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Help me select woods for my dream SB-2

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ProfFrink, Nov 21, 2018.


  1. ProfFrink

    ProfFrink

    Jan 16, 2015
    OK, so after reading about it, youtubing, and even starting my own thread, I'm ready to take the plunge and order my new US-made SB-2. I think I got a lot of the details covered:
    • Controls: VVT (volume for each pickup + master tone) seems to already be included in the spec-sheet I'm looking at so that's covered.
    • 12" fretboard radius (call me a modernist, but I like my fretboards flat)
    • Nut width: Nothing wrong with 1.5"
    • I was tempted to try stainless frets, but seeing that I don't really play that much, and that these are likely to bring out more zing out of this already hot bass, I think I'll keep the regular frets.
    • and I don't really care for inlays and bindings...
    ... but I'm still a little stumped with the woods. I want a light bass and a warm tone... Which should I pick?
    • For the body: Alder? Swamp ash? "Lightweight American Basswood"? Okoume?
    Some people have mentioned Empress wood? I don't see it as an option... Will this work better for me? (Assuming they're still willing to make it)
    • For the fretboard: Indian Rosewood or Caribbean Rosewood? (Which is warmer?)
    also... should I go for a Graph-Tec nut?

    Thanks in advance for any insights :bassist:
     
    jd56hawk likes this.
  2. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Light basswood would probably be a good choice for a light bass.
     
    wmmj and ProfFrink like this.
  3. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    You are on your own with your dream wood. :D

    As far as bass woods go, I like traditional compinations... alder/rosewood, ash/maple. I don't honestly think it matters much, but nobody I meet turns up their nose to these "accepted" pairings.
     
    ProfFrink likes this.
  4. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    My L2000 weighs 7.3 lbs...swamp ash. Saw something the other day that weighed 7.8.
    I'm pretty sure G&L goes through phases with Empress. Last I heard they're not using it right now.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
    ProfFrink likes this.
  5. lug

    lug

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Basswood is normally much lighter weight that Alder or Ash. I'd go Ash if you want a burst or something where you view the wood grain. Basswood sounds a lot like alder and is lighter, but Alder is harder and will hold up better. As far as I know, Okoume is some sort of Pokemon character. (just kidding, Okoume act almost exactly like Basswood)

    Good source for wood info... The Wood Database
     
    Low84, wmmj, Spidey2112 and 2 others like this.
  6. Bass

    Bass

    Nov 10, 2003
    Canada
    I have a baswood Tribute SB-2 with American tuners and it weighs about 9 lbs. I also have an Alder MIM P-bass and it weighs almost exactly the same.

    It seems to me that basswood is generally regarded as lighter than Alder. But probably with any given piece of wood there is a range that it might weigh.

    If it were me I would order Alder and take my chances on the weight.
     
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  7. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Color choice?
    Maple fretboatd or...

    Anyway, let me know how it goes. I've been thinking about a custom SB-2T because my color choices don't pop up everyday on reverb. Maybe Ruby Red Metallic, maybe Tangerine Metallic, maybe Silver Sparkle...has to have matching headstock and the exact same neck as my L2000.
    Missed a few really nice ones recently.
     
    ProfFrink likes this.
  8. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    a nicely figured walnut, or not so nice if it'll be painted. if it's too heavy there's ways to lessen it.
     
    ProfFrink likes this.
  9. ProfFrink

    ProfFrink

    Jan 16, 2015
    I actually don't really care which color. They have a nice selection. Once I figure out which wood I'll select something that's appropriate. Probably natural if it's wood with a nice grain, and something solid if not. Maybe LPB..

    I just want is to have a warm sound (so definitely not maple FB) and be reasonably light...
     
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  10. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    no endorsements yet...Are you listening Spector, DR, GK, Line6?
    Empress body, Rosewood FB
    Rock on.
     
    ProfFrink likes this.
  11. Ellery

    Ellery

    Mar 25, 2015
    I got a US LB-100 w/ Empress body & maple fingerboard. It is light as a feather and has MONSTER tone. The only drawback is slight neck dive, not terrible, but would make me consider swamp ash next time. Also, IMO the quartersawn neck is worth the extra $$. 20180720_082942.
     
    osv, Fetzu, jmlee and 4 others like this.
  12. Rodslinger

    Rodslinger Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2013
    RVA & then some
    Emperess or Alder with rosewood board. My current USA SB-2 main player is Alder my JB was Empress. Both are amazing & whatever you choose will sound killer. It's G&L Baby!
     
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  13. Low Down Brown

    Low Down Brown Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2018
    Erf
    My LB-100 is ash w/ maple and blocked inlays.

    8.7 lbs. of thunder.


    jg1shm5yzlzhde6st06s.
     
    BassBuzzRS, Joshua, Low84 and 4 others like this.
  14. Gizmot

    Gizmot Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2009
    Nashville area
    I put a Graph-Tec nut on my G&L Legacy guitar to improve the tuning stability (which it did). I've never had any issues with tuning stability on any of my G&L or other brands of basses.
     
    ProfFrink likes this.
  15. n1as

    n1as

    Mar 29, 2013
    G&L basses are not known for being light weight. I occasionally scan their in-stock inventory and rarely see 4 stringers at less than 8.5 lbs unless they are empress or basswood. 9 Lbs give or take is pretty typical.

    I was very happy with my empress / rosewood LB-100 (until my Warmoth 32" P came along, that is). I compared it head to head with an alder / rosewood LB-100. G&L LB-100 Empress vs Alder.
     
    ProfFrink likes this.
  16. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Philadelphia
    My SB-2 has lots of warmth, and it's the classic alder/rosewood combo. Honestly, I'd prefer a maple board for a little more snap, but mine sounds great. For lighter weight, go with empress if it's available, because based on what I've seen, basswood and okoume aren't consistently lighter than alder. Empress is consistently light, gets good reviews for tone, and is more sustainable which is cool. I have an empress/rosewood Comanche guitar, which IMO resonates much like my alder Strat and provides fairly warm tone. If I order another G&L bass, I'll probably go with empress if it's available.

    BTW, I'm totally with you on the 12" fretboard radius, which I have on my SB-2, JB, and M-2500.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
    ProfFrink and Low Down Brown like this.
  17. joebar

    joebar

    Jan 10, 2010
    Because the SB-2 is a thin body, it’s going to be lighter overall.
    I’d go for a swamp ash body and a trans blonde finish/maple board and small frets
     
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  18. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    My new LB-100 is also empress with quartersawn maple neck and maple fingerboard. It's a hair over 7 lbs and strikingly resonant. There's a bit of neckdive while sitting without a strap but with any sort of strap it's a non-issue. There would be a bit more with the SB-2's slighter body shape. The empress option is generally unlisted but your dealer can confirm if it's available and at what cost. BTW, the empress looks very nice under a transparent finish like the blue with mine. (The finish is lighter blue than this photo would suggest.)

    LB100_June7_2018 - 2.
     
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  19. JaketheB

    JaketheB

    Dec 5, 2015
    Personally, I love the look of swamp ash. Can either be light or heavy - not sure if you can specify a light build with G&L.
     
    ProfFrink likes this.
  20. 39-Bassist

    39-Bassist

    Jul 7, 2010
    Florida
    Endorsing Artist for: Brace Audio; Duncan Pickups; Line6, Hipshot, GHS Strings, Somnium Guitars
    ALDER......you cant go wrong! great tones and weight!
     
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