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Advanced Member
Username: richbass939

Post Number: 266
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Friday, May 20, 2005 - 11:24 am:   Edit Post

I would like some opinions about body woods, please. Soon I plan to rebuild a homemade bass I built a dozen years ago. I need a body wood that will help give it a fairly bright tone. However, I donít want to spend a fortune on something really exotic. I will be near a really good wood vendor in a couple of weeks and would like to be able to pick something up while Iím there.
Any suggestions?
Username: mica

Post Number: 2447
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Friday, May 20, 2005 - 11:43 am:   Edit Post

For bright tone, it's really hard to beat Maple - and not all pieces are super expensive either.
Senior Member
Username: 811952

Post Number: 407
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, May 20, 2005 - 11:49 am:   Edit Post

I've always thought a bass built completely of Padauk would have a nice bright tone, stable neck and not weigh too much. Most folks I know, though, are huge believers in Swamp Ash for guitar and bass bodies. Pau Ferro would be neat to try as well, and I would think be fairly bright sounding if you could get it in pieces large enough. Of course, you could do Ash with a Pau Ferro or Padauk top. Occasionally one of the local guys comes up with decent-sized Spalted Maple boards which he sells for about the same price as plain Sugar Maple, so you might want to see if your guy has any of that to chop up as well, although I don't know how bright it would sound (I think it becomes marginally softer as it spalts). I'm interested to see what you come up with. "Ladies and Gentlemen, start your routers..."
Senior Member
Username: bassman10096

Post Number: 723
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Friday, May 20, 2005 - 1:10 pm:   Edit Post

Maple is certainly the most logical choice for "bright" - Looks good, durable, cost is reasonable, easy to finish (grain doesn't need to be filled to take a clear coat - except the burls and spalted).

If you are at all lazy like me, you might consider: On frequent occasions there are precut body blanks available on Ebay (check out the category: "Musical Instruments:Guitar:Builder, Luthier Kits" - lots of other cool DIY stuff there, too). Warmoth sells blanks and will prerout them, but I think they are fairly limited in the routing sizes and configs.

DIY rules!!
Username: sfnic

Post Number: 39
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Friday, May 20, 2005 - 3:06 pm:   Edit Post

Spalted maple is a bit softer than non-spalted. Of course, once you soak down the spalting in superglue, it gets pretty hard...

Padauk will be fairly bright, but slightly heavier than you might think.

Walnut will give you clear highs, but may not be as "bright" as you want.

You have to be a bit picky about selecting maple. Not all of the varieties are equally bright. Quilted Big Leaf (Western) Maple generally gives me the most raw top end; it's a bit harder and a hair lighter than Eastern Curly. Quilts seem to be brighter than flames.

Hard rock maple is brighter, but noticibly heavier. As a lam-top, it'd be okay, but I wouldn't want to do more than about 1/4", or you'll start to loose low-end. It's really better suited for necks, where it's structural characteristics can be better utilized.

An exotic, Imbuia (Brazilian Walnut) makes for some really brilliant highs without sacrificing anything in the lows or mids. Very clean sound. Not as balanced as cocobolo or bubinga, but very nice nonetheless. But it's heavier than Maple or Walnut.
Username: 90k6259

Post Number: 18
Registered: 5-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 10:47 pm:   Edit Post

Right ON Mica! It is very hard to beat maple as per my Essence and that God( Ron ) sent tone filter. :-)
Username: moreye

Post Number: 1
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 3:58 am:   Edit Post

Walnut is another option for brighter sounds and looks nice but the exceptional pieces are very expensive. For example they are asking $2800 for this piece in Turkey.
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 1781
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 5:47 am:   Edit Post

I'm thinking this is the first guitar player from Turkey to post to the forum. Welcome!
Username: edwin

Post Number: 67
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 8:22 am:   Edit Post

A beautiful piece of walnut like that and all they can think of to do with it is make a gun?

Is it me or is there a skewed sense of priority here?

Senior Member
Username: dela217

Post Number: 510
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 10:12 am:   Edit Post

A friend of mine has an all Padauk Hyak bass. It's pretty, but the thing weighs a ton. I vote for maple.
Username: moreye

Post Number: 2
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 11:54 am:   Edit Post

Thanks davehouck, it is nice to be among people who prefer nicest instruments in the world. I do not own an Alembic but I sure dream of having one. I play the guitar as a hobby and I really am into some exotic stuff. Turkey is a great source for walnut but rifle producers already invaded the walnut market so the prices are so high. One of the biggest gunstock blank producers is in my hometown (A HUUUUGE place). I tried to talk him into cut some pieces for guitars but he was kinda arrogant and too busy doing gunstock blanks. However if you need some exceptional pieces, I would be more than happy to help you guys.
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 1783
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 2:50 pm:   Edit Post

Edwin; I thought the quote in the last post about "too busy doing gunstock blanks" to "cut some pieces for guitars" was along the same lines that you were thinking of. I would imagine the priority in this case is money. I thought the juxtaposition of building guns instead of guitars was interesting; but this being a non-political forum, I decided not to say anything <g>.
Advanced Member
Username: jlpicard

Post Number: 203
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 9:53 pm:   Edit Post

From what I have heard from gun enthusiasts; Walnut is very dimensionaly stable, a very desirable quality when it comes to building an accurate gun. This makes it the wood of choice for a high quality weapon. So, most of the best quality walnut ends up as gun stocks mainly because the quantities that the gun industry buys at far exceeds what musical instrument manufacturers purchase, and they can ask a great deal more money for a walnut gunstock than a guitar top so you tell me who's going to get priority?. Sad but true.
Advanced Member
Username: richbass939

Post Number: 287
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 9:25 pm:   Edit Post

I bought a piece of hard maple and I'm anxious to get started on the project. Thanks, everyone for the input.

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