View Full Version : Sonic differences in Basswood vs Alder vs Ash bodies?

06-22-2007, 09:57 AM
Hi guys,

Play mostly guitar and recently bot a basswood bodied Crafted in Japan J bass with dimarzios for abt USD400 in tokyo.

The alder bodied bass is another 20% upcharged....Is basswood that bad?

Owns mostly Ash and alders guitar...wonder what would the opinions be on bass guitars?


06-22-2007, 10:37 PM
Basswood is softer than alder and ash, a bit less expensive, and it's not one of the traditional American Fender body woods. But Japanese guitar factories have used a lot of basswood for years. If it sounds good to you, there's no problem.

06-23-2007, 09:17 AM
Maybe I have a lead ear, but I've never been able to tell much tonal difference between alder, swamp ash and basswood. The three are very similar, with the biggest differences being hardness and grain appearance. Swamp Ash looks much better with translucent finishes IMO. The only issue I have with basswood is it's softer and dings easier.

06-25-2007, 02:26 PM
There is a sweetness in the mids that I like in basswood, but probably my fav "tone" wood overall is alder with swamp ash a close second.

Brian Scherzer
06-25-2007, 06:47 PM
If you used the same pickups and electronics in three bodies....one ash, one alder, and the other being bassword.......you "should" hear a bit more sizzle on the higher notes with the ash body, a bit more depth to the bottom notes on the alder body, and maybe a slight lack of mids in the basswood body. Another way to put it would be that ash should give you a bit more detail in each note, the alder should give you a deeper tone, and the basswood would likely be less detailed than either ash or alder.

EL 34 X2
06-25-2007, 07:51 PM
I had a friend build me a basswood bodied custom Tele, with a birds eye maple neck, '63 Firebird neck pickup, middle Duncan Strat stack, and bridge Duncan Hot Tele stack.

I opted for basswood to tame some of the Telecaster ice pick treble, and have to say it is one of my best sounding and versatile guitars. The tones are defined, with a little more mids. The very light weight is an extra plus. It can get most any tone I need, and has been my main guitar since 1988.

THE best sounding Strat I ever had was an early '90s MIJ '62 reissue. It sounded like a great Strat should. I'm a fan of basswood, though, as MattK said, it does ding very easily. That's not a huge issue with me. I doubt that basswood would be as good a choice loaded with some of the darker toned humbuckers. The tone could turn a little mushy, IMHO.

I haven't played a basswood bass. But would think that the sonic properties would be very similar to my guitar experience.