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Bass Wood Battle Royale: Ash Vs. Walnut


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So......i'm gonna be putting together a new bass. Jazz bass style, nothing fancy, from Warmoth parts. And i'm considering body woods. My first thought is to go with an Ash body. I've owned plenty of 70's Fender basses, and I like Ash a good deal. Heavy, sounds nice. But i've heard a good deal about the tonal properties of Walnut, and so i'm considering it also. My concern, however, is that it might not be bright enough when I want it to be. I often like a smooth, warm bass tone, but at times I need to go with something sharp and mid-ranged (Think Chris Squire or David William Sims).

So, what are your opinions on Walnut bodies compared to Ash?

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Personally, my take on this for basses is that all reasonably heavy body woods will give you good low end, but some of them just damp the highs more than others. So if you like the brightness of ash, go with it because walnut won't get you there.

Get yourself a flexible active tone circuit, and you can roll down the brightness as needed. But you'll find it hard to add brightness this way to a wood that doesn't have it in the first place.

To me, the whole wood choice thing is much like mastering a recording. The best way to accentuate certain freqs is to make sure all the ones you want are there in the first place (= wood choices), then cut the ones you don't want (= tone shaping w/electronics).

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