#1
Agathus is the new alder. Thats what many name brand guitar makers will tell you anyway. I have recently acquired many new low end guitars from several name brands and all of them bosted about solid alder bodies. When I actually received the guitars they were not alder at all. They were Agathus! After talking to the manufacturers I was told that Agathus is "Asian alder" which isn't true at all. Interestingly enough, a year ago they were advertising agathis as Australian mahogany. So which is it? Is it like mahogany or is it like alder? Truth is that it isn't really like either one.

This isn't meant to scare you away from Agathis guitars. It's meant to keep you informed.
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#3
Interesting news.

Few Q's...

A) This is only among low-end guitars right? What guitars did you get have agathis bodies but are listed as alder?
B) How do you recognize the difference between alder and agathis woods? By their tone palette or grains?
#5
The only cheap guitar that offers an alder body is the Yamaha Pacifica 112. Squiers, Ibanez, Washburns, ESP/LTD all use agathis and make no secret of it.

And why does everyone say basswood is crap? Just cos it's a common wood doesn't mean it's bad. Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert and John Petrucci use it for the bodies of their sig guitars. It must be an awful wood, then.
#6
Most likely they're just covering up that they're changing the lines to make more money but haven't been bothered to update yet.
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#7
Quote by sashki

And why does everyone say basswood is crap? Just cos it's a common wood doesn't mean it's bad. Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert and John Petrucci use it for the bodies of their sig guitars. It must be an awful wood, then.


I wonder this also. Basswood doesnt have brilliant sustain but its tone is pretty great IMO
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#8
Quote by chimpinatux
I wonder this also. Basswood doesnt have brilliant sustain but its tone is pretty great IMO

It's supposedly warmer than alder, but not as much as mahogany. Knowing how fat mahogany guitars sometimes get muddy, it sounds like a good idea to use basswood.
#9
A warning to anyone who buys the low end Asian guitars - what they call "mahogany" isn't mahogany either.

If you know anything about wood things like the enviroment where the tree grows and how long it is allowed to grow make a difference.

Also, sometimes species are grouped together but they may be from different trees.

That's why indian and brazilian rosewood look different and why you can see a budget guitar with the same specs as an expensive one and they don't sound the same.

Best thing to do is just buy one quality guitar instead of several budget models
#10
Quote by chimpinatux
I wonder this also. Basswood doesnt have brilliant sustain but its tone is pretty great IMO


+1 I love my RG1570 and issues of sustain can be fixed with a decent amp and some decent pickups (Air Norton/Steve's Special), that aren't pure output but actually have some dynamics about them.

Like most types of wood, I'm sure the basswood Ibanez use on their Prestige models would be of a far different grade to that of their cheapies.
#11
Quote by Mwoit
Interesting news.

Few Q's...

A) This is only among low-end guitars right? What guitars did you get have agathis bodies but are listed as alder?
B) How do you recognize the difference between alder and agathis woods? By their tone palette or grains?



I think it's only happening in low end guitars. I'm not going to give specific brand names because they could put my company in danger. Just make sure you contact the maker of the guitar (not the retailer) and specifically ask if it's Real alder or Agathis. I've found that they have all been pretty honest with me after emailing them or getting them on the phone.

I recognize the difference because the wood grain looks different. The tone is different too. Agathis has a tone that is kind of like a cross between basswood and alder which means that if you want to sound good on an agathis guitar, you need good pickups. It also means that when you get new pickups and put them on the agathis body guitar it'll give you a more dramatic improvement in tone.
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Last edited by CorduroyEW at Jun 29, 2008,
#12
Quote by sashki
The only cheap guitar that offers an alder body is the Yamaha Pacifica 112. Squiers, Ibanez, Washburns, ESP/LTD all use agathis and make no secret of it.

And why does everyone say basswood is crap? Just cos it's a common wood doesn't mean it's bad. Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert and John Petrucci use it for the bodies of their sig guitars. It must be an awful wood, then.



John Petrucci has just updated his sig to have it made of Alder.

also Basswood is used in most cheap guitars because it is a cheap wood. Ibanez (who those sigs belong to) use Basswood im more or less all their guitars for some odd reason. However im told by people that there is budget quality basswood, like in crap guitars, Then there is a certain branch of basswood species (no pun intended) that is actually high quality, but i not sure.
#13
Quote by CorduroyEW
if you want to sound good on an agathis guitar, you need pickups.


IMHO 98% of the kids I see in GC on a Saturday would sound better without pickups and they would improve ten fold if they had neither pickups or amplifiers.

Why waste money on a guitar just to change a bunch of parts and end up with a low end guitar with half decent parts?
#14
Quote by CorduroyEW
I think it's only happening in low end guitars. I'm not going to give specific brand names because they could put my company in danger. Just make sure you contact the maker of the guitar (not the retailer) and specifically ask if it's Real alder or Agathis. I've found that they have all been pretty honest with me after emailing them or getting them on the phone.

