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#1
i was wondering what basswood is like for a first guitar quality and tone wise

my little sister is just getting into it, and its gona be her first guitar, so it doesnt need to be the best or anything.
#2
It's a decent wood, especially for a first guitar. TBH though, wood matters very little tonewise in an electric guitar.
#3
it's a neutral-sounding wood, so it doesn't give much coloration to the tone. it's not bad though,
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#4
Quote by Jono3425
i was wondering what basswood is like for a first guitar quality and tone wise

my little sister is just getting into it, and its gona be her first guitar, so it doesnt need to be the best or anything.


I like it. Nice tone and great sustain, though I have a so-so amp and therefore can't really make an expert opinion.

#5
Quote by imgooley
It's a decent wood, especially for a first guitar. TBH though, wood matters very little tonewise in an electric guitar.

That is one of the dumbest things I've heard for a while.

Maybe even more than pickups, the tonal difference between a Strat and a Les Paul is that strats are made of Alder and sometimes Ash, while LP's are made of Mahogany. There was a thread similar to this earlier today, where a guy couldn't choose between an SG or a HH '72 Tele. The main difference between the two? The wood. Don't even try to tell me that those 2 guitars sound very similar.

To answer TS's question, Basswood gets a bad rap, mostly because it's largely used in cheap guitars (i.e the Squier bullets, lower- end Ibanezes and ESPs). However, high- quality basswood, like the kind that's in the Ibanez Prestige series, is a great wood tonally, a nice compromise between Mahogany and Alder.
#6
Well, the type of wood doesn't matter as much as the density and uniformity of it. Also, yeah, it really affects the tone very little. What it does effect is the dynamics of the guitar, and the sustain and such.

Also, I think they'd sound different because of different wiring and hardware, not necessarily because of different wood.
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#7
Quote by hrdcorelaxplaya
That is one of the dumbest things I've heard for a while.

Maybe even more than pickups, the tonal difference between a Strat and a Les Paul is that strats are made of Alder and sometimes Ash, while LP's are made of Mahogany. There was a thread similar to this earlier today, where a guy couldn't choose between an SG or a HH '72 Tele. The main difference between the two? The wood. Don't even try to tell me that those 2 guitars sound very similar.

I strongly disagree. The pick ups in an SG are different than an HH tele. When 80% or more of your sound comes from your amp most of the rest comes from your pickups, how much can wood effect the sound? I would understand the differences in 2 chambered guitars or 2 semi hollows with different woods, but in the same guitars with the same pickups, through the same amp, with the same settings, I doubt most if any people could tell the difference.

And the main difference between a strat and a les paul is the humbuckers:single coil difference.
#8
It's decent, and has a pretty neutral effect. The only thing I don't like about it is that it doesn't look too pretty.

Check out the wood grain on this one, and then compare it to one with a maple top .

Obviously the maple top will look better, but if you just look past the finish at the wood, the basswood just looks so soft and fragile, which it is. It's very succeptable to dents. But overall, it's not too bad of a wood. Nothing to hate about it, and I also have a basswood guitar.
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#9
For all the people who say basswood is soft... It's wood! Not gonna dent if you punch it or anything, and if you throw it at a wall, it will dent just like any other wood.
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#10
Quote by SQHero
For all the people who say basswood is soft... It's wood! Not gonna dent if you punch it or anything, and if you throw it at a wall, it will dent just like any other wood.


Actually, Basswood will dent if you punch it. I found that out when I bought an old RG body at a garage sale >_>.
#11
Quote by imgooley
I strongly disagree. The pick ups in an SG are different than an HH tele. When 80% or more of your sound comes from your amp most of the rest comes from your pickups, how much can wood effect the sound? I would understand the differences in 2 chambered guitars or 2 semi hollows with different woods, but in the same guitars with the same pickups, through the same amp, with the same settings, I doubt most if any people could tell the difference.

And the main difference between a strat and a les paul is the humbuckers:single coil difference.



+2

there have actually been studies done to prove it. small studies, but the info was backed up enough to convince me. forgot where it was though, so you can ignore me i guess.

i have a basswood guitar, though. i think its easier to chip and stuff, but yea, its a good wood quality build wood.
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#12
Quote by SQHero
For all the people who say basswood is soft... It's wood! Not gonna dent if you punch it or anything, and if you throw it at a wall, it will dent just like any other wood.



