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Does brightness=more attack???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bassdude15, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
    I have generally heard birch described as similar sounding to walnut but with more attack, and maple(relative to birch) as punchier. I generally associate "punchiness" with warm lows and
    a strong midrange presence, but walnut is usually ,AFAIK, significantly darker-sounding than maple.
    So my question is, does more attack from a tone wood always mean that it's brighter??

  2. Ok, the short answer = "probably"

    The long answer...
    Timber (especially body timber) is a VERY small part of the final sound that comes from a bass. Other MUCH bigger factors in the sound are; (in no particular order)

    1. Age, gauge, tension and type of strings.
    2. Playing technique (crucial for attack actually)
    3. Amp, cab, room and EQ setting on amp
    4. Pickup type, placement and adjustment
    5. Electronics
    6. Construction (bolt on/neck through/fitted neck/chambering/neck thickness/etc)
    7. Scale length
    8. Action

    What you're talking about are super subtle overtones that most players won't even detect, let alone audiences. Added to that, two different pieces of birch with different densities and moisture levels will be acoustically different too. So you can't be sure from one bass to the next that they will sound identical unless two are built from the same planks of wood. Even then slight differences will mean slightly different overtones. The only timber part of the guitar that seems to make a noticable different from one guitar to the other is the fingerboard.

    Hope that helps.
  3. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    I understand attack to refer to either how a musical phrase or piece starts off, or referring to how a note gets to max amplitude once the string is struck. I'm not sure how construction affects a term that applies to technique?
  4. Not in my book. More attack to me is a more defined note start. Brightness is a clearer, higher treble content.
  5. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    "More" is a strange way to describe a change in attack.
    I guess you mean a louder initial peak in the volume of a note. But there's also faster and slower attack, in terms of how quickly that peak comes.
    In those terms, attack is almost completely separate from tone.
  6. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
    Sorry, I guess "faster attack" is a better way to describe what I mean...