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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. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Before the opioid crisis doctors didn’t address patient pain because it wasn’t quantifiable. The highly subjective 1-10 scale was developed. My point is doctors weren’t/aren’t addressing pain accurately and effectively. Question: because it’s not presently measurable people through out mankind’s history haven’t experiencing pain?

    I understand that some people think purely logically. We are so much more. Logic and testing help us learn the world. But we ask the questions. We design the means and machines to measure. We are talking instruments that we make music through. I’ve heard humans who make intellectually perfect music that is not enjoyable. We love amps that are imperfect and have harmonic distortion. It is we who choose. A hi end studio component designer told me, “never let an engineer tell you what you hear.”
  2. Many people believe, and I tend to side with them, that having a one piece neck with no separate fretboard is going to provide the most “direct and immediate” response to notes.
    However, this is potentially countered by the possibility that a separate fretboard offers a bit of “warp protection” by virtue of the separate piece offering different stiffness and other physical properties.
  3. BurtMacklinFBI

    BurtMacklinFBI Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2018
    I’m pretty inclined to agree with Sadowsky, both because of his experience and because my own much more limited experience is consistent with his.
    TonyP- and sikamikanico like this.
  4. TrustRod


    Mar 13, 2016
    What are some of the shapes you can hear?
    mcarp555 and Tommyc like this.
  5. If I win the Powerball and don't have to work anymore, I would like to go back to school. Where did you study Acoustical Physics?
  6. Hounddog409


    Oct 27, 2015
    Waves do not travel the same through different shapes. Resulting in different sounds.

    Not rocket surgery.
  7. rd2rk


    Jun 29, 2012
    From Roger's article:

    THIS! I don't give a rat's patootie what YOU can or can't HEAR. I'M the only one who matters!
    I voted Fretboard, based entirely on my experience and perceptions, BUT......

    I had a Thunderbird (original '60s mahogany-rosewood) that sounded like mud.
    I had an Ibanez (mahogany-rosewood-laminated who knows what neck, Barts) that was all snappy and bright.
    My '70s Jazz had a maple fretboard and had no character at all.
    My '80s P had a maple fretboard, was a little too snappy, but ALMOST perfect (stolen).
    My AVRI (early 90s) '62 P had a rosewood fretboard and had the perfect combination of rounded snappiness (the One That Got Away).

    comatosedragon likes this.
  8. saabfender

    saabfender Banned SUSPENDED

    Jan 10, 2018
    But you're getting to it shortly, right?
  9. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013




    brown chicken, brown cow.
  10. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    Line yourself up next to Roger Sadowsky on credibility in this discussion. Please take video.
  11. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Not science either.
    TrustRod and BillMason like this.
  12. Tommyc


    Nov 11, 2015
    An ad hominem attack on me does not change that neither I nor you nor Roger would be willing to bet his life in a double blind test on which wood is which. Well I shouldn't presume about others, but at least I wouldn't.
    TrustRod and mcarp555 like this.
  13. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
  14. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Er I mean no, rather
  15. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    I’m not necessarily a ‘wood doesn’t matter guy’ but I’ll say this... if the wood matters that much to a vibrating string picked up by magnets, you’d think more people would also talk tonewood for speaker cabinets
    TrustRod, 58kites and mcarp555 like this.
  16. Cage


    Oct 1, 2018
    OK must be kinda bored but if you say so
  17. Strictly my own opinion and intuition from 40 years being around electric basses:

    Discounting the differences introduced by
    a) the vagaries, the randomness of wood, and
    b) pickups, amps, and room effects, and
    c) the difference in my ears and everyone else

    . . . . . I'd have to say for me the necks make the biggest difference, with the overall wood recipe 'seasoning' it somewhat, in terms of the body wood. In general, the harder, the brighter. Maple/maple neck/fingerboards, with maple/ebony a close second, were the brightest to me. Team either with an ash or maple body, it will cut through anything Q'ed to a bright sound in the amp. Start introducing the soft brown woods like mahogany or old rosewood and things begin to mellow out.

    The exception for me are the German Warwicks, say a Thumb, made out of the dense, hard African woods they pioneered. But different from the white woods I mentioned above, still punchy, but more or a pizz tuba type of sonic profile, particularly with narrow-aperture pickups like a Jazz shape.

    One of the Alembics was a Maple/purpleheart/ebony fingerboard neckthru, with mahogany wings and a quilt maple cap, and just like a Les Paul, the mahogany smoothed out the hard woods' 'quack' and was the best all-rounder I ever owned. I've often toyed with the idea of a 'brown bass' Fender, with a mahogany body and neck with a rosewood fingerboard, just a sonic 'old blue jeans' bass.

    And in the old 'gee, what's the difference in a neckthru and a bolt-on?' question, my take is this: The sustain angle is way oversold. Any decent bass on a loud stage will have enough sustain. The difference to me is that in my experience, separate necks tend to squelch the fundamental and first several harmonics slightly, where neckthrus tend to carry more fundamental and first harmonics to the amp, it it's capable.
    My 2nd Alembic five-string had the best low C's and D's I EVER heard, you hear that 'beat' of the first several harmonics clearly, the only bass I ever had do that regularly.

    Guess the wood recipe? Swamp Ash wings, maple/walnut stringer/ebony fingerboard neckthru.

    And again, totally my own experience, utterly un-scientific. Your results, I'm utterly certain, may differ.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  18. blastoff

    blastoff Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2007
    Neck. its the “live spring” that stretches the strings. saying nothing of generalizations of wood type->tone , rather that the neck is the part of an electric guitar that vibrates the most and contributes to (or detracts from) tone the most.
    Templar and M.R. Ogle like this.
  19. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Nah- too busy working on finding the proper scale length for militarized brown note implementation.
    saabfender and TonyP- like this.
  20. I like my battery cover to be quartersawn.

    Very resonant with solid bottom, open mids and a little ‘air’ up top.

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