Thoughts on the tonal properties of sugar pine

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mindwell, Aug 5, 2022.


  1. mindwell

    mindwell Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2006
    Wichita, KS
    Thinking about picking up a G&L JB-5 in sugar pine. Like how it played, though it wasn't especially light, and am wondering how its tone might hold up in a band mix. Lots of good overtones and potential sounds to be gotten out of the bass depending on attack. But for those who have played either this particular model or other instruments made of sugar pine, in your experience how does thus-constructed instruments acquit themselves on the "Ash vs Alder" sonic and response spectrum? Especially in regards to low-mids.
     
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  2. BassyBill

    BassyBill Still here Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    This should be great…
     
  3. IPA

    IPA Supporting Member

    May 5, 2010
    sounds about the same as ash, alder, mahogany and basswood
     
  4. Warpeg

    Warpeg

    Jun 20, 2005
    Ohio
    I bet it sounds "sweet". Okay, I'll see myself out....
     
    gidbass, Fialka, HardNHeavy and 37 others like this.
  5. mindwell

    mindwell Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2006
    Wichita, KS
    Great to know! Because you've played a bass made of sugar pine, yes?
     
    31HZ likes this.
  6. Bitterdale

    Bitterdale Natural Born Lurker Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2010
    Ocala, FL
    Take a dozen examples of any bass made of any particular wood. They will all sound a bit different.

    How then, do you determine the exact role the body wood plays? You can’t. But it sure sounds nice to assign generalized descriptions of each specific variety.

    It would be great if we knew, without doubt or question, that the choice of wood produced a certain result. But we don’t.

    It won’t stop anyone from claiming that Ash and Maple is bright or Mahogany and Alder is warm or anything else you may have heard before. All you can do is roll the dice and hope it meets your expectations.
     
    donhank, LowActionHero, lomo and 9 others like this.
  7. mindwell

    mindwell Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2006
    Wichita, KS
    I see you didn't read the original post.

    "But for those who have played either this particular model or other instruments made of sugar pine, in your experience how does thus-constructed instruments acquit themselves on the "Ash vs Alder" sonic and response spectrum? Especially in regards to low-mids."

    Have you? No? Then this post isn't addressed to you.
     
    shirojiro, Adam Wright and AlexanderB like this.
  8. Warpeg

    Warpeg

    Jun 20, 2005
    Ohio
    So much snark. Ouch
     
    EdO., LowActionHero, mcnach and 11 others like this.
  9. primusfan1989

    primusfan1989

    Jan 17, 2005
    new jersey
    IDK in regards to a bass guitar but I know I love my tele that has a sugar pine body. Its kinda heavy but its the best E.guitar Ive ever owned
     
    logdrum and mindwell like this.
  10. Warpeg

    Warpeg

    Jun 20, 2005
    Ohio
    OP, you ask an honest question. However, you’ve been a TB member long enough to know that your question relies on the hotly-debated concept of wood having a relevant effect on the tone of solid-body instruments. You will get some good feedback, but history has shown that you will likely get many more replies from members that disagree with or want to poke fun at the concept. And with that, good luck.
     
  11. mindwell

    mindwell Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2006
    Wichita, KS
    Fair enough. You're right that the history of this particular discourse is what it is. And yet, I hoped, foolishly perhaps, that adding stipulations to my request would have the effect of filtering the responses that I received. But I was mistaken, and I also happen to be old and cranky. Mea culpa for orneriness.

    I will say that the new inflationary $2070 pricing on that particular bass has rendered me less willing to take the plunge than I otherwise might be, and all sugar pine data points will be helpful going forward.
     
    mikewalker and littlebun like this.
  12. Stewie

    Stewie

    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    I assume that the density of the body, or it’s total weight has an effect on the tone, I heavier bodied bass will most likely have somewhat greater sustain. The heavier the bass is, the less comfortable you will be at the end of the third set. As for “tone”, I would guess that technique, pickup placement and model, and choice of strings would have a much greater effect on tone than the species of tree. Leo used alder because he could get lots of it cheap. If the bass has a transparent finish and you like the look of the wood, go for it
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022
    mindwell and Bass4Brkfast like this.
  13. No Malarky

    No Malarky

    May 27, 2010
    Four out of Five Dentists recommend Sugar Pine for their patients who chew on Basses.
     
  14. jpmcbride

    jpmcbride

    Aug 31, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    I've never played a pine bass. But my guitar player sometimes plays a pine telecaster and it's brighter and twangier than any other tele I've heard.
     
    mindwell likes this.
  15. Not sugar pine but I made a slab body P-bass from longleaf pine. For the other slab bodies I've built ; ash, poplar, mahogany, alder, basswood and obeche were used for the body. All of them got a maple/maple neck. Most are strung through body.

    I can honestly say I've detected little tonal difference between any of them.
     
    donhank, EdO., Fun Size Nick and 10 others like this.
  16. mindwell

    mindwell Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2006
    Wichita, KS
    Just to put some meat on these sugar pine bones, this is the bass in question. Played it and liked the neck dimensions quite a bit; was able to do things with that 1.775 nut and 17mm bridge spacing that aren't possible with my Atelier Z Beta 5, or any combination of Lakland, Mike Lull, or Sadowsky 5s that I've owned in the past. But that list price has me a bit sticker-shocked in these inflationary times.

    G&L JB-5 - Pine - Old School Tobacco Sunburst #4119 - Basses - Products
     
    guitarflinger and Pocket4 like this.
  17. Orioles

    Orioles

    Jun 13, 2020
    Hope this helps: I picked up a G&L JB5 last December. It has a pine body (whether it's sugar pine wasn't specified), and comes in at 9.0 lbs - pretty light for a Jazz 5. This is my first extensive experience with single coils, so I have little to offer in the way of body wood comparison across Jazz basses. But, I will say that this bass is the sound, spacing, switching, and feel I've been chasing for many years. I'm home.
     
    mindwell likes this.
  18. IPA

    IPA Supporting Member

    May 5, 2010
    no no, DENSITY, not DENTISTRY. take care of your enamel though.
     
  19. sikamikanico

    sikamikanico

    Mar 17, 2004
    You played the thing. You cannot get any more relevant, first-hand information than that.
     
  20. 2112

    2112 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2005
    IPA likes this.

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