Basswood is very soft, Janka 410. It is a good deal softer than alder (590) or poplar (540), two woods that I consider to be borderline on acceptable hardness, for anything. Fasteners are easily stripped, and without a protective coating, a basswood body will ding and scratch very badly. However, under a thick tough protective coat of polyurethane, it makes an fine and fairly lightweight instrument. Basswood has an even closed grain that is easy to finish. Its looks are unremarkable, even more-so than alder, which is why it is usually painted. Clear finishes tend to be either translucent or restricted to the center of a sunburst. Basswood smells like chocolate when worked. Basswood is not the softest wood used in guitars, both white pine (380) and paulownia (300!!!) are even softer. Myself, I would not use any of them for a build, although I have several factory basswood bodies that are fine. Any wood that soft marks up very easily, and it is difficult to get it to final finishing, as no matter how careful you are, you seem to put marks in as fast as you take them out ! For comparison: agathis 730 Janka ash 850 balsa 67 !!! cherry 950 hard maple 1450 soft maple 850 korina 670 mahogany 1070 pine - yellow or radiata 700 walnut 1010 The fastener problem is overstated. It would be a good idea to back out the strap button screws and replace them with bigger/longer ones, before they pull out on their own. The rest of the screws - avoid over-tightening them, that's all. The biggest problem is Fender-style bass pickup mounts, screwed directly into the body. You can always drill them out and dowel them. When reinstalling a screw, always try to find the old thread in the wood. Turn the screw slowly backwards until you feel it hop, then drive it in. As far as tone goes, it is whatever you imagine it to be.