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Alder questions!


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Hi!

I am going to build my first Alder body guitar. So far I only used Korina, but I love the sound of my Fender Alder Strat which is a Standard made in USA guitar from 96. I have the choice between American and European Alder. As I never worked with Alder so far I have some questions:

1. Is there a difference between Alder from America and Europe?

2. I guess Fender uses American Alder only.....right?

3. Is there anything special to look for in Alder? Like Age, Humidity, quatersawn, figure or weight? Or will any common Alder blank give me a nice Jackson Rhoads / Fender Strat Alder sound?

Thanks in advance,

Marcel Knapp!

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The only thing I look for in any guitar body is resonance. Alder is not known for being particularly figured, but I've seen some with very slight figure. I believe there is also birdseye alder.

At any rate, I wouldn't think that European Alder would be too much different from American Alder. If you are in Europe, I would say give the European Alder a shot, just try to hunt down a good piece that is highly resonant (good tap tone). If you can find a one piece body blank, even better, but I wouldn't count on it. :D

Something that is close to Alder tonally, but is softer is poplar. It is also very inexpensive. Fender used it on strats in the late 90's.

Oh wait, you have a 96, are you sure its alder? There is a good chance it is poplar! Check out the screw holes, do they have a reddish tint? Or is it white or greenish?

Edited by javacody
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Oh wait, you have a 96, are you sure its alder? There is a good chance it is poplar! Check out the screw holes, do they have a reddish tint? Or is it white or greenish?

The "American Standard" series of 1996 are made of alder, not poplar. Since 2000 or 2001 Fender is not presenting "American Standard" Strats.. but naming them as "American Series" with some difference on pickups and electronics. This causes some confusions. American Standards made in 90's were different than normal Standards.

Also, your guitar must have a "50 years of excellence" logo at the back of the headstock. As the year 1996 was the 50th anniversary of Fender. And the serial number must start with N6...... (Ninety 6). If your guitar is an Am.Std, it must have steel saddles (normal Standards had vintage style saddles and they still do) and 2 string retainers at the headstock holding 4 treble strings.

But normal Standard series of 1996 might be made of poplar though, and they might be made in Mexico. I don't know much about those.

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Thanks alot for all the answers!

Also, your guitar must have a "50 years of excellence" logo at the back of the headstock. As the year 1996 was the 50th anniversary of Fender. And the serial number must start with N6...... (Ninety 6). If your guitar is an Am.Std, it must have steel saddles (normal Standards had vintage style saddles and they still do) and 2 string retainers at the headstock holding 4 treble strings.

Exactly! Did you deal for Fender? I was always convinced that this guitar is Alder. I guess thats correct then?

Concerning American and European Alder:

I can get both of them thats why I ask. I suspect what Lex said: I don't think American companies like Fender and Jackson would import Alder as their is enough arround them already.

Anyway....I think I'll go with American Alder as both species cost me the same and I want to get as close to the sound of my Fender as possible.

Thanks,

Marcel!

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Leo Fender was always about price price price.

There's NO WAY in the world he would import wood from overseas. He wouldn't even use semi-pricey US wood.

You never even saw Gibson buying quilted maple. If the maple supplied to them had quilt or flame in it, then so be it, but they never paid extra for it back in the day.

Leo used Alder because it was cheap and plentiful around him, end of story.

And yes, I believe Alder is the straight path to the classic Fender SC tone.

Keep us informed Marcel!

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Leo was so cheap, he didn't even want to include a truss rod in the guitar! LOL

About the poplar on the American Standard, I believe I said it "might" be made out of poplar. I couldn't remember for sure. I knew that the MIM Standards were up until about 2001.

By the way, I've owned both a poplar and alder MIM Standard, and honestly, there wasn't much difference in the tone between them. No different than what one could attribute to two guitars made of similar wood on different days.

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Yes.. even Fender has their own name for woods.. for example they call Swamp Ash, Lite Ash. The main reason I like Ash is for the grain pattern and good tone qualities of the wood. I have noticed a guitar we built with Hard Ash, having too bright a tone, so it does effect the sound of the guitar. I've never messed with Alder before though.

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