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View Poll Results: Basswood with maple top or mahagony with maple top?
Basswood with maple top 4 23.53%
Mahagony with maple top 13 76.47%
Voters: 17. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-25-2015, 08:32 AM   #1
jozef2451
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Basswood with maple top or mahagony with maple top?

For SuperST guitar. Metal genre ofc. (Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth etc.)
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:03 AM   #2
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There's still a lot of variety in that.

A number of Kirk Hammet's sig lines(the high end ones) are just alder bodies(same with Jeff Hanneman); Mustaine's sig stuff tends to be just mahogany; Kerry King's sig models(again, not the cheapo ones) tend to be maple neck-through.
Really, only Hetfield's Iron Cross sig types are capped(mahogany/maple), the explorer types are just mahogany.

For the tone you're looking for, it would generally seem there's no real reason to put a cap on, and use the cash either for hardware, or a cosmetic veneer/paint job.
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:23 AM   #3
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Doesn't matter.
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:26 AM   #4
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The effect that wood makes on the tone of an amplified guitar is miniscule. Especially if you're playing with a lot of gain, which you most certainly will be. There are so many other more significant variables that affect the tone of an amplified guitar in a real-world setting that even if wood did make a perceivable difference, it is going to be completely overshadowed by those other variables.

Get the mahogany because it doesn't dent as easily as basswood, takes a finish more easily, and it looks prettier.

And then focus your attention of things that realistically do matter.
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Old 07-25-2015, 11:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dspellman
Doesn't matter.


+1

Which is not to say that they'll necessarily both sound identical, but I don't think you could say either is more or less suitable, either.
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Old 07-25-2015, 11:26 AM   #6
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Tone-wise most likely won't matter. But I voted basswood for a lighter, more comfortable guitar.
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Old 07-25-2015, 01:27 PM   #7
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I agree with those who say the wood doesn't matter realistically (or possibly at all) for tone.

If you want a lighter guitar, use basswood. If you want a heavier feel, go with mahogany. It's true basswood dents easier, so keep that in mind. I'm not sure I'd say mahogany is easier to actually finish though.

We're all assuming you're building this yourself, if so, it's also worth considering that basswood is notably cheaper than mahogany; and if you're painting over it, the only visible difference would be the easier denting of basswood. The only feel difference being the weight.

Good luck!
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Old 07-25-2015, 01:29 PM   #8
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BS the wood won't matter with tone. This has got to be coming from a bunch of guys with 1 or 2 guitars.

I have a mahogany RG with a maple cap, and an all Basswood RG.

The mahogany has a MUCH heavier, deeper, resilient tone than the basswood. Regardless of pickups.

I have to crank the bass up on the basswood RG, while I trim it back for the mahogany.
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Old 07-25-2015, 01:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RestinPeaceDime at #33516912
If you want a lighter guitar, use basswood. If you want a heavier feel, go with mahogany. It's true basswood dents easier, so keep that in mind. I'm not sure I'd say mahogany is easier to actually finish though.

Basswood tends to absorb finish like a sponge, so it requires more coats.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pressureproject at #33516913
BS the wood won't matter with tone. This has got to be coming from a bunch of guys with 1 or 2 guitars.

I have a mahogany RG with a maple cap, and an all Basswood RG.

The mahogany has a MUCH heavier, deeper, resilient tone than the basswood. Regardless of pickups.

I have to crank the bass up on the basswood RG, while I trim it back for the mahogany.

How do you know it's the wood causing it, and not anything else that is very plausibly causing the change? Like bridges, pickup location on the guitar, potentiometer values (which vary a hell of a lot), strings (gauge, brand and their age) and the location of your picking hand on the guitar as you play and how you strum the guitar. Your expectations towards one wood sounding one way and another sounding another way, may very possibly be affecting your perception via placebo.

All of these things affect tone and for all you know it could be a combination of ALL the above that may explain what's happening.

I cannot see how only owning 1 or 2 guitars has anything to do with it. I own 8 of them. The same views can be heard from people who own hundreds of guitars and even guitar builders that do it for a living. What's your point?
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Old 07-25-2015, 02:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pressureproject
BS the wood won't matter with tone. This has got to be coming from a bunch of guys with 1 or 2 guitars.

I have a mahogany RG with a maple cap, and an all Basswood RG.

The mahogany has a MUCH heavier, deeper, resilient tone than the basswood. Regardless of pickups.

I have to crank the bass up on the basswood RG, while I trim it back for the mahogany.



There are far too many variables for you to be using the shape of the body as a base for your comparison and chalking it up to just the different woods.

I took the liberty of looking at your profile and the RGs you listed vastly differ from each other, in just about every possible aspect. The hardware is barely comparable.

Granted, I have owned 3 guitars in my entire life, but my conclusion here is being drawn from common sense.

T00DEEPBLUE listed just about everything I was going to say and others will as well, hopefully.

OP: Take your pick of wood based on what makes you more comfortable to first work and then play with. There are helpful people in these forums with real insight, take it, process it, and follow what you deem best. It's your guitar after all, you must be at peace with your choice in the long run.
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Old 07-25-2015, 02:13 PM   #11
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I think basswood is more suitable for a more articulate sound whereas mahogany has more low end growl. Both are good for metal riffing but for the bands you listed I would say mahogany would be my choice. As others have noted, mahogany is heavier, whereas basswood absorbs finish and dents more easily. In terms of tone, the pickups are probably the most important in defining the tonal characteristics of a guitar. On the other hand, those can be more easily changed at a later date, and (if aftermarket) are chosen with the wood in mind.

