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Woods Explained???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jon R, Apr 4, 2003.


  1. OK, I've been playing bass since the mid-sixties, but every now and then I need to ask a newbie kind of question.

    Can someone explain the differences between flamed, figured, burled, and spalted? Also, I've seen some advertising lately that touts "high-tech" figured tops... is that just a paint job?

    Hey, don't laugh... these are honest questions!
     
  2. If i were you i would check out
    http://www.warmoth.com/common/frames/guitarbodies.htm

    It has examples and explanations of different figured woods including i think most if not all on your list.

    As for the high-tech finishes I am not sure what this is in reference to. It could be what is used on some cheap guitars where a print out of a highly figured piece of wood is stuck to the front surface of the instrument and then clear laquered over the top. It creates an illusion of an expensive figured top but does not have the same depth as the real thing. If it is not this then I don't know, hope this is some help.
    H
     
  3. Thanx for the link... it helps some, but it still doesn't really explain the differences between the types of figuring (or am I just missing it?)

    As far as the "high-tech" finish, I picked that up from an ad in Bass Player. It was located somewhere on the first couple of pages if I'm not mistaken.
     
  4. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    Illinoize
    Quilted Top
     
  5. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    Illinoize
    Flamed Top
     
  6. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    Illinoize
    Spalted
     
  7. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    Illinoize
    Buckeye Burl
     
  8. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    Illinoize
    Bunny with pancakes...lifted from another thread.
     
  9. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    Illinoize
    Highly Figured....
     
  10. Thanks Geoff, but how do they get that way? Does it have to do with how the tree grows or how the wood is sawn (is that a word???). Is stain or paint applied to help it show up? Can/is it faked?

    Thanx
     
  11. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    Illinoize
    I could be wrong (what a surprise) but I believe it has to do with the physical characteristics of the wood AND the way it's sawn. In other words, it's all about the grain. Usually the top is book matched to acheive the symmetry (look at the example of the burl). Also, I am sure that the staining/finishing goes a long way in bringing out the finished product. Wood grain can be artificially reproduced (look at laminate flooring or pressed wood paneling for examples) however I have never seen it on an instrument and I'm not sure how attractive it would be. Try searching in the luthier's forum, maybe there is more info on tops there :confused:
     
  12. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    the hi tech thing came from an ad in BP- it sounds to me like a phrase they thought up to hype the product- maybe a synthetic or photoflame finish where they burn an image to the top that looks like a more exotic real wood grain- the Cort Curbows do this- its is cheaper than using the real wood-
    woods come in all colors and patterns- it depends on the species- spalted maple, for example , is wood that is essentially diseased and rotting- stuff like quilted maple ( a name given to the grain pattern because it looks like a .. well, quilt) and stuff with a lot of figuring was until recently considered scrp, useless wood- until some silly bass players ;) decided that it reminded them of youthful acid trips:eek: and it was cool to look at- and a market for rotting wood was born-
    the hi tech thing was hype- about the only thing i can think of hi tech in woods these days would be " stabilizing" in which wood is impregnated with resins and materials that harden it- thats a rough explanantion - check out galleryhardwoods.com-
    and the impregnated dye process thats being done there as well...
     
  13. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    Illinoize
    I knew there had to be someone around here with more knowledge on the subject than me. Actually, there are MANY people around here with more knowledge than me....:D
     
  14. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    I've been told that Spalted Maple is softer than other types of Maple, and therefore, has a smoother, less bright sound. It seems to be the case in terms of sound, but I'm far from a wood expert.
     
  15. Thanks guys. As usual, if you want to know something, just ask the gang at Talk Bass and you shall be enlightened.

    Now if someone could just explain why I still suck as a bassist after almost 40 years!
     
  16. jitsoa33

    jitsoa33 Guest

    Mar 10, 2003
    lafayette, ca
    the correct terms are "milled", "sawed", or "felled".