I recognize the difference because the wood grain looks different. The tone is different too. Agathis has a tone that is kind of like a cross between basswood and alder which means that if you want to sound good on an agathis guitar, you need pickups. It also means that when you get new pickups and put them on the agathis body guitar it'll give you a more dramatic improvement in tone.

umm...
Excuse my ignorance, but don't you need pickups to make ANY guitar sound good? Regardless of body wood, if the pickups suck, how good will it sound?

If you put, like, behringer pickups in a Tom Anderson, do you still get flabberghastingly amazing tone?
#15
Quote by sashki
umm...
Excuse my ignorance, but don't you need pickups to make ANY guitar sound good? Regardless of body wood, if the pickups suck, how good will it sound?


Oops, left out the word "good" in my earlier statment. You need good pickups to make basswood and agathis sound good.

Some body woods help to colour your tone more than others. Tonewoods that add more colour tend to enhance and fill out the tone of poor quality pickups. Tonewoods like basswood and agathis don't colour your tone as much which means low quality pickups stand out as low quality pickups. That is why people hate the RG1570 pickups so much. They are not bad pickups but they sound bad because they were put in a basswood guitar that doesn't give them the extra colour they need. If you put the same pickups in a mahogany body guitar they would sound a lot better. They still wouldn't sound as great as some hand wound pickups but I think you get the point.

Quote by Hdap101
Most likely they're just covering up that they're changing the lines to make more money but haven't been bothered to update yet.


I think it might be just the opposite. Some of the big names that have had no problem saying the guitar was agathis in the past have updated their websites in the last year and are now advertising alder but still selling agathis. Perhaps they are updating the websites because they are upgraiding quality but are using old wood 1st??? I don't know. I just hope that they kick it into gear and actually give correct specs from now on.
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Last edited by CorduroyEW at Jun 29, 2008,
#16
Quote by CorduroyEW
Oops, left out the word "good" in my earlier statment. You need good pickups to make basswood and agathis sound good.

Some body woods help to colour your tone more than others. Tonewoods that add more colour tend to enhance and fill out the tone of poor quality pickups. Tonewoods like basswood and agathis don't colour your tone as much which means low quality pickups stand out as low quality pickups. That is why people hate the RG1570 pickups so much. They are not bad pickups but they sound bad because they were put in a basswood guitar that doesn't give them the extra colour they need. If you put the same pickups in a mahogany body guitar they would sound a lot better. They still wouldn't sound as great as some hand wound pickups but I think you get the point.


I think it might be just the opposite. Some of the big names that have had no problem saying the guitar was agathis in the past have updated their websites in the last year and are now advertising alder but still selling agathis. Perhaps they are updating the websites because they are upgraiding quality but are using old wood 1st??? I don't know. I just hope that they kick it into gear and actually give correct specs from now on.


i think what it is, is that the companys announce the better wood and therfore all future models on the production line will be made with the new wood, however the guitars in shops and on websites are still from the old production line, because they were ordered before the changes were made, so its the shops fault not the companys.
#17
Quote by mrbungle50221
also Basswood is used in most cheap guitars because it is a cheap wood. Ibanez (who those sigs belong to) use Basswood im more or less all their guitars for some odd reason.

it has a flat EQ response meaning you can manipulate your tone more easily. That's a good quality to have in a guitar.
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#18
i have a old peavey predator plus that is a basswood guitar and it really is a good player. and has very nice tone.........but if you look at basswood wrong it dents.
#19
Basswood is used in most Ibanez guitars because Ibanez is mainly used for shred, and basswood has a high mid range responce alowing shredders to cut through the mix. Mahogony is used in more Metal guitars because it has a defined low end, and Alder and agathis are used in Strats to get a brighter tone.

At least thats what ive been told also, if manufacturers are using agathis instead of alder, cant they get sued for mis-advertising their products?
#20
Its simple economics. Agathis comes form the south pacific region, alder comes form europe and the americas. As the low end guitar makers are all in asia then economically it makes more sense to buy local agathis than to have alder shipped across the ocean. The low end market is a brutal place to try to sell guitars. People refuse to pay more money. So they have to find a way to scratch out a profit. From my searches on the net agathis isnt listed as a bad wood to use just an inexpensive one. Some woods are getting harder to find and more expensive all the time. We complaign about slash and burn in the amazon and illegal logging yet still want brazilian rosewood for our guitars. Cant have it both ways. And giving pretty names to ugly things has long been standard practice in advertising.
#21
Quote by SenorSmiley
Why waste money on a guitar just to change a bunch of parts and end up with a low end guitar with half decent parts?

