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I was planning my guitar project(oversized LP style) and the maple neck and ebony fretboard is SET! (feel playability attack).

I wanted something singing like an LP but without the mud so just a tad brighter, but I'm afraid that just a mahogani maple combo would be too bright with that neck. and I was wodnering why I should use mahogani like everyone does with that kind of guitars. let's experiment.

Isn't basswood a soft wood and tonewise comparable to mahogani but just.... bassier?(didn't find good sources yet, so I'm open to infos)?

And maybe a walnut top...

pups should be filtertronish at the neck sc middle p90 bridge...

do you think that combination would sound similar to a LP but more open with some more attack? maybe I'll chamber it a bit for a better weight...

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Seriously you could have just continued this conversation in your first topic, but...

You are not looking at woods that are common in guitar building. You can check out plenty of Basswood body/ maple neck at your local music store. Same would hold true for Mahogany/ Mahogany, Maple/ Mahogany and so forth. As for the theory of what these woods generally sound like. There are wood reference topics that cover all the mainstream stuff. Nobody will be able to tell you definatively how it will sound. You are trying to be very specific about a modification that will make a slight difference in the shadow of more significant factors. You are going to have to bite the bullet and make a call based on your gut feeling. Like I said either way you are not going to be going away from the mainstream here(nothing too radical to worry about).

Peace,Rich

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It's bass as in the fish... rhymes with "class". Not bass as in the instrument, rhymes with "face".

Its name has nothing to do with its sonic characteristics!

As mentioned, though, you're placing too much stock in what is ultimately an unknown. The same guitar with different pickups will sound significantly different. I'd wager that if you compared:

- 2 identical guitars, very different pickups (jazz-style vs. metal style)

- 2 guitars with identical pickups, the same neck, and mostly the same body except basswood instead of mahogany

That the first comparison would yield more significant results. Basswood and mahogany have very similar sonic characteristics, though people will often note, perhaps psychosematically (because it's a cheaper wood) that it loses some definition. And that's just it-- you could hear a hundred different people say the same thing, but many many of them would just be idiots like me who are essentially "duffers" with enough knowledge to be dangerous. :D

I don't like working with mahogany. At least not the mahogany I tried in my last (current, I guess, haven't posted pics yet) project. It was annoying. Tearing out, chipping, and resisting any sort of (admitedly, inexpert) chisel work whatsoever. I'll definitely try basswood next time to see if I like the way it can be worked. If I end up preferring the way my tools and approach interact with basswood, that'll be the deciding factor for me, moving into the future.

Greg

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It's bass as in the fish... rhymes with "class". Not bass as in the instrument, rhymes with "face".

I thought it was 'bass' as in 'base' as in, inexpensive wood :D

Anyway, all of this wondering about wood comes from theorizing, not doing. Once you actually get started building, you discover pretty quickly that the LAST thing you need to worry about is your choice of wood.

Doesn't matter what species it is if you've just torn out a massive chunk of it from the side of your neck pocket. :DB)

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Seriously you could have just continued this conversation in your first topic, but...

I know. but nobody seemed to check it lately and I had to bump it all the time...

the gutiars supposed to sound rather vitnage/classic(GFS nashville neck, sc 5.4k middle dream p90 or something in the bridge). my SG is doing the rock tones and metal stuff pretty well(ebony board bareknuckle pickups.... damn so good :D:D )

I was just basswood-curious cos there was so little to find... but the thing from www.suhrgutiars.com

struck me the most:

'Basswood- Strong Midrange, balanced tone and light weight. Light color and almost no grain patterns Basswood is best suited for solid colors or is excellent as a backing wood for a maple top. All necks work on Basswood, Indian would be on the woolier warmer side.

Basswood Back / Quilt Maple Top - Ok, this may be the Holy Grail of tone, The Basswood response is extended by a 3/16" Maple top adding more clearity and grind to the fattness of the Basswood, my favorite! Usually colors chosen will be opaque on the back with transparents on the top, LP style. Most Excellent with a Maple neck.'

that's why I wanted to test it, cos everyone and his brother uses mahogany for that kind of guitar...

