Favorite natural wood combinations

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Georynn, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. So, I have a few beautiful pieces of wood a fellow TBer sold me (at a great price, BTW). and I'm gonna be putting together a few basses with what I've got. I'm really interested in seeing some tasteful contrasts of natural wood colors, as I'm gonna be finishing most, if not all with a natural finish. I have access to some pretty good hardwood stores in my area, and i've already picked up some Wenge, Alder, Ash, Purpleheart, Zebrano, and a few beautiful pieces of walnut that came from a close friend's Grandad's black walnut tree, that was cut about 10 years ago.

    So, all you awesome builders, whats your favorite natural wood combinations?

    So far my favorite combination has been Wenge and Maple Laminates for the neck and natural wenge for the fretboard, and Curly Bubinga over Ash with a Purpleheart accent stripe for the body. Something about the warm, deep red of the Bubinga and dark chocolate colored Wenge that just really "pops".

    Thanks for participating,
  2. WarriorJoe7

    WarriorJoe7 Inactive

    Mar 12, 2004
    Syracuse, NY
    As far as looks my favorite would be cocobolo over alder with an ebony accent line for the body. And maple and ebony stringers for the neck with a rosewood fretbboard and big block inlays of pearl or light material.
  3. fish slapper

    fish slapper

    Nov 17, 2005
    Newberg, OR
    Only a builder as I've done a Warmoth build and a couple other kit parts but as a player, can't miss with Ash body and Ebony board on on fretless. Babinga or Rosewood are nice too but not as touch and bright as Ebony. I do like your idea of using Zebrawood as an accent. I've seen it used well but if its a whole body, it gets kind of busy.
  4. wenge and zebrawood :eek: wow
    ash and walnut :) also very nice
  5. teej

    teej Venmo @teej1986

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    My favorite combos are walnut and maple, or maple and ebony. I'm looking at ash and bloodwood next. Darks woods side-by-side (i.e. the wenge/bloodwood combo often seen in necks) don't do anything for me. Having said that, ebony with walnut is acceptable, but I've gotta have sharp contrasts! :smug:
  6. T2W


    Feb 24, 2007
    Montreal, Canada.
    My all time favorite has been in a bass Ive built. Mahogany, Padauk, Maple, Wenge and Cocobolo. Looks like a cake. Canary and Walnut is surprisingly nice too.
  7. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    The F bass shown in this photo is one of the most beautiful instruments I've ever seen. The only thing I dislike is the conspicuous white interruption near the end of the truss rod. Were I to commission or build a comparable bass, I'd be very tempted to use ebony for the finger board. :bag:
  8. Jonsbasses


    Oct 21, 2006
    Fort Worth, TX
    Builder: Jon's Basses
    Padauk / Wenge

    Mahogany / Wenge
  9. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    For neck thru I like to use:
    Tiger Maple/Purpleheart/Wenge/Purpleheart/Tiger Maple
    I'm still not sure which one I like best, although the wenge was easier on the outside when shaping the neck. The figured maple really likes to chip when using a spokeshave.

    For body wings tops, I like Zebra, Black Walnut, Ovangkol, basically anything nicely figured.

  10. Can't really go wrong with Koa if you ask me. I love a koa top with a mahogany body. Or a natural flamed maple top with Koa binding... mmm.. that's the guitar part of me talking, you bass fellas don't do binding so much.

    Also, now that I think of it, you don't see koa too often on basses.

    Cocobolo is definitely another top favorite. And Ebony. Those woods look good with just about anything.
  11. Wow that Fbass is sooo nice, for sure... not sure if my skills will ever be to that level, speaking of a higher level, I appreciate your input on the laminations, Mr. Dirk Diggler. Ive admired your builds (especially that sick little ashbory thing..) and will definitely keep that in mind when working with the maple.

    One question, how thick should I go with the maple? I really like the wenge on the outside asthetically, Ive thought about going 3/4 inch on the center purpleheart lamination and maybe 1/4 on the maple, and leaving the wenge on the outside @about an inch for a five string, which will put the neck at 3 1/4 thickness to start with, what are your thoughts Dirk?

  12. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    Hey Jeff,
    My best advice is make sure you have plenty of wood on the outside laminates, that way no issues when you taper the neck.
    3 1/4" is about what my finished 6 strings are so that should give you plenty of wiggle room.
    And I was pleasantly surprised how well the wenge worked compare to the figured maple.
    Thanks for the kind words on my builds.:)
  13. So with a solid wenge neck, on top of ash or alder, what kind of accent and what kind of laminate top?

    You know the kind when the maple is really lean...

    Attached Files:

  14. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    That's hilarious!

    I like bloodwood as a lamination, in either curly maple, or pretty much any body core/top combination


  15. Geez... thats pretty.

    Have you ever use bloodwood as a top wood? most of the pieces I have seen have had a pretty plain looking grain, nothing bad, just nothing spectacular...
  16. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    My favorite wood combo is whatever I'm working with at the time.....:p
  17. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    I"m working on a bass right now where the fingerboard has a slightly rippled "curly" grain. Shimmery in good light. I've also seen several instances where quartered bloodwood gets a longitudinal chatoyance, like quartered "ribbon-figured" mahogany... I don't think they are related at all, but they seem to share some minor similarities in grain structure (although bloodwood is MUCH heavier and harder than mahogany).
  18. How did you join the neck on that singlecut, shawn? set neck?
    Do you run the neck stock through a thickness planer or sander?

    I realize there are demands for certain woods from the customer, but what do YOU like?
  19. I like 5A quilted maple over swamp ash. I know, plain jane, but I still love it.
  20. 5a quilted is far from plain!!!!