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Best tone wood for a 5-string jazz bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mettec, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. mettec


    Aug 22, 2005
    What would you concider to be the best tone wood body for a 5 string jazz bass? The only 3 I have seen in a quality jazz bass (Fender or non-Fender) are Alder, Ash, or Maple. Is there a preference in woods with passive and/or active pickups?
  2. i believe it all depends on your preference. i have swamp ash in my skjold bass and i can basically get any sound i want out of that instrument (its a 5 stringer). but here is a chart of diff wood types n their sounds.



    the latter is more descriptive...but i hope this helped!

    Oh, and about that jazz thing..i have bubinga in my fretless bass and it sounds great. once again, all depends on the player..
  3. mettec


    Aug 22, 2005

    I realize what tones come from different types of wood. My question is directly related to a 5-string jazz shaped bass. What do most people like in these? Which one cuts through better?
  4. First of all: You won't see much maple bodies on jazzbasses or on any other bass for that matter. Maple is too dense and heavy for this purpose. Maple is used mostly for necks, and often for a nice looking top on a body.

    Second: It's all a matter of perception and personal preference. there is no "best".

    This depends on how you define "to cut through". If this means that in your perception a bass cuts through better if it has more pronounced mids, then maybe alder (and maybe a rosewood fingerboard) will be the way to go.
    If you think a bass cuts through better if it has more pronounced highs, than maybe ash (and maybe a maple fingerboard) will be the better choice.
    And even then, every bass sounds different. I have played jazzbasses with the alder/rosewood combo that produced more sparkling highs and a clearer slap tone than other jazzbasses with the ash/maple combo. Every piece of wood is different.
    Also, active pickups and electronics are being used on every type of wood combo, so this too is a matter of personal preference.

    Having said this, just try as many instruments as possible, and then decide which wood combo's are most likely to fill your needs.


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