.....its pretty soft dude....i have nice big chunk taken out of my jet king in the back, and i can actually feel the wood., but like i said, its not so soft that it effects the build quality
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#13
How could you not think that the type of wood a guitar is made of affects the tone? I was playing a Gibson SG Special for about a year with some DiMarzio D-Activators in it. That guitar was obviously made of mahogany. Now I'm playing an RG550XX which is made out of basswood, which I also put D-Activators in and I'm even playing it through the same amp...There is a considerable difference in tone between the mahogany SG and the basswood RG.
#14
Quote by GetOutOfMyYard
How could you not think that the type of wood a guitar is made of affects the tone? I was playing a Gibson SG Special for about a year with some DiMarzio D-Activators in it. That guitar was obviously made of mahogany. Now I'm playing an RG550XX which is made out of basswood, which I also put D-Activators in and I'm even playing it through the same amp...There is a considerable difference in tone between the mahogany SG and the basswood RG.

How big a difference? Are the potentiometers the same? Same settings? Same tubes in the amp? Same effects pedals? and how big a difference? Could you tell in a double blind test?

Tone is subjective as well.
#15
thanks guys, my little sister is gona have her first guitar soon. im so proud shes picking it up REALLY fast
#16
Quote by imgooley
How big a difference? Are the potentiometers the same? Same settings? Same tubes in the amp? Same effects pedals? and how big a difference? Could you tell in a double blind test?

Tone is subjective as well.


Double-blind:



#17
lol wut?!
Wow that's really weird. I've dropped my cheap Ibanez loads of times and it's still going strong without dents... My (not really mine but...) better basswood guitars are going to be punched for experiment.
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#18
Copied from warmoth: This is a lighter weight wood normally producing Strat® bodies under 4 lbs. The color is white, but often has nasty green mineral streaks in it. This is a closed-grain wood, but it can absorb a lot of finish. This is not a good wood for clear finishes since there is little figure. It is quite soft, and does not take abuse well. Sound-wise, Basswood has a nice, growley, warm tone with good mids. A favorite tone wood for shredders in the 80s since its defined sound cuts through a mix well.

And for all those who say wood has no effect on the tone of a guitar. How many own plywood guitars. If it wasnt important why would companies care what kind of wood is used in guitars.
#19
Anyone saying the body wood doesn't effect tone much is just... wow, unbelievably retarded.

Body wood is pretty much the second most important aspect to your tone. The only thing that effects your tone more is what amp you're playing through. I'm not just talking about sustain or weight or anything - the balance of highs to lows, the presence of mid-tones, the attack... body wood makes twice the difference that pickups do.

If you get ninty nine mahogany guitars and one alder guitar, and equip all hundred with the same pickups, wiring, finish, strings, nut, tuners, bridges, pots, inputs, and run them through the same kind of cables into the exact same kind of amp, with all the settings on everything kept exactly the same... you would still be able to spot the much brighter tone of the alder body out from the crowd.

Anyone who can't tell the huge difference in tone that body wood makes, is either tone deaf, or just saying they can't for the sake of being a bastard/because they're too proud to admit they're wrong.




As for basswood, it's pretty nice. It's a good mid-point between alder and mahogany. My issue with it though, is just that: it's a mid-point. If you want a bright tone, you go to alder, if you want a dark tone, you get mahogany... and it's very rare you actually want such a middle-of-the-road tone as basswood gives. It's very... uninspiring. It's not bad, it just won't ever make you go "wow, listen to that tone! Check out the presence of that bass, and the highs cutting through! My good lord it's like sex for the ears!".
#20
Cheap basswood like what lower end guitars use can be very fragile. Nicer basswood like what Ibanez Prestige and old school Charvels use is nice. I agree the tone is kind of middle of the road and flat EQ wise. It puts a lot importance on the EQ of your ampp and your pickup. In general though, it seems to make things a bit easier for those dry EVH, Warren DeMartini and Lynch-esque tones when used with the right setup.
#21
Everything in a guitar contributes something to the tone, and the body wood is no exception. The debate really centers around which parts are most responsible for the different sounds. And many people would list the body wood well down the list, after the amp, the pickups, the electronics, the strings, the scale length (one of the key sound differences between Strat and LP), and possibly the bridge and nut. I firmly believe those who think they can hear the sound of the tone wood separate from the other influences on sound has fixated on a rather peculiar but basically harmless delusion. Maybe this is a carry-over from acoustic guitars, where the woods used are by far the most important contribution to the overall sound.

Basswood is a good tone wood for an electric guitar. It's cheap to buy in quantities, and doesn't produce an unpleasant sound. But it's not very attractive (needs to be painted), and it's not very durable, it's light weight, and it dings easily.
#22
I have a mahogany RG and a basswood RG. The mahogany RG sounds a LOT warmer. If you cant hear the difference between woods you must be tone deaf. The mahogany also sustains more. And compared to the strat they are both warm. The two rgs have the same pickups too.
#23
Quote by bokuho
If you get ninty nine mahogany guitars and one alder guitar, and equip all hundred with the same pickups, wiring, finish, strings, nut, tuners, bridges, pots, inputs, and run them through the same kind of cables into the exact same kind of amp, with all the settings on everything kept exactly the same... you would still be able to spot the much brighter tone of the alder body out from the crowd.

