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Poplar or flamed maple for the top wood ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by doomprophet8, Oct 12, 2019.

  1. Guys for a metal sound and more attacks and agression u choose poplar or flamed maple for the top wood ?


    May 24, 2011
    Unless the top of the bass you are looking at is very thick it will have little effect on the tone. Maple is more dense than poplar burl It might contribute to a brighter aggressive tone but only if the top is very thick and not a veneer.
    What kind of bass are you looking at?
  3. I am ordering a custome bass . The body core is alder and wanna choose the top between flamed maple and poplar?
    GHOST AT likes this.
  4. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    One thing I noticed about my '80s Guild Pilot basses was that the combination of a solid maple body and EMG revP/J pickups made for what I thought was a very aggressive/present tone that still had very good lows. Those basses were very responsive to attack and could also be less aggressive when needed depending on how I played. I used them for several years in a heavier sounding blues band.
    Thundar, doomprophet8 and RyanOh like this.
  5. 92aceshigh


    Feb 11, 2017
    Brighton, UK
    Poplar because it looks cooler (imo ;)). It will have an imperceptible affect on tone.
    LowActionHero and doomprophet8 like this.


    May 24, 2011
    In most cases the top is cosmetic, I would go with the one you like best. Since you are ordering custom your builder can offer his input on which top would be better. IMO the wood that will have the most effect on tone is the fingerboard.
    MattZilla and doomprophet8 like this.
  7. The look is not important cause a color comes for the finish. The tone is matter . I don't know with alder body which top is better
  8. For the fingerboard i have chosen ebony Gabon. Do u have any suggestions for the fingerboard wood with that kind of fave sound?
  9. 92aceshigh


    Feb 11, 2017
    Brighton, UK
    If you're getting a solid colour finish then it really doesn't matter? Especially something like poplar or flame maple where the grain of the wood is the attraction. It won't make any difference to the tone of the instrument so go with whichever is cheapest.
  10. I thought it affects the tone . So which is lighter ? And I can use that alder core with no tops with no effects on tone?
    So the top wood is for the appearance at most ? This is the result I get
    Bassgeer likes this.
  11. 92aceshigh


    Feb 11, 2017
    Brighton, UK
    Poplar is lighter, but wood tops are so thin they won't have much affect on the final weight of the instrument tbh. You can definitely forgoe a top wood on an alder bass if you are going for a solid colour option. Top wood is 100% for appearance. It is a very thin "slice" of wood that is used as a veneer over the main body of the bass for aesthetics, or to cover any weight-relief chambering should you opt for it.
    Vinny_G and doomprophet8 like this.
  12. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I would never choose poplar for a top wood. At best, it will look like plain maple after it is stained. It is also very soft. If there is tone wood (not gonna enter the debate), the top of a solid body bass will have little effect. Unless you don't like the look of flamed maple, go for that.
    Rabidhamster likes this.
  13. Useful info . Thanks man \m/
  14. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    Make sure that you have left handed vs right handed grain when you select your guitars top wood... anything else will make your metal bass sound like something that belongs on a Taylor Swift album.
  15. gwangi

    gwangi Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2009
    Forbidden Valley
    Honestly I would go flame maple top and maple fingerboard.
  16. In the top I agree but for the fingerboard my choice is ebony
    Oobly likes this.
  17. Rabidhamster


    Jan 15, 2014
    Flame Maple all the way. Poplar is kind of a step down from alder tone wise, and is generally fairly ugly. It’s nice to work with though and quickly renewable.
    doomprophet8 likes this.
  18. Vinny_G


    Dec 1, 2011
    Gallia Celtica
    Whatever you think of the sound of a wooden top on a solid-body guitar, I recommend you choose the one you like the most. The metal sound does not come from a layer of wood.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    New York
    1- Why poplar for top? It's not an interesting looking wood, very close to alder..
    2- Why a top if you're going to finish it anyway?

    Tell your luthier to find a light alder, and call it a day. Tell him/her to paint it black while you're there :cool:
    doomprophet8 likes this.
  20. Vinny_G


    Dec 1, 2011
    Gallia Celtica

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