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Northern Ash- What Is Your Opinion Of This Tonewood


bscur
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I am looking for advice about using Northern Ash. I bought some of this at the store, but have been reading a lot of opinions stating it is vastly inferior to Swamp Ash. Is there a good use for Northern Ash? Anyone who prefers this wood? I'd appreciate some guidance on how to best put this wood to use on a guitar.

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well Im still inbetween on this one..

is it white or black ash?

sometimes I see Swamp ash refered to as black ash, and black ash refered to swamp ash..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_ash

so I have to look into that a bit.

second, Im using a swamp ash body for my texan, and I recently was playing arround with white ash at the hardwood store.

I cant really notice a difference in the feel, or the grain, but I do notice a difference in weight and how a tap tone goes through it.

I havent played with black ash yet.

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Northern Ash is very white and very hard, and is used for furniture and baseball bats primarily.

It's not really inferior in any way, but it is -much- heavier. You could use it for necks, it would probably make a nice neck, but for bodywood it would be really heavy, and tonally bright, which some people could call sterile, flat, or hard, but that doesn't mean you couldn't use it.

Think about it like using Eastern Hardrock Maple for a body, it's about the same weight and density, probably yielding about the same tone, give or take...

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I built a prs style guitar with alder back and a 3/4 ash top.

I like it and as for the sound being bright or sterile, flat.

not at all the sound is full in your face kind or sound.

the tone is vary sweet when played clean and no tone lost when you get dirty.

it is vary hard to carve as maple would be but it got there it just took a litle time.

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It effectively made heavy body. Sound clear and lacking deepness, but sound and look good:

th_100_0010.jpg

This white ash bass body weight 5.5lbs. The same design with mahogany+ 1/4 bubinga top weight 4.5lbs!

You need good router bits and and dont expect to have plane surfaces beacause it's hard to sand. You will still feel some wave after sanding with a sanding block.

Good luck!

Philippe

Edited by De Trepagny
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I used it for a PRS style body. A little chambering lightens it up nicely. If you dig around the wood pile a while you can find some beautiful grain, some even flaimed. I wouldn't call it overly bright either,it sounds great with humbuckers. It works great for necks it is tough as nails. My neighbor who is a logger has been looking for a big black ash burl for me. I'm not sure what it will look like or if it will work for a top but I'll saw it up and let it dry and go from there.

Edited by jay66
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I am thinking that those Fender American Deluxe strat ash body is Northern Ash, because the grain looks a lot like that picture of a bass on this thread. I looked in a store at some of those deluxe ash bodies and the grain doesn't look as dark as a swamp ash warmoth strat body I have... I wonder why, is it because Northern ash is cheaper than swamp ash?

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Does anyone know what type of ash the old Fenders were made of? I ask because a friend of mine has a Strat that he bought as a kind of "fixed up" guitar. The body is supposed to be from about 1960 and the neck from another guitar of about 1961. The body has been striped down and finished clear. Probably not much vintage value left, but the guitar sounds fantastic. Anyway, through the clear finish I see a wood that has to be ash and it looks like northern to me. The guitar is quite heavy.

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The body is supposed to be from about 1960 and the neck from another guitar of about 1961. The body has been striped down and finished clear. Probably not much vintage value left,

Are you kidding me? With the vintage market spiralling into insanity these days, it's probably worth $10,000 if it can be validated in any way. Anything that even -looks- like a piece of rotton moldy wood that can be validated to Fender in some way is worth ridiculous money these days.

...which I personally find ridiculous, ...but it is what it is... :D:DB)

You could possibly have major cha-ching there.

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"Are you kidding me? With the vintage market spiralling into insanity these days, it's probably worth $10,000 if it can be validated in any way."

It is actually probably what it is claimed to be. This guy bought the guitar in this condition back in the late 70's from a guy who made a guitar out of what was left of some damaged ones. This was long before there was any sort of "vintage" market on people's minds. I met him in the mid 80's when we started to jam. When I learned a bit more about old guitars, I discussed it with him and he said that he was was aware of the implications. Due to the mix of parts and the fact that the finish job is kind of amaturish, he's been told that it is not in the top catagory however. He first became aware of what he had when he took it to a tech in the early 80's to see about upgrading the pickups and was told that the electronics were of that era and that he should leave this one as is and buy another guitar if he wanted different pickups. Sometimes it seems like people are getting carried away with hype about the old guitars, but when I first heard it I could hear a very nice bell like tone that I haven't heard anywhere else. He plays it fairly clean through a Fender Super 60 amp.

Around the same time, in the 80's, a guy I worked with and I were talking guitars. He was just starting to learn and brought in a guitar he had bought used from a neighbour. It was a Strat from the late 60's - early 70's that a relative had bought and never played. It sat under a bed until this time. These things do happen but I think they've all been gotten to by now.

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