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So if wood type makes no difference in tone...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bdplaid, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    ... How come hollow bodies sound different from solid bodies? Hmmmm?

  2. ZedLepp


    May 12, 2013
    Most of the times the bottom of the pickup is not supported and it moves slightly with the vibration of the thin top.
  3. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    People believe what they want to believe. Of course wood matters. But that's not the crowdthink opinion here. That's fine.

    I no longer care to "educate" a public that has no interest in learning anything. And OP, I'd advise you to just give it up as well.
  4. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    Not weighing in on wood mattering or not, but that is apples and oranges dude. One is a major change to the structure of the bass that is going to make the surface more able to move and change how it resonates, change how the pickups can respond to the string, change how the strings and body interact with the bridge and tailpiece. This is like saying "if wood doesn't matter, how come an acoustic guitar sounds different than an electric?" . . . well, because they have a totally different construction and prevailing physics behind them. You're picking an entirely different variable to change and acting like it proves the first variable matters.

    Again, not weighing in on whether wood matters, just saying this argument makes zero sense.
  5. Bijoux


    Aug 13, 2001
    I thought this was relevant,... I actually have 5 Jazz basses and only one of them with maple finger board, which happens to be the warmest one of the bunch, sharing the same electronics!
    design, Qlanq, Novarocker and 4 others like this.
  6. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    Not apples and oranges at all. The people who say wood doesn't matter hold the belief that all tone emanates from the strings, the pickups and the fingers. I've seen this written on TB many times.

    Taking in the idea of structural differences, why can't that also be true of wood? After all, wood is organic, having been a living thing,and has a cellular structure that varies from species to species.
    gzarruk, sears, TyBo and 4 others like this.
  7. DrMole

    DrMole Supporting Member

    And one piece of wood from the same species can actually be more different than a piece from a different- though similar- species.

    Hollowbody and solid are perhaps the definition of apples and oranges.
    Tone is generated and propagated differently in each type of build.
    paco facile, Novarocker, bbh and 13 others like this.
  8. Kriegs

    Kriegs Peace

    Feb 14, 2018
    Southern New England
    Whil57, Gigas444, Novarocker and 29 others like this.
  9. I believed wood made a difference until I bought my all maple necked aluminum bodied Telecaster. I believe blindfolded I and most would be hard pressed to distinguish it from my rosewood board alder body Telecaster. I was surprised as anyone.
  10. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    First of all - this is not a case of the wood - it is case of the construction technique. Totally different.

    Also - Wood DOES matter, but just a little - just for your "bedroom sound" - Not audible in a gig. AND - any wood differences are negated by a touted "High Mass Bridge" that prevents the wood from vibrating. If you have a resonant piece of wood, you want the lightest possible bridge. High Mass Bridges are used now because there is less and less "Good Wood" and they help the instruments to have a more consistent sound quality as the wood varies.
  11. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    Absolutely apples to oranges. It's an entirely different construction, not "small structural differences." I have to believe you can see that "different chunks of wood," vs "no wood with internal bracing that isn't present in a solid guitar along with different strategies for attaching parts like electronics and hardware, and an entirely different physical response," are not comparable. It's honestly so different I'm wondering if you're trolling.

    This is going to sound like I'm mocking you, but I swear I'm not trying to be a pain here, but you do know that a hollow body isn't just a solid body with a missing slab of wood in the middle right? Other than the fact that they both use tensioned strings to vibrate at the same specified pitch, they are almost different instruments in the way they are built and behave.
  12. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I was surprised when I got very different tones with two one piece bodies I DIY'd made from the same plank of wood using the same neck, strings, pickups, hardware, and setup.

    I use both hollow and solid bodies specifically because they sound very different.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  13. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Haha, so many people on the Internet try to position themselves as brave lone wolves while painting the people who disagree with them as mere sheep. I have no idea which "side" is the majority, but "wood matters" is a pretty popular opinion here.
  14. Frank Tuesday

    Frank Tuesday

    Jul 11, 2008
    Austin, TX
    A bass is basically a multi-component structure that supports two ends of a vibrating string. Everything that connects the two ends of the strings makes a difference in the way that string vibrations dissipate energy into the bass.
    Novarocker, bbh, covermego and 4 others like this.
  15. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    You sheep never understand what it's like to be a lone wolf ;)
  16. DrMole

    DrMole Supporting Member

    Wood matters.
    On a solid-body electric instrument, things that matter- orders of magnitude more:
    Pick ups
    Playing style.

    One can change any of the above and make a far greater sound difference to the listener
    than changing the body wood from swamp ash to Birdseye maple.

    As a player, I and others have our favorite woods. Tone from the wood in an electric instrument is secondary, nay, tertiary to me.

    Original 50's/60's tonewoods for slab cut basses were chosen because they were plentiful and generally cheap, not because of any magical tone properties of basswood or swamp ash.

    A high quality acoustic guitar, violin or upright bass is another animal altogether-

    A player might
    be able to tell a difference between two types of body wood when playing but pretty much every objective attempt at listening experiments from experienced ears , whether guitar, violin, mandolin, etc show that listeners do no better than random chance.

    Not to discount the feel and vibe of an instrument. If I think my quilted maple and Engleman spruce mandolin sounds and plays better than a swamp maple/fir comparison- I will likely play better.
  17. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    The OP’s question is about construction, not wood. Wood makes a tonal difference - less than 1% of the final tone, though.
  18. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    sure it is, but the question itself is usually asked to elicit 'all-or-nothing', binary responses. i think most of the 'reasonableness' exists in a third group, the one who'd say: everything matters to one extent or another, great or small, and that the woods used to build the thing matter more in some instruments and less in others. but that doesn't satisfy the either/or folks or the yes/no folks. the question itself: "does wood matter?" appeals to the folks who need a yes/no answer...right now! --- so that their conscious 'equilibrium' is not tested. and of course, no one wants to feel stupid. :D

    per the OP: are you kidding? :laugh:

    * :thumbsup:

    Novarocker, mmon77, bench and 9 others like this.
  19. SpazzTheBassist


    Jun 20, 2006
    The OP argument is addressing the arrangement of the wood, not the wood itself......also, I don't think hardly anybody denies that wood types and densities make a difference, but often what points get argued on TB are under a microscope instead of the examples where the difference is readily heard
    Hambone70 likes this.
  20. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    Thank you!
    Novarocker and bassplayer9512 like this.

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