Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bass Bodies...What do the Pro Builders Really Think?

So is there really a big difference in wood when it comes bass bodies?

Luthiers, and many players, select body and neck woods based on the sound they want the instrument to have. Gary Willis, for example, prefers lighter woods. “I want my instruments to have a low resonant frequency, and that means a bolt on neck with a low density body wood like light ash, alder, or basswood. Higher frequency woods compress the tone”. Roger Sadowsky echoes these sentiments, “Alder tends to sound a bit sweeter and warmer, while swamp ash is tight and punchy. I find mahogany too midrangey and maple too bright”. Some builders tend to mix different woods. “Laminate construction seems to control the voicing better than soild pieces”, says Michael Tobias. “The more laminates, the more compression sets in, making the body less ’peaky’ and more even sounding”. Custom builder Bob Mick adds, “For the body I like soft woods like alder or soft northwest maple and a hardwood for the top and back. Swamp ash and northwest maple grows in wetter climates than regular ash or eastern hard rock maple, so they grow faster and they are lighter”. The wood’s condition also plays a role; older, seasoned woods tends to sound better because it contains less moisture. Can an exotic top really affect an intruments tone? “Our tops are only 0,32cm thick, and I don’t hear a difference in the sound”, says Sadowsky. “But a top that is 0,95cm, or more, would change the tone”.



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1 comment:

Lord Semaj said...

I absolutly LOVE the Bass! I really want to play one, Im saving up for one. I think the Bass is the most underrated instrument ever! I always here its easier to play Bass than guitar, but I dont think that's true. Even if I never picked one up in my life.

PS. Its nice to see a blog completly about the Bass. I'll deffintally drop by again.

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