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Body wood vs Neck wood vs Fretboard wood Which is more important?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Systolic, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. Body wood

    30 vote(s)
  2. Neck wood

    49 vote(s)
  3. Fretboard wood

    83 vote(s)
  1. Systolic

    Systolic Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    Well of course. Strings, pickups, bridge, nut, frets...all have a larger impact, IMO, than wood, but that doesn't mean there is no impact/flavor imparted by it.
  2. Tommyc


    Nov 11, 2015
  3. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    What about set neck/neck through vs bolted...3, 4 or 6 screws?
    (Not to mention neck plate or no neck plate)
    Other than that...
    Tommyc likes this.
  4. Thrillhouse

    Thrillhouse Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    True enough. But in my experience (owning probably 25 basses of all types over the years), woods seem to make a rather minor difference compared to pickups/strings. It could also be that I just know so well how I want to sound that I find a way to get there on any instrument using adjustments to technique/playing style.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
    BillMason and TrustRod like this.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    From my ears, this is how I hear it: Finger/fretboard - colors the tone, the delivery of the note. Core/body wood - the resonance and sustain of the instrument.
    MattZilla likes this.
  6. IME the stiffness of the neck makes the biggest difference. You could have a great body, but if you put a flimsy neck on there it won't sound so great.

    Some body woods do inherently change the timbre, however.
    For instance, Ash really does scoop the mids a little.
    cataract likes this.
  7. 39-Bassist


    Jul 7, 2010
    Endorsing Artist for: Brace Audio; Duncan Pickups; Line6, Hipshot, GHS Strings, Somnium Guitars
    ALL of the ABOVE!

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Great point! I think the mass of the neck surely effects the instrument.
    fnordlyone likes this.
  9. Having greater mass doesn't necessarily equate to being stiffer.
    pudge likes this.
  10. Hounddog409


    Oct 27, 2015

    It's my belief that the size and shape of the wood makes more difference than type of wood. And whether the neck is bolted on or neck through.

    Take the epiphone embassy pro and TB vintage pro.

    Same wood. Same pickups. Same bridge. Same strings from factory.

    But sound is not the same. Different shape. One is Bolt on neck. Other neck through.

    Think about vibrations. Different size and shape will have different effect on the vibration.

    That's all I got
  11. Does wood matter? That's what she said. .
    rtav and Systolic like this.
  12. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 6.25.33 PM.
    keithbroussard and BillMason like this.
  13. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia living la vida loca Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    I found a bug in your poll: you left off pickguard.
    MattZilla and BillMason like this.
  14. As much as I wish Roger had come up with his own proprietary designs, I find myself agreeing with his opinion on the subject. This is based on 20 years bass experience and 32 years woodworking experience.
  15. The13thFret

    The13thFret Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2019
    Sydney Australia
    Its almost Friday Afternoon, so my little game today will be...
    I'm not allowed to open a beer till someone posts "what is the best wood for metal";)
    BillMason likes this.
  16. Regarding electric bass and electric guitar ,having owned a bunch with a plethora of body, neck and fingerboard woods and nut composition, etc. and played many more over the last 50 years, my honest opinion is that the 2 biggest contributors to tone are strings and pickups. If we’re talking acoustic instruments I might feel differently. I own a few but my experience is by and large more with amplified solid body axes.
    TrustRod, rtav and BillMason like this.
  17. pudge

    pudge Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    I've gone crazy for wenge.Don't play my finished necks much anymore.
    comatosedragon likes this.
  18. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    These discussions always go the same way... depends on what you think is the BIGGEST difference, or most important, and just how you define that.

    If I built an all-maple bass, it would probably have an "inherent" bright, sharp sound. You can switch pickups all day in it, and some pickups will accent that brightness, some will diminish and soften that brightness, but it will still have that inherent "voice" because of the structure. Try putting Ric pickups in an alder Jazz Bass... it won't sound like a Ric. Strat pickups in a Les Paul... nope. The inherent Strat sound doesn't travel with the pickups.

    Put flatwounds on it, and it will still have that inherent underlying voice. The flats will make a very noticeable difference on the sound, but you can't escape that structure's inherent voice... how it affects how the string vibrates.

    It just depends on whether you're asking what makes the most audible "difference"... or what is most baked-in to the sound of an instrument, and therefore, is pretty much the constant underlying characteristic of the tone/timbre of the instrument.

    So, what's more "important?" I always vote with what's the most basic, inherent, unchangeable part of the system, the structure...FIRST. Pickups, strings and electronics can be swapped out, and can be used to great effect to positively accent/reinforce/compensate for the tone inherent in the structure.
    Son of Wobble likes this.
  19. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    Without falling too far down the tonewood rabbit-hole, my beliefs are finger/fretboard wood is the most important.

    Metal is one of the most efficient ways of transmitting vibrations. And frets, embedded in the fingerboard simply transmit that vibration into the wood, and do very little to alter the tone, except to add a touch of brightness.
    JRA likes this.
  20. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    By the way, I voted Neck Wood, of the three choices.

    But, my old Precision doesn't HAVE a separate fretboard, frets are pounded into the maple neck.

    So, I think Roger Sadowsky has a point. I respect his opinion, just out of his vast experience.
    Son of Wobble likes this.

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