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Wood choice for "mid-range burpy" tone

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by soaf, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. soaf


    Jul 27, 2013
    I prefer a bass tone with a nice mid bark (think jazz bass with the mids boosted). I want to do a build and are considering woods for the fretboard, body and neck such as wenge and ebony. Which wood combinations would give me that sort of tone?
  2. songwriter21

    songwriter21 Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    Mahogany body, maple neck. People say it doesn't matter, but from experience of lots of basses, the mahogany comes through for me better with mids than others. Wenge could work, but it's oily as hell, so I stay with mahogany, and wenge is a pricey exotic, too. Even with neck-thrus, I think it matters...case-in-point, the Ibanez 676 and 776PB. Exact same basses, except the woods. I could totally hear more authority in the mids from the 776PB, which has a mahogany body, whereas the 676 has an ash body.

    The fretboard doesn't really matter, though, since it's a pretty thin piece of wood. I'm just used to rosewood, and because it's oily like wenge (okay for a fingerboard, imo), it seems to hold up better than a dry wood, like maple or ebony.
  3. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    I would definitely vote Mahogany as well.

    But, I think pickups has a lot to do with it as well. I have two Mahogany Spectors. My 5 string with a single MM pickup at the bridge nails that tone. It's very 'Geddy Lee Wal'-ish and I've never played another bass with that much mid burp.

    But my Spector NS2J with Jazz pickups gives the opposite of that tone, so I'd say go Mahogany with a big fat humbucker at the bridge.
  4. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
    Koa body( a bit brighter with more mids than mahogany, kind of a cross between mahogany and alder)
    maple neck
    snakewood fretboard(very bright)
    MM pickup at the bridge position
  5. Floridabwoy

    Floridabwoy Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2008
    Jacksonville, Fl
  6. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    You'd be better off posting this in the luthiers forum.
  7. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    It's been said before, but not yet on this thread...

    A bass guitar is a wholistic instrument, which is to say it's the sum of it's parts... woods, shapes and profiles, pickups, strings, hardware, build quality, etc.

    Asking for wood suggestions for a particular tone goal is a bit like asking what spice will add more flavor to my food.

    Just saying....
  8. songwriter21

    songwriter21 Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    Yeah, I'd +1 that.
  9. songwriter21

    songwriter21 Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    I've seemed to get better burp with buckers, as well. They just seem to have more "heft" and beef to them, by adding good muscle to your mids.
  10. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner

    Actually, that's the answer to the bigger question, yes!

    If you're just asking for that "which lumber do I grab first to go that direction?" starting point, try mahogany.
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    I agree with others who say that burp -- or any other kind of tone -- starts with pickups and pickup location. For burp specifically, go for at least one pickup near the bridge ... the Warwick Thumb has two pickups down in that range.

    Get the pickups sorted out first, and then figure out what other factors (such as woods) will enhance the effect.
  12. Randyt

    Randyt RAAPT Custom Wood Productions Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2010
    Barrie, Canada
    a jazz style pup (single coil...many on the market)
    Alder body
    Maple neck!

    that's my recipe for grindy burpy stuff!!
  13. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I'm a sucker for mahogany, but I bet the pickup placement would have more to do with it than any other single contribution.
  14. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    See: Rocco Prestia.
  15. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    There's the Rocco funk burp, and many kinds of fusion burp: Jaco, Berlin, Manring, Egan... what kind of burp are we looking for?

    Looks like Gary Willis burps with just one bridge pickup here:
  16. grendle


    Mar 4, 2011
    Central FL
    I would ask, what kind of attack and "ploom" do you want? To me the mids are more effected by pickup placement as others have said. The Warwick thumb and MM seem to get that the best. I would stick close to that pickup location.
  17. i personally find better mids in using single coils. the inherent mid scoop in humbuckers is sort of the opposite of what you are going for here
  18. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member


    If the humbucker coils are wired in series instead of parallel, the scoop should be avoided. But I believe most buckers are wired in parallel.

    (The split-coil P pickup is wired in series, and of course is very mid-present, but that's an oddball)
  19. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member


    Umm..a series wired humbucker will have a HUGE mid boost over single coils...especially TWO single coils with the blend in the middle. That's the very definition of mid scoop.
  20. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    Series is actually the norm, and gives quite the mid boost....as proven by your P bass example.