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What is Bubinga?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by darkfish01, Mar 12, 2005.


  1. darkfish01

    darkfish01

    Feb 11, 2005
    San Marcos, Tx
    The title pretty much explains it. What's the difference? I hear you have to treat the wood... how? I'd like the 411 ^_^
     
  2. seansbrew

    seansbrew Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    I'll tell you my experiences, I don't know why more builders don't use this for a body wood ( I'm sure there is a reason) every bass I have ever played with a bubinga body has a distinct sound that no other bass has. Oiling the wood is not a big deal, its just like anything else.
     
  3. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    Bubinga is probobly my favorite wood. I love every thing about it, and I especially love the look and the tone. The sound of this wood is really amazing, and if you like a bass with a heavy mid prescence, Bubinga is your wood. My only guess why it's not used more often as a tone wood is because of its weight. It's pretty heavy.
     
  4. MrWalker

    MrWalker Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2002
    Norway
    Well, I'm not sure, but bubinga could be one of those rain forrest woods, and should (together with a whole lot of wood used in instruments) probably be used more sparingly. The rain forrest environmental problem has been extenssively discussed in combination with furniture and boat (especially teak), but a similar discussion has, as far as I can see, not been taken in the instrument industry (I may be totally wrong on this, though, as I haven't really seen that many discussions between luthiers). The Cort Curbow is a good example of good instruments built from "non-rain forrest material," with good results (ebonol for fingerboard and luthite for body material).

    I don't know where bubinga is in this discussion, but I have a feeling that most Warwicks would be on the the rain forrest preservation auctionists black list. :)
     
  5. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
    bubinga is from Africa

    if you can handle the weight (I have a 6-string neck-thru fretless that is solid bubinga body/neck w/ebony fingerboard and weighs over 14 pounds) and you want a rich low-mid growl, this is definately a wood to consider. it doesn't grow figured like maple or koa can, and it doesn't have the visable graining of ash, oak, or alder.

    I have owned several solid bubinga basses over the years, and have loved every one of them.

    R
     
  6. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Bubinga is sometimes called "African Rosewood". It is a drak, figured, heavy and dense wood used in furniture making as well as gtrs and basses.
    It grows in western/central Africa.....the trees are quite large....but like a lot of Rosewoods, I believe it is now endangered due to over-harvesting.

    It has a dark, yet pronounced tone on basses....it is heavy and so is often used as a laminate top on bodies.

    Max
     
  7. Lockout

    Lockout

    Dec 24, 2002
    Illinois
    [​IMG]

    I really like that figuring... Is it difficult to find pieces of Bubinga that look like this?
     
  8. seansbrew

    seansbrew Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    I used to have a neck thru thumb bass that was solid bubinga, it had such a nice low midrange growl, it was the best sounding bass I have ever owned.
     
  9. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Yes, I think so, which is why it's kinda' significant when you see them, and why they look so nice.
     
  10. RedVampyre

    RedVampyre

    Jan 10, 2005
    Alabama, USA
    Here's some beautiful examples of bubinga pommelé...

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  11. Aerolithe

    Aerolithe

    Jan 23, 2005
    Columbia, MO
    Bubinga is a toxic wood. It is perfectly safe (to my knowledge) to be touching a finished peice of it, but when you have bubinga sawdust flying everywhere it can cause problems.
     
  12. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    The music industry uses way less woods than others - and instruments are built to last a long time.
    Look at all the wood used not just for furniture of boats, but also paper, firewood, or simply just burnt for more farming territories.

    IIRC, George Furlanetto also has an "all-domestic-wood" policy. Also, it has been discussed among luthiers, and here, too.
     
  13. konfishily

    konfishily

    Jan 24, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    From my experience, bubinga is pretty dense, which is what gives it's distinctive tone. Warwick is well known for using it in it's bass bodies. Style-wise, bubinga gives a punchy mid-range ideal for rock bass.
     
  14. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
  15. Very similar to a few of the utter beauties above - my Dean Rhapsody 8, in bubinga. A lovely piece of wood indeed! :bassist:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. That top one looks like mine.
     
  17. form52

    form52

    Mar 17, 2005
    Bass Central has a few Really!! nice figured thumbs in the store right now.
    I was in there last week and checked out a couple of them.
    They get all the best stuff.

    Click here to drool
     
  18. I don't know about that. He uses quite a bit of ebony.
     
  19. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    My previously owned '97 Warwick Corvette, (after some upgrades) was easily had the best tone of any bass I've ever played or owned. If the thing didn't weigh so much, and required such a high maintenance, it would still be in my stable. I think that was largely in part to the bubinga body (although the wenge neck couldn't have hurt either).