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Body wood?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Brendan, Nov 12, 2002.


  1. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I'm making a replacement body for my Ibanez, due to a bad route job that would be a lot of work to fix. Making a new body is a lot of work too, but at least I can have a stepping stone into makeing a bass (something I've been wanting to do for about a year).

    It's a maple/rosewood neck, and the current agathis body is supposed to be simmilar to mahogany. Now, I'm looking for a body wood that'll be a little more growly, with better mids and highs. Bassically, a very well balanced wood. I'm thinking ash, alder, mahogany, something like that. It'd probably just be a natural finish, so I'll be scouting for some nice wood.

    So, in summation, a growly wood with a well balanced response. Prefferebly something not to exotic (exotic=$$$). Suggestions?
     
  2. vanselus

    vanselus

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    None
    To me, Alder is king. I love the light weight, deep yet snappy tone, and the way the notes swell.

    However, if you're looking for better mids & highs, I'd go with a harder, heavier wood like ash or maple.
     
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Not "exotic"???

    My suggestion is a basswood body (wonderful tonewood that is dirt cheap but soft) and spend the money you save on the basswood to throw a splashy, hard-toned, wood on top like a quilted maple (not 1/8" veneer that adds virtually nothing but looks.....can you say "Carlo Robelli"???).

    Both woods should represent a wide range of tones/harmonics without looking as blase' as alder or ugly as poplar.
     
  4. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Sorry, "exotic" in that some of the more exotic hardwoods like cocobolo can run you a little bit in the $ department. Also remember this is my first, so I'm not really wanting to spend a lot of dough. I mean, if I got an ebony top, and messed up, that'd be some bucks shot, y'know?

    When you say something greater than 1/8" I suddenly got a mental image of a half basswood (back half) and half padauk (supposedly simmilar to maple in tone, and I love the color)...hmn, sounds fun.

    Just how soft is basswood? I don't abuse my basses, but I would like it to be able to take a few knocks and not look like a Dick Tracy character. I hear it's got a rather warm, smooth tone to it. Hmn, combined with a Padauk top, that might not be too bad...

    Hmn, what about a core and/or top of walnut?
     
  5. vanselus

    vanselus

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    None
    I personally don't like the sound of basswood. It's kind of... indestinct? (MTD Heir).

    I think walnut would be a great choice!
     
  6. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    my vote is for ash
     
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

  8. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Thanks Rick, that's a good resource...

    When ya'll reccomend, would you mind terribly giving some reasons? I'm not a complete n00b to the wood game, but I do like to have as much info and as many opinions as possible.

    Front runners are:
    Mahogany/Padauk
    Walnut/Chechen
     
  9. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Also, out of curiosity, how soft are Padauk and Chechen? Last thing I'd want were some serious denting on the front...
     
  10. Ash looks nice and is hard enough to take a few scuffs here and there. But, remember that tone is everything and that the type of wood you choose will affect the tone in a great way.
     
  11. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    EXACTLY why i chose ash :)
     
  12. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Rick, don't do this all the time!!
    I'm getting tired of wiping my screen and refilling my cup!
     
  13. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Well, you know Sub.......compared to mine :D the terms are all relative

    [​IMG]
     
  14. vanselus

    vanselus

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    None
    And exactly why I didn't! :D
     
  15. Alder. That's alder is to say! :D

    Brendan, about two years ago I was thinking of buying a J-bass body from Warmoth to replace the poplar body that came from the factory, so I e-mailed them for advice. I don't remember the exact words, but, the person that responded said, "Don't get basswood." - Not my opinion, just passing this on.

    Rickbass, that's the best wood tone guide I've seen here yet. :)

    Mike J.
     
  16. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Mike - I'm very glad you found value in it (believe me.....I think I looked at every "Page 36" in my search engine-research about tone woods for my custom bass).

    But the caveat is that what you see is just how that particular luthier uses those woods that he/she gets from their suppliers. I think Ken Smith would tell you - "these are how my woods sound as I use them in relation to what I get from my suppliers."

    In other words, a flunky, wannabe, luthier could use the same woods Ken Smith gets and make a horrible bass.