What's the lightest body wood that provides good tone?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by CJK84, May 20, 2005.

  1. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    I once played another person's bass at a rehearsal - the playing experience was great. I was moving around more than usual, felt more in control of the instrument and in general, simply enjoyed myself more than normal.

    I couldn't understand what it was that I liked about this substitute bass until I realized later that it had felt really light around my neck (it also had a 34" scale compared to my bass's 35").

    So what is the lightest wood for a bass body that still produces good tone?

    Swamp ash?
  2. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    The Elrick NJS 5 I had had a very light black limba body and had a KILLER tone!!
  3. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I think paolina (sp?) is the lightest with decent tone- Conklin uses it for a lot of their ERBs. You can get swamp ash and alder in very light pieces as well.
  4. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Black Limba would be my vote as well, extremly light, looks good, and sounds good, what more could ya ask for :)
  5. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Ed Roman calls it the "Holy Grail" of tonewoods...

    But do we really care what Ed thinks??

    :smug: :p
  6. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Out of my mind, back in 5 minutes! Supporting Member

    I have a MTD with an aviodore body that is very light and sounds great.

    Dan K.
  7. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    `?µ?manufacters keep trying to makes us think that BASSWOOD sounds good (it is really light -- and really cheap) but I have yet to come across a good-sounding bass made out basswood (and i have tried plenty).

    Otherwise, as mentioned before, you can't go wrong with alder and light swamp ash.

    Man, never heard about black limba. This is why I love this forum: knowledge.


    P>S Mark, don't mess with Ed . . . after all he owns the "World's Largest Guitar Store" and sells the "World's Best
    Guitars," so you, know, he's got a high "criteria" . . . :eyebrow:
  8. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Its also known as Korina, and there is White and Black. The Black is the better of the two I believe.

    Check out Jean Baudin's KneeBee thread to see what it looks like, the body of that bass is Black Limba.
  9. Limba is also called Korina, Am I right?!!
  10. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    ^ see my post above hehe, yes your are correct sir :)

  11. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    You are correct sir.
  12. tc99


    Mar 25, 2005
    Long Island
    Be carefull with Black Limba which is not always light weight. I am having a Bass built from a piece of Black Limba from Gallery Woods that is relatively heavy.

    I am told by my builder, who already hass the body blank, that it may end up as heavy as the last Bass that he already built for me which has a Walnut body. It is the same lot of wood used to Jean Baudin's Bee Bass.

  13. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Hmm, wonder if that might have to do with just a large variation in species, or if maybe its a regional thing. Pete Skjold uses a lot of Black Limba and every piece he has is very light. I think it came from a local supplier here in Texas, allthough I can't be sure. I know he has regular access too it and so far the consistancy of lightness seems to be there in his supply at least.

    As with any wood, there are variations in density and weight, but Im sure with some proper selection (with weight in mind), you can find light Black Limba.
  14. Jean Baudin

    Jean Baudin

    Aug 27, 2003
    redwood city, ca
    Endorsing Artist: See Profile
    Yeah, I was going to mention this... The KneeBee is not a light bass, it's about 12-13 lbs. I always thought Black Limba was a lighter wood too.... I've played a JP Bass that has a Black Limba and it was certainly more "beefier" than I expected. No complaints, compared to the Pac9, the KneeBee is a lightweight! hahaha.

    My new Conklins will both have Dragonwood (Paolina) Bodies which is a super-light wood.
  15. unity bass

    unity bass

    Dec 15, 2003
    Modesto, Ca.
    my all Koa 4 string is very light (around 7.5 lbs.) and sounds very nice.


    Chris Stambaugh recommended Spanish Cedar for its light weight and quality tone. I really like the sound of this one as well. I added Black Walnut to the top and back so it's a bit heavier than the Koa bass. (approx 8.5 lbs.)

    You can't see the Spanish Cedar very well (see the sides of the pickups and the bottom right edge of the body) but I like this pic anyway! (gratuitous posting :p )


    Good luck,
  16. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    I once has a Warmoth Jazz made of black limba. It was pretty light and sounded good...nice lower-mid growl. The best I've done is with a special order (read: extra $75) slightly downsized (copy of a Jazz Plus) body that I got from Warmoth in swamp ash. Came in at 3lbs 4oz. The whole bass (with a fir neck) came in at right at 6lbs. Just about the lightest 5 string I've run across. Hipshot hardware helped too. I think the whole project set me back about $1100-$1200, which I think is pretty fair for a custom-made instrument. Quite happy with it.
  17. Wademeister63


    Aug 30, 2004
    Denton Tx

    Aren't the Bongos made of basswood? The BTB 405 Ibanez which a lot of folks like is basswood too.
  18. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    those Parker Fly bass things don't sound hideous and they weigh what? 5 pounds soaking wet?
  19. tc99


    Mar 25, 2005
    Long Island
    Just got an email from Larry at Gallery Hardwoods who saw my last post and was concerned that I might be disappointed with my Black Limba selection from him. Just want to let you all know that he told me from the start that the lot of wood I was interested in was heavier than "normal". In general, Black Limba is known to be among the lighter weight species and if I had expressed that requirement, I am quite sure Larry would have found some for me.

    I just happened to have a major hard-on for this equally beautiful Bee Bass, which got me started on my quest for Black Limba:


    It is also from the same lot of lumber, so I guess I got lucky when I spoke to Larry, who told me that he supplied the wood for it as well. Anyway, I thought it was kind of classy for Larry to check with me and make sure that I wasn't feeling misled... and I'm not.
  20. Cliff Bordwell

    Cliff Bordwell Commercial User

    Jan 6, 2004
    USA , Orlando , Florida
    Owner of CB BASSES