neodymium pickups like Bongo, not to mention the older alnico ones (or ceramic in some instances of Stingray 5s). So you basing your dislike for Bongo on "basswood" is ridiculous to say the least. Stingrays used ash, poplar and even alder. I've had them in several wood combinations and they always sounded like Stingrays. Oh, and Bongo (single H model) has the pickup placement in the Music Man "sweet spot", meaning the same as Stingrays. Bongo HH/HS is a different story though (H closer to the bridge), so I can't be 100% sure which one you're referring to.
     
  19. S.F.Sorrow

    S.F.Sorrow

    Dec 6, 2014
    Basswood looks a bit plain with transparent finishes but apart from that I like it. I know it's supposed to dent easier than other woods but honestly, if you've got a problem with denting basswood instruments you'll probably dent other woods too.

    One of my best sounding P-basses is basswood (MIJ Traditional 60s). MusicMan use basswood. Many boutique luthiers use basswood. And many cheap entry level mass manufactured brands/models use basswood which is probably where it got it's bad reputation. Basswood obviously come in different qualities, just like any other wood.

    I've got nothing against mahogany either but all my mahogany basses are Gibsons or Epiphones and they all have a far too ideosyncratic tone to draw any conclusions about the wood.
     
    kodiakblair and Wakizashis like this.
  20. lug

    lug

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    janka-scale.jpg
     

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