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WOOD CHOICES AND FANNED FRETS....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 7string, Mar 31, 2006.


  1. I've been reading this forum for quite a while, so I thought I'd ask your opinions on this....

    I'm in the very early stages of getting together a spec for a bass I want to have built. It's a 7 string for a start...

    I have a Jackson bass which is all lacewood and I love the scaly, reptilian appearance, so that's on the list.

    So 2 questions...

    1)Which woods would you mix with Lacewood to create a really growly rock-kinda sound. Neck, fingerboard, etc..

    2)Would you have a 7 string with regular or fanned frets. I've heard great thinsg about fanned frets but never played a bass with them. Also, with fanned frets and the scale length of the B being 36" or 37" is buying strings long enough a problem ???

    Thanks for reading and please offer your opinions !!
     
  2. Phil Mailloux

    Phil Mailloux

    Mar 25, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Builder: Mailloux Basses
    Hi,

    1) for a really growly rock-kinda sound sound look for pickup and preamp choice, not wood choice. You'll be fine with most tonewoods

    Before I get flamed for offering this advice let me give you an example.

    Have a look at my website in my link at the bottom. I build a 6 string fretless bass last year with many woods in the body (mahogany, olive, ash, wenge and purpleheart) the neck was maple and purpleheart. The bass looks like a high end bass. I handmade the pickups myself, they're jazz bass pickups. When I first connected them together passively I was hoping for "high-end" boutique sound coming out of that bass, after all it LOOKS high-end :rolleyes:

    Wanna know what it sounded like with all those different woods?

    Like a Fender Jazz bass. :D Yup, lesson learned if you want high-end sound stick a bart or aggie preamp in it (which I did)

    If you use jazz or P pickups it'll sound just like that, the wood will give *some* different overtones but it'll still be a jazz or a P.


    2) that's your choice, both are doable but the 36" B string could indeed be a problem
     
  3. wow, that's ginormous. What is making you want to go with a 37" scale for a B string?

    Fanned frets are a personnal thing. It'll be tough for me to say what you'd like. I like fanned frets for the higher strings so there's not as much tension on them so you can bend easier (break less). More similar tension accross the board just feels better to me.
     
  4. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I'd buy a 3 string bass with fanned frets. They work. They make a difference. And they're well worth it.

    37 is the scale on my low B doesn't feel like much of a stretch.
     
  5. ehque

    ehque

    Jan 8, 2006
    Singapore
    burning skies, i think his issue is with buying a 37" scale B string set.

    i think DRs go to 37 3/4". thats what it says on the pakaging. ive always had to trim a great deal off when restringing my 34" cort curbow.

    but then again, i dont think DR makes 7-string string sets.

    37"-33" would be my best bet. since youre probably going to have to go out of your way to get strings anyway, what with the high-F and all.
     
  6. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    Yes, but there are options. Us Dingwall users face the string issue...and it's not usually as easy as just hopping down to the local GC for strings (I prefer Dingwall strings, myself and therefore mail order them).

    On the Dingwall board there's a subcategory all about strings, but you might specifically be interested in this 2 page thread of options:

    http://www.dingwallguitars.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11
     
  7. Thanks for the replies guys. Maybe the tone is worth it for the hassle of getting strings !!

    Cheers !!
     
  8. I am not sure this is entirely correct. Wood choice does make a difference to the sound of a bass. My latest bass has a Wenge body and Sycamore top with a wenge/sycamore neck. My bass goes straight to jack and I can tell you that it has very good growl from the wenge, a sort of warwickess sound with very clean highs. This cannot be attributed to the pre amp as my bass does not have one!

    http://walbasses.homestead.com/WoodOptions.html

    Attached is a link which goes into some detail about some woods used by Pete Stevens, the maker of Wal basses which might be of help. I am sure there are other sites as well but hopefully others can post them.

    Regards

    Matthew
     
  9. Phil Mailloux

    Phil Mailloux

    Mar 25, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Builder: Mailloux Basses
    As I've said,

    I never mentioned you NEED a preamp to hear wood overtones :eyebrow:

    I DID mention that if you want a bass with what is considered "high-end" sound then you need high-end electronics.

    How do you know it's from the Wenge? My fretless 6 has a wenge fingerboard and wenge laminates and I don't consider it growls. Try different pickups in your bass and see after if the sound is still the same, if it still has those clear highs and growl.

    Fact is there's tons of minute details in an instrument that makes it sound like it does. It's practically impossible to define the growl or clear highs or whatever else you want in an instrument based on wood choice alone. The choice of electronics, hardware, setup ect... ALL has something to do with it.

    The biggest factor in an electric to its sound will be the electronics. Yes, different woods will give a slight variation to the sound but principally, as I've said, if it's got P pickups in it it'll sound like a P.
     
  10. All interesting but I would rather listen to Pete Stevens, and other 'high end' bass builders on this subject.

    Matthew
     
  11. byoung

    byoung

    Mar 13, 2005
    Covington, WA
    First and foremost:

    What type of neck will it have? i.e. are we talking about a neck-through, set neck, or bolt on?

    For a neck-through, most of the sound comes from the neck.

    I don't know what constitutes "growly" to you, but Warwick seems to have been traditionally associated with this sound. I'd look at heavy woods (think wenge, purpleheart, ebony).

    Brad
     
  12. It's going to be neck-through. I do believe that woods do have a significant effect on tone. I really love maple but it's very bright so I need something else to temper that....
     

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