Can I presume this is for a guitar with a maple neck? Do you have any particular guitars in mind?
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Old 07-25-2015, 02:25 PM   #12
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This worn out debate. XD

It doesn't matter.
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Old 07-25-2015, 02:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T00DEEPBLUE
Basswood tends to absorb finish like a sponge, so it requires more coats.



I recently finished a build with a basswood body, my normal finishing routine worked as well as with any other. But I will admit my experience with finishing mahogany is a bit thin.
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As far as the tone goes, that is an argument that will never be solved going back and forth on the internet. If you think there's a difference, pick your favorite wood and go with it. If not, don't worry about it. The OPs question was pretty un-specific, so he may not be exclusively worried about the tone, but in general. If he doesn't know which wood "sounds better" chances are he wouldn't notice a difference anyway. People consider mahogany a nice(r) wood, so there's that.

Assuming everybody here is an inexperienced guy with one or two guitars is a bit of a leap, simply because we didn't come to the same conclusion. As T00 said, there are TONS of other things at play here, and if the two RGs you cite are the models listed on your profile, those are VERY different guitars. One has a floating bridge, the other is fixed. One is H/H the other is H/S/H. Scale length may very well be different (and if it is, that is likely THE cause). Point here being that nobody is saying all guitars are identical, and the only difference is pickups. There are TONS of factors, and when isolating wood as the only variable, the difference is nil in practical applications. The fact that you get your desired tone simply by moving the bass knob kind of proves that.

I have owned easily 10+ guitars and have spent extended time playing friends' guitars (another 10 or so), and while there were differences, saying it was the wood is only a wild guess/assumption.

I made a guitar out of construction grade pine (ie a 2x8 straight from home depot), and it sounded nearly the same as a full mahogany guitar I own. And just in case it needs to be said, pine isn't even a hardwood, and mahogany is a pretty hard wood, even for a hardwood. I'm sure direct comparisons would reveal a slight change, but after you take into consideration everything else that is different between those guitars...(the pickups weren't the same, the bridge, the pot set up, scale length, frets, so on) it means if there IS a difference from the wood, it's not much.

Anyway, OP should just choose whatever he likes best and move on with his life

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Old 07-26-2015, 12:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RestinPeaceDime
If you want a lighter guitar, use basswood. If you want a heavier feel, go with mahogany.


That doesn't always happen. Good mahogany can be very light. I have mahogany guitars that are lighter than basswood- granted, different body shapes and sizes perhaps, but that might well be the case in guitars he's looking at too.
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Old 07-26-2015, 04:31 PM   #15
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I have always found the whole issue of tonewoods a pita

Sadly mahogany can mean a lot of different woods, its the same with rosewoods. You could use either, I wouldnt say there would be a significant difference by the time you include your playing technique and then into an amp.

Id also say as a general rule the more distorted the sound the less difference between guitars, the amp and the pickups you use would be more important going for high gain.
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Old 07-26-2015, 05:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
That doesn't always happen. Good mahogany can be very light. I have mahogany guitars that are lighter than basswood- granted, different body shapes and sizes perhaps, but that might well be the case in guitars he's looking at too.


That's true, while the OP was vague (and since MIA!), he did say it was for a SuperST guitar (which I may be incorrectly assuming is for Strat). So while there is indeed mahogany that is lighter than others ("Genuine" mahogany is rated 25% heavier than "African" mahogany), Genuine mahogany is nearly twice the weight of basswood.

There are many conditions from weather/climate the tree was grown in (think regular "Ash" compared to "Swamp Ash", which is the same species as any other), to the more obvious biological variants between woods (Genuine mahogany vs African)...all can affect the weight of an individual piece of wood. Point here being in general, basswood is lighter than mahogany.

And as Snapple pointed out, "Mahogany" is a pretty broad term, and varies wildly as to which exact species you get when it's not specified.
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Old 07-26-2015, 06:53 PM   #17
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^ Yeah. And as I pointed out as well, which is probably more important when it comes to weight- unless you're looking at the exact same guitar body, except in different woods, the amount of wood the body is made out of can vary quite a bit (i.e. the thickness and size of the body) which will definitely affect the overall weight.
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Old 07-26-2015, 07:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
That doesn't always happen. Good mahogany can be very light. I have mahogany guitars that are lighter than basswood- granted, different body shapes and sizes perhaps, but that might well be the case in guitars he's looking at too.


My Ibanez S570 is Mahogany and is very light.
Sustain is great and sounds great (although stock pups were kinda meh, IMO).
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Old 07-27-2015, 04:29 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by CodeMonk
My Ibanez S570 is Mahogany and is very light.
Sustain is great and sounds great (although stock pups were kinda meh, IMO).

IIRC don't the S series go really thin out to the wings? Most of the mass is around the pickups and bridge, and then it tapers front and back to the edge.
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:36 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by slapsymcdougal
IIRC don't the S series go really thin out to the wings? Most of the mass is around the pickups and bridge, and then it tapers front and back to the edge.

Yeah, it does thin out around the edges. Not just the wings.
All around. Except at and going near the neck pocket.
On the edges its about ~3/4 as thick as a fender strat.
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