Which of these woods sounds best when played "unplugged"?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lo-end, Nov 24, 2001.

  1. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    Ok... heres another one of my questions about wood. I was wondering which body wood sounds better when you play a bass acoustically, alder or ash? What I mean is, you dont use an amp but just play the bass unplugged. Which wood sounds better for this? My guess would be ash.

    The reason why I am asking this is I am trying to decide which wood is better for me, and someone once said, "Its whatever sounds better unplugged"
  2. It's true.. if your bass sounds good unplugged, it can sound like a killer when plugged in.

    But it's not just the wood ofcourse.. good wood + bad pickups = bad sound, period. :)

    to get back to your question.. i think Alder is the prmier choice here.. Ash is more of a decorative-wood imho.
  3. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    I have the exact opposite experience (opinion). To my ears, alder-bodied instruments don't really sing when played unplugged, but the wood really comes to life with a good pickup. Think classic Fenders. I would think it's the same way with poplar bodies (although the mile-thick lacquer on my MIM might have something to do with that choked acoustic tone... :mad: ).
    My ash-bodied Yamaha has a very distinct unamplified tone, it really sings. In fact, I think it sounds more musical amp-less than amped.

    Too little experience with other woods to make a statement on them.
  4. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Neither is better, just different. It's kinda like the rosewood vs. maple fretboard argument.
  5. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    oh yeah, and which wood weighs more? alder or ash?
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Maple sings the most to my ears, followed by northern ash, swamp ash, and then alder.

    Swamp ash and alder are pretty similar in weight, although the weight can vary quite a bit from one piece of wood to the next. Northern ash is considerably heavier than alder.
  7. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Sounds better??:confused:

    Then....what sounds good?? Or, what is "good sound"?

    IMHO: get yourself an opinion of your own!;)
  8. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I own and have owned instruments made from ash alder bubinga mahogany poplar spruce walnut and plastic. I personally like the instruments I buy over the ones I didnt.

    I look at an instrument holistically ie how does it sound when I play it through my amp?