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How will this wood combo cut through the mix.. ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by fiebru1119, Aug 15, 2004.

  1. fiebru1119


    Mar 2, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    First of all let me just say I didnt know where to put this so if its in the wrong place, my apologies.

    I have a bass planned out with a flame maple/purpleheart center neck, swamp ash body, ebony fretboard, and buckeye burl top coupled with a bart NTMB 4.7 wired to 18v and bart pups. My question is, on a 6 string, is this wood combo good enough to get me strong mids or a tone capable of standing out in a mix? Any other wood sugestions you guys may have to put in?

    If it matters, the music I play varies from chirstian music (like steven curtis chapman, phillips craig and dean, etc..) to latin rock (anyone heard of maná?) to salsaish/santana kinda songs (lots of brass), to soft jazz (fourplay type stuff.. note: I am nowhere implying I am even close to having Mr. East's chops!!!).
  2. I think it should be fine. I would just recommend making the buckeye top as thin as possible so you get the full benefit of the ash (buckeye has the tonal properties of cork!). I play very similar music and my Sadowsky with a maple neck, ash body and buckeye top cuts thru very well.

    I'm hoping you're working with a good luthier - the construction and discipline of a great luthier will make more difference than the wood and electronics. The good ones know howto put it all together to make an instrument that is better than the sum of parts.

    Good luck!!
  3. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    with a swamp ash body, and an ebony fingerboard, watch out you dont cut your own self! :eek:

    might actually cut better than those pesky guitars. ;)
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    What Jeff said. You could have the nicest mix of components "on paper" and end up with who knows what... depending on who builds it. I've played a boatload of instruments that had a great laundry list for components and construction but sounding completely underwhelming.

    Generally speaking, the combination you mentioned is somewhat similar to several basses I own with Ash bodies, figured tops, Bart NTMB (9v, which has a pretty hot output) and Maple neck. I agree with Jeff on keeping the top thin. As far as the fretboard, Ebony tends to be pretty bright. I like the look of Ebony but prefer the sound of Maple so on my last bass I have a birdseye Maple fretboard that's transparent black. Looks cool, sounds great.

    Short answer... you could have excellent mids and easily cut through. It depends.

    BTW is the Purpleheart in the neck for looks?

    Good luck.
  5. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    Like Brad said it really depends on construction and growth rings in the wood. I have 5 maple basses. 4 of them are completely identical component wise and they all sound completely different.
  6. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker Banned

    Jun 10, 2001
    This may or may not work. I had a Fodera with ash body, buckeye top, and an ebony fingerboard. Great bass, but didn't cut through that well and the recorded tone didn't fill a track that well. I wouldn't choose ebony for a bass I wanted to have a cutting tone. Sure it's brighter but the treble frequencies are not the ones that really determines the cut, mids is where it's at. Ebony usually compresses the tone which doesn't help cut whereas maple has a more open tone that seems to do a better job. Your recipe could work but I would suggest moving the neck pickup closer to the bridge than where it would be found on a traditional jazz bass configuration.
  7. fiebru1119


    Mar 2, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    Thanks everyone for the suggestions. An alternate combination I had thought of was an amboyna burl top with birdseye maple fretboard.

    As for the pickup placement, its already been noted and indeed they are being placed closer to the bridge than normal. And with regards to the luthier, I'm pretty confident with in this one ;).

    Do you guys think the amboyna top and maple board will help any? Thanks
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    If the top is thin you could just as easily stick with your first choice. IME the fingerboard will make a difference. I have several basses as you described except they have Maple boards. They all cut through ridiculously well.

    Of course that doesn't mean yours will. It can still be a crapshoot even if you pick all of the "right" things;). The biggest variable IME is the luthier.

    Have you discussed this with yours?

    BTW which Bart pickups?
  9. fiebru1119


    Mar 2, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    Yes we've been over this what seems like a million times LOL. He also has told me about the nature of the tops, their effects on the tone, and also about the properties of the ebony, thats why I was thinking about the maple as a backup. For the pickups I'm going either with the M5's or G6's (6 string, 19mm spacing, 20" radius).

    I agree with all of you that the luthier is what makes the difference, but I want to have as many things going for me as I can. It can't hurt as far as I'm concerned :)
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    So what are you building? Neck joint, body style, etc. Just curious.
  11. And who is the luthier?