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no more basses with tops for me???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by adrian garcia, Apr 28, 2006.

  1. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    i gotta say, after i received a certain bass today ( which shall remain nameless ) i have cemented my conclusion that basses without tops sound better to me. My body wood of choice is Ash. But whatever it be, i have found, to my ears at least, that taking the same model from the same builder, a bass without a top sounds punchier and fuller. My fancy wood topped bass days may be over. Anyone else think the same way ?
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Me for the most part. I think i will always prefer solid bodied basses. Tops dont really do it for me. Few exceptions, of course, but given the option, a nice ash body does me fine.
  3. Interesting idea. A couple of my favorite basses were without tops. Although I've never had the opportunity to play 2 basses by the same maker with the only options being one with a top, one without. I would guess there would be some differences in sound between the two.
  4. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I happed to think Ash is not only the best sounding body wood for bass AND guitar... it's also one of my all time favorite looking grains!

    (can you guess birdseye maple is on of my others ;) )
  5. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Gotta love your taste, James. I love the grain on my HH SR5 and the birdseye on my sterling is oh so lovely.
  6. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    I remember being at Mike Tobias's shop (many years ago) in Cali, and he had a development mule they were playing with.

    It was a swamp ash body, and something relatively new to him. He was using mostly other tone woods at the time.

    I fell in love with this thing, and tried to pry it from his grasp.

    It was, as I said, a test mule. It looked like poop - it had this huge cavity routed out, as they were moving the pickup all over, experimenting. He wouldn't part with it.

    That's when I realized how much I like ash as a body wood...I was ready to adopt this awful looking, unfinished "Frankenbass", just because it sounded so damn awesome.
  7. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    I'm sure that Mike having built it didn't hurt either! :p

    BTW, I love Ash. It is by far my favorite tonewood.


    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    ...I prefer topless...

  9. I prefer ash as a body wood too. I do like and believe that one can tailor the sound further by using other woods as tops provided there isn't too much glue involved. (I've probably broken that rule on my upcoming bass though as it's fairly "Hippie Sandwiched". :)

    For instance on my short scale, I've chosen Ebony top to give a bit of clarity to the ash's attack and some low sustain while preserving the punch and "boink" of ash. There's also a thin layer of curly maple for some added warmth. We'll see if it worked but on my existing Fodera the ebony sure did.

    There's no doubt that a one wood body will be liveliest and vibrate the most readily though-no glue.
  10. instigata


    Feb 24, 2006
    New Jersey
    ash loods good, sounds good. so does alder. either of those and a three piece maple neck and a burst finish. presto. great bass.
  11. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    my main bass for a couple of years now has been an ash body with an ebony top- it sounds fantastic. i still think topless sounds best. too bad a am a sucker for a fancy top. but may may be changing.
  12. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    In my experience, if there are a bunch of laminations....like a 9 or 11 piece body....the frequency response of the bass is going to come up and yeah, there will be a loss of resonance/low-mid/fullness. However, I don't think a fairly thin top will make much difference all other things being equal. Moving the pickup position, changing pickups, even changing electronics has, I think, more of an impact...changing fingerboards...

    I've just heard too many fancy jazz basses that are fuller/punchier than plain-jane basses with the same pickups and fingerboard.

  13. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I agree there, but something about knowing that your entire body is resonating as one, is comforting.

    That being said, I definitely do love me a nice MTD with a nice flamed redwood or myrtle burl top.
  14. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club

    Apr 22, 2006
    PDX / SFO / HNL
    I just ordered two Fender American Deluxe Jazz... one FMT and one QMT.. and I sure hope the tops don't detract from their sound! They are Alder which I think, along with Ash is the best wood for sound.. so I think that 1/2" of wood shouldn't make much difference.. but tomorrow I'll find out!
  15. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I'm not into fancy tops either, outside of flamed maple. They sound just as punchy. I also dig ash. I've got a bass coming from a company, I'll you the tale later, and I specifically requested no top.
  16. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I have not had too many basses in my hands with regular thick tops. Mostly veneers. But, I do like a good old slab of solid wood.
  17. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Yeah, a topless piece of ash DOES sound nice!
  18. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I realised the same thing many years ago. Less glue joint as possible!!
    The sound of a bass is in the wood not in the glue.

    But when I had a bass built lately I did ask for a top anyway...

    They look great.
  19. gillento


    Oct 15, 2005
    Luxembourg, Europe
    Nordstrand pickups
    Thinking back, all the basses I really liked had a plain ash body! That is why I sold my Fender Roscoe Beck V (alder) and my Trace Elliot T5 (alder), my Warwick Thumb ... .
    In the end I think I should have kept the T5 for its really great neck and get a luthier build me a fitting ash body....
  20. Beav

    Beav Graphics Whore

    Jul 17, 2003
    Middle Tennessee
    Designer: Beav's Graphics
    Where do you put your pickups if the bass has no top :confused:

    ;) I have the utmost respect for anyone that can hear the difference in something so miniscule as a top.

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