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Raw Neck Wood - Wenge vs. Indian Rosewood

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rx2enemy, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. rx2enemy


    Sep 26, 2010
    Time to replace the neck on my American Standard Jazz (yr 1999). Tired of flawed frett refinishes and the back surface has taken a brutal 11 year beating. Never thought the neck was all that great to begin with. So I am thinking about a Warmoth neck that I can customize all the way through. Want a raw unfinished wood with a rosewood fingerboard. I have researched wenge and Indian rosewood as neck wood, they both seem like what I want but would love some pros and cons of each before spending the cash. Any help? (I am not referring to the appearance, but the integrity and soundscape)
  2. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    I prefer rosewood. Nice woody warm tone. Wenge isnt isnt as bright as ebony which isnt as bright as maple btw. Ive owned one bass with wenge fretboard. Warwick corvette active fiver. Wenge is nice. Not as common as ebony but a bit warmer sounding to me.
  3. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i would keep in mind that solid rosewood necks (or necks that have the core/back made of rosewood) can get pretty heavy, and with warmoth's two steel support rods, even heavier, so if you have a lightweight j bass body you could create a balance (neck dive) issue.
  4. Wenge is heavy, as well.
  5. I've played on both, and they're not too different for feel. The rosewood is naturally oily which helps it stay fast, but they're both nice.
  6. EarlTroutman


    Nov 18, 2010
    My 1994 Fortress One has a wenge neck. Always be careful to never use something like steel wool when cleaning. The tiny metal specks will jam in the tiny pores and you'll be playing with bloody fingertips. After 16 years it looks older but plays like new. Weight is subjective; you eventually get used to whatever you have.
  7. my '97 wick has wenge neck and fingerboard. grips well and slides easily. the streamer has a small maple body, and I have no neck dive issues at all. plus, the grain looks great
  8. This one's easy:
    The slightly bumpy surface of the wenge makes it the fastest neck I've ever used. I've been through three of them. They're astonishingly fast. Most noticeable when the weather gets your palm damp; you'll stick to anything else, slowing you down.
  9. emohair


    Jul 12, 2006
    Gainesville, FL
    I'd like to chime in, cause I've owned basses with both necks.

    Rosewood in a nutshell - very warm, not overly bright, SOFTER wood. Think of a wood that's good for fingerstyle thump, deep lows but not very complex in the upper treble region.

    Wenge in a nutshell - very hard, heavy wood, and TONS of inherent mids. I owned a bass with an all Wenge neck, and it was very punchy and focused. Very growly, midrangey.

    Wenge is heavy, so balancing may be an issue.

    IMHO - you should go for the Rosewood, its a much more typical wood for this style of bass as opossed to wenge which is more used in boutique type basses or as a tone plate. Correct me if im wrong, but you want it to still sound like a jazz bass right? It might just take on a tonally differnt animal if you go over to Wenge. I like to stick with the basics, Rosewood has been used on jazz basses for decades with much success (who doesn't like James Jamerson?)

  10. cabcreaser

    cabcreaser Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    I love jamerson the way he loved his precision.
  11. Definitely wenge! Much better sound and feeling. I have had several wenge neck basses and I loved them all! I have also PauFerro/PauFerro neck and I must say that wenge feels better to play on.
  12. matskull


    Jun 5, 2006
    I'm also curious about the difference between a rosewood and a wenge neck.

    I keep reading that rosewood is warm and wenge has tons of mids.
    Are they low-mids (upper bass) or hi-mids?

    Which one would give the best bass punch while keeping good "airy" highs?
  13. BioDriver

    BioDriver A Cinderella story

    Aug 29, 2008
    Austin, TX
    WEEEEEEEEENGE! Super fast surface and awesome midrange presence.
  14. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Lol, thats going break the record for neck divey bass.
  15. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I would not use wenge for an unfinished neck. I am a woodworker/luthier and use wenge regularly in my shop. Wenge has really open grain and splinters easily with no finish. Wenge splinters will go septic very quickly under your skin and are very painful. IMO, I think it would make a great sounding neck but sooner or later you WILL get a splinter from a raw wenge neck no matter how well you sand it. As porous as the grain is, it will still feel very natural under your fingers with a light finish. An oil finish would probably work well for you.
  16. i've never got any splinters from the numerous wenge neck warwicks I've owned, and those necks are unfinished.
  17. Um, there seem to be quite a few people that think Wenge is the holy grail of neckwoods.
    I've never heard of anyone getting splinters from it, and Warwick used to make production model instruments with Wenge necks. AFAIK, no one was complaining.
  18. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I seriously doubt any company is sending out unfinished necks of any kind. The potential for warping and twisting from humidity would be to much of a liability. I believe that Warmoth wont warranty unfinished necks against warpage.

    The great thing about wenge is that it still looks nearly raw with the right finish because the grain is so prominent. Your Warwick most likely has an oil finish or a light clearcoat. All I am saying is I have handled hundreds of board feet of wenge in every state from rough boards to guitars after the final sanding. Wenge is the wood that I take more care with than any other because of how awful the splinters are and how easy they are to get.
  19. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Yes, I said it would sound great. And you dont hear about people getting splinters because the necks are finished. Look it up people, I do this for a living.

    That probably came out the wrong way. I am just trying to offer firsthand knowledge, if I came across like a jerk that was not my intent.
  20. matskull


    Jun 5, 2006
    Would you mind giving me some more details about those famous mids?
    Are they in the upper or lower end of the mid range?

    How are the lows and highs?
    Did the one you tried have an ebony fingerboard and did you ever compared wenge to all rosewood?

    Lots of questions... I know, but I want to build a guitar and I'm still not 100% about the woods I wanna use.

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