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Username: trekster

Post Number: 66
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, January 27, 2006 - 6:55 am:   Edit Post

Hey folks:

I'm getting a handle on my "new" 04 Essence w/ Europa electronics, which is bookmatched-to-center. It's my first neck-thru that is built like this, and so far I'm noticing a bit more warmth and the highs a bit muted. Not sure if that is from the b-2-c or from the zebrawood top itself, or the mahoghany body parts (2 of my neck thrus are Ash, the other is maple, but also a Steinberger-style (Yamaha BX-1), so I don't theink that has much of any effect).

So, here is a point of discussion. Is there anyone out ther that has identical/similar basses, except one b-2-c, the other exposed neck-thru, that could say if there is a diff in sound between the two?

of course, if this has been discussed before, please point out the thread! :-)


Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 596
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, January 27, 2006 - 7:21 am:   Edit Post


Welcome to the joy of mahogany, the most overlooked wood in these posts. It's the perfect in-between wood: Easy to work with, a great 'in-between' sound, not too dense and focused tightly like the wenges and padauks, yet more centered than the maples and ashes, less expensive than koa or the africans. My favorite combination mirrors a Les Paul: My quilt top over mahogany wings is the best of all worlds if one combination is to be good for everything. You would really hear it coming from all maple, ash, 'white' wood guitars. My Yamaha neckthrus are mostly maple and alder and have a different tone, that kind of 'kwaack' that Mica calls it that the white woods exhibit.

I'd be real surprised if that extra 2 or 3 inches that the c-t-c bookmatch adds is what you're hearing, though Zebrawood is too cool.

J o e y
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 3083
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, January 27, 2006 - 7:42 am:   Edit Post

I agree with Joey; what you are hearing is probably the difference between Mahogany verses Ash and Maple.
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 3084
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, January 27, 2006 - 7:45 am:   Edit Post

If you care to, I think pics of a bookmatch-to-center Zebrawood Essence w/ Europa controls would be a nice addition to the Showcase section.
Username: trekster

Post Number: 67
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, January 27, 2006 - 11:21 am:   Edit Post

been threatening it to myself! Will try to take pics this weekend.

Intermediate Member
Username: s_wood

Post Number: 180
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, January 30, 2006 - 10:02 am:   Edit Post


I'll bet that under ideal conditions one could hear a very slight difference between a b-t-c bass and one without that feature, assuming that all other variables were identical. The basic rule of thumb is that every construction detail of the bass matters, and that is especially true because of the incredible transparency of Alembic's electronics. It's also true that many construction variable will have only a subtle impact upon tone, and I'm sure that the difference between a b-t-c bass and another would be quite minor.

That said, I agree with the others that what you are hearing is the difference between mahagony versus ash or maple. Those three woods are each quite different from the other in tone, with mahagony being the least bright of the three. The effect of the different body woods on tone is pretty large. Difference in neck woods matter a lot, too. Differences in the wood used for the fingerboard are less profound, but still audible. Also, don't overlook the brand, gauge and age of your strings, as those little metal wires will have a huge impact on your tone.

So, unless you are comparing basses that are identical except for one feature it can be hard to know which construction difference is responsible for the tone differences. It's hard to isolate the important variable when there are a bunch of likely suspects. In your case, though, we can safely say the difference in body woods is what you are hearing.
Senior Member
Username: flaxattack

Post Number: 953
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 7:04 pm:   Edit Post

according to val--- app 80-90% of your sound is coming through the neck on a neck through
am wondering what the maekup of those are
ash is more mid rangy than mahog, bit more punchy too- love it on the wolf- but my 1 ebony lam in the neck is what sets its "grunt"?
my tribute bass is going btc- but alas i am getting a different neck comp- flame m-verm-purple-verm-purple-flame m with a mahog body
so side by side wont work
i have to agree that the btc is not affecting the sound too much
btw0 same strings too?
might wanna look at making a pickup adj- bring the bridge up and lower the neck a bit...
Username: trekster

Post Number: 68
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, February 03, 2006 - 5:03 am:   Edit Post

Hey flax, I think I was curious more than anything.. there aren't that many companies that are making b-t-c tops, and of course this was the best place to ask :-). There are people here that are so much more addicted to Alembic that I am (heh); I figured someone might have something close to matched basses, based on some of the collection pics I've seen posted here.

I think what threw me was HOW different the mahogany made the sound -- for a long time I played Rickenbackers that were 100% maple (no middle skunk stripe), then went to a maple/walnut neck with solid ash body halves.