I guess the cheaper price of basswood is as well connected to that fact above^

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Basswood Back / Quilt Maple Top - Ok, this may be the Holy Grail of tone, The Basswood response is extended by a 3/16" Maple top adding more clearity and grind to the fattness of the Basswood, my favorite! Usually colors chosen will be opaque on the back with transparents on the top, LP style.

AFAIC, that statement is sort of bogus anyway, and is aimed at sales.

Western Maple (aka Quilted Maple), although quite beautiful if you know how to bring it to life, is simply not a very great tonewood to start off with, it has a density and sound (to me) quite similar to Poplar to be honest.

Pretty ho-hum wood except for it's signature looks, but the looks bring in the bucks now, don't they?

Now, Eastern Hardrock Maple is the Tonewood Shizzle, it is quite hard and lends the typical brightness that Maple is known for.

And Basswood dents soooooooo easily, I just don't like it very much, there are plenty of other nice alternatives out there.

Alder is great, you should use Alder. Cheap, solid, easy to come by, always sounds good.

The 'tastes like chicken' of guitar wood. :D

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Alder is great...The 'tastes like chicken' of guitar wood. :D

:D Funny, first laugh of the day, good one.

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What these guys are saying makes sense, and it sounds like you are getting the idea.

Drak is of coarse spot on with Basswood being easy to dent. He couldn't be more on par. with my take on Alder. It is a very well balanced wood(tone, weight, dent resistance, easy to work, easy to paint). We depart in opinion a little on Eastern/Western Maple. The two woods share the same name, but have litlle else in common. Eastern is heavy, strong, dense, and does little to dampen string energy(very bright). Western is light(at least 30%lighter), not extreamly strong(but is commonly used on small instrument necks, nylon acoustic necks, etc..), Mild density(more on par with alder), it is tonally mild(warmer?) although it is not as bright it is still suitable and can sound quite nice. Western is a prefered choice over Eastern in acoustic instruments. Both for its looks,weight, and gentle tonal charictor. The woods are really not the same. Don't discount it just because Maple is associated with brightness, and western is not an extreamly bright wood.

Peace,Rich

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If you want something different from mahogany, a lot of people use Limba (aka Korina) in its place. Obviously, there are different tonal characteristics to a certain extent, but everything I've read leads me to believe that you'll be in a 'similar' ballpark.

In terms of working it (as opposed to its sound), I MUCH preferred the White Limba I used with a concurrent project. It's denser and tougher on your tools, but at the end of the day it's more consistent in how it's worked. Doesn't have that 'chippy' soft fibrous wackiness of the mahogany I used.

So if you're looking for an alternative, you should consider Limba/Korina as well. Nice grain pattern, too.

Greg

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If you want something different from mahogany, a lot of people use Limba (aka Korina) in its place. Obviously, there are different tonal characteristics to a certain extent, but everything I've read leads me to believe that you'll be in a 'similar' ballpark.

In terms of working it (as opposed to its sound), I MUCH preferred the White Limba I used with a concurrent project. It's denser and tougher on your tools, but at the end of the day it's more consistent in how it's worked. Doesn't have that 'chippy' soft fibrous wackiness of the mahogany I used.

So if you're looking for an alternative, you should consider Limba/Korina as well. Nice grain pattern, too.

Greg

hm. korina is supposed to be real nice... the problem is that I couldn't find no wood supplier here in germany who could help me out with that...

so would you guys call basswood a rather bad/cheap tone wood and is it too soft for a wax n oil finish?

what can you tell me about blacknut? is it comparable to walnut?

I guess I might check out a walnut body(I guess blacknut is supposed to mean black walnut), with a goncalo alvez top, maple neck, striped ebony fingerboard...

too bright? walnut has a Specific Gravity of .59 similar to mahogany so it shouldn't be too bright being the main woodpart... (further infos GFS pups Nashville filtertron neck, SC bridge, dream 90 bridge, string-through-body/w Schaller roller bridge TOM style, Wilkinson 'locking' tuners, 25" PRS neck, depp set-neck tenon, partly chambered for weight issues)

I guess I'll go for a precut fingerboard though cos I don't think I will be able to work ebony properly... what does 'Fingerboard cut 0.6mm, 8mm plaint' mean? 6mm deep cuts and...?

