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substitutes for wood.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Gideon352, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. Gideon352


    Oct 17, 2003
    Ocala, FL
    ok..........so i figured i'd throw this one out there :

    anyone ever build a bass using something OTHER than wood? maybe graphite, or aluminum.......or???

    i used to own a curbow and the body was made of luthite i believe. what the heck is luthite? i know it was a great sounding and playing bass, very light weight......but also (new from the store) smelled oddly like paint thinner. no kidding.

    anyway....i was just thinking about the possibilities. i mean, wood warps. it's not the strongest material to use by any means.........and most bass players who play funk and slap have a really trebley metallic type sound anyway right?

    questions, comments, concerns por favor. :)

  2. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Aluminium could be an interesting alternative. Would take a different workshop, though...welding and stuff.
  3. Skips


    Feb 19, 2003
    I built a kramer aluminum neck bass from parts on eBay.
  4. Diek


    May 25, 2003
    Luthite a synthetic material made out of ground up luthiers.

    jk. Luthite is a type of plastic. It's supposedly forumulated to have simmilar density, stiffness, and other properties about the same as wood. It's injection molded, so you can mass produce curvy shapes easier than you can with wood. I own an EDC705 with a luthite body. It used to have the patent number printed on the back, but it's worn off after years of playing. Maybe someone else who owns one can give you the number, if you're interested in looking it up for more information.

    To me, luthite sounds just as "good" as wood. If you were to give me a wood bass, and a luthite bass that were otherwise identical, I probably wouldn't be able to tell which was which.

    The problem with non-wood materials (and even non-traditional woods) is the expectation of the player. Non traditional materials sound different. Not better, not worse, just different. But no matter how open minded some of us are, I think bass players in general are pretty conservative about their tone. The want to sound like other bass players, and new materials won't always sound like bass is "supposed" to sound. I'd personally love to experiment with other materials and maybe extend the definition of what bass is "supposed" to sound like, but that will have to wait until I have a few wooden instruments under my belt and a steady job that will be able to pay for my experiments.
  5. Gideon352


    Oct 17, 2003
    Ocala, FL

    sign me up too. i am really curious about this moving away from using wood option. my curbow sounded great too. if that's a plastic composite, i could never tell.

    i find it easy to get a "warm, low" sound from most wooden instruments. a lot of that sound (to me at least) is in the tone control. change your tone capacitor to an orange drop and see if you can tell the difference over a standard ceramic capacitor. i'd be willing to say (again, to me) that the tone control will affect the sound just as much or more than the wood.......in an electric bass. again, just my experience.

    i find it harder to get a really almost metallic-like trebley-growly tone from a regular bass though. perhaps if the material used in the neck and body, string nut.......so and and so forth......was a little more clanky sounding with the strings, it might be a good thing.

    again, i don't know much.......hahaha........that's why i'm posting here. you guys know a heck of a lot more than me about this. so.....thanks for the feedback and keep it coming! :)

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