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Where does the tone come from?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by iwearpumas, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. iwearpumas


    Aug 12, 2011
    Middletown, NY
    I figured i'd ask the professionals. Where does the majority of the tone come from on a wood bass? The tops or the core? Or is it a complete mixture of the tops, core, neck, and fingerboard. Im speaking as far the natural sound of the bass without the preamp adding tone.
  2. SactoBass

    SactoBass There are some who call me.......Sactobass Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    Do a TB search for tonewood.

    You will be reading for months!
  3. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    I think the stiffness of the neck is the greatest contributor as far as wood goes. I personally feel that technique contributes to tone more than wood choice, but I suppose that's a little outside the scope of your question.
  4. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    After the "why don't people like ken smiths" thread and now this one, I'm starting to think you might be a troll. The references to gospel and church in your profile make me wonder about that though too...
  5. bassistjoe93

    bassistjoe93 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2011
    The pickguard.
  6. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Only if you use the proper screws.....
  7. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2012
    So does basses without pickguards make a properly awful sound, or are they dead silent?

    This is very bad news as my next bass will be without a pickguard... :rollno:
  8. Nidan


    Oct 31, 2008
    Duluth , Ga
    This is a never ending topic . You are likely to get many perspectives .

    my 2 cents :

    All elements contribute to tone to a degree ,including the player and thier rig, however for an electric solid body instrument the majority of tone comes from the neck and pickups.

    Bodies make a subtle difference in my experience . I've built "identical" instruments using a variety of body woods and the same construction and pickups .
  9. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    It's all in the dots. Clay dots give the best tone!
  10. giacomini


    Dec 14, 2008
    Florianopolis - Brazil
    Endorsing: Copetti Guitars
  11. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    Really depends on what tone screws you're using. Most basses will come with aluminum screws which give crap tone with no low frequencies. Gold screws have the best tone but they shred so easily. Steel and brass are a good compromise, steel screws are like putting tubes in your bass while brass screws make your bass growl like a dragon.
  12. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    Fingers/Picks, Strings, Pickups, Electronics, frets, bridge & nut, fingerboard, neck wood, body wood.

    In that order.
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  14. James Mobius

    James Mobius

    Feb 28, 2011
  15. Toptube

    Toptube Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    a ton of tone is in your amp's speaker and your bass' pickups.

    After that I'd say strings.

    then I would say bolt-on or neck-thru

    then all the other parts/design of the bass totaling a tonal sum.

    Technique I think is a completely separate matter. As it has nothing to do with the starting tonal potential of a bass. Proven by the fact that the same exact technique sill not yield the same tone on two different basses.

    Technique is more about the sound. Kind of like what we mean when we talk about a band's sound. Its still not any one thing, but I feel like Technique fits better, here. Tone could also be part of the [isound[/i]. but the technique and the tone are separate parts of that sum.
  16. PBnJBassist


    Mar 8, 2011
    Dallas, TX
  17. your hands! (FLAME SUIT ON!!)
  18. If there's no pickguard, then the next largest tone contributor is the shape of your headstock.
  19. mmmm....the land of tone....
  20. SactoBass

    SactoBass There are some who call me.......Sactobass Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sacramento CA

    Also, NOS (new old stock) screws are known to have better tone than current production screws.