W-O-O-D ?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by blaw, Nov 5, 2000.

  1. blaw


    Oct 16, 2000
    My friend asked me the other day, does the wood quality of the body makes that much difference to the sound ? Since, the pickup is located right under the strings, and the vibration of the strings go directly into the pickup...

    so.. does it mean, the quality of the pickup is more important than the quality of the wood ?

    oh.. i am talking about electric bass here..

    and yeah... i really wanna know WHY ?! WHY ?!
  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    the nature and character of the vibrations of a string are determined by what is holding the string in tune. this includes hardware (bridges) and the materials of the instrument itself. the different physical characteristics, such as mass, density and rigidity, of different woods cause different frequencies to be either more pronounced, or dampened more quickly than other woods.

    the quality of the pickup is very relevant, but so are the quality of the materials and the workmanship. a rigid neck is absolutely essential for maintaining a good low end, especially with the low B. a massive bridge is going to give a more sustaining, piano-like tone, as well as the general mass of the body, usually. soft woods give mellow sounds, hard woods give a snappier high end to the notes. there are many considerations that go towards determining how an instrument will sound, woods are just one ingredient in the recipe.
  3. The quality of the wood is more important than the pickup.

    If the tone isn't in the woods to begin with, then no pickup or preamp will be able to compensate for the lack of great tone.
  4. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    One way I can answer this is by telling you a story about two Laklands I played in a store a few years ago. They were seemingly otherwise identical, except that one had a maple top and the other didn't. Maple is a very hard wood and is said to produce a brighter sound than many other woods. In this case, the proof was apparent! The maple-topped Lakland was far brighter than the other.

    There are a lot of general rules about woods, and bass player attempted to do a lengthy article about these differences a few years back. I'd suggest you read it if you can get a hold of it.