Hippie Sandwich? (wood choices)...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sheepdog, Dec 31, 2003.

  1. sheepdog


    Feb 20, 2003
    Birmingham, AL
    Trying to think of a good (appearance and musical quality) combination of woods for a custom bass. I am considering the following (top to bottom)

    quilt maple
    quilt maple

    with a maple neck w/purpleheart fretless fingerboard.

    Any other ideas?

    other possible wood choices:

    Pao Ferro
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Sounds good, without the purpleheart. I've never liked the look of it with other woods ... it just doesn't contrast nicely.
  3. andrewd


    Sep 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    the purpleheart on my conklin GT4 contrasts well with the other woods, especially the wenge/purpleheart neck.

    at least, in my opinion ;):p
  4. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    The ash...is it swamp or hard?

    The reason I ask is that you've got a lot of very hard woods, but none soft. It'll probably kill, in terms of sustain, but my guess is it'll probably be very "compressed" sounding, with less warmth.

    I'd add the walnut, personally...
  5. sheepdog


    Feb 20, 2003
    Birmingham, AL
    did a little more research on woods.

    what about a mahogany core?

    layers (in order)

    quilt maple
    quilt maple

    something to that affect...

    I am trying to get a mixture of woods that will sound good. The ash would be swamp.
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I don't think you're going to get what you're looking for, if it's the qualities of each of those woods. You'll get something that may not be characteristic of each or any of them, rather something entirely foreign to any of them. I'd suggest finding a tone description of one wood that fits what you're looking for, make the body of that, then maybe put a quarter inch of something else on top, like maple for a little brightness, if that's what you want.
    I just think putting a mish-mash of wood together defeats your purpose, and will give very unpredictable results.

    Why don't you run this past the guys in the Luthier's Corner?
  7. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I'd suggest that you slim down the amount of bosy woods you are going to choose.

    say a maple top, with a walnut or mahog core and a maple back. You will get more articulation from a thicker maple top than from a thinner one.

    I am making a few basses now and the body combos are:

    1. curly maple top and back, walnut core
    2. french walnut top, limba body
    3. curly/quilted maple top, walnut accent lam, mahog core
    4. cocobolo top and curly maple body.
  8. MrBonex


    Jan 2, 2004
    New Hampshire
    I'm sort of mystified by this hippie sandwich concept. It seldom works that adding one tone wood to another equals the sum of those parts. Sometimes it works out well -- like a Les Paul -- other times it just creates a boat anchor.

    The reason (I think) is that wood works like a tuning fork. It needs to resonate freely to create its tone. Hippie sandwiches can have too many layers of wood glued together to allow any toneful resonance. So Glue is one issue.

    The other is null spots in resonant nodes. There are just too many variables in a piece of wood to know how one will effect another.

    This is why a plain old simple Fender works. My 1984 custom shop Jackson is just a couple of slabs of Poplar glued to a maple neck -- and it sings like a (very big) bird.

    So that's my theory: Too much glue and too many woods conspire to stifle natural tone and make 'em all sound sort of similar. Not necessarily bad, just similar.
  9. i think my chouse would be...

    Buckeye Top
    Swamp Ash Core
    Mahogany Back

    Great Combination for good Lows and highs.. but i prefer Bolt-on Rock Mapel Necks with Mapel or Ebony Fingerboard to Thru-Neck basses...
  10. sheepdog


    Feb 20, 2003
    Birmingham, AL
    swamp ash core w/quilt maple front and back with a thin purpleheart accent line between the ash and quilt.
    .25" quilt top
    .25" quilt bottom
    1" ash core
    .125" purpleheart accent x2

    1.75" thick

    Any better?
  11. Tumbao


    Nov 10, 2001
  12. Totally agree with opinion to lighten up on the laminates.

    Laminations are done for three main reasons: (1) to strengthen a neck; (2) to build a neck-through instrument; and (3) to add a veneer to the body, usually for aesthetic reasons.

    Some builders claim that they add a veneered top to brighten up the tone, or to achieve some other sonic quality. And it might or might not achieve that purpose.

    But isn't it a funny coincidence that almost all veneered tops are some visually striking piece of wood? Which makes me think that the true motivation for adding a veneered top isn't to alter the tone, but to achieve a certain look.
  13. I think origianlly that they were added to extra brightness or tonal enhancements but with the increase in technology in pickups and electronics i think that they have no become obsolete in sum areas and more a fancy top as you said...but having a thicker top would have a dramatic effect on the tone....

    who knows

  14. fivelow


    Aug 30, 2011
    Honestly the veneers on the body aren't going to make much difference. It's the body CORE and the neck woods that will define the sound of the instrument. An 1/8" inch laminate of maple on a Mahogany body isn't going to suddenly make it all tinny and brittle sounding. But if you take a giant hunk of maple and turn it into a neck and stick it into your mahogany body you'll notice a difference. It's the big pieces of wood that define the sound. Veneer is there for looks. So layer away.
  15. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    And I'd also add that if sheepdog hasn't figured out the woods to use in his custom bass after eight and a half years :eek: ;) that Tom Bowlus once advised me that a spanish cedar core works well on a bass with lots of laminates to keep the sound lively and relatively uncompressed sounding.

    Based on playing a couple basses since then with exactly that setup it certainly seems like good advice to me.
  16. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    True, you need a much thicker top to change the sound. A good example where this works and you can get a fair sound comparison is with a Tbird and a Les Paul Maple top bass (curved1/2" maple top). Both have Mahogany necks & bodies, same pickups (in different covers), yet the Les Paul cuts through the mix much better than a T bird, which tends to be a little "blurry sounding".
    Another good comparison is a Fenderbird to Tbird, there the bolt on maple neck being the difference. The Fenderbird cuts through, more distinct sound than the T bird.

    A hippie sandwich bass with the woods described would end up weighing a ton.