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Does mahogany make good bass necks?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Benberg, Mar 3, 2014.


  1. Benberg

    Benberg Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2011
    I've tried to find some topics on it, but I can't really find that many.

    I know guitars acoustic and electric use mahogany, but I haven't found anything about it for bass guitars.

    The only thing about bass guitars was that mentioned, is that mahogany tends to be softer, so you would need to put in some stiffening rods.

    Thanks for all advice

    -Alex
     
  2. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Jun 25, 2012
    MI
    I made a mahogany neck on my last bass. I did laminates, no stiffening rods, it's a 4 string bass. Seems fine so far.
     
  3. edwinhurwitz

    edwinhurwitz Supporting Member

    May 13, 2003
    Boulder, CO
    Endorsing Artist: DR Strings, SMS, D-TAR
    My '67 Starfire neck is mahogany and it's very nice. Very stable.
     
  4. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Pacifica CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Gibson Thunderbirds are all mahogany (aside from the thin full length laminates) and other Gibson basses like the EB series have mahogany bodies and necks. Fender most always used maple, Gibson mahogany.
     
  5. Wagz

    Wagz

    May 2, 2012
    Milwaukee, WI
    Ovation Magnums are all Honduran Mahogany too. The necks are mahogany with three graphite rods and an ebony fretboard... SUPERstable and killer tone.
     
  6. hover

    hover

    Oct 4, 2008
    Massachusetts
    My fave tonewood, and the 76 t-bird I babysat for a few years had a GREAT neck.
     
  7. JayGunn

    JayGunn Supporting Member

    Take a look at these 2 links. They reveal a lot about the differences between mahogany and hard maple. The important stats are Elastic Modulus and Shrinkage. Mahogany is a lot less stiff than maple, but also moves a lot less with humidity changes. And that TR ratio of 1.4 is really good in mahogany and at 2.1 is really not so good in maple.

    http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/hardwoods/honduran-mahogany/
    http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/hardwoods/hard-maple/

    Conclusion, supported by experience, is that mahogany is a really good wood for necks IF you don't try to make the neck super thin, since it's more flexible, or if you add some graphite to increase its stiffness.

    Another conclusion, supported by my own experience of making a lot of furniture and kitchen cabinets out of hard maple, is that it's actually better than the statistics make it sound. Still, it does move a lot, which is why Warmouth says "Maple must be finished to protect from warping." (http://www.warmoth.com/Bass/Necks/BassNeckWoods.aspx).

    Some day if we can buy sustainable Cuban Mahogany (dream on...) it will be the ultimate stuff for a lot of wood working. Actually a separate species, it is harder, heavier, stiffer, but still mahogany. I have never used it buy my dad has...
     
  8. Roll with the Mahogany, you will be fine. I would run a stiffing rod thru it just because of the constant string tension.
    It makes for a beautiful neck or body. Here is a Cigar box guitar I am building.

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    015_zps822b54c8.
     
  9. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Mahogany is just fine for a bass neck, its a tried and true neck material.
     
  10. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    LA
    flying v: mahogany body and neck with a roasted maple fret board, pretty darn good
     
  11. abemo

    abemo

    Feb 27, 2012
    Arvada, co
    With a lot of traditional guitar building (which has carried over into acoustic bass), honduran mahogany is all they will use. Mine works great, no stiffening rods, just mahogany neck, ebony fretboard, and a truss.
     
  12. Should be fine. Best if you use a scarf joint and a volute.