Body wood?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ThomasMiller, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. ThomasMiller


    Mar 5, 2012
    Hello all, new here.
    I did a little searching, but couldn't find exactly what I'm looking for.
    I'm looking to build a Warmoth Gecko 5, and I can't quite decide which body wood I'd want. I've played electric guitar for ten years, and in that time I've played hundreds of guitars. I found myself preferring the swamp ash bodies on Strats, but I'm not sure if the tonal qualities will transfer over to a bass. My current bass is a neck-thru Schecter prototype, maple neck, mahogany body, and it's REALLY bright sounding. I love the attack I get with it, but I think I want something a bit more mellow, but not too much. Any preferences/explanations of wood differences?

    Thanks a lot,
  2. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    The problem is I don't know what you consider to be a "bit" more mellow.

    Most of my basses are swamp ash and it's what I tend to prefer. Nice grain and looks. Nice "edge" to the tone. I've got a maghogany Alembic and it's superb but hard to compare to anything else just based on wood. I love the sound of it though.

    And I have some alder basses. Alder is the mellowest wood that sounds good to me. It looses some of that ash edge and has pretty plain grain, but has a really nice solid classic sound. I love them too for their own reasons.

    But I don't go softer than that. Basswood or "forced maple" soft wood basses all sound blurry and "foofy" to me. Obviously a bongo is the exception, but I feel that unless a bass is designed for soft wood from the ground up (like the bongo is), it just doesn't cut it.

    So the only question would be is Alder what you consider just a "bit" more mellow or "too" mellow. You'll have to answer that one. Personally I like them both.
  3. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
    Koa or Alder. My swamp ash Gecko 6 (maple/purpleheart/pao ferro neck) does not sound mellow at all. :D


    On the other hand, my Fender SBVI jazz bass (alder body, maple/ebony fb neck) sounds ridiculously brihgt! :eyebrow:


  4. Coldmilk


    Jun 13, 2011
    San Diego
  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    There was a pretty good post where a fellow put pickups into a nice jazz bass body, and attached some pickups to a chunk of scrap wood. He did a vote to see if anybody could tell the difference, people voted wrong. Sorry I am no good with the search I cannot find the thread for you to link.

    I read the post a few weeks before I ordered a Carvin thankfully, I based my body wood purely on weight. If you go to Carvin's site they have a good wood reference guide as far as tones go, only the types of wood they use though.

    Edit: Carvin's Color and Wood Guide
  6. pedulla1


    May 14, 2005
    I think quite a bit of the brightness is coming from the pickups in the Schecter which I believe are EMG's. Those are known for a bright, somewhat "cold" sound. Bartolini's will most likely warm that thing up.
  7. Wenge looks awesome, use wenge.
  8. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    Pickups and amp is what you should pay attention too. Bodywood is of no importance at all, other than weight and looks.
  9. +1

    Or at least, I'll concede that wood is ~2.1485% of the whole package. But for tone, most of that is pick-ups (kind, v passive), preamp, strings, amp, cabs, playing style. IMHO.
  10. ThomasMiller


    Mar 5, 2012
    Thanks so much for all the replies. I'll take a look at all those guides when I get off work. The pickups in the Schecter are in fact the passive EMGHZs. I've loved the sound of the Bartolini's I've played.
    Basically, the wood has little to no difference for tone? Is the same true for neck wood?
  11. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
    I don't think so, especially about the neck/fingerboard woods, but there are exceptions.
  12. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Id change the pups on the bass. Theyre overly trbele oriented if your getting real bright tone with mahogany body & treble control flat. Mahognay is a warm voiced wood. Ash is significantly brighter. Though not as much as maple.
  13. Darnell Jones

    Darnell Jones Inactive

    Aug 29, 2011
    Ask a wood tone "expert" about the tone of mahogany without telling them you have one. Chances are they'll tell you how mellow it is. Consider that when you get expert advice on other woods tones.

    Also don't get hung up on the EMG's are bright and Bartolinis are dark lore either. Both companies make models with different tones and don't have a singular company tone.
  14. ThomasMiller


    Mar 5, 2012
    Well thanks a lot for the help guys. I think I'll end up choosing a body that looks nice then... Since I have your attention though, do you guys have any recommendation for 5 string pickups? I want to make sure the pickup will actually pick up the low B (or A). I like the poppy yet deep tone of the 4 string Ernie Ball Stingray pup, but I'm not sure the 5 string version will pick up that low string as well. The idea is to go passive for this bass.
  15. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Neck wood I don't think has a big difference but the fretboard wood does make a difference. Again I cannot find the thread about it but there was a test done on this and maple is brighter than rosewood, beyond that I don't know.
  16. ThomasMiller


    Mar 5, 2012
    I do notice a huge difference in fretboard wood. My basses all have rosewood fretboards, but I think I'd prefer maple or ebony for my next one. I have several different fretboard woods on my guitars.