Basswood what is it?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FenderHotRod, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. FenderHotRod


    Sep 1, 2004
    I have seen this word around latly even my new bass is made of it I think. What kind of wood is basswood. Is it good? Crap? Please explane for me Pleease.
  2. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Basswood (Tilia americana):
    This is a lighter weight wood normally producing Strat® bodies under 4 lbs. The color is white, but often has nasty green mineral streaks in it. This is a closed-grain wood, but it can absorb a lot of finish. This is not a good wood for clear finishes; It is quite soft, and does not take abuse well. Soundwise, Basswood has a nice, warm tone.
  3. FenderHotRod


    Sep 1, 2004
    Thanks Dbassmon,

    I've only really heard of Ashs and Alder. Basswood is new to me.
  4. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Basswood is used in korean spectors and Musicman bongos. Those basses are great so its not a bad wood.
  5. Basswood seems to be used alot on lower-priced basses, even though some of these are quite good. It is softer than some other woods, lighter, tends to not hold screws all that well, especially strap button screws, etc..

  6. td1368


    Jan 9, 2001
    Basswood is used in my Fender MIJ Jazz Bass and ln the Heir and Kingston MTD Basses. I thought basswood was used pretty extensively in Asian imports.

    I think the Warmoth description is pretty accurate. My MIJ got a few indentations on the back with very little effort.
  7. FenderHotRod


    Sep 1, 2004

    What about the screws that hold the Bridge down?
  8. The bridge screws are usually much larger than the smaller screws used for the strap buttons. I seriously doubt you'd ever have a problem with those. Strap buttons tend to take alot of abuse and can begin to pull free. But hey, this can happen on harder woods too.
    It's really not a bad wood at all, and I wasn't implying that it was. It's got a warm sound, and it's light.

  9. Basswood is a commonly used wood. Most Deans are basswood and I think the Peavey EVH "Wolfgang" g****rs are basswood (with maple veneer tops). There's nothing wrong with basswood sonically speaking, it is light and resonant. It just isn't the prettiest wood for a clear finish
  10. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002

    Basswood is really underrated. If you ever hear anyone complain about it soundwise, just direct them to a MusicMan Bongo.
  11. FenderHotRod


    Sep 1, 2004
    Thanks Magneto,

    Had me worried there for a min. :)
  12. I'm almost certain that my early 90's Peavey B-Ninety was a basswood bass, and it had a very very nice tone for a cheap bass.
  13. It's tonally similar to alder, although I've heard the sound described as "drier" sounding. Generally a bit softer than alder and rarely if ever used for transparent finishes. It's more widely available to the Asian market than alder, which Fender basically receives from one source somewhere in North America.
  14. Ilovepink

    Ilovepink Banned

    Nov 17, 2003
    Basswood is actually my second choice right behind Korina. It is lightweight and very warm. A great choice for "vintage" style instruments. I wouldn't worry at all about losing staplocks etc. I have sevral basswood basses and guitars and I have never had that problem. The fragility of basswood is largely urban legend. Basswood rocks!
  15. Artisan


    Apr 14, 2004
    If you ever encounter a problem with any wood losing its threads, simply go to a hobby shop and pickup a bottle of thin cyanoacrylate (CA) glue.

    Remove the offending screw, carefully pour a drop or two of CA into the hole and let it sit for fifteen or so minutes. Then repeat the process once again. You will then be able to rethread the wood/CA combination with the intended screw or bolt and have a permanent solution. If, by some odd chance, it happens again, just repeat the process again.

    Store the remaining CA glue in your refrigerator or freezer with the bottle sealed. It will last for years if kept cold and has many, many uses on porous materials.

    I am a basswood fan. Love the lightweight and the relatively high strength and sonic warmth of the wood.
  16. Gord


    Jan 10, 2004
    BC, Canada
    many people swear they hear a huge difference when comparing basswood to anything, mind you, those people also swear american basses are the only way to go. I used to not be sure about basswood, then I found out one of my favourite basses WAS basswood. There is a recent thread about how much of a difference wood actually makes, but to me basswood is great, I don't like sunburst finishes so usually basswood has a straight colour, sometimes sparkles or something like that too. If you love the sound of the instrument but change your mind based on the wood used, your really missing out on a great instrument
  17. raycer


    Mar 22, 2004
    Orange County, NY
    My Dean Edge 5 is basswood. I bought it used and the wood is still in great shape, so it can take some abuse I think

    Also, it way not be good for clear finishes, but in semi tranparent finishes like the purple on my Dean, it looks quite nice.
  18. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    It is common in the Mid-West and the areas of the Northern US and Canada.

    I have a Taye drum kit made of it as well as my SRX300 Ibanez. It is a nice wood and nothing to be scared of. It's probably less expensive because there is higher demand for the other woods from furnishing mfg. and other wood using industries as well as the instrument builders. Probably due to the nicer grains and colors offered by the other woods.

    I chose my basswood kit over the maple due to the sound quality. The Maples were louder but the Basswood just sounded more "woody" and "warm". I think it's the same for basses. Being less expensive was a bonus.

    Although I believe that really your Pick up's and strings have even more to do with tone than the wood.
  19. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Nearly any wood can be used in the construction of an instrument. Cost is not connected to sound. Lumber costs are based on availability. If the wood is abundant or the demand low, then it will be a lower priced wood. There is nothing wrong with basswood, except for appearance which is not an issue for a solid colored bass.
  20. patrickj


    Aug 13, 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    The much-loved (I think that's the general consensus) BTB406 is also basswood. Sounds great.