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how would this sound?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by SummerSoft, Sep 15, 2005.

  1. SummerSoft


    Jun 17, 2005
    I don't know much about lutherie :meh:
    So, I have a plan to get a new bass from a local luthier, and I would like him to use the following woods:

    body: Swamp Ash
    top: Maple (3/8")
    neck: Wenge/Maple/Wenge
    fingerboard: Wenge.

    So if he could get all the sound from the woods, with a risk of losing some sustain, what do you think this bass would sound like?
    In fact, I have a sound that I'm after in my head, but I'd just like to check out if chose the right woods...

    Thanks a lot
  2. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    It would probably sound just like a bass ;)

    I'm not the most experienced, but I'm pretty much on the side that says the pups and electronics are going to be more of a deciding factor on your sound.

    I'm not sure what you mean by saying that he could be getting the sound of the woods but may lose sustain. How would he be causing a loss in sustain?
  3. SummerSoft


    Jun 17, 2005
    As far as I know, a light instrument in weight achieves more acoustic sound. The more physical energy the bass absorbs, the more the sound of the wood is imparted to the string, and by that you lose sustain.
    And I agree that pups and electronics give a large part of the sound, but the fundamental comes from the woods IMO.
  4. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    I've heard that the denser woods are less muddy, as they allow higher frequencies to vibrate, lighter woods not so much so. As fat as sustain goes, I've read/heard it has more to do with the nut, the bridge, and how the strings are seated. Keep in mind that I keep saying "I've read...I've heard," and again that's because I've got little experience making basses. With playing basses, that's a different story ;)

    I'd disagree with what you're saying about the wood absorbing energy: the more physical energy (in this case, vibrational frequencies) that the wood TRANSMITS, the more the entire body is involved in creating the sound. If the body is ABSORBING vibrations, the less it will vibrate with the string and the overall "sustain" is cut. A denser wood/setup should (in my little world :D ) vibrate with the strings a little more, giving you more sustain. My example would be a Warwick Thumb bass (at least with the older ones): neck through bubinga and other similarly dense woods created a bass with amazing sustain. Of course, the older brass nut probably had a lot to do with that as well.

    Take this with a couple grains of salt, as views here will differ, and I could be way off...wouldn't be the first time.
  5. Rene


    Mar 8, 2004
    Super bright and harsh specialy with EMG pickups
    Tons of sustain and very tight sound good for slapping
    But that bass will be heavy
    Better use Bartolini pickup or pickups with a darker sound
  6. SummerSoft


    Jun 17, 2005
    Oh... I forgot to say that it's gonna be 35" scale bolt-on :bassist:
  7. SummerSoft


    Jun 17, 2005
    Have you ever made a bass with such woods? Do you have any sound samples with different pups on such a bass?
  8. Rene


    Mar 8, 2004
    Yes I made a Spector style 4 string neck through body maple/ wenge and the wings with the same as you describe but
    I used stripe brown ebony for fingerboard and the pickups were EMG 35dc It was in 1995 and I received an e-mail last year and the customer said that he still uses it as his main instrument.I was kind of proud.
    I have a sound sample from one of his CD
    I don't know if you will like it
    I hope it will work
  9. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    If used well, these woods *usually* yield the following tones:
    swamp ash: bright, punchy
    maple: bright, clear
    wenge in neck/fb: low-mid accentuation, growl

    One warning: wenge is very dense and heavy. Make sure your bass has a long upper horn, or you'll have a lot of neck dive. One more: wenge is quite porous, and some say it even falls apart by itself, though imo that's only in the drying stage. But it might be a good idea to use more laminates to make it more stable and stiffer, just to be sure.