Good wood

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Hubbertthebass, Jul 30, 2003.

  1. Hey all, Hubbert the Bass (AKA Evan) here...
    I was wondering if anyone in the world of TB had any suggestions for wood for building a bass. Bare with me here though... some of you aren't going to like this, but I do a lot of solo work, and am going to try to have a guitar's whammy bar modified for a bass (i know a machinist,) I haven't decided on pickups yet, thinking maybe EMG, or Bartolinis. Or even just 2 classy fat soap bars. The neck, which the saddle will be fixed up and hopefully made out of ebony, will be a lefty-Strat style put on a right handed bass. I was thinking maybe Ash, but I don't want a finish on the bass, I want the bare wood. My bass teacher had a bare Fender Fretless and I absolutely loved the feel of the bare wood, soo smooth and natural (and hey, any thing that can make a sexy bass sexier can't hurt, right?) Any suggestions?
  2. jazzcatb17


    Dec 27, 2002
    Louisville, Ky
    plywood is a fine strong wood, very stiff. only problem with plywood is if you install it in a place its likely to get wet, the peices will blow up like a balloon and split the wood up into toothpicks. OSB( also know as particle board) is a mighty fine board for many purposes, from floors to sheathing it works great, we recently put down some OSB on a roofing job and it worked beautiful, alot lighter and easier to handle then that ol' Plywood is too, although its not quite as stiff, its definately more durable and longer lasting. Most people will tell you OSB is the way to go for the most part, except if the surface really shows, using plywood would be more ideal since it has a grain and a generally more natural wood likeness too it. For example, about a year ago we put in some built in book shelfs made mainly with 3/4 in plywood, looks beautiful and feels mighty strong. OSB would look like garbage on tthat kinda job. Anyways, another thing to remember is anything on the otutside or underside of a house, use treated!!! Sure its heavier and more expensive, but it will last forever, i cant tell you how many nice homes i've seen ruined cuz someone was to cheap for treated lumber. Also on ceiling rafters and floor joist, at a minimun 16 inch centers, nothing else is worth messing with.

    Anyways gettng back to basses, If you want Ash, swamp ash isnt horrible, a very wide flowing kinda grain. Really i would go redwood or Walnut, maybe koa. all of these are dense and sound wonderful, not too bright with a woody kinda punch. really you should go out and experiment on some different basses made from different woods and see what you want. One more item, Dont leave the Bass completely raw of any finish, your asking for a mess that away, it will absorb everthing thta touches it, go ut of tune everytime the weather flinches and within a year will look, play and sound like crap, if you like the feel of natural wood, i would try a several coats of wax, but if your gonna build dont do a half job and end up with crap. tah tah
  3. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Why not just use a bass trem?
  4. Thanks for the help man.
    I'd love to do Koa, but god that would be expensive... maybe i'll splurge... we'll see, I gotta put some more thought into this and make for damn sure my "luthier" is willing and able to do this for me... (My bass teacher just finished luthier school and seems pretty confident that he can do this stuff, i believe him too)
    Hopefully i'll have a bass soon
  5. because all of the bass trem's i've seen i don't like the look of, especially for the price they ask... there are some pretty sweet guitar trems out there that I could have fixed up, and it would cost me about the same amount.
  6. I'm not sure if the guitar trem will be hold up, though it depends on the machining. Personally I'd go a fretless, bit of nose oil and you'll be sliding smooth as.

    For the woods, head round to the Ken Smith site, or even a search through the luthiers section will turn up a few links to some useful sites.

    For the neck, a good rock maple is the industry standard, though you can use almost anything as long as you do it right (within reason, Balsa probly won't take the tension too well). I'm intending to use Maple with Jarra or Kirra laminates (coupla aussie hardwoods) on mine. The body can be pretty much anything you want (again within reason), nearly every hardwood will go down well. I'm going to for Sapele (a mahogany) which is a bit darker than maple but still pretty bright. Ash is very popular, as is Maple (but will end up pretty bright if you use that for the neck as well). Its ultimately up to you.

    Whatever you do do not leave it unfinished, I have questions as to whether your teacher's bass was completely unfinished, I'd have to see it. Chances are it had a thin wax or oil kinda finish on it. Like Jazzcat said, it might be okay for a while but she'll get pretty messed up with the weather and and kinda wear.

    Theres insane amounts of info around the net, pretty much everything you will need to know.

    Josh D