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Old 01-07-2013, 11:18 AM   #1
fenderstrat6485
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Swamp Ash vs. Alder?

Hey everyone,
I'm looking at getting a 7-string built by Carvin, and was somewhat unsure about wood choice. I heard swamp ash has a very similar tone and wood grain to alder, but I was unable to find any 7-strings made from swamp ash. Is there a particular reason for this? I liked the wood grain of swamp ash more than alder to a degree, but I wanna know if it would be a suitable choice for a 7-string. I don't want a stereotypical "heavy" guitar (black satin finish, EMG pickups, etc.), I just wanted something a bit more unconventional that could handle metal.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:26 PM   #2
Dave_Mc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fenderstrat6485
Hey everyone,
I'm looking at getting a 7-string built by Carvin, and was somewhat unsure about wood choice. I heard swamp ash has a very similar tone and wood grain to alder, but I was unable to find any 7-strings made from swamp ash. Is there a particular reason for this? I liked the wood grain of swamp ash more than alder to a degree, but I wanna know if it would be a suitable choice for a 7-string. I don't want a stereotypical "heavy" guitar (black satin finish, EMG pickups, etc.), I just wanted something a bit more unconventional that could handle metal.


i don't know anything about 7 strings (so bear that in mind ).

Swamp ash sounds not a million miles away from alder, yeah. not exactly the same- it's probably a little more scooped/twangy and maybe a little more complex-sounding (though all of that might be my imagination).

I don't see why it wouldn't work for heavier tones. i have a framus (6-string) superstrat with a swamp ash body and it doesn't seem to be any worse for heavier tones than anything else i have.

hace you considered contacting carvin? one of the main reasons of going custom is to get exactly what you want and get one-to-one advice regarding getting the absolute best thing possible for the tones you want. i'm guessing they could tell you whether swamp ash would work for what you want.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:42 PM   #3
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Mayones use swamp ash for 7-strings, and it's a pretty standard choice for Carvin builds, from what I've seen.

The important thing though is the construction of the guitar. If it's a bolt-on then you may notice a slight difference between alder and ash, but it won't be huge and if you play with any degree of gain then they'll sound the same. If it's a set neck then an ash body will likely sound noticably brighter and clearer, as if you've bumped the mids down by one notch and put the bass and treble up by one. Again, not a gigantic difference, but it will be noticable. If the guitar is neck-through, which I think most Carvin 7-strings are, then the difference between alder and ash will be nothing, apart from the look of the wood. With a neck-through guitar it is the neck/center wood that defines the tone, the body wing pieces are pretty much just there to complete the look of the guitar.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:24 PM   #4
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yeah pretty much (I'd also add that when i said "more twang", that was with fender-style guitars which are already fairly twangy and at lower gain settings).

everything else being equal there would probably/possibly be a slight difference (at lower gain settings), but I imagine nothing you couldn't compensate for elsewhere.

and yeah with a neck-thru the main thing will be the neck woods. From what i've heard, the body woods might be (just about) noticeable with a hardtail, but with a trem probably not.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:42 PM   #5
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In all fairness, I don't think I've ever actually tried a neck-through with a completely clean tone and a flat EQ in order to check how much of a difference the body wood makes. I think I've always played them with the bass and gain pumped. So maybe there is more of a difference with particular combinations of neck-through and hardware, just can't say I've ever noticed them myself. Gain covers everything.

I mean, who plays country on a neck-through 7-string?
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:31 PM   #6
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yeah that's true. me neither.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:53 PM   #7
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I mean, who plays country on a neck-through 7-string?


Give it time. If there isn't an unsigned artist already doing it- probably a Junior Brown fan- there will be within a few years.

Then we'll start seeing new extended range guitars tweaked for that C&W style...and genre-fusions therewith.

I'm calling it: the Gretsch Country Djentleman 8-string will hit stores in 2023.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:17 PM   #8
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I'm calling it: the Gretsch Country Djentleman 8-string will hit stores in 2023.


hahahahaha
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:30 PM   #9
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If you're using that much gain, you'll never hear the difference.


Quote:
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I'm calling it: the Gretsch Country Djentleman 8-string will hit stores in 2023.



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Old 01-09-2013, 09:29 PM   #10
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Just note that Ash in general is way more inconsistent in density, grain structure and consequently in sound as well than alder, so alder is kind of a safe way to go. Here are some articles on body woods that i found useful.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:50 AM   #11
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Generally speaking, swamp ash has a more defined low end and slightly scooped mids which makes it ideal for lower tunings and bass guitars.

However, strictly speaking you won't notice a huge difference. Wood types matter most on acoustics and hollow-bodies. With solid-body guitars, neck-throughs especially, wood is mostly a cosmetic choice.

That doesn't mean that wood has no impact - just that pickups, amp setup, etc. are going to matter a hell of a lot more. If swamp ash is worth the extra money to you, by all means.

Good quality wood and construction of the guitar matter far more. In that respect, a Carvin will be fantastic regardless of what wood you choose.
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