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Mahogany Or Walnut For Fretless: Help Me Choose

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bryan R. Tyler, Jun 19, 2003.


  1. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    From the information I've gathered so far, mahogany and walnut are very similar tonewoods as far as sound characteristics are concerned. What I've read says that mahogany has a full, warm mid-enhanced sound and walnut has a similar mid-enhanced sound with the additon of enhanced dark low-mids and a brighter tone. Do these descriptions sound acurate? I'm looking for a full, warm but still bright singing tone, and both of these woods sound like they'd do the job, but I'm curious as to which wood gets more of the sound I'm looking for. My topwood is a fairly thin piece of buckeye, so I don't image that will play too large a roll in the sound. Thanks!
     
  2. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    I personally prefer walnut, especially since your top is not a true tonewood. The walnut will give you great tone plus it is less prone to dents than mahogany. just IME.

    Now, where are those pictures ???;)
     
  3. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    Oh, and who is the lucky luthier biulding this creation for you ?
     
  4. JPJ

    JPJ

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I don't know that I would necessarily agree 100% with your description of each wood's tonal characteristics, nor would I say that they sound similar....or close to one another. Mahagony is a light tonewood that seems to represent an even frequency spectrum. In other words, it produces an even response across high, mids, and lows, and compliments the tonal properties of other woods. Walnut is probably a bit more lively and has a stroger "personality", or voice. Walnut tends to be more crisp and bright, while contributing warmth and definition. Does anyone else agree? :confused: :)
     
  5. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Still out at the photolab I guess-I'm hoping to have them this weekend. :)

    Oh, and the luthier is Jon Hill of Hill Instruments here in Cleveland. He makes some nice stuff.
     
  6. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com

    I agree they are not the same by any means in tone characteristics. Mahogany is a punchy warmer tone wood. Not really an even tone wood, but more then that of walnut. Alder is a closer even tone wood and more common when trying to achieve an even tone across the spectrum. Walnut is a brighter, harder sounding wood.

    On my New Benavente chambered body, I chose Mahogany because I wanted a punchier sound out of my fretless.
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?threadid=89024&pagenumber=4
     
  7. Honduran Mahogany is my favorite tonewood for fretless. That being said, there are many types of Mahogany, and every piece of wood is different.

    Good luck with the new bass.

    Aloha,

    Jonathan