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padauk vs. wenge for neck wood

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by neptoon, Oct 12, 2003.

  1. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    well, thinking about building a warmoth jazz (dinky type, for a 1 meter tall guy--me). i've got everything hammered out: swamp ash body, aggie preamp, bart X4 narrow soaps, with the neck pup a little closer to the neck than normal jazz spacing (a la jeff berlin's basses)...but what about the neck? all wenge? all padauk? padauk neck/wenge board? this is going to be for mostly fingerstle playing with a little slapping...so, umm...i'm a little confused as to what i should use...where's matt schmill at :D
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Are you looking for comments with regard to tone? I've never done an all-padauk neck, so I don't know how that would "sound". The texture of padauk is marginally finer than wenge, so the difference in feel would be subtle. Padauk is also a little less dense, so if you're at all worried about neck dive, you might pick padauk.

    Besides, I tend to downplay the tonal aspect of wood selection. What I generally tell people is that if you have a reference bass that you like (maybe a Warwick...) then it makes sense to use the same woods. Otherwise, the difference in a solid body bass is going to be subtle enough, especially with two woods that are not that far apart in density and oil content like padauk and wenge, that you should go with what you like to look at. The options you have with electronics these days will more than cover for any minor shift in response caused by wood selection.
  3. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    right on...i think i'll go with padauk then, since hardly anyone uses it (compared to wenge, anyway...)...i would on day like to have a le fay herr schwarz, which has a bolt on all padaik neck on an ash body. i'll save the wenge neck for the warlock bass i'm gonna build ;)
  4. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Padauk is not at all as stiff as wenge, so depending on possible graphite rods or similar, a wenge neck would give a more complete tonal spectrum and less prominent dead spots.

    Then again, many luthiers report good results with padauk necks, so, why not? It's a lot easier to work, from what I hear...
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Lefay basses have a wenge body and padouk neck.

    Killer combination.

  6. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    yeah, i know JMX...i've been looking at those basses for a while. i really dig 'em...gawd, they have the most awesome body contouring...i'm thinking about maybe getting a herr schwarz with the ash body padauk neck, though. but, incidentally, the wife just bought me another warwick last night :D i may have to wait on the warmoth project and the le fay...at least until i get the streamer lx in the mail, ya know
  7. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Padauk is my second choice for neck wood right after...wenge ;)

    both woods work great.

    Peace, JP
  8. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc


    i like wenge, too...padauk just looks so cool...i mean, heck, they make marinmbas out of the stuff, so it has to have some sort of tonal value.
  9. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Actually, they make marimbas from wenge too. I know a guy in a marimba ensemble, and they have a few of each. The way he described the difference in sound fit pretty well with what I've heard about the differences in regards to bass necks. Go figure.

    My padauk-necked fretless has a very prominent midrange. From what I've heard, wenge has a more compressed midrange, less accentuated. This fits with what I heard in vanselus' shootout between the two MTDs (wenge v. maple).

    Wenge has more high-end than padauk, as it's stiffer. Overall, a quite a bit a "drier" sound, I think.

    This is a little bit of experience and a lot of "what I've read/heard" talking, though. :cool:

    I love the feel and look of both.
  10. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    well, i really dig wenge, but i've never really played with padauk before...just really interested in what a padauk necked bass would be like compared to wenge. and thanks for the info on the marimba...i used to be in drum and bugle corps (carolina crown) as a snare drummer and we had several marimbas that were all made from padauk. never saw a wenge one...that's really cool
  11. Sprudellio


    Oct 16, 2002
    Sorry to bump this old thread, but I'm very interested in this topic.
    Anyone got some more information?
    I really couldn't find anything about padouk on the net. :meh:
  12. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    well, go to http://www.lefay.de and check out what they have there...lots of padauk going on...i still haven't gotten the lefay, or the warmoth...i've gotten more warwicks, adn mtd and a spector, though :D
  13. Sprudellio


    Oct 16, 2002
    Well the lefay website is kinda funny, but not really informative.

    Maybe I can get a Hr.Schwarz with wenge neck and fingerboard...
  14. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    indeed you could...i think a wenge neck with an ash body would sound killer...especialy with his electronics options...his rough crystal pickups and preamp sound killer