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Maple/Mahogany bodies

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by snakesandarrows, May 2, 2010.

  1. snakesandarrows


    Oct 12, 2009
    my search for a new bass continues and now I'm thinking about woods. Strangely, I played one of the Modified 70s Squire Jazz basses and loved the feel/sound of the wood. I believe they're Maple; it was so punchy and had tons of low end and I liked the really heavy weight. For months I've been set on eventually buying a U.S. Lakland Decade (Mahogany body) but am now debating it because of the wood. Before I had made this decision on the Decade, I was looking at the 4-94 which has a Maple top; this kind of puts the 4-94 back in the running. I also recently found a newer Thunderbird for sale that's been tempting me. I'm kind of lost...

    I really want to put emphasis on how much i liked the heavy weight of the bass;

    Can anyone name some other basses that are Maple or Mahogany to compare? or maybe some advice? thanks.
  2. nato101010


    Dec 12, 2009
    Maple is bright and clear.

    Mahog is creamy and warm.

    Both are nice.
  3. Try to find a nice clean Gibson Les Paul Standard which has the chambered mahogany back and carved maple top. Set single-piece mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard all make for one hell-of-a terrific sounding instrument!!

    I'm still shocked that Gibson discontinued it. I'm not sure what people didn't like about it. It's one of my favorites (2003); right up there with the Gibson Thunderbird and Rickenbacker 4003 & C64 4001.

    The pickups are hot, neck plays like butter, and the bass hangs wonderfully. And the bridge is an engineering work of art and is totally adjustable in every aspect unlike the T-bird and 4001/3.

  4. DerHoggz

    DerHoggz I like cats :| Banned

    Feb 13, 2009
    Western Pennsylvania
    Rickenbackers are maple.

    Some Ibanezes are maple, mine is.

    The Squier VM Jazzes are maple.
  5. Rebmo


    Aug 19, 2006
    My 83 G&L L-1000 is Mohogany with a maple neck. Deep sound and sustain forever with also slight brightness added from the maple neck. Lotsa punch and heavy. I have an early 80s G&L SB-2 with maple/maple and that has good sustain and bright and punchy high end with solid low end but not as deep as the HOG. Mids have to be tamed with an EQ but sounds great with the mids dropped a bit.
  6. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    Some Rickenbackers are Maple/Walnut/Maple ...

    This bass here has a walnut center and walnut headwings and a bubinga fretboard. All 3 are bright sounding hardwoods.

  7. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    A lot of builder use maple necks & body caps with mahogany bodies or cores for tone.

    Best of both worlds
  8. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    It wasnt maple if it had tons of low end to it. Thatd be mahogany or similiar wood instead. However mahogany is light weight wood, so heavy bass isnt mahogany. Prob some variation like agathis wood.
  9. Madcity Fats

    Madcity Fats Supporting Member

    May 28, 2008
    Madison, Wisconsin
    I have a maple-bodied G&L SB-1 that would beg to differ with you on this.

    It can be light, but again, I have a hog-bodied G&L that's one of the heaviest I've ever owned. And I know from poking around here that it's not unique in that regard.

    No two trees are alike and wood density can vary within a single log, so there's really no set rule about what wood is the lightest etc. I have an ash bass that's as light as my alder one. I have another ash bass that's closer to the boat anchor category. Alder tends to be a bit more consistent, I think.

    Dan Lakin (of Lakland fame) is quoted as saying he doesn't think the type of wood has as much to do with tone as density does. Generally speaking, higher mass basses tend to have a deeper tonal character than lighter ones.

    A mahogany Decade is going to have low end for days, trust me. In that case, it's really more about the neck pickup placement than the body wood. Mines a fairly light Skyline model and it's positively huge.
  10. Bro222


    Feb 17, 2009
    I have had two basses with maple bodies, one soft maple other hard maple. According to the manufacturer The Kramer 710 was soft maple and had significantly more low end than my hard maple Warwick Fortress One. Regardless I would not consider either of these instruments to be "bottom heavy".

    It is always hard to compare the woods on vastly different instruments, but my generalization is soft maple has more bottom end. Your mileage may vary.

