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Basswood?

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


  1. Low84

    Low84 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    EBMM also used basswood on the EVH signatures years ago. They had maple tops as well. And Fender continues to use it on the EVH Wolfgang. This oughta be some sort of testament... Eddie is no dummy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
  2. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    I had a basswood p-bass years ago … amazing light in weight and good tone
     
  3. Sixgunn

    Sixgunn

    Jun 6, 2012
    Colorado Springs
    I don't wait 30 minutes after eating, to go swimming.
    Metal, wood, electronics.

    rocket-surgery.
     
    InternetAlias and Skillet like this.
  4. mwbassace

    mwbassace

    Jul 26, 2010
    N.W. Ohio
    I have a G&L SB-2 Tribute that's basswood & from my understanding most of the G&L Tribute series are basswood bodies. Mine sounds, plays & feels fantastic & is solidly built. I would in no way say it's cheap or inferior.
     
  5. Every time I see this pic I detest it more and more for the bad example it sets. I really hope that the broken-off part rebounded and nailed the perp right in the 'nads.
     
    TrustRod, DJ Bebop and InternetAlias like this.
  6. Every time I play the bass, auditors think something fishy is going on.
     
    pcake likes this.
  7. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I believe that’s the bassist from the Clash, and if you really want to blame somebody, it’s Hendrix and Towshend who started the guitar bashing fad. Watch a few videos of Towshend bashing guitars to bits, Entwhistle always well in the background protectively cradling his bass. Man after my own heart. :)
     
    bdplaid likes this.
  8. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Too soft to hold screws well is why i’m not a big fan. I don’t think it’s a problem for anything but the bridge where all the string tension is bearing on the bridge mounting screws and maybe the pass through holes for the neck screws on a bolt on, although i think that may be more an unfounded personal opinion rather than a worrysome aspect of basswood.
    I also realize there are tons of basses with basswood bodies in the wild doing just fine, but where i get nervous is removing and replacing screws in existing holes in soft wood. No matter how careful you are to seat the screw in existing threads, soft wood is a lousy material for repeated removal and replacement of threaded fasteners, especially when you need to put some torque on the fasteners to insure a string anchor is secure enough to not be affected by the tension of the strings. For most folks that’s not a deal but when you take your bass apart a few times a year (or more), it becomes a concern.
     
    Robert B likes this.
  9. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    Basswood is less dense than most more expensive woods. This may cause the bass to have (little more) neck dive. Most of the tone of an electric bass is in the pickups.

    A few years ago I tested four G&L Tribute series L-2000 basses. Two of those had a basswood body, the other two were made of swamp ash. I couldn't hear any significant tonal difference. From the weight I could instantly tell which was which. I chose a swamp ash body, because of the better weight distribution.
     
  10. The first time I remove screws from a bass, no matter the wood, I try to remember to put a couple of droplets of super-glue down the hole, give them a few seconds to set up, then invert the bass and tap out the glue. Once hardened, the remaining glue protects the soft hole threads.
     
    DJ Bebop, Jay2U and fhm555 like this.
  11. Yeah, you tend to strip more screws on basswood than most others. It is softer. My old bass has three strap holes in the back end because of that.
     
  12. Leo Thunder

    Leo Thunder

    Sep 27, 2018
    No instrument is designed with the concerns of the ever dissatisfied tinkerer in mind. It's a losing proposition from the start, so why bother?
     
    fhm555 likes this.
  13. Yep. Thanks for setting me straight.

     
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  14. I had an early 90's (like 91 or 92) Japanese P-bass that was basswood. It was okay, but got dinged and dented if you looked at it the wrong way (i did that a lot back in those days, evidently!).

    I'm really not sure if the dark and pretty boring tone was due to the wood or the player (!).

    My current P-bass is Alder, uses the same model PUP, but has a one piece maple neck (rather than the maple/Indian rosewood fret-board) and sounds totally different- alive and punchy. Then again, it might be the player (and 15-16 more yrs of learning)...
     
