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Basswood?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by basspraiser, Nov 25, 2018.


  1. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I’ve owned instruments with basswood bodies and never had a structural stability or durability issue with any of them. Go figure.
     
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  2. Regarding stripped screw holes, I would be of the opinion that most of those were caused by cross-threading and/or over-tightening. I learned this the hard way, but it did teach me to turn the screwdriver counter-clockwise until the screw "drops" into the thread, then tighten only slightly past where the driver stops. By the way, I was just a 13 year old and the bass body was maple.
     
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  3. Funny how that happens :)

    I was having a little trouble with mine though...
    LiIOODf.
     
    squish, basspraiser, deernaes and 4 others like this.
  4. CaseyVancouver

    CaseyVancouver

    Nov 4, 2012
    My 20 year old basswood Fender Jazz Bass Special has no indication of loose screws or any issues from soft wood, just like my walnut Alembic does not.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
    funkinbottom, ruju, wmmj and 5 others like this.
  5. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    It’s miserable when you have to adjust a truss rod like that though.
     
  6. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Exactly -
     
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  7. J-Mags

    J-Mags Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2018
    Durham NC
    Two of my favorite guitars ever: my Squier Mustang Bass and my Japanese 60s Esquire are/were basswood. I got no to complaints. The Esquire was really soft and dinged easily, the Bass, not so much.
     
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  8. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i didn't know that, but i plan on continuing to call it basewood as i play the base, not a fish :D
     
  9. lloganbracee

    lloganbracee

    Sep 9, 2017
    MusicMan actually did a study & found that basswood has the best resonance of any wood they deemed usable for a bass build, which is why they build them with it. That’s interesting, too. Most people are under the impression that a dense wood has more resonance, but it’s not the case.

    The complaints about stripping the wood for screws seem to be pretty well founded. A softer wood, in theory, would be easier to do that with.

    It has a good full tone. It’s a desirable weight. It’s not ugly, but it isn’t “interesting” looking, either. The finish can eliminate a lot of the dents & nings. Obviously nitrocellulose wouldn’t be a good option, but the Vintage Modified series has a lot of basswood models & they hold up well with a thick polyurethane coating.
     
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  10. Gunga Din

    Gunga Din

    Jun 22, 2018
    Yeh, same with Wenge. When I was getting into Warwicks I kept pronouncing it 'Wenj'
    Later, I read that it is pronounced 'Wen-ge.'
     
  11. Gunga Din

    Gunga Din

    Jun 22, 2018
    The finish on my VM Deluxe Active IV is nice and thick!
     
  12. cnltb

    cnltb

    May 28, 2005
    From trying quite a few instruments made from it I'd say that there seems nothing at all wrong with basswood.
     
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  13. Leo Thunder

    Leo Thunder

    Sep 27, 2018
    It's a pronunciation issue. Someone explained that "basswood" sounds like "ass" and it went on from there. Tragic, I know…
     
  14. Sparkl

    Sparkl

    Apr 23, 2011
    Europe
    I dont't know... I also always looked at basswood as an el cheapo option bot honestly... Some guitars are based on basswood and sound great. Aerodyne comes to mind... Also Satriani's JS Ibanez...

    It is always about proper compensation. If you use a certain material you then select certain components to complement each other and I can absolutely see how it may and in fact does work.

    Ultimately, it comes down to how the instrument plays in your hand. You will definitely be able to get a great bass tone from basswood just as much as with alder or ash or other variations.

    My 50 cents on basswood is that when bass guitars are made of it, the guitars mostly feel too light in my arms and I get a feeling that the bass isn't sturdy and nicely fixed in my hands. The heavier attack on the guitar also makes the guitar move a bit more which I don't prefer. I also don't dig NYC Sados just for the same reason. Too "cardboardish". I much much more prefer the non-chambered Metro line.

    Then again, this has nothing to do with the sound for which I can comfortably say that basswood is just fine for that.
     
  15. Leo Thunder

    Leo Thunder

    Sep 27, 2018
    The air you breathe is cheap too. That doesn't make it bad. Wood is cheaper when it grows aplenty next to where it is used. Stradivarius used wood from his region. His violins became legendary because of the sound holes he made in them, not because he used some rare wood others couldn't find.

    As to weight, it is a pure feeling, a habit or a fear. Heavier guitars are not better, just heavier.
    I dislike light, hollow-bodied acoustic guitars because I am not used to them. Others do marvellous things with them.
     
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  16. Sparkl

    Sparkl

    Apr 23, 2011
    Europe
    Which is exactly what I said.

    I would OTOH not bring Stradivarius into this discussion. Guy was a freak and the stories go as far as him planting the tree, watching it grow under special circumstances and then using it for making his instruments. Might be fiction, might be true. But we can't compare exclusively hand made stradi stuff with nowadays automated industry.

    So - no, an alder guitar isn't de facto better than ash guitar or basswood guitar as much as a lighter guitar isn't de facto better then a heavier guitar.

    the heaviness of the instrument does bring certain things into the game though such as string stability when being played. It does have way more to do with a heavy/thicker neck though. All in all it depends which one you prefer.
     
  17. Luigir

    Luigir

    Mar 15, 2018
    Basswood is not a cheap option.
    A surely not cheap basswood bass is the music man bongo. You can find multiple k priced prs guitars in basswood too.

    To be honest imho wood is relatively cheap whatsoever. I guess that the wood in a guitar impact only for a fraction of the cost.
     
  18. John Cribbin

    John Cribbin

    Jan 5, 2018
    If Leo used basswood in the 50's it would be the holy grail of tonewood.

    But he didn't, so the internet knows it's a second rate wood ....
     
  19. Luigir

    Luigir

    Mar 15, 2018
    By the way. I think that tonewood debate could be mildly relevant for cellos, violins and acoustic instruments only.

    Electric guitars have always been industrially made with the wood that was lying around: alder and ash are nothing fancy but as basswood they do the job they're supposed to.

    To me it's really peculiar and interesting to play on an instrument wich has never been though at as a luthier product. Fender was thinking at mass market when he designed its p bass and from the choice of wood to the bridge to all the instrument you can see that it has been thought with a strong practical mindset.
     
    TrustRod likes this.
  20. Acoop

    Acoop

    Feb 21, 2012
    My brother uses it for wood carving and it's light so it's great for older players with neck/back/shoulder issues. ... I have one very nice 90's Fender Basswood J-bass body in red with no under pickguard routing. Looks and feels great.
     

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