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Basswood vs mahogany

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Wakizashis, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. BurtMacklinFBI

    BurtMacklinFBI Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2018
    Yeah, I just called a meeting of the Religion of Tonewood and we’d all like to know where you found these weirdos who think wood is everything and pickup type, neck joint and scale length don’t matter. No one in our esteemed order has ever even heard of anyone that out there, so we’re wondering if maybe you’ve been hanging with some lost tribe of luthiers hidden deep in the mountains of Tibet or something.
    Vinny_G likes this.
  2. Vinny_G


    Dec 1, 2011
    Gallia Celtica
    It may not be the sexiest wood, I'll give you that, but it can go very well with a transparent finish. ;)

    Heavy Blue and Wakizashis like this.
  3. If we're comparing woods from solid bodies to acoustics, and denser is better, I suppose cedar guitars are an anomaly.:whistle:
  4. keyboardguy

    keyboardguy Supporting Member

    May 11, 2005
  5. N4860


    Mar 28, 2017
    I've put together multiple kits using basswood bodies and never encountered this. Maybe people just don't know how to use their tools properly?
    kodiakblair likes this.
  6. Iristone


    Jul 8, 2017
    Depends. I love my mahogany SG, but I guess I can take a basswood Bongo/MIJ/CV in a pinch. I still believe it's in the overall construction. :)
  7. bobalu

    bobalu Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    above the 49th
    No acoustic builders use it because it doesn't have a pleasing visual grain or colour. Nothing to do with the tone quality. Ask one.
    kodiakblair and Vinny_G like this.
  8. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    And maybe you just never really tightened anything down on on your kits? But that aside, my experience is Basswood is soft, dings easily, has no decent grain for looks, and screws all tend to strip (which also happens in harder woods too, but bass wood does it much more) And speaking as a member of the tonewood is real cult, I must say that basswood PASSIVE basses tend to sound "foofy" to me in the tone department. I have three G&L L2500 all in Ash and have compared to basswood versions and was not impressed. Foofy tone.

    Mahogany (like say my Alembic) is my favorite tonewood but tends to cost more. I especially like mahogany in SR style basses.

    But that being said, I now must say that basswood makes a much lighter instrument and that is more important to many people than some barely detectable tonewood difference. And moreover even speaking as a tone is real cult member I also feel that active instruments can totally compensate for any tonal effects of basswood, a Bongo bass being a prime example of a light weight basswood bass with tone to die for.

    As always, choice is yours.
  9. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    I have two main Ibanez basses for gigs. One is basswood with a black paint job. The other is mahogany with bubinga/ovankol neck. The black basswood kicks royal @ss and is very agressive when need be. It has in house brand of Nordstrom. The mahogany is very traditional in design and the Bartolini MK-1's sound very thick and deep, with very smooth highs. Can be used for classic rock or country or acoustic. The black bass is definitely a beast even though the body is basswood.

    Ibanez has put out a zillion basses and a lot of them basswood. You would not be making a mistake buying an Ibanez bass with basswood.
    Vinny_G likes this.
  10. Flog

    Flog a Viking in Tejas

    Oct 18, 2017
    Denton, Tx.
    my next bass will be constructed purely of ebony. it is guaranteed to be the best sounding bass of all time ;)
    Vinny_G likes this.
  11. Vinny_G


    Dec 1, 2011
    Gallia Celtica
    Don't forget to soak it in oil. ;)
  12. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    All true and all of that comes to bear on how a guitar/bass sounds. I think the biggest factor though really is the pickups especially when comparing single coil pickups to humbuckers.

    I was surprised when I looked up the hardness of the various woods that that ash that Fender used was so much harder than mahogany.
    Iristone likes this.
  13. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
  14. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Plus structural requirements on an acoustic vs. solid body are completely different. It's like comparing apples to alien probes.
    bobalu, gln1955 and FugaziBomb like this.
  15. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Maybe that's why you don't see many spruce solid body guitars.
  16. N4860


    Mar 28, 2017
    I tightened everything down. The key is to not over-tighten the screws.
  17. gigetto


    Sep 25, 2019
    The old Japanese basses were made in pressed paper....i've an old one more than 30 YRS old, cheap and bad sounding for poor and old Pups. i think that wood tone in a bass is indicatively 20% at maximum of the rest of sound. Tonal chamber or semihollow increase the tonal clarity of the PUps. The Acer or rosewood neck incides for 5% on total sound or less....

    Change strings and you can value how these made in sound.
  18. Heavy Blue

    Heavy Blue

    Nov 11, 2017
    Prairie Canada
    Well I’ve been using my tools for 40 years now. I think I know how to not overtighten something.:meh:
    N4860 likes this.
  19. Hammerfield


    Aug 1, 2016
    My P bass is an Squier made of basswood, and its an awesome bass, I compared it with a mexican P made of alder, it was really "meh" in comparision with the Squier
  20. 58kites

    58kites Save a life....adopt a Pitbull

    Oct 21, 2014
    Austin Texas
    Basswood 410 on the Janka Hardness Scale... it's soft wood.
    If you like it, then keep buying it but Alder and Poplar are both cheap and much more practical.
    N4860 and Vinny_G like this.

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