Hehe, I'd love to see that.

Reminds me of the test where all these violin experts thought a carbon fibre violin sounded better than a Stradivarius in a blind test.

I'm sure body wood affects tone. A little bit. Mostly, it's just hearing what you think/want to hear induced by the extreme traditionalism of the whole guitar world.
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#24
Quote by imgooley
How big a difference? Are the potentiometers the same? Same settings? Same tubes in the amp? Same effects pedals? and how big a difference? Could you tell in a double blind test?
I have 3 different guitars, 3 different materials, same pickups in each.

I don't have to touch or see them; play them through the same amp, same settings and I guarantee I can pick each one out of the line up everytime.

If you think wood has no effect on the sound of an electric guitar, there is no "well maybe" or "yeah I could see that" or anything in between; you're just plain wrong.

To the OP, as far as Basswood goes, personally I don't like it as a tonewood. Very blah and very lifeless (And yes this is coming from experience with higher end Basswood guitars). For a beginner guitar however, it would be more than adequate.
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#25
Quote by jm1681
If you think wood has no effect on the sound of an electric guitar, there is no "well maybe" or "yeah I could see that" or anything in between; you're just plain wrong.

1. Tone is subjective.
2. I never said that wood had nothing to do with tone, I said it has very little.
3. Unless it's a double blind test, you are going to assign certain tonal characteristics to your guitars based on your knowledge and experience with your guitars.

IMO, the effects on tone go(without effects) amp>pickups>electronics>wood>strings.

It is different with semis though, as the acoustic resonance plays a factor, but then the shape of the guitar has influence on tone as well.

And it's the density of the wood that has the effect on tone as well.
#26
Quote by jm1681
I have 3 different guitars, 3 different materials, same pickups in each.

Like imgooley said, how about electronics? Different pots/caps have different frequency responses.
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#27
Quote by imgooley
2. I never said that wood had nothing to do with tone, I said it has very little...
And I said you were wrong, glad we cleared that up though.

Quote by Kanthras
Like imgooley said, how about electronics? Different pots/caps have different frequency responses.
EMGs my friend. Every pot, cap, and jack is the same in all 3.
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#28
Quote by jm1681
And I said you were wrong, glad we cleared that up though.

And I said that you're wrong, but it's still opinion.
#29
People who think the wood of an electric doesn't affect the sound are crazzzzy. I suppose some people don't hear a difference, that is a possibility, but I can hear a difference even in different fretboard materials (same Fender Strat, rosewood vs. maple fretboard), and different pick materials sound different as well, mainly being that some sound dull, bright, warm, etc.. Strings seem to make a difference in sound as well, and Eric Johnson of courses love him that trem-access-coverless tone of legend.
#30
Quote by imgooley
...it's still opinion.
No, its not. Every piece of wood on your guitar changes the way it feels and sounds. If you can't tell the difference, thats fine, unfortunate, but fine.

Perfect case in point: My LTD H-2 vs. My friends Warmoth Les Paul

Same electronics, same scale, same peghead layout, same bridge setup, same construction method, same strings even. One is clearly Mahogany, the other is clearly Ash in the way they feel and sound.

Hell, I actually had two of these H-2s at one point (Identical down to paint even) and I could hear and feel the difference in the two pieces of Ash. This was actually how I learned just how different two of the SAME EXACT guitars can sound.

Quote by Habit Zero
...I can hear a difference even in different fretboard materials...
Word.
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Last edited by jm1681 at Apr 14, 2008,
#31
Fine, I'm wrong.

And the difference is very subtle as well. Just like picking with your fingers sounds different than picking with a flat pick.

Maybe when I play for a few more years, it will be more discernible. I would still like to see the results of a double blind test, though.
Last edited by imgooley at Apr 14, 2008,
#32
Quote by jm1681
No, its not. Every piece of wood on your guitar changes the way it feels and sounds. If you can't tell the difference, thats fine, unfortunate, but fine.

Actually, if you can tell the difference (or think you do).. you're the unfortunate one here buddy.

Oh, btw.. I've got a few 500$ guitar cables left. Interested, perhaps? Pure oxygen-free silver for that sparkling chimey top end.

edit: I just looked at your profile and it seems one of the guitars is a seven stringer. those have different pups. Between the other two is a difference of bridges. Floating vs TOM.
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Last edited by Kanthras at Apr 14, 2008,
#33
I think it's crazy how people are saying the Vlaue of pots alter the tone more than the wood.

Give me two IDENTICAL guitars in everyway except for th ebody wood, one alder and one mahogany (just for example) you WOULD hear the difference.
If you think you can hear the difference of pickups, pots, switches, wires, whatever you think changes the tone more than wood. You'd hear the difference in wood.

