basswood vs. poplar

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by fretter, Jul 23, 2016.

  1. Basswood

  2. Poplar

  3. Plywood

  4. Particle board

  5. Carrots

  6. Broccoli

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. plav1959


    May 7, 2016
    Orlando, FL

    Son of a beech, yew beat me to it. But it's OakA . At least I have a pear of anteak basses so I won't be stuck in the larch.
    Dwitt33, Tanner5382 and two fingers like this.
  2. I voted Poplar, since it is affordable and was used heavily by Grover Jackson during their heyday. Hence why I specified Poplar for my Warmoth Z body in black cherry.
  3. RED J

    RED J Lol

    Jan 23, 2000
    Add Agathis to my roster. Of all the basses I've owned, the only solid wood I throw in the category of plywood is poplar. I've had one plywood bass that sounded as good as any I've owned, but the poplar basses I owned just didn't make the cut. :vomit:
  4. 58kites

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

    Oct 21, 2014
    Austin Texas
    When I look up the specs on Peavey Foundation basses, I find body woods made out of poplar, alder, maple, "finest selected hardwoods", and southern ash.
    I am not sure I can tell which year or version of the Foundation is made of which body wood without looking up Peavey's specs.
    When I look up the Peavey Forum (PJ and VFL) basses I find only poplar.
    When I look up the Peavey Axcelerator 5 and Axcelerator I find only poplar.
  5. RED J

    RED J Lol

    Jan 23, 2000
    To the best ofmy knowledge, most US Peaveys were Poplar, a few of the higher end models Ash, and some of the neck thrus more exotic woods.
  6. 58kites

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

    Oct 21, 2014
    Austin Texas
    I currently have basses here with bodies made of Swamp Ash, Poplar and Basswood...and then one that could be made of Maple or Alder or "the Finest Select Hardwoods" but I don't know which.
    I think the sound characteristics of most of them are more defined by the pickups and neck materials than the wood the bodies are made of.
    The Peavey Super Ferrite pickups in the Foundation have a unique enough sound that it is pretty hard for me to compare to anything else, so what body wood was used seems secondary.
    My Peavey G Bass had the highest MSRP when new. Peavey says it has a "solid basswood body" (that many people equate with budget basses)...attached to a 35" scale carbon/graphite composite neck!
    It has one internally active Peavey made pickup and a Peavey made 3 band active boost/cut tone circuit.
    Between the graphite neck and the active tone circuit, I am not sure that the body wood is a real important factor, also there is nothing out there to compare it to, so I don't know how the body wood plays into the sound.
    My Warwick Rockbass $$ has Ash body wood, but the two MM style humbuckers placement and the series/parallel tone option probably characterize it's sound more than the body wood....I would guess.

    I think you are right, most of the Peavey basses I've looked up are poplar, but I was surprised by how many different body woods got used over the years with the Foundation basses.
    Did you sell your Forum P-J and remaining Foundations?
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2016
    kodiakblair likes this.
  7. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Inactive

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    We here at the swamp ash lobby are greatly offended by the lack of inclusion in this thread!!! Harumph, harumph!!

    Honestly, swamp ash is the best evah. Pretty lightweight, too. :)
    Thundar likes this.
  8. aproud1

    aproud1 Don't surround yourself with yourself. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    Cincy, OH
    I like basswood. It's light and every bass I've had made of it sounded great. Really great actually. The only negatives to me, it's soft so it dings easily and screw holes strip easier if you aren't careful and it doesn't seem to have interesting grain if you want to do a Trans finish.
  9. bassman10096

    bassman10096 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    There's no sonic magic to alder or any of these woods. None of the "budget" choices seem to find their way into acoustic instruments (where "tone wood" is the real issue). As I understand it, Leo's choice of alder had nothing to do with sound - rather milling qualities and cost. Alder was regarded as nothing special and had never been used in instrument building. But it was easy to work and took paint easily. Most important it was available in the 50s in huge quantities for next to nothing. The rest is urban legend. If anyone can correct the foregoing information with verified facts, please feel free. The story had been repeated to me by several, unrelated instrument marketing old timers who were in the business in th 60s and 70s.
  10. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    Every basswood bass I've owned (several 80s Fenders, MM Bongo) dented very easily. Very soft wood IME.
    smperry likes this.
  11. Particle board sounds absurd to include in this list, but when you realize the glue content (very consistent and stable) it doesn't sound like a bad idea. I was going to make a bass out of plastic wood, buy six big cans, layer it and shape it until a bass was formed, then paint it. I don't know what the weight would be, but it would be extremely strong and rigid. Probably bright sounding.
  12. fretter


    May 24, 2012
    I didn't include ash and alder on purpose because these seem to be used less in the lower price range of basses. They would probably win any poll, and their tonal qualities have been discussed in detail on TB.
  13. Texx


    Sep 10, 2004
    Musicman stingray was made from ash alder and poplar in the 90's
    Guess it doesn’t make a difference if you have active electronics.
    I have an 96 MIM p-bass /poplar
    It Sounds very good but the screw holes seem to wear out easily
  14. nerkoids


    Jan 3, 2014
    The mineral streaks in wood is what gives it flame or sparkling. Maple has lots of minerals in it too. As for the green stuff, that goes away with proper drying of the timber.

    And Basswood can have quite a bit of figuring in it. This is my kit P-bass before final assembly:

    Here it is with the first coat of stain:
  15. 58kites

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

    Oct 21, 2014
    Austin Texas
    This is the story I've always heard as well.

    Warmoth says Alder is very middle of the road in their tone chart, same with Poplar...the Poplar being slightly heavier weight.
  16. ThePresident777


    Oct 6, 2013
    I don't know the price of basswood, but judging by the local lumber store (which don't have much selection) poplar is expensive. I 1x12 board costs $5.51 a foot at Homedepot. That's about double what common board "pine" costs.
  17. someguyfromNC


    Jul 4, 2015
    Thing is... Warmoth is in the selling guitar body/exotic wood business so they would obviously be a bit biased.
  18. mojomike001


    Mar 28, 2013
    South Florida
    Pine was left off the list. It's inexpensive and very lightweight. I've got a few basses I've built with pine bodies and I love'em. I cannot complain about the tone at all and the low weight keeps me coming back to them.
  19. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    don't want to divert/derail: but could you show us with some pics. the OP might also consider your experience: if we can take a peek! thanks!:thumbsup:
  20. BassFishingInAmerica


    Jul 24, 2014
    Pine is good.
    Novarocker likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 27, 2021

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