    I wouldn't worry about it. Play them all and find the one who's tone speaks to you.
  11. Giorgetto

    Giorgetto Fingers on 4 Flatwounds

    Dec 29, 2008
    Near Tinseltown
    Artist Relationship: Wilkins-Ampeg-La Bella
    My three chambered Wilkins P/J's have Mahogany bodies with Maple tops and they sound amazing, I would describe their sound as having a warm bottom with sweet highs although they sound slightly different from one another.
  12. The 70's Squier VM jazz lists "soft maple" as the body wood in the specs list. I don't know if that is a buzz term for agathis or not. The VM fretless does use agathis.

    I agree with most the other TB'ers on this one. If you can swing it, go with a mahogany body w/a maple cap. Les Pauls sound huge for a reason.
  13. mikekim


    Mar 16, 2005
    Stingray 30th Annivervaries have a mahogany body with maple neck. They sound quite different than other Stingrays (in a good way).
  14. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    High quality mahogany (Honduarn, African/ limba & Cuban) is considered a heavier wood. The cheaper mahoganies are the lighter ones from the Philipenes, like sepel.

    For those who care-

    Swietenia spp. are the genuine mahoganies, from the Caribbean and Central and South America. Cuban was the most common until Castro, then Honduran.

    Lauan is a cheap nasty wood that looks similar and marketers started calling that "Philippine mahogany". A lot was used in guitar bodies in the 60s and 70s, don't know how much today.

    Nato is another wood that's sometimes used as a cheaper substitite, I've never worked with it but it's supposedly nicer and stronger than lauan.

    Khaya is what's called "African mahogany". It's fairly expensive though not as much as Honduran, it has similar structural properties and it's pretty well-regarded in general as a hardwood. But I don't know how close it is in tone.

    Related spp: Cuban or Spanish Mahogany Swietenia Mahogani, Jacq, which for 250 years was the most cherished cabinet wood in the world, has now become of more historical importance than commercial significance due to indiscriminate wastage.

    Mahogany, Cuban
    Swietenia mahagoni
    Cuba, Dominican Republic

    Mahogany, Honduras
    Swistenia macrophylla
    Tropical America

    Two species of wood fall into the family guitar builders call "Honduran Mahogany"; mahoganni and swietenia .Mahoganni is the dark mahogany Gibson used for the original SGs and L/Ps that we know and love. It is very rare today. The second species, swietenia, while called Honduran is actually from Brazil and much lighter than true mahogany. Most likely a new mahogany guitar would be built using the lighter Brazilian species. Because of the darkness of the wood the use of dyes on mahoganni and swietenia (to a lesser degree) is limited. "Woody" colors such as mahogany and walnut work well on both species but colors like yellow and blue may not. Red will give a wine color (like an SG) to true mahogany but may give a redder color on the lighter swietenia . Test first before committing to a color.
  15. mas502arc


    May 14, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    I know this bass doesn't really fit in with the basses in the original post, but
    MTD Kingston Zs have a mahogany body with a maple top. Those are some classy instruments, IMO.
  16. snakesandarrows


    Oct 12, 2009
    sort of tough to get a hold of any U.S. Lakland...
  17. loopee

    loopee Supporting Member

    May 12, 2009
    Surrey, B.C. Canada
    One of my basses has mahogany/wenge laminated neck with rosewood board and the body is chambered mahogany with myrtlewood top. What a wonderful tone these woods give. Deep lows, warm, natural highs......it works for me. It's passive.

    I also have a chambered mahogany with maple top and it's great for modern and vintage tones alike. This one is active.
  18. snakesandarrows


    Oct 12, 2009
    sorry, by maple cap you mean a maple neck or a maple top on the body?
  19. metron


    Sep 12, 2003
    1980 L1000 mahogany body with a maple neck. It can sound bright and grindy or over the top slamming bassy low end. I can't say if any of the tonal qualities are due to one wood or the other. In fact I would be hard pressed to say I have any idea or even the capability in my mind of isolating all related variables in order to say what wood sounds like what. Each puts it's mark on the overall tone but the sound of the bass is undeniably the pickup.

    My advice is to forget about choosing which wood you want to buy. Choose the bass you want to play. It's easier! :D

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