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Lightest & Cheapest woods?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ::::BASSIST::::, Aug 10, 2005.

  1. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I am looking for a lightweigt p-bass body. I heard the Squire Pro Tone series had ash bodies. I know squire is crap but eventually i will upgrade everything. I already have a great neck.

    My question is of these woods which is the lightest and are their significant weight differences b/n them?

    -swamp ash (same as ash?)

    I have heard koa and other woods are light, but they are beyond my budget.

  2. Doug Westlake

    Doug Westlake

    Jul 6, 2005
    I've heard that the swamp ash is a little bit lighter than regular ash, but those two are quite a bit heavier than either poplar or basswood. Ash is similar in strength and weight to oak. Poplar is probably a little lighter than basswood and would be the lightest of the four. I found my daughter a nice Yamaha PJ style bass that looks like poplar (the body). Although the neck is rock maple, it's still a very light bass. It balances perfectly on the left hand when it's up around the 24th fret.
  3. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Hey thanks for the info. I am thinking maybe i should just save up and buy a p-bass body from warmoth.

    how much lighter is koa than poplar?
  4. One of the lightest and most popular tonewoods out there is Alder. Although you CAN get a some that weighs hefty, most is pretty light.

    For an inexpensive and light alder body, just buy a whole SX P or J bass for around $125 totally finished and then sell off all that you don't want. Final bill should be around $50 for a painted alder body.
  5. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Yeah, but fender necks wont fit SX bodies as they say "not exactly".

    Alder is still the heaviest of those woods mentioned anyway right? I mean if its a 1/2lb more no biggie but two lbs more and thats not so great.

    Warmoth said there basswood bodies are under 4lbs but dang they are expensive when paint is added.
  6. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Originally, this is how my jazz bass project was to start out, but I later changed my mind :smug: and decided to build the body from scratch and buy a neck.

    The alder body I built weighed exactly 6 pounds, but I've done some other hobby stuff with basswood and it's pretty darn light. THe only problem is that it's not that dense (read: "dings easily").
  7. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    You'll pay a premium for lightweight woods...I built a Tele not too long ago, and there was a decent upcharge to get a body under 4 pounds...it ended up being a 3.5lb body(swamp ash), making the guitar all of about 7lbs when I was done.

    Light & cheap don't really go together.
  8. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Are you speaking of a Tele bass or tele guitar? I assume bass. Do you have a pic? A tele is something I thought of also.

    Warmoth says if i go swamp ash it will be lighter than basswood if i get the "extra light swamp ash". A swamp ash P is $180. To make it extra light add $45 more. Not bad if it truly is my dream bass. The paint (solid gloss black) is the real kicker at an additional $165. Add another $100 or so for a set of SD quarter pounders, a pickguard and knobs, pots etc and I am looking at $400 for a super light P-bass if i paint myself. Not too bad?

    Oh yeah, as this will be my dream bass may as well throw the budget out the window.:D
  9. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    In order of "lightness":

    Poplar: very light, and IIRC, pretty cheap outside northern Europe... :bawl:
    Alder: slightly less light, also very cheap
    Basswood: a squit heavier.
    Swamp ash: huge variation in weight, but usually it is slightly heavier than basswood. Not all that inexpensive...
    Ash: heavy. Lead heavy! And not too cheap.

    My take:
    Painted body? Poplar, no doubt.
    Unpainted? Alder. Absolutely. If you are in teh aestetic mainsteram, you will prefer swamp ash, for the grain.
  10. A bunch of hooey. Ask someone that's done the testing...Like me!
  11. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    well, that's what the dude from SX said. what did you do to make it fit? sand the body neck pocket?
  12. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Recently, I put a bass together for a friend of mine. I did the work, he provided the parts. :\ He gave me a Fender neck and an SX (I'm 99% sure it was SX) body and it fit like a charm. But on that note, the neck pocket of the jazz bass body I built (from Fender specs, mind you) had to be widened by a few millimeters to fit the SX '75 neck I bought.
  13. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    None at all, koa is more in the mid range of weights. Sure is pretty though!
  14. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Actually, if you are going for "lighter than poplar", what you have to choose between gets awful close to spruce and balsa...only! :meh:
  15. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Not true at all! There's always... um... cork. Doesn't everyone want a bass that floats? You could even use the lower horn as a wine stopper. That'd be sweet.

  16. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    What about spanish cedar? It's very lightweight.
  17. ArtisFallen


    Jul 21, 2004
    pine anyone?

    edit: woah i just realized that that was a REALLY bad pun... that was seriously un-intentional
  18. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
  19. bwbass


    May 6, 2002
    We have a database containing the weights of all the bodies we've had up for sale in our web Showcase for the last few years. For a good sample, I calculated the average weights of all the unpainted solid strat bodies in various woods since September 2003. I'm not sure exactly what the sample size is, but I'd bet it's at least 400 or so.

    Here are the results, in ounces, from lightest to heaviest:

    Basswood 57.46
    Swamp Ash 59.25
    Alder 63.01
    Poplar 66.31
    Black Korina 67.38
    Mahogany 67.72
    White Korina 68.38
    Koa 74.15
    Walnut 75.72
    Lacewood 78.67
    Padouk 79
    Hard Ash 83
    Maple 85
    Birdseye Maple 91
    Wenge 97.67
    Indian Rosewood 101.44
  20. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    very cool info. Doesn't shock me at all about basswood. This chunk I have seems "fake" compared with most of the wood I have.t