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Tonal qualities of agathis?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by John K., Sep 9, 2002.

  1. I was wondering what the tonal qualities of agathis was. I'm considering getting a Brice V2 Quilt Top 5er from Rondo Music. Anybody?
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    "Agathis" is a sort-of "catch-all" term for many distinct species, (kind of like saying "maple"). For instance, It could actually be kauri from N. Zealand or a different specie from Indonesia.

    Theoretically, it's a medium-light wood and isn't much different than alder in tone, except that it's relative softness doesn't offer the lows and highs of alder.

    The reason I say "theoretically" is because we're talking about its use in a very low-priced instrument. Quite often, these budget instruments use several pieces that are glued together because that's one reason they can price these instruments so low. Higher priced instruments that use just one or two solid boards with consistent grain will display the tonal properties of the wood, unlike a low-priced instrument made of several, glued, pieces.

    Moreover, these lower priced instruments typically coat the wood with paint, so, the tonal characteristics of the specie don't have much of a chance to come through.
  3. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Supposedly it's simmilar to Mohagony (sp...I can NEVER spell that word right!). Supposedly.
  4. So it's typically pretty warm, but with less lows and highs? Mmk then.
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Again - it depends on how it's being used. Some good acoustic guitars use whole boards of N. Zealand agathis, "kauri" and have a nice range of tonal response.

    Some budget electrics use a collection of pieces glued together of wood that is called "agathis" although it's not NZ kauri. On a $200-350 painted electric instrument, I doubt you're going to have good enough construction or electronics to hear the wood much at all anyway.

    The kauri tree is huge, one of the largest on earth, so they end up with tons of pieces that are too small to use as single boards. They chop `em down in the S. Pacific and just ship them to the low-end factory in Indonesia, Timbuktu, or whatever 3rd world country the factories that make this budget stuff are located in.

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