Edited by TheCross
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In terms of working it (as opposed to its sound), I MUCH preferred the White Limba I used with a concurrent project. It's denser and tougher on your tools, but at the end of the day it's more consistent in how it's worked. Doesn't have that 'chippy' soft fibrous wackiness of the mahogany I used.

What kind of bizarre mahogany were you using? All mahogany I've used, particularly true mahogany (ie, Honduran), but also to a slightly lesser degree the African species (Khaya, Sipo, Sapele) are really nice to work with. The white limba I've fiddled about with is even easier to work than the Mahogany, but very similar in most respects. I wouldn't describe any of them as chippy, soft, or particularly fibrous.

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Basswood will look like asswood with a wax and oil finish. Mahogany, Limba, or Sapele would probably be a nice wood to use with the pickups you've described. I'd bet it'd take a little bit of brightness out of the Tron and P-90 and be warmer than the alder.

On a completely different topic, I just found out that ribs smoked with Alder are quite tasty!

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Ribs.. mmmmm.... I need to BBQ more often. -Back on topic.

"too bright? walnut has a Specific Gravity of .59 similar to mahogany so it shouldn't be too bright being the main woodpart... "

Don't confuse specific gravity with tonal charictor. It is not directly related. Tonal quality of a given wood has many factors that come into play. I always site the same example Sitka=lite and Bright, Eastern Maple=heavy and bright.

Peace,Rich

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What kind of bizarre mahogany were you using? All mahogany I've used, particularly true mahogany (ie, Honduran), but also to a slightly lesser degree the African species (Khaya, Sipo, Sapele) are really nice to work with. The white limba I've fiddled about with is even easier to work than the Mahogany, but very similar in most respects. I wouldn't describe any of them as chippy, soft, or particularly fibrous.

I couldn't tell you. It's for a lap steel that's really nothing more than a plank, so I just went into the Wood Source, and asked for some basswood. They replied that they didn't have any in the size I wanted, so I grumbled and inspected the mahogany stock. I believe it's Honduran, but I wouldn't bet my firstborn on it. I could find out.

This particular example of the species wasn't chippy until I tried to do any sort of chisel work with it. Then it became a friggin' nightmare. I'll happily send you a cube of it so that you can verify its species. :D

Greg

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What kind of bizarre mahogany were you using? All mahogany I've used, particularly true mahogany (ie, Honduran), but also to a slightly lesser degree the African species (Khaya, Sipo, Sapele) are really nice to work with. The white limba I've fiddled about with is even easier to work than the Mahogany, but very similar in most respects. I wouldn't describe any of them as chippy, soft, or particularly fibrous.

I couldn't tell you. It's for a lap steel that's really nothing more than a plank, so I just went into the Wood Source, and asked for some basswood. They replied that they didn't have any in the size I wanted, so I grumbled and inspected the mahogany stock. I believe it's Honduran, but I wouldn't bet my firstborn on it. I could find out.

This particular example of the species wasn't chippy until I tried to do any sort of chisel work with it. Then it became a friggin' nightmare. I'll happily send you a cube of it so that you can verify its species. :D

Greg

Heh. Sounds a bit like Phillipine, honestly; all the mahogany I've carved is a pleasure to attack with a nice, sharp chisel...

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Ribs.. mmmmm.... I need to BBQ more often. -Back on topic.

"too bright? walnut has a Specific Gravity of .59 similar to mahogany so it shouldn't be too bright being the main woodpart... "

Don't confuse specific gravity with tonal charictor. It is not directly related. Tonal quality of a given wood has many factors that come into play. I always site the same example Sitka=lite and Bright, Eastern Maple=heavy and bright.

