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different woods - different sounds

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by arther daily, Feb 8, 2002.

  1. I'm starting this thread through intreque more than anything.

    Exotic basses are made out of all sorts of weird woods, soft woods, hard woods - they have veneers, layers, 5 piece, 7 piece necks etc...

    How does a hard wood body effect the sound, compared to a soft wood body?

    ... and the same question for necks, veneered and layered bodys etc...

    If I were going to have a bass made for me, how would I know what wood(s) to ask for to get the sound I imagine in my head?

    John Turner - you've got numerous customer basses - how do the sounds differ through the use of different woods?
  2. if what i think is correct, is correct ( uhm.. :rolleyes: ) then it's like this :

    hard wood = sustain++
    soft wood = warmth / tone++
  3. Aah, I suppose it's like the comparison between graphite and wood... graphite is very bright in comparison?

    Anyone out there can tell us about their weird wood bass sound?
  4. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The biggest factors are construction type (neckthru, bolton, etc), body/neck wood, and electronics. IME, veneers like body facings or fingerboards make no significant contribution to overall tone (exception: the fingerboard on a fretless).

    I'm not sure that relationships can be drawn between weight and other factors such as sustain and tone. I've played heavy basses that were very resonant (e.g. old USA B.C. Rich), and light basses that had fantastic sustain and insignificant dead spots (e.g. Ken Smith).
  5. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I have to disagree with the comment that different fretboards make no difference to the tone. I have played the same make of several models of basses (Fender, Dingwall, Peavey Cirrus and F Bass) and the maple fingerboards sounded quite different that the rosewood/wenge/pau ferro/ebony boards. As for the body facing, I somewhat agree that a 1/4" top affects the tone little, but some of the thicker tops, or the tops where there is a great difference in the densities of the top and core woods make a significant difference to the tone of the instrument.

    I don't really know what effect having a multi-laminate neck (5,7,9,11 piece) or a multi-lam body(3,5 piece) would have on the tone. It would probably come down to the individual combination.

  6. Arther, I think this is similar to amplifier cabinet specs. We can use the specs to get an idea of how a certain speaker(s) in a certain cabinet will sound, but, you have to listen to them first hand, and then decide which one you like and then find out all the components that make up that particular cab if you wished to duplicate it. I think it's the same with basses. While almost any combination of woods/pickups/electronics will sound O.K., I think that an excellent sounding instrument as well as a terrible sounding one are the exceptions.

    Mike J.

    Check out the Warmoth site for a description of the tonal qualities of different woods. www.warmoth.com
  7. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    paging rickbass, paging rickbass!
  8. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Well, you could check out this fellas ideas, there are some nice evaluations at http://www.frudua.com/
    I don't think they are 100% correct, myself, but it's an indication. Some differences are also at hand, due to where the tree grew, and also within each tree...

    And having your custom built,,,check out your local grown woods! And gardens... You just might find the fanciest top (fruit trees, for example) and the greatest sounding neck and body wood at the nearest sawmill! Yes, very seriously.
  9. I think multi-laminate necks are more for strength than anything. but I'm pretty sure you can combine the different woods in the neck to get a certain tone. on my custom, I'm having a 5 peice neck made. maple and walnut, but the walnut will probably be to thin to make much of a difference in tone. I'm just going with 2 thin peices of walnut between the thicker maple. but a friend of mine went with a 3 peice neck and had 3 equal peices, 2 maple, 1 walnut. that should make a difference in tone.

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