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Hey tell What ´bout Basswood?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by javier69, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. javier69


    Mar 6, 2008
    I´m thinkin ´bout to buy a MusicMan Stingray 5 string...
    but I´like the Bongo one... buuuuuuuuuuut the wood is hardwood::: I´don´t see my self to sure a bout this...

    tell me your xperience on this wood & sound... is better? or is worst?
  2. I used to have an Ibanez Soundgear 800,mid-80's,I think.I think that contributed to the tiny-assed tone I was getting out of that junk.Along with the pencil neck,too.IMHO.

    Come to think of it,I have 2 Fender J-Bass Specials.Seems like I read that the body was basswood too.Anyone know?Because the tones I get from those basses are worlds apart from the SR800.
  3. Craig_S

    Craig_S Banned

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    All the Bongo's (soft basswood) I've heard sound great. I own a Stingray 5 (ash hardwood). It sounds great too. It's win/win.
  4. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Ash, Mahogany, Maple, and I believe Alder fall into the hardwood catagory.

    All of which are very good tonewoods and make for a fine sounding bass guitar.

    Basswood is also a good tonewood, its just very light and very ugly looking. IMO it doesnt ressonate as well as alder, ash, or mahogany.
  5. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    I believe the Japanese Fender Jazz Specials (the ones with a P body and a PJ pickup configuration) had basswood bodies - but IMO their tone problems lay elsewhere. I had one of those too, way back in the day.

    Basswood is a very usable tone wood. It's a little soft and not very pretty, so you usually see painted basswood bodies. Less bright and more warm tone. Here is the Warmoth page that describes the tone characteristics of various body woods including basswood - seems consistent with my observations.

    Bongos are indeed one of the highest profile (and perhaps most expensive among production basses) instruments to use basswood bodies. But they sound great - a lot of people won't play anything else.
  6. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA

    And it IS ugly - hence it being painted, like Poplar.
  7. bmaxd


    Sep 23, 2005
    Saint Louis
    I like basswood and poplar, but if you like the classic P, J or MM sound, you might find them a little hollow sounding.
  8. bass wood...or basswood was invented (by God) specifically for use on bass guitars...


    (well, have you asked Him...;) )

    Aside from basswood indeed being a bit soft, sonically it's really quite nice...

    I disagree with those who think basswood is light. My squier is basswood and quite heavy...

    I also think it's a huge myth to think that alder resonates better than poplar, basswood, or agathis...Fender built it's first basses & guitars from alder because it was cheap and readily available, and now because of tradition, people assume it's superior...it's not...
  9. sobie18


    May 5, 2002
    Shaw AFB, SC
    Don't let the wood scare you. Unless you are recording your bass through an oscilloscope, it probably won't be too apparent to your ears.
  10. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    Several manufacturers use basswood or other light woods such as Poplar.

    First ones that come to my mind are Zon, Fernandes, Ernie Ball and Spector (only for tops).

    Although it`s not visually beautiful, delivers an even, warm tone. Its light weight is essential to balance heavy electronics and/or hardware.

    The MM Bongo particularly has a terrific preamp, probably one of the most versatile ones on mass production basses. Ernie Ball ended up using Basswood cause other choices such as Mahogany or Ash made the bass too heavy.
  11. Fred19137


    Jan 23, 2009
    active musician
    dude! bass wood is meant for basses! get that ****. it will sound great. anyways I would always like hard wood it is more acoustic feeling(personal preference). If you are not sure about if you like it see if you can put it on hold or something along those lines and try out friend's basses that are hardwood.
  12. Which should be enough to acknowledge the insignificant impact that body wood has on tone.

    We've all been here before, IMO, YMMV, etc.
  13. Jimmy Bones

    Jimmy Bones

    Feb 24, 2009
    Baxley, GA
    Very light, pretty bright, low sustain. Best with a solid finish or laminate top.
  14. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I wouldn't say the body wood has an insignificant impact on tone. Its still the most important tonal part of the bass.

    I used to own an Sr800 and the problem wasn't the wood tonality, it was the electronics. Crappy electronics will make any type of body wood sound like crap. When I upgraded the electronics the bass sounded much much better.
  15. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Basswood is usually very light, and it is relatively soft so it may dent easier than denser woods like Alder or Ash. I've hadd basses from basswood and IMO it's a fine tonewood. It usually looks fairly plain or ugly so is often painted. My Edge 5 had a translucent finish and the basswood was very pretty, even with some figuring which is very ususual.


    Feb 2, 2005
    S. Carolina
    Yes, basswood can be very good for bass. No it can't, Yes it can. It sucks. It rocks. I like it. I don't. Looks ugly, but sometimes looks nice.....
    To everything there is a season,

    A time for every purpose under heaven:
    Ecclesiastes 3:1 (Bible)
  17. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I disagree that the body is the most important tonal part of a solidbody bass. I've found that the neck has much more of an influence on tone.

    I've swapped necks for years and the tone has always followed the neck no matter what wood the body is made of. There may be some slight coloration to the timbre due to the body wood but I've found that the neck really defines the basic tone of the instrument.
  18. ezstep


    Nov 25, 2004
    north Louisiana
    There are still a few million Strats in existence that are made of basswood. (Bass-wood for a guitar?)

    MTD Kingston, Heir, etc., use basswood. Used often in the world of bass.
  19. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Same here, and I'm willing to bet that anyone who says the body has a bigger impact hasn't done much, if any, testing.

    Some people switch bodies AND electronics and act like the wood made all the difference.
  20. Georynn


    Dec 4, 2007
    You guys are all pronouncing it wrong...
    its bASSwood...
    Rhymes with that thing at the top of your legs....
    or a donkey...

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