Peace,Rich

so can you tell me something about the tonal qualities of my(current) woods of choice?

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Here is a link.

Woods

I can ramble about the general properties of wood, but it is all just averages. Now as far as the woods you are talking about using. I have used and like Korina, Black Limba, Khaya, Sapele, H. Mahogany. They all are easy to work with and are nice stable woods. I would not be able to tell the difference tonally between these woods(solid body) if I was asked to(sad maybe, but honest). I could hear the difference between a maple neck though and a Mahogany neck thru(for what its worth, Maple does sound brighter and has a stronger attack). I can hear a difference in the wood when I tap it at acoustic thickness(around 1/8"). Generally the difference in solid bodies is fairly subtle to me. Neck wood seems to be more apperant to my ears.

Oh... You also mentioned Walnut. There is a bit of a difference in Walnuts. Are you speaking of Black, Peruvian, Claro??? Peruvian is much akin to harder maples. Black is similar to cherry(not as bright as hard maple), Claro varies a bit, but I would say it is a little brighter than a Soft Maple generally(some pieces can be a bit brighter yet).

Does that kinda help?

Rich

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I don't like working with mahogany. At least not the mahogany I tried in my last (current, I guess, haven't posted pics yet) project. It was annoying. Tearing out, chipping, and resisting any sort of (admitedly, inexpert) chisel work whatsoever. I'll definitely try basswood next time to see if I like the way it can be worked. If I end up preferring the way my tools and approach interact with basswood, that'll be the deciding factor for me, moving into the future.

Greg

Greg, I use alot of mahogany on my acoustic necks. Its a difficult wood to work mainly because the grain direction can change several times through the blank youre working on. First thing I do is establish where the grain is going on the piece of wood Im working on and mark up direction with a pencil. After a while you can do away with the pencil mark as you get to know the piece of wood. If planing or chiseling the stuff keep your planes and chisels scarey sharp. I will generally give my tools a quick touch up on the water stones and a leather strop every half an hour or so. If things are getting really bad I resort to a scraper plane or cabinet scraper......hard work but you get less tear out than with cutting tools.

Cheers Martin

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The nice thing about Mahogany is that because it's relatively soft (compared to Maple, for example), the router bits seems to go through it without issues. It's the hand tools that I found problematic.

Cool tips, those. If I work with mahogany again, I'll refer back to this thread!

It might also just be this particular piece or species (which I haven't checked into yet), because at times it feels and works almost like a thick hunk of balsa. :D

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The nice thing about Mahogany is that because it's relatively soft (compared to Maple, for example), the router bits seems to go through it without issues. It's the hand tools that I found problematic.

Cool tips, those. If I work with mahogany again, I'll refer back to this thread!

It might also just be this particular piece or species (which I haven't checked into yet), because at times it feels and works almost like a thick hunk of balsa. :D

Balsa? How about a pic of this stuff. Sounds like an odd duck. I have worked with ribbon striped Khaya and Sapele that are a bit different, but nothing as bad as what you describe.

Peace,Rich

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The nice thing about Mahogany is that because it's relatively soft (compared to Maple, for example), the router bits seems to go through it without issues. It's the hand tools that I found problematic.

Cool tips, those. If I work with mahogany again, I'll refer back to this thread!

It might also just be this particular piece or species (which I haven't checked into yet), because at times it feels and works almost like a thick hunk of balsa. :D

Know what youre talking about Greg. Working with hand tools can be a pain and it takes awhile to get the hang of it but I enjoy the challenge and I get big satisfaction when I get a good end result. Getting there can be a chore though....Ive still got the two mahogany neck blanks I tore to pieces with my (blunt) smoothing plane while building my first acoustic. I keep things like that for times when I think Im not making any progress.

Mahogany blanks can be highly variable depending on species and how its been cut. Sometimes you cant tell youve got a piece with a rogue grain untill you attack it with a plane.

One of my favourite woods for working on is Spanish Cedar...easy to work and I just love the aroma that comes of the stuff when you work it.

Cheers Martin

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