Denser woods are brighter, the less dense are darker.

Play a maple guitar then a Mahogany guitar. You'd hear the difference
#34
Quote by Punk_Ninja
I think it's crazy how people are saying the Vlaue of pots alter the tone more than the wood.

Give me two IDENTICAL guitars in everyway except for th ebody wood, one alder and one mahogany (just for example) you WOULD hear the difference.
If you think you can hear the difference of pickups, pots, switches, wires, whatever you think changes the tone more than wood. You'd hear the difference in wood.

Denser woods are brighter, the less dense are darker.

Play a maple guitar then a Mahogany guitar. You'd hear the difference

You silly you. Try switching the pot in your guitar for one with twice the value.
Denser woods brighter? Ah, rosewood must be very bright then.. No it's not that simple I know.. but wood matters less than pickups in tone.

Also, the wire thing was a joke..
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#35
One thing to look at is basswood is both difficult and very easy to work with. There aren't a lot of handmade basswood guitars as it's softer than most other woods and therefore easy to screw up. I knock that wouldn't even be noticeable in swamp ash can put quite a ding in basswood. On the other hand, it takes about half as long as anything else to to route all the cavities and this is virtuous in many way. Back to the downsides, it also heats faster than other woods when routing and it's easy to get smoke and score marks and you have to put a couple layers of tape on the body so the router itself doesn't leave dents.

Regarding the tone, I absolutely love the flat frequency response, but the sustain (IMO) leaves a lot to be desired. I think that the flat frequency response does put a bit more emphasis on the pickups you use as every pickup change I've done in a basswood guitar was more noticeable to me than when swapping identical pickups in guitars made from other wood.
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#36
Quote by Kanthras
...you're the unfortunate one here buddy...
You have no idea just how right you are, pal.

Buying a guitar is an unbelievably difficult process for me because my ears are good. I hear everything, every nuance and imperfection. I buy and return guitars at a staggering rate.

Quote by Kanthras
...I've got a few 500$ guitar cables left. Interested, perhaps? Pure oxygen-free silver for that sparkling chimey top end.
Wow if I didn't know any better I'd say you were trying to be a smart ass.

Quote by Kanthras
...I just looked at your profile and it seems one of the guitars is a seven stringer. those have different pups...
Actually it doesn't. EMG 81-7s are EMG 81s with longer bars. Same internal structure, but thanks for playing.
我会关闭我的耳朵,和我的心; 我会变成一个石头
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#37
Quote by Kanthras
You silly you. Try switching the pot in your guitar for one with twice the value.
Denser woods brighter? Ah, rosewood must be very bright then.. No it's not that simple I know.. but wood matters less than pickups in tone.

Also, the wire thing was a joke..


I hate to think. . i'm 15 and my ears can tell the difference in woods, I've only been playing two and a half years too =/ I assume with your cocky attitude you've been playing 5 years or more and are around 19+?

Wood doesn't matter less than pickups.
You put a DiMarzio tonezone in an alder bodied guitar. Awesome, nice tone.

Then a mahogany bodied guitar. .awh shucks it's gone all muddy. Must be a problem down at the DiMarzio factory
#38
Quote by jm1681
Actually it doesn't. EMG 81-7s are EMG 81s with longer bars.

Yup. that means different winding, different ratio between hight and width and therefore different frequency response. I'll give it to you though, the difference will not be very big.
Quote by Punk_Ninja
Wood doesn't matter less than pickups.
You put a DiMarzio tonezone in an alder bodied guitar. Awesome, nice tone.

Then a mahogany bodied guitar. .awh shucks it's gone all muddy. Must be a problem down at the DiMarzio factory

You have two alder bodied guitars.. You put an Evo in one of them and an EMG-HZ in the other.

Oh dear, #1's bright #2's gone all muddy.
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#39
Why don't we just make everybody happy and say that both pickups and wood are two equally contributing factors to a guitars tone?

I see both sides but to say one or the other is more or less important is obtuse and silly.

We're all a little right, and we're all a little wrong, are we smiling yet?
我会关闭我的耳朵,和我的心; 我会变成一个石头
"I will close my ears and my heart and I will be a stone"
#40
Quote by Kanthras
You have two alder bodied guitars.. You put an Evo in one of them and an EMG-HZ in the other.

Oh dear, #1's bright #2's gone all muddy.


What's your point? Obviously pickups have a large effect on the guitar's tone, otherwise companies wouldn't get away with charging ridiculos prices for them. But that wasn't the point, wood has a huge effect on tone; the reason why Gibson can get away with charging 2k+ for a Les Paul (Aside from the fact that Jimmy Page used one, that is ).

Otherwise everyone could just get a £100 BC-Rich, spend £200 on Gibson electronics and have that exact Jimmy Page tone, couldn't they?
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