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Best body wood for a "deep heavy bottom sound?"

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tjclem, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    What do you guys think? It will be a 5 string fretless...t
  2. stropsrats

    stropsrats Owner: www.kennedyaudio.com

    Feb 14, 2005
    Valders, Wisconsin
    I hope you mean hollow body, because a solid body has no real impact on the sound without a transducer in the wood. It's just that rare woods are more traditional and getting impossible to get as Australia and other places place severe restrictions on harvests as well as exporting, (partly due to infestation concerns as well as scarcity).

    Scientific studies show that the varnish coating is responsible for the sound of fine stratavari violins, construction being equal. Only an old timer with an expert ear can really tell the difference, however a difference in 'brightness' is generally agreed to exist. The brightness of a tube amp can be duplicated with transistor amps, but it usually is a custom project. Brightness is higher frequency sounds. Write back if you need more on this.
  3. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    Not true.

    Tone woods are a major factor, even in solidbody instruments. Just ask Mike Tobias. Multiple laminations will further allow you to tailor the sound, and take advantage of different tonal characteristics of a few woods, while the laminates (and wood grain orientation) can help further stabilize the instrument, and increase overall sustain. The neck wood(s) (and it's overall rigidity) can in particular have a great deal to do with an instrument's tone.

    If you want a nice dark tone, consider a walnut core, with perhaps some maple and purple heart laminates for more "focus" to the sound. A nice hard maple top can often help keep the articlation up when using darker woods by acting as a "tone plate".
  4. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    holy can of wurms, batman. :rolleyes:
  5. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Yes it is a can of worms isn't it. Thanks for the ideas and help :) Sorry about the confusion. It is a solid body. Ken as for the walnut I have used some pieces here and there. I have a bass at Bass Central with a top and back of your Walnut too. I am working on this one too with back wings from your Walnut. I still have a couple big chunks and several thin slats I can use for accents. I am not sure but I think he wants a one or 2 piece body. I should havemade that clear...t
  6. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Wellhere is another spin on it.... "The closer we come to a double-bass kind of sound, the happier I'll be."

    Does that change any recommendations? Also open to electronics and pickup recomendations. I know I will be putting the Labella tapewounds on the bass.
  7. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I think Bartolini pickups will get you a big warm sound. Maybe putting in a pickup really near to the neck might help make the sound really big, dark, and boomy. Mahogany would be a good wood, in my opinion. As for the neck, I personally like wenge, but I con't know if it would suit your purposes.
  8. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I think he wants a birdseye neck but we are open to suggestions.......t
  9. bassmanatlarge


    Jan 30, 2003
    Agreed as far as the body wood and pup location go. Barts do sound woody, and that's a matter of personal preference. Properly EQed EMGs will give a ton of depth and be clearer to boot IMHO.
  10. stropsrats

    stropsrats Owner: www.kennedyaudio.com

    Feb 14, 2005
    Valders, Wisconsin
    Well I won't encourage , especially for fretless.
    Any fretless will sound muddier to begin with.
    Better to add a footbox that adds in one octive
    lower harmonic if you want low mellowness,
    or obviously just use a longer necked bass to start with.
    A sustain box will also do the same thing as a thru-neck.
    But if that's what makes you happy, or maybe
    YO YOU MA is your hero, then try several woods and
    pick one out, but Paduak, Jurrah, Lacewood are
    your most obvious and traditional choices. Why
    do you think bass drum bodies are made in Jurrah?
    It looks best, is identifiable because if it's color and
    it holds down the panda bear populations down under. (joking)
  11. JTGale


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    Ken: For my next project, I have been considering a mahogony body with a maple face. I, too, am looking for a warm, dark tone. I hadn't thought of a maple/mahogony/maple lam. Would there be much difference between the two, other than weight?

  12. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    I've been looking for the upright sound for.... well, a few months, actually.
  13. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    What about using a piezo transducer?
  14. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Same for me, i'm looking for something dark, very deep and full sounding for a fretless 5 or 6. I'm thinking coco bolo top/mahogany/walnut back. I'm not sure how much and what the coco bolo will do for the tone though, i'm using it for appearence factors... can anyone tell what it'l do/what sound it will give me? Also not too sure what to use for the neck, and wether it should be neck thru or set..
  15. Since it fits with my building style and philosophy, poplar is currently my favorite suggestion for this type of question.

    Except for the fact that it's a real John Doe in the appearance department, I think it possesses many characteristics that could qualify it as a perfect wood for the bass. It machines easily and cleanly while not chewing up tools. It glues up great - if there ever was a joint that was stronger than the wood around it, this is it. It takes stain, dye, paint, and top finishes very well. And finally, it has fabulous tone! Oh yeah, it's fairly inexpensive as tone woods go although somewhat difficult to find in wide dimensions. Since it doesn't have the killer looks, you can cap it with a figured wood for looks AND tweak the tone without worrying about covering up something beautiful.
  16. bassmanatlarge


    Jan 30, 2003
    My theory is that the less dense the wood, the more it sucks the brightness out of the tone...Maybe balsa would give the most bottom :rolleyes:
  17. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    It's simple- get some "Asswood" from Marco in Brazil!!~ :D
  18. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    I'm no expert, but I think you are wrong about this. The story I read (and this was a while ago) was that there was a very cold period of time in that part of Europe. It lasted about 20-30 years with very cold winters. The cold winters caused the growth rings in the trees to be much tighter, thus making the wood more dense.

    Supposedly, the Strat violins were made with this very special wood. I'm not sure about the varnish, but that's the story I heard.

    My point is that wood is important. A trip to any guitar shop will tell you that.