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Maple bodied basses. Tell me about them

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Eilif, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Hey guys, I am thinking of replacing my ash body jazz with a maple body. I like the bass alot as it is, But I found a body in a cherry burst that is really stunning. So the impetus for replacing is cosmetic rather than tonal. My question is this

    How do maple body instruments sound?
    What experiences have you had with maple bodied instruments?

    Note that the final product it would be a maple body with a fender '62 reissue neck with rosewood fingerboard, passive: with fender noieseless pickups, and a badass II bridge.
  2. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I'm not sure if you are talking about just a maple top or an actual solid maple body.
    You don't see tons of solid maple bodies. Most maple is pretty dense. This generally means a bass that is going to be on the heavy side. Tone wise maple usually gives bright, articulate mids and highs and a reduction in bottom end when compared to alder and most ash.
    Since your going after a different look not a different sound I'd go ash or alder with a maple top(that may be what your doing anyway). Tone wise there won't be a huge amount of difference. My experience is it'g going to sound alot better because you'll be taking it out of the case and playing it so much more ;)
  3. Yeah, maple body=big weight. Had a 5 string ALL maple neck-through Spector fr a while. Heavy as crap.
  4. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    If you're talking about all maple bodies, I love the way they sound...my favorite basses have maple bodies. Crisp, clean, deep, clear...Not a throaty airy sound. I'm not great at describing it, so maybe someone else will chime in. Rickenbackers are all maple, as is my Ritter (I checked with the builder). Neither of which are heavy either...I've had ash bodied basses that weighed much more. I guess a full size big jazz body in maple might be bad, my basses have relatively small bodies so they're not (Ritter is 9 pounds).

  5. That is true of the sound. Mine was very deep, clean and clear.
  6. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Thanks for the input so far. I am feeling rather confident about this course of action.
    The body I am considering is a solid maple jazz body. Weight doesn't bother me, and I actually like the weighty feel of my practice space bass, a t-40. I lalso really ike the Ric sound (though that's also ric pickups, neck thru, etc.)

    Anymore experiences with the tonal qualities of solid maple body basses?
  7. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    If you like the weighty feel of your T-40 and like Rics, I think you'll be quite happy. I forgot to add that I have another maple-bodied bass, a Hondo Longhorn cheapie:
    And my experience with that bass is similar to my former Ric and my keeper Ritter bass. Very natural deep lows, clarity, with some bite to it. I know maple is not the most common body wood, but I'm a big fan as you can tell.

  8. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Lots of great all maple basses out there .... spector, pedulla, some smiths ... they sound very deep, controlled, and clean. If you got a full size jazz body in maple it would be very very heavy.

    If its just a maple top then the tone will be effected more by whatever wood is behind the top than the top itself.
  9. I had two all maple bodies basses. One was a Spector USA bolt on 5 string and the other was a Carvin LB75 5 string.

    Both basses sounded very different.The Spector was largely better than the Carvin. But in general,what the other guys have said is true. Good quality Maple should sound clear, bright and a bit less low end than ash.
  10. Let me tell you one thing that has already been echoed... it's HEAVY.

    I mean it.

    Get a wide strap.
  11. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    As above....

    Maple is bright and rather heavy. I have a warwick streamer lx6 wideneck which is the very definition of a heavy bass. I have grown attached to the brightness of maple.
  12. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    This is why I like Talkbass! Lots of opinions, detailed, and sometimes disagreeing (respectfully of course), so that the quesiton asker is given enough information to make an educated decision. This is a great board!

    Keep the Maple opinions coming!

    A bit more information about the situation at hand...
    The body I am considering is the Mightymite maple jazz body in a cherry sunburst. It's quite striking, and I found it for $109. The reason I am wanting to replace the current WD ash body (very nice body) is that I finished it in tung oil and I think a glossy sunburst body would look much cooler than a matte oiled body with the glossy yellowed fender neck. Plus I would have an excuse to build another bass! maybee a frettless or.....
  13. jacochops


    Jul 2, 2000
    Suzhou, China
    Carey Nordstrand made himself a maple bodied bass which was quite light, and had midrange and bass for days. I know that maple can run heavy, but it depends on the kind of maple, as well as the piece. I've played some light Pedullas, and I've also played some maple-bodied Smiths, and they were nice 'n light.
    Ken/KSB...you out there?
  14. I'm with the others on the weight issue but I disagree with the observation of a lack of bottom. I think what you get is a pronounced top end and that's percieved as less bass. In my case, this Jazz has plenty of bottom. I built it for the wood - had to have that flame and lots of it - but I was pleasantly surprised at the great tone. Not that I was expecting crap but getting a more balanced tone wasn't what I was told to expect from maple.
  15. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    The bodies on those pedullas are really small compared to a fender.
  16. fiebru1119


    Mar 2, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    Two of the best sounding basses I've played have been all maple basses - Warwick Streamer Stage I and Spector Euro Neck-through.. huge deep, clear tone!
  17. My EVH has a maple body and NT maple neck. I haven't found it very heavy actually, because of the nice balance. Soundwise there's beautiful highs and mids indeed, great for solo pieces. The lows clearly have less 'oomph' than is the case with my two other (mahogany bodied) basses, but they are more 'musical' and articulate if you know what I mean. Mahogany rumbles, maple sings...
  18. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    I think it depends on the type of maple....

    My Hamer B12S had a body made of hard rock maple, and it was very bright and heavy, with solid lows. On the other hand, my Pedulla Rapture 5 is made of soft maple, and is quite light, and stronger in the middle frequencies. My Hamer B12L has a mahogany body, and is much more throaty sounding than the hard maple B12S. I think I preferred the sound of the maple body.

    Dingwall uses soft maple in the Afterburners.
  19. Have you considered getting a neck to go with the maple body. That way:

    1) you would keep the original bass intact (which you've said you like the sound of.
    2) you can choose also the wood for the neck to get precisely what you want and possibly a totally different annimal to the other bass
    3) you'd have another bass in your arsenal :hyper:
  20. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    I considered getting another neck. If I hate the sound of the maple body, I will just put the old body back on. Whichever body ends up leftover will probably end up with a mighty mite pbass frettless neck w/ebanol board. They make a cool looking unlined board, and I prefer wider spacing on a frettless.

    So I will probably end up with another bass, which will just thrill (sarcasam) my wife to death. But no matter what happens, I will have fun building and customizing some more basses.