Why Basswood Hate?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JeffJ2112, Mar 29, 2018.

  1. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Dings, and in some cases I have seen issues with screws after repeatedly being drilled in and out. Same thing with any softer wood, like poplar.
  2. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    no hate here. if it's playable it's all good.
  3. Ant Illington

    Ant Illington I'm Anthony but I'm only illin' Inactive

    The only thing better than basswood is tacos. Check for taco addiction in anybody professing a dislike of basswood.

    AND- we don't rule out soft shell tacos just because sometimes they blow out, we just exercise caution. Exercise caution when screwing into basswood.
    mikewalker and honeyiscool like this.
  4. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    The reasons you listed are exactly why people don't gravitate to it. It is light because it is soft, which means it is prone to damage, doesn't have the heft in tone some people want, and a body that is too light can lead to neck dive. For building or maintenance it also means you can strip the screw holes very quickly if you aren't careful.
    As a tone wood, some people don't like a lot of honk in their mids, so a denser wood like alder, ash, or mahogany is preferred.
    People are wary of things that are inexpensive because with instruments you generally get what you pay for. If it is cheap, there is a reason.
    Because the grain of the wood isn't particularly attractive, stains, bursts, and natural finishes aren't too common, so it limits what you can do with the appearance of the instrument.
    I'm not anti-basswood, but I've never been impressed with it either. It might change my mind if someone constructed something boutique-ish with it, but it just has the taint of being "low rent" stuck to it.
  5. GroovyBaby

    GroovyBaby G&L Fanboy Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2007
    Huntingdon, PA
    I haven't owned a basswood body (that I know of). However, I've become a fan of G&L empress wood bodies. The criticisms I hear of them are similar to basswood, too soft. However, I have three G&L's with empress bodies (a J, P, and L) and I love the sound of all three. The body does ding easily but for me that drawback is acceptable given the weight advantage. All 3 of mine are under 8 lbs. Two are upper 7s and balance great. One is 7.2lbs and is neck heavy but a 1/2lb weight on the straplock near the bridge fixes the balance the bass is still under 8. My back and neck love the weight so I can deal with the dings. Now if in 5 years all of my bridges rip off I might think differently. Here is one of the G&L empress threads (there are more if you search): Remaining G&L Empress Basses
    Morse_77 likes this.
  6. Whil57


    Aug 7, 2013
    Long Island
    No problem with dings on mine. Some i capped with maple, i dig them.
  7. swarfrat


    Sep 23, 2014
    It's an internet forum. Negative opinions are easy and quickly voiced. People have a whine about something.
    JeffJ2112 likes this.
  8. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    basswood is fine ... just don't remove/replace any screws to many times times ... !! screw holes easily turn to dust ... !

    have the carpenters glue or wood putty handy ...
  9. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    If they started making strings and pickup magnets out of basswood I'd be concerned about how basswood impacts tone.

    If it makes the bass lighter, I don't have to worry about neck dive or body slap when I'm playing, I'm all for it.

    If I want a bass to last a lifetime... I might look to a more durable wood.
    soulman969 likes this.
  10. I've liked plenty of instruments made of basswood, it's a perfectly fine wood. I think it's just a cheaper hardwood and there's a stigma attached to it because it's cheaper and goes into cheaper basses. It's just got a very closed grain, and has a very plain look to it, as opposed to walnut or ash. It's also fairly soft, so while it's easier to machine, as others have mentioned it's easy for it to wear out in places that screws are put into it. It also dings easily. That being said though, it's perfectly fine wood.
    soulman969 likes this.
  11. B-line

    B-line Inactive

    Alleva-Coppola: (sold) Basswood.


    MANNE "Soulmover") Basswood:
    Manne SoulMover.png

    No hate for either of these fine-sounding awesome instruments.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  12. honeyiscool


    Jan 28, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    In a world where people purposefully ding their instruments...

    Anyway I have two basswood guitars and they’re great.
    soulman969 and JeffJ2112 like this.
  13. Tooned


    Sep 14, 2006
    South Surrey BC
    Basswood isn’t always light weight. Both of mine (Squier CV jazz & Freeman P) are an ounce or two over 9lbs and balance nicely on a strap.
    lowdownthump and soulman969 like this.
  14. hyp.spec


    May 14, 2006
    Fraser, MI
    It's simply too soft of a wood.
  15. I also forgot the pickups too in my reply.. the pickups have a huge part of the tone as well as the strings too .
  16. PeaveyPlayer

    PeaveyPlayer Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Ask musicman
  17. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    My Jazz Bass is basswood. It's fine. My Ursa 1 is basswood, it sounds and plays exactly like a P bass should... My Ursa 3 is Alder, it's noticeably heavier than the Ursa 1, and the extra pickup and pot don't account for the weight difference...

    I don't particularly love, or hate basswood. It is what it is, does what it does and I am not going to fuss one way or another.

    Now agathis, which has an awful tendency to spit screws out at a rapid pace, no thank you...
  18. I simply don't care. It either plays or it doesn't, regardless of price of wood slab.
    If it dents too easy, maybe one needs to pay more attention to what one is doing.

    As far as screws, there are folks that could strip a screw hole out in anything with a stick of butter.
    I am always gentle with screws, especially on a customer's guitar.
    Toothpicks, TB, SG, and deadhorse are on the shelf if someone has stripped holes,
    which I have seen on about every wood a guitar has ever been built with.
    Guard screws do not have to be very tight at all. Flat surface on flat surface.
    Resist the urge to crank down.
    NOVAX, Rezdog, SpyderX and 1 other person like this.
  19. SpyderX


    Jun 6, 2015
    Costa Mesa, Ca
    Maybe I've been lucky, but I'm a tinkerer and never experienced a stripped hole on basswood. I always reinforce the hole with toothpicks and/or super glue.

    But... jinx... now that I've said that :( :banghead:
    edro likes this.
  20. TuneSalad666

    TuneSalad666 Inactive

    Mar 1, 2018
    Not really, agathis has more in common with mahogany tone wise.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
    Wfrance3 likes this.
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