One Piece vs. Two Piece Bodies

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bassmanbob, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    I've desided to go with a Swamp Ash body for my first bass. I was looking at Larry's Gallery Hardwood site. After e-mailing him about what I wanted, he responded saying he has two piece unglued body blanks.

    I've also noticed that some builders use two pieces and some use one. What is the difference between a one piece body and a two piece glued together?

    Are there tonal differences, or is it just cheaper to buy two narrower pieces and glue them together?
  2. Sure, there's plenty of cost reasons to do this but there's also the fact that 1 piece woods the size of a bass body are hard to come by regularly. For a bass you'd need a 15" wide piece that comes from a part of the tree that would make the grain as near quartersawn as you can get for stability. If you look at where a piece that size would come from in a log, you'd quickly see that the log diameter would be way out there - approaching 4' or better. That's why they are rare. If you get a flat sawn slab, you run the risk of cupping.
  3. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    The tonal difference is subtle, probably more due to different lugs than different sizes.
    Cost will, however, be a major difference. Really wide planks are hard to obtain.
    Wide planks are more commonly taken form the center of a tree, which in effect means quartersawn. If you find a flatsawn plank of good quality, grab it, save it for some years, and find yourself having the perfect blank for a double-curved body, à la Spector!! :meh:
  4. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    why Ash ? Just curious.
  5. Smartass answer: Why knot? :)

    Ash, as a species, usually has a very straight grain, is quite dense, routes and machines well, has a killer "traditional" wood grain appearance, and is a species that grows many places on the continent. That's a few reason's I can think of but there's a bunch of experienced luthiers here that can give more insight.
  6. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I knew that response was coming...
  7. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Why Swamp Ash?

    I wanted to start with basic tried and true woods for my first bass. I thought about Mahogony (spelling???), Alder, Spanish Cedar, and a couple of others. I came up with Ash because 1. I really like the sound of my Roscoe with the Ash body, 2. I wanted more attack than what Mahogony would normally give, Swamp Ash is plentiful, so if I screw it up, I won't feel as guilty about ruining an endangered species in vain and 4. Gard's Zon with that increadible mwah has a Swamp ash body. I know that the mwah from his bass probably comes more from the composite neck and the diamondwood fingerboard, but I thought that I would stick as close to what I could.

    The neck will be a one piece Maple. I haven't fully decided how I'm going to orient the headstock, but I know it's going to be angled and confluent with the neck (not another glued piece of wood). I think I'll add a vilutte (spelling???) to add some strength so the headstock won't be prone to being knocked off.

    I'm going to need a durable fingerboard for this fretless, but I want it to be a light colored wood for the overall appearance of the instrument. From what I've seen (and correct me if I'm wrong), all of the strong and durable fretless fingerboards are dark colored woods. I e-mailed Larry from Gallery Hardwoods and he explained that I could have many types of woods light in color as long as it's treated properly.

    I have a long way to go before I get started. I want to become comfortable with the tools before I start building my first bass.