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Does Wood Grain Affect Anything?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by wednesdayagain, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. wednesdayagain


    Sep 28, 2012
    In the body, neck, or fingerboard, does having a straight grain mean better stability, sustain, etc.?
    Or is it purely aesthetics?
  2. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    I doubt anyone would think grain affects sustain - there are even arguments if wood affects it. But certainly on the neck stability matters. Quarter sawn is ideal and common sense will tell you that if you want a piece of wood to stay straight, having a straight grain increases your chances over highly figured, burled wood. Of course lots of builders use those things and make nice instruments because there are other ways to keep a neck straight. But me personally, I want straight grain all the way on a neck and fingerboard.
  3. No.

    I put multiple layers and varying orientations together and some woods are a second to balsa for hardness and grain


    ......and others are construction and remodeled home cut-offs in Douglas Fir and Hemlock and pine with and without knots.



    Wood makes absolutely no difference, grain nor density nor type of wood.


    Cherry Tea-Burst

    2010 Camaro Bumble Bee Yellow

    1962 Buick Bahama Blue

    1956 Packard Green

    Don't fall into the hype that wood matters at all.

    Flame-on woodbois!
  4. carlis


    Dec 28, 2005
    Q: Does Wood Grain Affect Anything?

    A: Yes. While having nothing to do with tonal properties, it affects the appearance of your instrument. Good news is this effect can be dampened with certain finish, even transparent.

    Problem solved.
  5. placedesjardins


    May 7, 2012
    What if a bass had no wood or body, and was made with metal rods with welded on metal plates to attach the bridge, pick-ups, knobs, strap pins, cord plug, and a metal pipe as the neck where the fretboard was screwed on top with the nut and then another metal plate where the headstock would be so you could screw on the pegs. So, the metal pipe would strong enough to hold the tension of the strings. It would kind of be like the Yamaha silent guitar, but it would be a bass and there would no wood.
    So, would this sound better or the same as a low-end Squier or a high-end custom Sadowsky? :confused:
  6. Geroi Asfalta

    Geroi Asfalta

    Aug 23, 2011
    I've been thinking of somehting along those lines....Long brass plate with frets, bridge, nut, and tuners...I think it would sound very cool...
  7. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    I'm not sure quarter sawn necks are necessarily more stable or make straighter necks than half or rift sawn.
  8. soulman969


    Oct 6, 2011
    Some would claim there's little difference if the same pickups and strings were on both. :p
  9. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    You've described the Gittler guitar. There were a few basses made.
  10. James Mobius

    James Mobius

    Feb 28, 2011
    didn't know they made basses. you can see Andy Summers of the Police playing on in the video for Synchronicity. I thought it was a prop when I first saw it, then found out via a guitar mag it was real! intriguing.

    I have to say I'm surprised to hear people say type of wood has zero effect on sound. I know people have held that view, but I also know some people think that's bunk. and say things like, my old alembic, which had a mahogany body with a maple top, the tone, was allegedly affected by these woods, warmer sound courtesy of the mahogany, some high end temperment/brightness added via the maple top. sounded reasonable to me. having heard for years no argument to the contrary. pardon me if it takes me a while to let go of that idea without doing any research myself. maybe for my next bass I'll make a body out of pine, and another from mahogany and maple and do some recording to compare. harder woods certainly won't ding as easily as pine for example.
  11. jeppu


    Jan 23, 2009
    semarang, indonesia
  12. You are exactly in the same position I was in a few years ago: I also assumed that wood is (read: was) a giant tone monster.

    So I've been down that same road and frankly have found no difference other than aesthetically and perhaps hardness-wise as to it's (different woods, specifically) ability to collect RW status with dings. bumps and gouges easier than another type of wood.

    Wood can be eye candy or an eyesore - but in my experiences different woods mean so little in the voicing of a solid body guitar as to be non-existent so much so that I now totally dislike, disavow and abhor the so called: 'professional' spiel that wood DOES make a difference.

    It (this statement, so espoused) has grown to mythical proportions but not without an underlying motive and not undeniably also an alliterative reason or two.

    To that point, I may however make one minor concession: to the builder of basses who use woods that are somehow endowed with a reputation: but my concession is ONLY their saying so with their bottom line, monetary interests at stake.

    Money - like fire ---> is a great motivator. Just ask Richard Pryor except that you can't 'cause he's dead not unlike the crass assumption (my words) that wood matters.

    So to suppose that layering different/oddball woods to achieve some desired effects with one wood that holds an E2 better than another leaves the whole body short on the other note ranges and also makes little to no sense to me.

    That - or we'd all be buying plywood bodies to get the mix of notes or traits that we want to emphasize and others to mute some other note in another octave in the same body - etc., etc., etc.

    Isn't the current emphatic on the idea that plywood is a cheap and therefor sinful way to make a bass?

    Holy cr@p! An epiphany!

    And if this catches on the next money grab will sound like the following:::

    "I want to order a new custom bass
    and I wonder what wood layers will
    make my favorite notes below the
    fifth fret and on the E and G string
    only, sustain more and sound louder"

    I digress.

    Surely - if I had the want or need for a particular wood, I'd buy it in a heartbeat - but not for it's mystically endowed and therefor unproven, unsubstantiated and Bizarro World parallel universe virtues.

    Trans-substantially, meh ---> perhaps so.

    Reality-wise? I don't buy it and it has never been proven to me.

    If that offends (some)(any)one, then remember that most everything that's posted, argued about and touted on TB is usually just an opinion and is not meant as a declaration of war - assumed or otherwise.

    I'm still of the opinion that the real motivator of the wood-makes-a-difference crowd may be a financial and not a musical reality gainsay. Equal time seems to matter not very much and as I learned in Marketing class - any slam is also an advertisement.

    I'm afraid that my statements are also free advertising for what I call charlatanry and mystifying a black arts pseudoscience.

    Like it or not, I'm not changing my mind on this and that's my position. You may have your own thoughts and position - that's turnabout and that's fair play.
  13. James Mobius

    James Mobius

    Feb 28, 2011
    I think I'll stick with mahogany and maple bodies. they're pretty, and sound good to me. what else do I need to worry about? pine would ding too easily. (I don't make necks. too much bother d: )


    Aug 1, 2010
    "Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

    As much as I hate to quote Adam Sandler movies, it had to be done.
  15. Do you need help with the big words?
  16. If you quote, we'll all know who you are responding to. :)
  17. I thought it was obviated by the proximity to the post above it - but OK:::

    "MUSHROOMSeAcOw" - who also didn't make but a veiled reference too.
  18. Thank you. Not involved in the ongoing debate, just wanted clarification
  19. Labi


    Jun 14, 2006
    If you quote, we'll all know who you are responding to. :p
  20. tabdog


    Feb 9, 2011
    Does grain matter?

    Why do basses sound different that
    have the same wood and electronics?

    Two basses that are identical, usually
    don't sound the same.

    Don't believe it. Then it's probably your
    tin ear,