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If a bass' body was composed of that same sawdust wood stuff...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 0scar, Sep 22, 2005.

  1. 0scar


    Jul 11, 2003
    in the cheap build-it-yourself desks they sell at walmart, what do you think it'd sound like :bassist:

    Haha, sorry...it's 6:17 AM, I haven't slept yet and I'm incredibly bored :(
  2. . . . a desk.
  3. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    At best. There's about a 99.9% chance you wouldn't be able to carve it into anything even resembling a bass...not to mention Masonite (or MDF) usually only comes in sheets up to 3/4" thick.

    It's made by basically pulverizing wood and wood bits with a type of hydraulic force IIRC, and the remaining paticles are mixed with glues and resins and formed into boards under heat and pressure. There's really nothing to carve into.
  4. it would sound like a danelectro. ;) wait a minute, I like danelectros.

    I made a parts bass body out of MDF once when I first started learning how on CNC machines.... It wasn't the most sturdy thing (crushed / stripped under screw torque) and was HEAVY as sin (tho this was a solidbody...so...) but it didn't sound *terrible*, just no character at all. I'd call it "dead". Some people like that. ;)

  5. Bryan, Masonite and MDF are two totally different things. Masonite is a brand name for a very hard pulp/resin fiberboard made using extreme pressure and heat to create a thin rigid sheet that is usually dark brown and has a slick calendered surface on one side and a course "screened" surface on the other. I've never seen Masonite in thicknesses larger than 1/4". If it had to have an acronym applied to it, it would be appropriately descriptive to call it HDF or High Density Fiberboard

    MDF is the acronym for Medium Density Fiberboard and is much softer than Masonite. It too, is made from pressed paper pulp using binders, heat, and pressure to make the board, but because of it's less dense, it's usually found only in thickness of 1/2" or thicker. MDF can be seperated into it's layers fairly easily with a knife or other tool where Masonite is too hard to penetrate this way. MDF is a medium to light brown or tan and both sides of the sheet have a smooth surface.
  6. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Hi Hambone,
    I actually have quite a bit of experience with both types of boards- both are used as painting surfaces in oil painting. The dark brown MDF (Masonite is the main brand, but there are others) is pretty much identical in makeup as the light, soft MDF...the difference is not that the dark brown stuff has been made more densely, it's that it has been impregnated with oils to harden and solidify the surface, as MDF has particular trouble when it comes to the edges flaking off....many artists prefer the darker, thinner board as the edges won't flake away, but I've been told the oils can permeate the acrylic gesso you apply to it to paint on if the gesso layer isn't thick enough, which will affect the paintings after time. You can get the dark MDF in thicker sheets, but for artists materials you don't really need it to- thinner sheets apparently hold the oils better and the added stiffness allows for thinner sheets to have the same strength. They are both used because the lack of a grain allows the board to expand and contract evenly over time (and far less than an actual piece of lumber) while a grained hardwood will go more in one direction than the other.

    It's possible I could be wrong about all of this, but it was taught to me by my Methods and Materials instructor in college, who also teaches at Yale and has been the editor for Ralph Mayer's "The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques" forever now.

    Then again, I watched him try to gold leaf a painting to show the class how, and he blew all the gold leaf all over the floor, so he was prone to mistakes :D
  7. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Oh geez, can we go like one day without getting into another particle board/MDF/Masonite debate?

  8. Aj*


    Jun 14, 2005
    West Yorkshire, UK
    MDF is annoying, produces huge amounts of dust and never gives a convincing feel to your product, I like to use Oak, Beech or Ash when I work with wood, if there's any around then I'll take mahogany or sometimes we even have spalted woods, I'm a sucker for nice grains. On the other hand, that board that is made of thin layers of wood (the name currently elludes me) that is used often on CNC machines (we use MDF as a base layer to stop the machine routing itself) is my least favourite thing ever, as soon as you try and finish it up when you file it it just splinters. Since my last construction (a prototype CD rack) was made like this, I ended up with 96 slots to machine most of which attempted to splinter at first contact of the needle files I was using. With some trial and error, plenty of wood glue and a lot of subtelty I managed to get it smooth. Hate the stuff.
  9. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    There lots of basses in the 80s with bodies made of particle board. That was the cheap solution of that time. Some sounded OK, others didn't.

    I played a bass for a while in highschool (it may have even been a Yamaha) that was particle board. It sounded fine and set up nicely.

    Sometimes I think we over estimate the role that the body wood plays in the overall sound of a solid body instument.
  10. Oh yeah, and I forgot to tell you that you need to set you clock back two minutes. It isn't set to TBST (TalkBass Standard Time). :rolleyes:

  11. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Darn you beat me to it..... :)
  12. I know! :p
  13. Werent the 60's kalamazoo basses made of that stuff? They were losely based on gibson designs and were actually part of the gibson company I believe.


  14. Well you'll just have to ask your instructor to justify the use of the name Medium Density in comparison to the High Density that Masonite has. There IS a reason for the distinction you know. Go to any builders supply and ask and there will be no confusion as to which is which - that's why this stuff was invented - for building, not primarily as a substrate for oil paints. It's an industry standard name for an industry standard product.

    Look at the comparative densities as noted in this definition from the Wikipedia:

  15. junerig


    Sep 12, 2005
    How would it sound like?
    When I got my first bass (bright red!) I decided to sand it down to the 'wood' - which, ofcourse, turned out to be that saw dust /plywood compound crap :eyebrow: ...
    Later, after I took the frets out, I noticed that it had a quite ditstinct and singing quality.It was put in a case for about 4 years-while other basses came into my life- and now it's out again.It's the best fretless bass I've ever played -the tone is amazing!
  16. Sutton


    Mar 3, 2005
    Plainwell, MI

    I live like, 20 mins from that old factory. Shut up man, Kalamazoo's gibson factory was really nice. They made Nice Stuff...
  17. lamborghini98

    lamborghini98 The Aristocrats

    May 1, 2005
    NYC; Portland, OR

    Quite the understatement.
    While of course a good debate over the sound properties of certain parts in the instrument, i think that often times people just get out of control about it and dont know it. Im sure that with the right pickups, a particle board bass would sounds fine. Of course if we get into particle board fret boards, i could see the real debate here. This is a little snippet of something ive been wanting to say for a long time, but didnt want to get into a huge debacle and end up being kicked off the forums or something.
  18. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Setup and repair/KRUTZ Strings
    I had that Kalamazoo bass!!! Mine was red and I used it with tape wound strings. Dead thud was the sound I recall through a Kalamazoo tube combo with 2 twelves???? It really was a junk bass. Probably worth more than $75 now..............
  19. I think that with the right pups, it would sound okay, but you would only get the chance to hear it if you had it plugged in and listened while you tune up the strings, 'cause once the tension hits that neck and those elmer's glued-in dowling pieces, it's gonna snap like a tooth pick! Make sure you record it, because that's the only chance you'll have to hear how it sounds!!! ;)
  20. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    Took the words right outta my mouth on that one!

    For the record, I like Danos too. :D