what is different between ash and alder for P-bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by kim do yeon, Oct 25, 2003.

  1. kim do yeon

    kim do yeon

    Sep 6, 2003
    I know that ash is more higher-range sounds than alder.

    in your opinion, what is more suitable to to P-bass sound? ash or alder?

    I love P-sound, but i want a little more tight and solid sounds.
  2. jacove


    Apr 12, 2003
    Aalborg, Denmark
    ash tends to be more bright, punchy and snappy, while alder is warm and sweet. most often maple fingerboards goes best with ash and rosewood with alder. None is better than the other, they are just different. If you want the smooth soul/R&B tone I would go for the alder/rosewood, if you want a little more aggressive rock tone I would probably choose the ash/maple. good luck! :)
  3. Exactly what I would have said. Great Post!

    BTW, there is a great article on the theory of wood HERE

  4. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    The Essex P that i just bought has an alder body (duh) and maple neck/fingerboard. I actually like the way it sounds. I tried one with a rosewood fingerboard and it didnt please me. I dont know why?
  5. Woodboy


    Jun 9, 2003
    St. Louis, MO
    The two prototypical P bass players were James Jamerson and "Duck" Dunn. They both played alder P basses with Brazilian rosewood fingerboards. That right there is enough for me. IMO, Indian rosewood is to be considered an "almost ran" replacement for Brazilian in this instance. Brazilian is only being used by small, hand-made style builders. Brazilian is harder and more resonant.
  6. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    Woodboy, great tip! Thanks a lot. Is there any way to identify the Brazilian vs. Indian rosewood when looking at vintage P-basses? Or can you go by the year of manufacture?

    P.S. All hail the "old gods" of bass, Jamerson and the Duck! :cool:
  7. Woodboy


    Jun 9, 2003
    St. Louis, MO
    If my memory serves me, I think it was in '68 or '69 that Brazil put an embargo on the export of it's rosewood. That was about the time Martin Guitars switched to Indian. Assuming Fender had a stockpile of Brazilian fingerboards, they might have made it until 1970 (?). I am not a Fender historian, so I am just guessing. Visually, Brazilian is browner and Indian is purpler. Indian is more porous. Brazilain can range into red or even orange. Telling them apart can take some experience. However, once you develop your eye, you can tell them apart with 99% certainty. Brazilain rosewood is currently Chapter 1 of the CITES regulations, which means all international trade of the wood is suspended. The only Brazilian rosewood being used today is that which was uncovered in somebody's garage or attic (New Old Stock), stumpwood that is being sawn up into boards, or black market wood that slipped into the country under the radar, so to speak. Vast quantities were imported into the U.S. up until the embargo, so you can still find stashes of it here and there. Probably the closest substitute for Brazilian rosewood is Honduras rosewood, which comes from Central America (not just Honduras.) It is a bit heavier than Brazilian, but has similar resonance.
  8. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Body wood makes a significant contribution to the tone of an instrument. The contribution of the fingerboard is subtle at best on a fretted instrument.

    IME, alder is stronger in the lows and low mids, whereas swamp ash (light weight) has sweet singing high mids and presence. The northern (heavy) ash Fenders I've played (these were common in the CBS era) had a "scooped" tone: strong highs and lows, less midrange.