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Mary Kay (transparent) white finish: Alder or Ash?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sheepdog, Aug 10, 2005.


  1. sheepdog

    sheepdog

    Feb 20, 2003
    Birmingham, AL
    If I do this, the neck will be maple with pearl block inlay and binding. The maple neck will tend to be a brighter tone than rosewood. I want to keep a balanced tone (not pure 60s vintage, but something resembling it). I thought Alder might be a better wood for this.

    Also, I have seen some Mary Kay white finishes on ash and sometimes the wood grain can come through so strong, it almost makes the grain take on a blue tint. Would the alder grain be enough to show through a little bit. Just enough to show a hint of grain, not enough to jump out of the finish.
     
  2. MAJOR METAL

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    I would personaly go with the Ash for the body, their are some great preamps out their that can really warm up the maple/ash combo IE Sadowsky.
     
  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    IMO trans white/trans butterscotch look better over ash because the grain is so prominent. With alder, grain is sometimes barely noticeable even with a totally clear finish.

    What's more important to you, looks or tone?
     
  4. sheepdog

    sheepdog

    Feb 20, 2003
    Birmingham, AL

    aguilar OBP1?

    wiring (if I do this) will be:

    volume (push pull/ active passive)
    volume (push pull/ series parallel)
    passive tone (no load pot)
    bass/treble stack

    with (probably) nordstrands
     
  5. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Ash will have that pronounced grain you want under trans white.

    Soundwise, it's a crapshoot depending on the piece of ash or alder you get. I've heard light pieces of alder which sound like ash (good thing), medium-weight alder which tends more toward that 60's jazz bass punch, heavy pieces of alder which don't resonate at all....

    Conversely, you could wind up with a punchy piece of ash or a light, scooped-sounding piece of ash.

    I would buy ash just for the grain pattern and pray for the best.
     
  6. sheepdog

    sheepdog

    Feb 20, 2003
    Birmingham, AL

    would weight be a factor in sound? If so, would heavier or lighter pieces of ash be better?
     
  7. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    To me, sound changes piece to piece...and all of your other variables (pickups, placement, fingerboard, nut) are going to have an effect. I would go light and see what happens, unless you want a Marcus Miller sound...than you'll want something a little more dense.
     
  8. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    i heard transparent finishes dont look good with alder, due to the natural pink color of the wood.
     
  9. sheepdog

    sheepdog

    Feb 20, 2003
    Birmingham, AL

    yeah, wouldn't go with transparent (clear) gloss. More of a partially transparent white (mary kay white).
     
  10. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    +1000. IME sometimes ash sounds like alder and vice versa.