Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mangle, Mar 16, 2004.

  1. mangle


    Dec 17, 2001
    Guayaquil, ECUADOR
    I always thought basswood is used only for budget basses... u guys who build basses, what you can say about the tonal properties of basswood for bodies?
  2. Jonki

    Jonki I will not slap my Bee!

    Oct 14, 2003
    Arendal, Norway
    from :)
  3. sunburstbasser


    Oct 18, 2003
    In my limited experience, basswood is one of those woods that is used when the electronics are of such character as to override the sound of the wood. EB's Bongo is made of basswood, and that is a fairly nice bass all around. Basswood isn't great for passive electronics, though. It seems to lack character to my ears, anyway. Ibanez guitars hammer this home. Many of the low to medium end models are made of basswood, and lack the character of alder, mahogany, or other more expensive woods. When using passive electronics, I'd suggest a different wood. With actives, by all means go for it! Active Ibanez basswood basses sound pretty good, even through toneless Peavey amps.
  4. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    I play low end Ibes. What can I say, they work for me for lots of reasons. I've recently routed 4 of them to accept any pup configuration, one of which is basswood.

    From the routing I'd say Jonki had the streaks right. The bass weighed 8 1/2 - 8 3/4 lbs before routing (every bit as heavy as a Mahogany bass I have). 1/2 lb less now I'd guess. I've only had a set of passive PJ duncans in it (hotstack and never can remember the matching P - skb 1 - whatever, too many pups or too few brain cells). The bass came with an OBP 1 in it. Played for a long time that way and recently pulling all onboards and converting them to outboards. There's no detectable difference in the sound of that bass without the OBP 1. In fact, I thought that fat sound was coming from the Aggie - nope. The Aggie is actually a fairly anemic preamp judging from running it through my other basses and comparing it to an EMG BTC and about every Bart preamp out there. Which is one of the reasons I'm on this quest - to isolate where the sound is coming from. Have lots of pups and will soon be swapping them in and out of these basses run passive and active through the outboards.

    Also, two of the other basses are Agathis (Fuji Flora Punim as a Spector bud refers to it - he's just jealous: he shipped me a chec spec and it weighed 10 lbs and I sent it back to him and told him I've got an Ibe that sounds like it only better that weighs 7 1/2 pounds and cost me 1/3 less). Anyway, one of the Agathis is a thudder and one is bright. A marked contrast in tone unplugged from these basses made of the same kind of wood.

    Also have a mahogany, maple, and Swamp ash bass. The Schecter is Mahogany and I called Schecter and they said the weight of the bass would vary between 8 and 9 lbs depending on the slab of Mahogany in it.

    My minds not made up by any means (and never is it seems) but I'm not a strong proponent of selecting a kind of wood for a kind of tone. But at this point I'd say the piece not the kind makes the difference.

    One reason I like the Ibes is cause they're light (and mine are even more so now). If I'm sacrificing any tone, I'm hard pressed to tell it when I fire up, passive or active.

    For what it's worth