  15. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Yes, as a flying model airplane builder i’m well versed in using CA for hardening threads in soft wood, but it only penetrates so far. It helps, but in essence it simply moves the weak point fruther toward the root of the thread. Not to mention wood saturated with CA becomes brittle and prone to breakage if you put a bit too much torque on the screw. This is why critical stress points on models composed of mostly balsa and basswood are equipped with steel or hard nylon inserts, so regular use of those fasteners will not result in failure in flight. CA can extend the life of threads cut into soft wood but it is still not up to the task of repeated removal and insertion of screws when those fasteners must be torqued enough to anchor a stressed component. This is no an issue with guard screws and usually not with pickup mounting screws as they are under no real stress, at least not enough to worry about movement or failure so i’ll use CA on those holes in a soft wood body. In model building, setting hardwood blocks to receive stressed fasteners is a fairly common technique where a flush fit is required with only a blind hole to work with. Machine threaded inserts also work but hard wood allows a larger surface area of contact and a tighter joint between the two woods than can be had between wood and a metal insert in a blind hole situation.
    I may be the only fool who can’t properly clean a bass (to my satisfaction) without removing all the attched bits from the body but it is what it is so i tend to prefer harder woods for my bass bodies, or at least hard wood inserts for bridge and strap button screws if i come into possession of a nice used bass with a soft body.
     
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  16. rmcfee

    rmcfee

    Jul 5, 2012
    John Suhr said that basswood with a maple top (on guitars) was the "holy grail" of tone woods.
     
  17. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    While i am nowhere near an “ever dissatisfied tinkerer”, i am suffering from an acute case of terminal tinkeritus, but my goal is to build in peace of mind wherever it is impractical to do so in a mass production situation on items i use often enough to merit making them better suited to my individual taste. While i sometimes ponder the idea of scratch building vacuum bagged carbon fiber bass bodies, i just as quickly remind myself i have no real desire to do so beyond bragging rights and i’m old enough that bragging rights are no longer something i have any interest in. I’ve build some pretty cool vacuum bagged CF things for an item we are forbidden to discuss here, but they were commisioned pieces and i was well paid to make them, but i’m rambling.
    Back on topic, i’d rather see to those details personally rather than pay someone else to do it which is why i refuse to entertain the idea of a custom built one off item when i can convert a piece of compromised mass produced product into the same thing while also feeding my compulsion.
    It is in the tiny details where the devil truly dwells, so it becomes something of a holy imperative to drive ole scratch out of an object to which i’ve become attached, so i tinker with things i use often to make them more useful to me.
    I have people ask me why i don’t simply scratch build things and the answer is i spent a lot of time doing exactly that, all manner of shovels and rakes and other implements of (mass) destruction for our Uncle and prototyped things that are now medical and energy system standards. It is satisfying to do that kind of work, but i’m retired and i won’t create a minimum wage job for myself simply to recoup money spent on equipment i really don’t need to earn a living with.
    Nope, i’m content to tinker with an MIM jazz bass to fix the things that vex me about the mass production compromises Fender must employ to deliver such a slick bit of kit at such a great price, but i have no desire to do it for any other reason than personal satisfaction.
     
    CATFISHMcC0Y and DJ Bebop like this.
  18. lloganbracee

    lloganbracee

    Sep 9, 2017
    It could’ve just been a bad piece of wood, but again: EBMM did a study that proved basswood would have more resonance & sustain than maple of any kind. I’m not saying you’re placebo’d or illegitimizing your claim. I’m just saying that it could have been a bad cut of wood or something, because it doesn’t all add up.
     
    geezerjazz, bdplaid and DJ Bebop like this.
  19. Basswood is a favorite of wood carvers because it is relatively soft and easy to carve with little grain variation.
     
  20. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    some cats just prefer playing their coffee tables. :D
     
    basspraiser likes this.

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