I have my favorite strings on right now (DR Nickel LowRiders); and in all honesty do not want to try to make my Essence to sound like my other basses -- I want it to have a voice all it's own. And so far it is speaking up and saying "discover me!".

Love perhaps?

Senior Member
Username: flaxattack

Post Number: 957
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Friday, February 03, 2006 - 5:12 am:   Edit Post

trust me
your essence will never sound like any other bass
on the planet
Username: worldfamousandy

Post Number: 46
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Saturday, February 04, 2006 - 5:48 am:   Edit Post

If I were to take 2 basses, identical in every way except for the type of wood used, how apparent would the sound difference be? Would a non-musician hear it? Does a difference in wood in the neck make more or less of a difference than that of the wings? How about the neck laminates?

Just curious...

Username: davehouck

Post Number: 3137
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, February 04, 2006 - 7:45 am:   Edit Post

Andy asked "would a non-musician hear it?" I've played in venues and at parties where I'm sure there were a significant number of non-musicians that probably did not know which sounds were coming from which instruments. <g>

Which is fine. I'm sure there are people that can name the manufacturer of an after market exhaust system from the sound it makes. I can't.

Here's another interesting question along the same lines. You are playing at the gig and in the middle of the song you switch from the neck pickup to the bridge pickup. Is that same non-musician going to notice the change?

And here's an admission. I've watched guitar players reach down and make changes to the controls during a solo and I can't really hear a difference.

But I'm sure the same thing happens with me. I reach down and make a change to the controls that to me makes a significant difference but to most people in the audience is probably not really going to be noticed.

In my opinion:

If you have two identical basses except that one has a Maple neck and the other has an Ebony neck, you will notice a big difference. The Maple neck will have a lot more high end attack; the Ebony neck will have more sustain and a more pronouced fundamental.

There should be a significant difference in sustain between a bass with an all Maple neck and a bass with Purpleheart neck laminates. Add an Ebony neck laminates and there should be a significant difference in sustain and fundamental.

All other factors being the same, a bass with a Mahogany body will sound different from a bass with an Ash body. Significantly different.

All other factors being the same, a bass with Maple top and back laminates is going to sound different from a bass with Coco Bolo top and back laminates. Appreciably different.

On a neck through bass the neck woods contribute more to the sound of the bass than the body woods. Second in importance would probably be the body and then the top and back laminates. The thicker the laminate, the greater the contribution. Some woods contribute more than others. On a set neck bass, the contribution of the body will be greater than on a neck through.

These differences are probably going to be more pronounced if you play with a lot of high end in your tone; i.e. you have the bridge filter completely open and the Q switch on high. They may be less noticeable if your playing off the neck pickup with the filter closed. But even then, the difference between an all Maple neck and a neck with Ebony lams should be significant.

One other comment, then I need to rush off to rehearsal. Many of the non-musicians in the audience probably don't care what it sounds like as long as you're playing their favorite song. I've played Mustang Sally in different bands at different speeds and different rhythms and they always love it. One time half way through Mustang Sally, I completely changed the bass line rhythmically. The other band members all turned and looked at me with confused expressions; the audience never noticed.

I do think that whether sub-consciously or consciously the audience does notice the quality of your tone in the same way that the average person probably notices the difference between a high end stereo and a cheap stereo. I think the possibility that the listener will leave the gig thinking they heard a really good band increases somewhat if the quality of the tone is high.
Intermediate Member
Username: jseitang

Post Number: 141
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, February 04, 2006 - 12:30 pm:   Edit Post

hey you guys ever tried cherry? mighty tasty. a bit heavy, but with the ebony and coco bolo, you just cant go wrong with it!!!
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 941
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Saturday, February 04, 2006 - 1:51 pm:   Edit Post

Further guitars have a center lam of cherry in the neck.

Bill, tgo
Advanced Member
Username: jlpicard

Post Number: 346
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Saturday, February 04, 2006 - 10:34 pm:   Edit Post

One thing that no one has mentioned is that whether you have bookmatch-to-center or not, the bridge and on instruments that have them, the sustain block is embedded deep into the neck lams either way so the top covering the neck should have little or no effect. My vote is heavy on the side of wood choice, especially in the neck.
Username: peever

Post Number: 5
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2006 - 12:15 am:   Edit Post

there is a bit of a difference in sound, partly for the fact that there is more pickup to neck connection, producing more sustain.
But, zebrano has a tendancy to steal some of the overtones, so that could be the reason it seems to be missing some high's.

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