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Wenge Vs Wenge? Old Warwick Vs Old Ibanez Wenge

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by alreadytaken, Aug 16, 2018.

  1. alreadytaken


    Aug 2, 2018
    I have two different basses with wenge/bubinga necks and wenge fretboards and they both look very different. They resonate differently too. Do you any of you know if the difference in look and feel of the wood is caused by being harvested from different places or from it being different parts of the tree? If I didn't know they were both wenge I would think they were different types of wood. Hopefully some wood experts here can shed some light on this mystery.

    The first bass is a 98 warwick thumb neck through made in Germany. Unplugged this bass resonated high mids a ton, the whole bass shakes like crazy. Maybe that's the neck through or bubinga body? Notice how lightly colored and full of different patterns the wenge is (main wood, the streamers are Bubinga) Here are pics of the fretboard and neck:

    The next bass is a 93 Ibanez sr1305, made in Japan by FujiGen. The wenge is much darker, has much larger pores, and less patterns. This bass when unplugged resonates low mids and lows pretty well, and is not as overall resonant as the Warwick. It is bolt on and has a padauk body (very beautiful and 3d in the right light). Also note that the bubinga streamers are lighter and more red than the Warwick. It might be just an effect from the colors next to it though. Here are the pics of the board and neck:


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
  2. GMC


    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    Yep..that's variation within a species. Mahogany is even more diverse. It's impossible to predict exactly how an instrument will sound outside of vague and global cliche words. Wood species variation even occurs in the same log. A billet from the top of a tree may sound wildly different than from the bottom. Every piece is slightly different...unlike carbon fiber or graphite...which is a man made material.
    bass12 likes this.


    Dec 12, 2013
    A quick aside, that fret-board would benefit from some oil. Crimson guitars sells a great kit for under $15. It makes an amazing difference. ;)
    Gizmot likes this.
  4. alreadytaken


    Aug 2, 2018
    It's a pretty interesting thing huh? Usually basses are painted and you can tell by looking it at. Maple is pretty uniform and most rosewood looks similar. Yeah I haven't seen much raw mahogany, but I've definitely noticed the difference in weight and resonance.

    The Ibanez? Yeah and the frets polished too. I got it a couple weeks ago and I don't think that board had been clean or oiled since 1992 when it was made. I gave it a ton of howards cutting board conditioner and it looked a lot better (not zoomed in of course). After three or four good coatings I was afraid I'd possibly throw the frets out of level if I did too much at once. Next string change it will get more. I need to take a toothbrush to it again too, it was filthy when I got it and those giant pores just swallow up the grime
  5. bass12

    bass12 A very hungry caterpillar Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I've had both light and dark wenge boarded/necked basses. The size of the pores can vary quite a bit (finishing can have an effect as well).
  6. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2012
    Could also be different finishes. The difference you see is about what you can expect from adding finish.
  7. alreadytaken


    Aug 2, 2018
    Oh I didn't think of that. Could some of that as well I suppose.
  8. MPU


    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    Warwick frets do make a sound difference too.
  9. alreadytaken


    Aug 2, 2018
    Good point! The bridge has a lot more mass too.
  10. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    The neck through makes a big difference in the sustain and the vibrations you feel In the body.
  11. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    All the pics you post look like Wenge to me! :) Wenge has a surprising amount of variability... you see a lot of the brown/tan stripey stuff in guitars, but one of my apartments in Moscow had wenge floors, and those floorboards looked almost black (and that floor was a real bear to keep clean...)
  12. I'd have a problem with wenge floors, I'd constantly be thinking about how I could tear it up and use it in instruments.
  13. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    There are a couple of very similar species that are grouped together as Wenge (pronounced Ven-gay), true Wenge and Panga Panga. I forget the differences now but they are quite small. The dark and lighter lines/patterns are summer and spring growth i.e. the annular rings of the tree, the differences in pattern are a result of the way the board has been cut. Tightly grouped parallel lines are from wood that has been quarter sawn or so the board is a direct slice from the outside to the heart, if you look at the end grain it will be all near vertical lines . More open wavy patterns happen when the board has been flat sawn or at a tangent to the heart, if you look at the end grain it will have flat or curved lines following the width of the board

    Matt Liebenau likes this.
  14. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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