because not everyone can afford a gibson. Buying a diamond-in-the-rough bottom of the range guitar which happens to be made of a good bit of wood and replacing the shoddy stock pickups and pots with quality parts to make it sound good, and setting it up so that it plays nicely, is a perfectly good way to get a decent guitar for less money. Aside from the name, there aren't really any major benefits to buying an expensive guitar.
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#22
Quote by Blompcube
because not everyone can afford a gibson. Buying a diamond-in-the-rough bottom of the range guitar which happens to be made of a good bit of wood and replacing the shoddy stock pickups and pots with quality parts to make it sound good, and setting it up so that it plays nicely, is a perfectly good way to get a decent guitar for less money. Aside from the name, there aren't really any major benefits to buying an expensive guitar.

Other than the last sentence, I totally agree with everything. I actually use my extremely well set-up Squier '51s, MIJ LP and SG copies, and other "cheaper" guitars even though I could just as easily use my old man's Gibsons and CS Strats at school musicals and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. I don't have Agathis guitars but I can see their potentials for "gigability".

BTW, Squier '51s can still be had for ~$150, a bargain still.

#23
Quote by Tubyboulin
Basswood is used in most Ibanez guitars because Ibanez is mainly used for shred, and basswood has a high mid range responce alowing shredders to cut through the mix. Mahogony is used in more Metal guitars because it has a defined low end, and Alder and agathis are used in Strats to get a brighter tone.

At least thats what ive been told also, if manufacturers are using agathis instead of alder, cant they get sued for mis-advertising their products?



your almost correct! basswood is used more for metal becayse it has more high end and low end the mid range PLUS it has more of an attack then other woods so basswood is GENERALLY better for metal. Im not saying other woods aren't good for metal just saying basswood generally should be better.
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#24
well
all i have to say is thah agathis is cheap, not bad, but not everyone likes it, its like alder but with less sustain and lightweight
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#25
Quote by Blompcube
because not everyone can afford a gibson. Buying a diamond-in-the-rough bottom of the range guitar which happens to be made of a good bit of wood and replacing the shoddy stock pickups and pots with quality parts to make it sound good, and setting it up so that it plays nicely, is a perfectly good way to get a decent guitar for less money. Aside from the name, there aren't really any major benefits to buying an expensive guitar.


I disagree. What yo call a 'diamond in the rough' I call attempting to polish a turd.

By the time you buy the guitar and invest your time/money into modding the thing you have more money into the guitar then what it's worth.

Here is what I see people do over and over again:

1- Buy 200 - 500 dollar guitar
2- invest 200 - 300 into it
3- sell guitar for 400 or less because it's not that great
4- repeat

in the end you could have bought the more expensive guitar one and it would be less money and if you bought it used it would hold it's value.

there are some 'diamonds in the rough' out there. I just bought a 60s Gibson ES-330 for a fraction of what it's worth because someone modded it with humbuckers. I'm putting correct tuners on it, an old Bigsby and looking for some better pickups and it will be cool for low money.

i bought my 91 Gibson LP Standard for 650.00 - good deal - no mods needed and plays and sounds ok.

keep modding and wasting your money but 99999 times out of 100000 modding a budget model gives you a budget guitar that's a little better then when you started.

I have a Squier 51 with CTS pots, orange drop, Gibson Humbucker and Sperzels to prove it. Sitting in the closet gathering dust - a huge POS.
#26
Quote by Tackleberry
Its simple economics. Agathis comes form the south pacific region, alder comes form europe and the americas. As the low end guitar makers are all in asia then economically it makes more sense to buy local agathis than to have alder shipped across the ocean. The low end market is a brutal place to try to sell guitars. People refuse to pay more money. So they have to find a way to scratch out a profit. From my searches on the net agathis isnt listed as a bad wood to use just an inexpensive one. Some woods are getting harder to find and more expensive all the time. We complaign about slash and burn in the amazon and illegal logging yet still want brazilian rosewood for our guitars. Cant have it both ways. And giving pretty names to ugly things has long been standard practice in advertising.



I think you hit the nail on the head.


Quote by litus
well
all i have to say is thah agathis is cheap, not bad


Couldn't agree more. I like it better than swamp ash and think it makes a good substatute for swamp ash. I don't think it's a good sub for alder though.

Quote by litus
its like alder but with less sustain and lightweight


The thing is, it sounds enough different than alder that I don't think it's a good substatute. I think it sounds just as good as alder (with the right pickups) but it doesn't sound the same which is why I made this thread.
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Last edited by CorduroyEW at Jun 29, 2008,
#27
my jackson dxmg is basswood, i have a dimarzio evo in the bridge pos. and it def. has punch. awesome little metal guitar. but its all punch there is no warmth.
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