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. I think agathis and pine are pretty much the same thing, aren't they?
  2. mojomike001


    Mar 28, 2013
    South Florida
    There are a lot of varieties of pine. I think agathis is one of them.
  3. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I like the lightness of basswood, an Aerodyne Jazz the best example, but it dents really easily. Aerodynes ding if you breathe on them too hard.
    Raulplaysbass likes this.
  4. Basswood makes for great honey, too.
    Basswood-Blend jpg.jpg

    • I got an old P/J with a mahogany body that has taken the abuse well.
  5. cork
    SOUTH PAW likes this.
  6. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    That would be interesting, since it wont hold a screw.
  7. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    I voted basswood because my 5 string is made out of it and it's two pounds lighter than my Jazz Bass. still sounds good. Basswood is also very easy to work with - it carves easily without splintering.
    Dadagoboi likes this.
  8. kohanmike

    kohanmike Gold Supporting Member

    The guy that made my custom Telecaster mini bass guitar used poplar and I find it a little too heavy. I also have swamp ash and basswood that are definitely lighter. I'm planning to have two more bodies made and I'm pretty sure I'll choose alder, but that depends on what's available at House of Hardwoods in Culver City.
    kodiakblair likes this.
  9. It was going to be an experiment. I didn't get far enough into it to discover the product's inability to fasten down hardware. That would have been quite a disappointment.
  10. No. The type of particle board I was thinking of has a rather high ratio of glue to wood chips. Glue dries to a solid consistent mass. Strong and no dead spots. That got me wondering how Plastic Wood brand wood filler (readily available in my area) would perform as a substitute for carbon fiber (which is strong and consistent with no dead spots, but costs a fortune and isn't a viable alternative for a one off experimental project with a high likelihood of some unforeseen failure). I don't believe glue based products or carbon fiber are plant based materials, so I doubt either one comes from trees. I think they probably grow best in a lab or chemical factory not too far from the fertilizer used on the vegetables you ate for supper last night. So there may be a connection after all.
  11. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    You and two fingers both, stop yer birching
    plav1959 likes this.
  12. TyBo


    Dec 12, 2014
    Yeah, the light weight is definitely a big plus. It's also very resonant, another big plus. Of course we've seen many times that some folks disagree that resonance matters in an electric solidbody instrument, and of course there are many other factors that also matter ... my own experience is that resonance does matter, both in the amplified sound and in the feel of how an instrument plays. For those whose mileage on this varies, that's fine, you don't have to make the wood a consideration for sound when you buy or build a solidbody. Personally, I notice this factor. Paulownia is a nice wood in this respect. And super light!


    May 31, 2015
    Lakewood, CA
    Yea, just add a balsa neck for good balance.
    cheechi likes this.
  14. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    SOUTH PAW likes this.
  15. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    Supply vs. demand. That doesn't say anything about the quality of the tone.
  16. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I never mentioned tone in my post, because it is the last thing that should be considered when selecting a body wood. I mentioned the price because at $5 a board food an Alder body blank is not exactly inexpensive. It cost as much or more than ash or maple.
  17. TyBo


    Dec 12, 2014
    Oh, one of those people, eh? ^_^
    tfer likes this.
  18. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    This is what happens when I post in the non technical sub forums. I never learn my lesson.

    I never commented about tone, I commented about the price of the materials. I won't let this turn into a ridiculous "tonewood" argument.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
    Jeff Scott likes this.
  19. TyBo


    Dec 12, 2014
    Well, you did comment about tone, read your post. You also commented about price of materials ... which may have been your main point, but was not the only point you put forward. Just sayin'. But we don't have to have an argument on that
  20. 58kites

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

    Oct 21, 2014
    Austin Texas
    I can't believe Basswood is ahead of Poplar 60 to 46 in the poll.
    Basswood is so soft that it does not hold screws well and it's easy to dent, that does not seem like a good choice of wood.
    Poplar is plenty light, machines well, takes paint well, but is far more durable than Basswood.
    I have a bass with a body made of Basswood and the bass is fine but I know I have to very careful with it.
    Is the weight of a bass really that big a deal? If the body is too light the neck dives.
    I understand not many people want to gig with a T-40 every night but I just don't see the point of Basswood.
    Ash, Alder and Poplar are all great choices that I would pick over Basswood every time.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
    birminghambass 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 26, 2021

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