#1
What do you really look for when you look for a bass? I assume it's not really the same as you would with guitar. Like, with guitars basswood, mahogany, alder, and maple are fairly common for rock/metal. Does the same apply for bass guitars?
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#2
Yeah, pretty much.

Some companies and high-end customs (especially Warwick, seemingly) use a lot of things like bubinga, ovankol and even things like zebrawood and purpleheart.

But the woods you mentioned are pretty much the staples.
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#3
Ash tends to be fairly common too.
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#4
I can be argued that the wood makes no predictable difference in the amplified sound, other than your own expectations (i.e. the placebo effect), as pickup placement, string type, pickup type, amplification etc. will all completely mask the subtle differences of wood choice.

And it is a position I agree with.
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#5
Quote by Killerfridge
I can be argued that the wood makes no predictable difference in the amplified sound, other than your own expectations (i.e. the placebo effect), as pickup placement, string type, pickup type, amplification etc. will all completely mask the subtle differences of wood choice.

And it is a position I agree with.


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Okay guys, I have a confession to make. Not really a confession since it's something that's been bugging me for awhile but I've always been in denial about it.

**** you gilly, it's not what you think
#6
Quote by Killerfridge
I can be argued that the wood makes no predictable difference in the amplified sound, other than your own expectations (i.e. the placebo effect), as pickup placement, string type, pickup type, amplification etc. will all completely mask the subtle differences of wood choice.

And it is a position I agree with.


Definitely agree with this. My epiphone ripper is made entirely of maple and is not a bright sounding bass by any stretch. In fact the neck pickup position has one of the warmest tones I've ever used.
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#7
Quote by Killerfridge
I can be argued that the wood makes no predictable difference in the amplified sound, other than your own expectations (i.e. the placebo effect), as pickup placement, string type, pickup type, amplification etc. will all completely mask the subtle differences of wood choice.

And it is a position I agree with.

So why not buy one built out of plywood and be done with it? Lol
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#8
Quote by engineno9
So why not buy one built out of plywood and be done with it? Lol

Because it's ugly as hell. Unless you're a fan of solid colors (I'm not) and are used to natural/transparent finishes, i'll go with just about anything else than plywood.
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#9
Quote by Killerfridge
I can be argued that the wood makes no predictable difference in the amplified sound, other than your own expectations (i.e. the placebo effect), as pickup placement, string type, pickup type, amplification etc. will all completely mask the subtle differences of wood choice.

And it is a position I agree with.

I'd agree to a point, with the key word being predictable. I think material still makes a subtle difference, and while there are generalizations in regards to wood types, each piece of wood is different. I definitely don't want to start a wood war here though.


Fancy woods look awesome, and at the end of the day how it looks is really the most important part of the equation right?
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#10
Quote by Tostitos
I'd agree to a point, with the key word being predictable. I think material still makes a subtle difference, and while there are generalizations in regards to wood types, each piece of wood is different. I definitely don't want to start a wood war here though.


Fancy woods look awesome, and at the end of the day how it looks is really the most important part of the equation right?


Yeah, that's why I put the word "predictable" in there. Two pieces of maple can have completely different acoustic characteristics, so when people say "Maple is a bright sounding wood" what is really meant is "Maple is a bright looking wood, so I think it should sound bright".
Current Gear:

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Sansamp VT Bass
Line6 BassPodXT Live

CHECK OUT MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL!
#11
Quote by Cb4rabid
Because it's ugly as hell. Unless you're a fan of solid colors (I'm not) and are used to natural/transparent finishes, i'll go with just about anything else than plywood.

Ok well what if you glued a [whatever-wood] veneer on it?

Do you mean this specifically for bass or guitar and all other amplified (or otherwise) instruments too?
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#12
wood makes a very good effect on tone and feel.
Your comfort is highly affected by the woods- it's why I've become a wenge neck snob- the bass has to sound really nice to make me choose it over a wenge neck.
Now look at the following picture.

that is the exact tone you want.

That is your pickups, strings and nut and amp and the EQ as done by you. You still see the dog, but it's a little off what you wanted.

Also, when you add fuzz...
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#13
Quote by the humanity
wood makes a very good effect on tone and feel.
Your comfort is highly affected by the woods- it's why I've become a wenge neck snob- the bass has to sound really nice to make me choose it over a wenge neck.
Now look at the following picture.

that is the exact tone you want.

That is your pickups, strings and nut and amp and the EQ as done by you. You still see the dog, but it's a little off what you wanted.

Also, when you add fuzz...



This is awesome.
I think wood makes a difference but much less than everything else.
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#14
Quote by engineno9
So why not buy one built out of plywood and be done with it? Lol


Quite a few basses and guitars are plywood, or cheaper (danelectros). A guy on another forum made a tele out of the super cheap mulch looking plywood/particle board, in a amber clear, looked really cool, and to him sounds very nice as well.

To risk sounding arrogant, I think wood choice only matter in any real amount in acoustic instruments.

If it did have an effect on an electrified instrument, it would be such a eensy sound that you'd need super mans hearing to notice (though every forum has a few people who can tell you they in fact have super mans hearing and they are sorry we don't...). Lets say it was obvious, even if there was a readily available tone achieved by a wood, it would indeed vary piece to piece not species to species, and adding in anything but unadulterated clean tone with a tight tuning such as standard would make it impossible to tell. So it is a "maybe" and even if I'm wrong and there is a difference, if it's so obscure as to cause an argument, it's not like said discovery would change the world of music, because it's obviously a hear it or don't thing...

Looks is different, staple woods (ash, maple, mahogany etc.) get solid colors, but if it's a wood from a country the size of Rhode Island in Africa with 5 coup's a year, you want that baby to show.

I find it funny as any fender can be made from a number of woods and you'll never be 100% sure unless you sand it down and talk to a wood guy; but everyone knows what a P bass is and should sound like it's timeless and universally used. Meanwhile other brands more or less expensive, often pride themselves in using a certain wood or combination of woods, and that is the supposed magic to their sound, and show it off as such.
#15
Let me add that weight makes a difference for some folks too. You might not be able to handle three sets with a mahogany or maple jazz bass body, on the other hand, bass wood and agathis makes an instrument feel less-substantial and more toy-like to some folks (I generally don't like very light instruments for that reason). If it doesn't have quite enough heft, it's hard to hunker down on it.
#16
Right, understood.

I basically ask this because I would like a guitar for tracking parts but when looking at them I really have no idea what I should be looking for as far as tonewoods, scale length, pick ups (whether active or passive, or what kind even as it seems there's a few more options than a guitar), or any of the other usual things to critique instruments on
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#17
In my experience... it DOES matter... but i'll add a "BUT"

so,


BUT: The difference is pretty subtle, and can be completely thrown off by the bass' other parts.

A bass' tone does not come directly from the body... neck wood, neck-type, bridge type, pickup configuration, pickup type, body routing, electronics, strings, tuners, and even (according to some) strap-button types will all contribute to tonal variance in some aspect or another.
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#18
Quote by askrere
I find it funny as any fender can be made from a number of woods and you'll never be 100% sure unless you sand it down and talk to a wood guy

You could always just look in the neck pocket.
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#19
Quote by Tostitos
You could always just look in the neck pocket.


Does it say like M for maple? or do you mean to see the exposed wood?
#20
Most of the time there will be exposed wood in the neck pocket. Maybe some overspray, but I don't think I've ever seen a neck pocket that's fully painted and/or finished, and its usually not that difficult to tell from the exposed wood.
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