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woods i plan to use- just would like a few opinions

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tai, Mar 24, 2005.


  1. tai

    tai

    Feb 10, 2005
    hey guys....

    i plan to build my own bass...i plan to make the body out of white oak, the neck out of ash, and the frets out of hawthorne.

    the pickups i plan to use are a pair of single coil jazz bass pickups with a humbucker in the middle.

    anyone know how it will sound??

    please dont post to tell me that this is a bad idea, i am going to build this bass if it kills me.

    please only post to tell me how you think it will sound.
    im havent been playing bass for a too long, only about a year, so i do not know how this combination of woods and pickups will sound.

    let me know what you think!!!

    thanks much,
    tai
     
  2. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    frets out of hawthorne? You mean fretboard out of hawthorne right?
     
  3. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    For that neck, make sure you get northern hard ash, and not swamp ash.

    We should also probably know if it is bolt-on, neck-through, or set-neck.

    35" or 34"?
     
  4. tai

    tai

    Feb 10, 2005
    well, yes, i mean fretboard out of hawthorne.

    basically i plan to modle this after the geddy lee sig, except for what i mentioned
     
  5. tai

    tai

    Feb 10, 2005
    again, please post replies
     
  6. Phil Mailloux

    Phil Mailloux

    Mar 25, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Builder: Mailloux Basses
    I doubt you'll find many people that built a bass neck out of ash. With the other woods on top of that and in that order, it's safe to say that not many people have used those in that order before or if someone did, you might not find them here.

    So the lack of replies means that your guess is as good as anyone else's guess on how this would sound. You'll see once you're done.

    Since you'll build this bass anyway even if it kills you, then I guess the sound these woods will make is not really important to you :D
     
  7. teej

    teej

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Purely experimental, it seems. Then again, no one ever got anywhere by questioning whether an alder body with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard would sound good. :D Who knows, maybe those woods together will create a totally killer bass tone.
     
  8. tai

    tai

    Feb 10, 2005
    true that, man

    well, thanks for tryin, even though it didn t really help too much.

    truth be told, the reason im buildin the neck out fo ash is because its a very flexible wood. in fact, it was the most common wood when someone decided to make a bow...ie bow and arrow.

    well, i g2g guys, again, thanks
     
  9. davepack

    davepack Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    Denver, CO

    You don't want the neck to be flexible.
     
  10. teej

    teej

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    No, a flexible neck is not good at all. That's why there are truss rods and, in some cases, steel stiffening bars. Over time, a neck can warp (twist, bend, etc.). The northern hard ash should work just find for a neck, though.
     
  11. Skorzen

    Skorzen

    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA
    I have built a neck out of mostly northern hard ash, 5 piece ash and pao ferro, and it works fine. Michael Tobias has used ash for a neck on several of his basses. there have been a couple threads that discuss the use of ash in necks, I would try serching over in basses. It might take a while, but you could probebly get some good info.
     
  12. tai

    tai

    Feb 10, 2005
    kool, thanx
     
  13. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Since you are posting a thread asking for our opinion I will ass-ume you are fairly inexperienced. Chances are building a neck out of ash will sound like a$$ when it warps severely. Ash is a very diverse wood and some ash may be suitable for necking, but I would not count on it!!
     
  14. Skorzen

    Skorzen

    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA
    :eyebrow: :eyebrow: :eyebrow: :eyebrow:

    I have found it is much easier to find a nice piece of ash than say maple. also, ash seems to have a tendency to grow with nice straight grain unlike many of the other more traditional woods. Maybe I'm just lucky with the suppliers I have in the area.
     
  15. Tdog

    Tdog

    May 18, 2004
    tai, I have to ask.....Why the fixation on Ash and White Oak? Are these woods readily available to you from trees(lumber) that you have cut yourself? If this is your first build, consider the weight of these woods......This will be one beefy bass. Hawthorne?.....Is it commercially available? It is not a very large tree in my area, so I question its use. It seems that it would be difficult finding hawthorne large enough in diameter, or straight enough for that matter, to get a quartersawn fretboard out of it.

    As for tone, I built a guitar last year with a White oak burl cap over a Honduras Mahogany body. The instrument has a nice mid and high end but the bottom was not as strong as I would have liked.....The pickups most likely robbed a little low end......Overall it is a damn fine sounding guitar.
     
  16. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    Hmm... it's hard for us to give our opinions if we aren't allowed to say it's a bad idea.

    Here's my take - This design for a bass is a valid idea. Many luthiers have used non-standard woods with great results. I personally have built a neck out of sycamore that I was quite happy with, and steve swallow has a bass with a neck made of douglas fir! And the weight thing, well there have been and will be, much heavier basses than this. About the pickups, Bootsy collins seems to think that a bass with 5 j pickups sounds rather nice. So, all this stuff has been done successfully before.

    Now, all that being said, I don't think that this is such a good idea for a first build. You are going to run into alot more issues, and have to use some more involved techniques than you would if you were building a more "accepted" instrument design.

    Bottom line: I would get at least one instrument under my belt using a tried and true design, then I may think about experimenting with new wood choices and pickup configs and so forth.
     
  17. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    MORE INFO:
    didn't want you to think I was just "shooting you down"!!

    Ash is generally a softer wood than maple, GENERALLY! Maple is a good choice structurally because it can be quite rigid and stable, and tonally because it generates strong attack. When attempting a primary wood combo that very few luthiers are doing you have to wonder why it is not being done.
    What you are attempting is sort of like baking a cake, your very FIRST cake and doing it from scratch, NO RECIPE. Odds may be against you on that one.
    If your goal is to make a killer bass it may be a let down, if you goal is to learn and gain experience toward making killer basses in the future then you've set a more reasonable goal, IMO!
    :)
     
  18. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    Couldn't have put it better myself. :)
     
  19. Scott French

    Scott French Dude Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    The woods you are thinking of using will deliver a perfectly cromulent sound quality, while the addition of a middle position humbucker will unquestionably embiggen your tonal options.
     
  20. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    Last time I checked, cromulent covered alot of tonal varieties. :D