Mahogany Neck and Body

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by basslambdin, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. I'm getting ready to build a fender style P/J four string. I've been really indecisive about woods to use. I know I can easily go with alder/ash maple and rosewood to get the classic sound, but I want to try to use a solid mahogany body and neck, with an ebony fingerboard (to add some brightness to the mix...) and passive electronics...

    Any advise in terms of what what I'm getting into would be appreciated!
  2. DerHoggz

    DerHoggz I like cats :| Inactive

    Feb 13, 2009
    Western Pennsylvania
    Even though there are many instruments made with mahogany, I get a little uneasy around it, especially after seeing all those broken Gibson neck joints. Howeve, I'm sure it would be possible to avoid this. Just my two cents.
  3. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    Mahogany is a great sounding wood choice but can be heavy, If I were going the mahogany route I would chamber the body. Also i've found that heavy or dense alder sounds very mahogany'ish and is much easier to work with FWIW.
  4. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    IIRC the Ovation Magnum basses had mahogany necks and bodies. They're pretty well-liked.

    I played one once, but it was setup as an unlined fanned fretless(!) and I don't even play regular fretless. So, I wouldn't feel comfortable describing the sound, since I was unable to play the thing. It was pretty heavy, though, as I recall.
  5. PaulNYC


    Apr 2, 2009
    New York, NY
    i got paid for a gig once.
    No picture no bass :smug:
  6. FWIW, I was lucky to play Mike Lull's prototype T-Bird...all mahogany, all the time. It wasn't overly heavy, and sounded TERRIFIC. Not sure how much was wood vs. electronics, but there was a punchy warmth to that bass that prevented me from putting it down. :)
  7. Many 60-70's Gibson basses were mahogany as I recall, neck and body as well.
  8. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Not to derail the thread, but how exactly would you convert a Magnum to an unlined fanned fretless? Not only how, but why???
  9. tjclem

    tjclem Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    "Mahogany" is a real general description and like a lot of woods has quite a weight range. I have used some wonderfully light pieces before and some that were very dense and had pretty reddish hues in it. Very tough to make general statements about it. There are may here who are better suited to help you though than I......t

    Ummm I like Mahogany and "that's all I got to say about that" :p
  10. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Heh, I remember that bass, Ben Stranges(there is a thread), it was also tuned in fifths.
  11. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Yep, belongs to TB'er Benjamin Strange. For some very suspicious reason, the bridge on those things has an enormous amount of travel - more than you would ever need, unless you were making it into a fanned fretless... So all he had to do was defret it (this angered a lot of "collector" types), and adjust the bridge so as to give a fanned scale. This makes the nut the only perpendicular point, and all other positions angled to various degrees.

    As for why: he tunes in fifths, but I think doesn't like to spread the string gauges out, so in order to get even-ish tension he does the fanned scale.

    I'd search Basses for "magnum" and I'm sure you'll find the thread.
  12. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Yup, a lot of people couldn't get over the fact that it was his bass to do with as he pleases.
  13. UncleBalsamic


    Jul 8, 2007
    It's gonna be heavy.

    Also, I wouldn't put too much emphasis on the specific tonal contribution a type of wood will make. It will make something of a difference, but it'll be hard to predict. I'd choose for practicality, looks, weight or other such preference first.
  14. vbasscustom


    Sep 8, 2008
    REAL mahogany is called cuban mahogany, but it is very rare and pricy. i fortunatly have a had a chance to work it, and as described in woodworker magazine, its like working a cold stick of butter. so very smooth. i have yet to use it for a bass, and i dont think i ever will, unless im going to do any crazy carvings on the bass.
  15. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    I have basses made of maple, alder, mahogany, limba, cherry and basswood. And in my opinion the type of wood has very little to do with how i sound...if anything at all.
  16. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 19, 2021

Share This Page