Which is more versitile: Ash, alder, maple, rosewood

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by B String, Feb 25, 2005.

  1. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I want to get a "jazz" type 5 string for my main bass. Being
    the eclectic fellow that I am, I'm trying to figure out which
    combination would be the most versitile. Everything from
    finger to slap. Jazz, rock, r&b, funk, etc. So which combo
    is most versitile? Probably a Metro, Am deluxe, Lakland, or???
    Ash body, maple board
    Ash body, rosewood board
    Alder body, maple board
    Alder body, rosewood board
  2. I like alder/rosewood, because that's the combination a lot of 60s Fenders had, and I like that type of sound. (warm & mellow)

    As far as versatile?

    We'd have to bring pickups, strings and your playing technique into the equation.

  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Alder rosewood is popular and versatile but i prefer ash/maple ;)
  4. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    +1 :bassist:
  5. My 1966 j-bass is alder/rosewood, it covers juat about any tone I'm looking for, slap, reggae, jazz, etc... It's all original. I recently purchased a Sadowsky Metro ash/maple, it's really bright, it is warm, but not as warm as my 66'. I think as far a versatility I'd go with an alder/rosewood Metro. I couldn't be happier with mine, you really can't go wrong with a SADOWSKY!!!!
  6. +1
    I would say that the ash/maple cocktail is the more versatile...

  7. Ash is prettier but I like the sound of alder better.
  8. squierplayer120


    Nov 17, 2004
    I like Ash, maple for slap and finger cuz thats what early MM's were made of.
  9. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    I think maybe you want to take a look at this and check out Keith playing his Lakland 55-02 with Trisha Yearwood halfway through.


    Just my .02. Make sure you catch his solo at the beginning of the Yearwood section.
  10. ezstep


    Nov 25, 2004
    north Louisiana
    Let me throw a wet blanket in here. (Sorry)

    IMHO, I believe that the type(s) of wood and fretboards has little effect with electronic pickups. If you are getting a passive Jazz bass, then I would certainly look for whatever woods I wanted. But, IMHO, if I were getting an active Jazz, I wouldn't worry much about the wood itself. You can dial in a very wide variety of tones with the electronics, and I believe that the quality of the active electronics is greater than what type of wood you use.

    Even with passive pickups, the brand pup, the brand and gauge strings, flats, rounds, or ground-wound. . . all this has more effect on the sound than the wood.

    Okay, go ahead and let me have it. (Puts on flameproof underwear.) But, that is seriously what I believe.
  11. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    EZ, I have plaid several Metros, and There are HUGE diferences between the Ash/Maple, Alder/Rosewood, And they have the same electronics, same constructuion! Having said that in the Metro I'd go Alder/Rosewood ( which I have) unless I was specifically going after a Marcus, or Modern Slap tone. The alders do Slap very well, but the ash's don't seem to get the vintage Blues/R & B thing as well. Also If you get a Metro, invest in the VTC (vintage tone control) it really adds to the versitility of that bass.
  12. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    IMO versatility is in the player, not the bass.
  13. Joe BassPlayer

    Joe BassPlayer Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Flip a coin! They are all great combinations. Just remember that no two pieces of ash or alder (or any wood for that matter) will sound exactely the same.
  14. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    hey B,

    well, you cant go wrong with any of those choices.

    that said, in a purely passive mode operation, maple will be brighter, swamp ash gives you that punch, while going with a rosewood / alder jazz would seem a tad muted for slap, tho warm and inviting for groovey fingerstyle lines. i mainly use my maple / ash jazzes. another killer wood combo is ebony fingerboard / alder body. deeeeep, yet crispy slap tones.

    but having a good onboard pre totally messes with that equation, and turns any bass into that versatility monster.
  15. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Tell that to the producer when its "not quite the bass sound
    they are looking for". Yes, for live work its much easier. You
    have amps and speakers to help shape the sound. I find it
    interesting how split these opinions are. hhmmm

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    With the right preamp you can really warm up a Maple/Ash combo and get a darker mellow rosewood tone.
  17. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Ash + maple = punchy + bright, a bit agressive, more modern tone IMO/IME
  18. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    Agreed. I find myself preferring alder/rosewood.
  19. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN

    +1 on that, I have an Am. Dlx. Jazz, alder & pau ferro (this is alot closer to rosewood sound, than maple). Joker nailed it on the head. This bass tears it up on blues, jazz, rock, whatever you want. I can even get a pretty decent R&B fingerstyle, but you try lay down a nice slap riff, and it just leaves you dissapointed. I don't slap much though, so I went with the alder rosewood combo, since it sounds so great on everything else.
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