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Alembic Club » Dreaming... for now » Archive through October 06, 2007 » What is the sonic character of buckeye burl? « Previous Next »

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Username: hifiguy

Post Number: 87
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 6:33 pm:   Edit Post

We all know that the neck is the main thing, but the top does make a difference.

There's been an extensive discussion of many of Alembic's tonewoods, but not this one. It is so strikingly beautiful that it's my first choice top for my next bass (down the road a piece). So, Mica, Val or any buckeye-owning Alembicians out there, what's the straight dope?

Username: valvil

Post Number: 1005
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 11:00 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Paul,

It's a real light wood so it doesn't have a lot of resonance; I think it adds very little to the sound, particularly on a neck-thorugh. I wouldn't say it's got a particular timbre like coco bolo or flame maple.
I've always considered it a cosmetic choice. If you have your heart set on it, by all means, do it. You can easily shape the sound of the instrument to your liking with the rest of the woods.

Username: hifiguy

Post Number: 88
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Saturday, March 31, 2007 - 12:11 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks, Val. That was kind of what I guessed but it's good to hear from someone who knows. My plan is for a gussied up MK Deluxe with a central ebony neck laminate and Balance K Heart Omega body.
Senior Member
Username: byoung

Post Number: 587
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 6:07 pm:   Edit Post

Same as cork? :-)
Senior Member
Username: the_mule

Post Number: 609
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 12:59 am:   Edit Post

It surely is very much comparable with cork. My Benavente has a Mahogany body with a Buckeye Burl top and it's a very light instrument although it doesn't look like it. No way that the top has any sonic influence, but it makes up for it in visual appeal.

Advanced Member
Username: hydrargyrum

Post Number: 246
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 2:25 pm:   Edit Post

Very pretty bass Wilfred. I especially like the P/U covers. That style always reminds me of a yawning whale.
Username: mica

Post Number: 4385
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 3:05 pm:   Edit Post

Buckeye's light weight and high shock absorbancy make it perfect for it's historic use: prosthetic limbs. Of course, this was for timber, not the burl parts, and certainly not for fungus-stained burls.

There are more voids in the burls, and the decay reduces the mass even more. By the time we're done with it, the Buckeye Burl's voids are all filled with hard polyester finish. That's a good thing! Still, it's going to absorb frequencies more than other woods, so it can't compete with tone woods like Coco Bolo or Maple.

Pretty stuff though!
Intermediate Member
Username: eastcoastepic

Post Number: 200
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 9:26 pm:   Edit Post

If I was going to place a custom order (vs. my buying 'off the rack'), I would opt for 2 ebony laminates in the neck. My Buckeye Triple O with Purpleheart laminates is amazing, but lacks a little 'natural' bottom end, although the SF-2 in my rack can enhance that. Now that I think of it, it seems that Buckeye is used for mainly for the 'wings' of a neck-through bass, where the instruments tone is affected mostly by the neck wood; I have seen very few (if any) Buckeye topped set-neck basses, due to it's tonal limitations, I suppose.
BUT, with all that said, it's still the most exotically beautiful wood for a guitar top, and the never ending comments from others (especially non-musicians) are quite entertaining and even comical at times....... :-)
Go for it...

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