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The truth Wood resonance Build Ect.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by oldprussians, May 7, 2010.

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  1. oldprussians


    Jan 7, 2008
    United Republic of Europe
    IT Professional!
    I've Probably talked about it before.... Certainly I've studied it, when qualifying as a luthier!

    But I've just had a very interesting conversation with a Physicist

    And these are some very interesting conclusions!

    1 Is there a difference between Bolt on neck-through String-through body?

    Well to answer that one needs to know if a string vibrates differently depending on how the two points are connected. String trough body is irrelevant, Bolt on or Neck-Through, the difference is that there is a stress point at the where the pieces join, Glued or Bolted on! But if it is glued or bolted on tightly the stress point is subtle that the human ear finds it hard to detect, and certainly the eye cannot! Obviously a fretted instrument as repeating fixed points and a fretless those points move slightly

    2 Materials?

    In an acoustic instrument the sound board material is very important as it flex, and how it flexes determines the type of sound wave sent, just like how fat and strong the hand is determines the type of wave made in water. Thus quality of wood, type of sawn, straitness of grain, bracing, Pine, spruce, Cedar ect.
    Then, the size of the cavity determines the depth of sound, ie bassyness, although it is not as simple as that, and the ratio of density difference between the Back and sides verses the sound board effects how hard the waves bounce off.
    Now in electrical instruments, the role of the sound board, is taken exclusivity by the pick-ups, so the type ie Humbuckers, Single coil, Stacked, Soap bar, Quality of build ect.
    The Cavity and Back and sides are determined in the electric bass, by the electrical path way quality of wiring, Processing, Active/Passive, the Cable, Amp processing, Quality of Driver, and Amp build materials and cavity construction.

    So essentially, when buying a Electric bass apart form comfort of feel, the things one should be looking at is preference of Pickup and Electrical cofig, as well a build quality, and how that is reflected on price. Obviously we are human and the look influences us as well, but that's an artistic issue, and I'm completely crap with visual art!

    I'll be interested if anyone has any more quantifiable Tangents.
  2. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Yes this has been well hashed. Set vs bolt on vs neck through makes a difference.
    Wood resonance has everything to do with what the pickups "hear"
    Pickups add their own character as does cable and amplifiers and speakers.
    The quest for good sound starts with materials that resonate well, whether wood or other material.

    The most important factor of all is the quality of the players skill, touch and musicality. A great player can make music on most anything.
  3. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    It is certainly more to the Eye, than the ear (Solid Body). Well, preference too.
  4. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    The roll of the sound board is NOT taken exclusively by the pickups. They are just the "microphones" in the equation.

    Otherwise, everybody would just get whatever wood basses and "slap some Fralins in it"....

    oh, wait...
  5. oldprussians


    Jan 7, 2008
    United Republic of Europe
    IT Professional!
    Guys I would love to do a blind test with you lot, but I can't afford the lay out...

    I'd get three basses Neck-through, Bolt on and Graphite. Put the same PicUps put them in exactly the same place,(with regards position in 860mm scale length and electronic set-up.

    And I swear blind folded nobody would tell....

    I just can't afford the lay out the money to set the test up!
  6. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    You would lose that bet.
  7. DerHoggz

    DerHoggz I like cats :| Banned

    Feb 13, 2009
    Western Pennsylvania
    I've always wanted to just slap together two whamolas, one of maple and the other of a wood that is conventionally thought of as "warmer". All other things being equal, the difference would be heard.
  8. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    Most definitely.

    I have not had much experience listening to bolt-on vs neck through, but graphite/carbon-fiber/composite necks are so much stiffer than normal necks that the tone difference would, to me, be patently obvious, especially if all other factors were held consistent.
  9. freakfingers12


    Mar 28, 2010
    oldprussians, I bet anyone can hear the differences blindfolded. For instance, neck-throughs would accentuate the low end more and bolt-ons have tighter sound.
  10. Billy Low

    Billy Low

    Apr 14, 2003
    Sandberg Guitars
    You did say NOBODY, correct?

    I want a piece of this action! :cool:

    It's been my experience that there IS in fact a measurable difference in the way that the frequencies resonate between a neck thru and a bolt on. Most of the differenge comes from the multiple laminates used in the neck thru construction (in many cases the laminates are various woods with different properties). Each laminate alters the frequency. In some cases it can "deaden" the note or cause a loss of sustain (contrary to the belief that NT have more sustain it is actually the opposite) It also has an effect of the attack, giving a somewhat compressed sound. This is why many people have described the NTs to be "warmer" sounding in comparison to BO's.

    But then too, what do I know?
  11. oldprussians


    Jan 7, 2008
    United Republic of Europe
    IT Professional!
    I will see what I can do to set up a test I will try to get hold of equipment record it and then post them, then all you have to tell, is which is which.

    Simple heh?
  12. I'm thinking that if wood matters; the variation in species is so large it's impossible to make wide generalisations.

    Furthermore, while wood MAY matter I find the electronics to me much, much more important in the scheme of things. Pickup type, followed by placement affects the sound of the instrument the most. Player aside, in this case.
  13. I'm inclined to agree with you. I also play bagpipes and in the piping world there is this same type of argument going on... that "pros" or experienced players with a trained and discerning ear can hear the difference between pipes made of various woods because of their acoustic properties and/or resonances. Long story short, highly regarded experts in the field couldn't even tell the difference between a wooden chanter and a chanter made of concrete... yes, concrete.

    We all can hear tonal differences between various basses, but the problem is that in a blind test we cannot discern what was used to construct each bass just by it's sound.
  14. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Heck, people here couldn't even reliably tell shortscales from longscales.
  15. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    Oh come on, people! Everyone knows that the more expensive and rare the wood used in a bass, the better it sounds. It's just a fact. ;)

    I do think you can make some broad generalizations about wood and tone, but every bass certainly has it's own "personality" based on a thousand variables.
  16. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Okay, it's all in the pickups. Just slap some Fralins or Darkstars in anything and you'll find tone bliss.

    Good luck with that.
  17. Let's look at guitars for a moment.

    So, it is only really the electronics which make a difference?

    Right . . .

    Take an SG and a LP. As far as I'm aware, the pickup positions are the same in both. Now wire them identically, with identical pickups in each guitar & use the same type & brand of strings. And then compare them through one amp using an A/B box.

    Electronically, they are the same. The pickups are in the sam relative positions. When it boils down to it, the only real difference is the wood in this instance, yes?

    They won't sound anywhere near the same.

    *As someone currently working on a PhD in physics*
  18. No one has said that. Although so many testimonies imply a swap in electronics has made ALL the difference, maybe there's some truth in that.

    Construction, IMO, is the most important variable in an instrument's sound and feel.

    IGAM - There's too many variables to say 'it's just the wood' - but certainly if the electronics were the same I'd say they'd sound close to the same. Others may disagree, but whatevers.
  19. I'm quoting this but it's also a reply to your previous post.

    I agree, there are too many variables. But, just because one variable is more significany than the others, this does not mean you can discount the less important variables from the equation.
  20. I think that's exactly what the OP said (that only the pickups & electronics affect the sound). I disagree; in my opinion a cheapo jazz bass cannot be made to sound like a Sadowsky or Alleva just by changing the electronics.

    But hey, whatever makes you happy.

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