Which body wood has a "punchier" tone??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lo-end, Oct 30, 2001.

  1. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    I am trying to learn more about tone woods... Which wood has more punch, alder or ash? I dont care if its warm or anything, I just want a really punchy, loud, in-your-face kind of tone like Mike Dirnt circa Insomniac

    What do you think? Alder and Ash are pretty much my only options since I want a Fender Precision...
  2. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    You can choose poplar if you go for Mim or basswood for Mia or plywood for Affinity.

    Personally, go for the bass you like the sound of. AB ash and alder and see what you like.
  3. bertbassplayer

    bertbassplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    Carlsbad, NM
    Basswood for MIA? Umm no.... MIA Fenders are made with Alder or Ash, depending on the finish you get.
  4. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    I guess I wasnt clear.

    Its between Alder and Ash!!!!!!!

    Im not buying a Squier, and I dont even think that Fender uses basswood on anything. Im choosing between Alder and Ash. So which one has a punchier tone?
  5. in my experience ash, particularly swamp ash is punchier than alder, but try a couple of each out (if that's possible) through the same amp and decide for yourself...
  6. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    Swamp Ash is the good one.
  7. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    the difference is really small. i have a black american serie precision with alder body. it's FAT. swamp ash is known for being fatter, but i honestly think that the difference is really really small. hope it helps
  9. steve beals

    steve beals

    Dec 28, 2000
    i've owned several older and newer fenders as well as an alder body and an ash body sadowsky and in my experience i would have to say alder offers the punchier tone
  10. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    Well, all the telecaster players that love the fat twangy tone swear by ash bodies. If ash gives a telecaster a fat tone, then I figured that it must give a P Bass a fat tone too. But then again I have no idea, thats why Im asking... :D
  11. steve beals

    steve beals

    Dec 28, 2000
    i love that fat and twangy tone too, but we're comparing apples to oranges. punchy is not something i would describe a guitar tone as. bass, however, since it covers the lower frequencies, can be punchy. i do have ash basses that are very punchy but i have found that with the basses i have tried in gig situations, alder tends to be punchier. hope this helps a little. also, speaker components and body density play a part in the tone equation as well
  12. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    By "punch" do you mean that note strikes have a more intense, louder "attack" and quicker sustain, as opposed to a more balanced attack and longer sustain? If so, then the difference between a bolt-on and a set neck/neck-thru will define this more than the woods involved.

    Neck-through makes for a more balanced tone, which is why a lot of people like them. However, bolt-on makes the initial attack louder and offers less sustain. I prefer this type of sound with a bass.
  13. Alder is punchier... I think most of Mike Dirnt's basses are Alder.
  14. wroot


    Sep 14, 2001
    I hear MDF has a lovely punchy sound...
  15. No matter whether they're alder or ash, any MIA Precis is "really punchy (I never played an MIM). The difference is what tonal ranges are accentuated.

    To generalize:

    Alder is a closed pore wood, so it doesn't "breathe" like open-pored ash. As a result, it's highs are clear and the lows are articulate. However, it may be less desirable for you because alder has sweetness and warmth in the mids.

    Ash is harder and heavier. so it is much brighter and the highs and lows are accentuated.

    What may help you differentiate the two is to think of the tonal differences between the classic Strat sound and the classic Tele sound. The smooth Strat sound reflects it's alder body while the twangy Tele shows off its ash body.
  16. There's a brand new wood out that has an extremely PUNCHY tone; it's called Mike Tyson or whup ash!:D

    Forgive me, now down to business. That Yamaha BBN5II that I'm always raving about has an alder body. It has tons of growl and punch. I think if it had a maple board it would have even more punch. If you can't A/B the two side by side, I'd say alder.

    Mike J.
  17. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    You are correct sir I meant MIJ Apologies all round and tea at my place.
  18. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Oh the punishment...:p :D

    Lo-end, either way you go, you'll get punchy. If you didn't know before hand, you probably wouldn't notice the difference between the two woods, especially in a punk setting. Find the best deal, and whatever wood it happens to be, get it. IIRC, the ash bodies cost a lot more.
  19. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    I have both Sadowsky 4 , Alder body and Ash body,
    I found that Ash is punchier and tighter and darker, Alder is more of sweeter and warmer.Ash is heavier wood than Alder.

    I found Ovankol [ Warwick uses them] is the punchiest among my basses, Ovankol is very dense and heavy.

    I think heavier wood tends to compress the sound .
  20. Yeah, but you've got to make sure it's that Brazilian, tropical, old growth MDF and not that Indian MDF crap.;)