Ash vs. Alder

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Cuthbert, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. Cuthbert

    Cuthbert Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Does anybody know what the general differences in tone would be for a strat made from alder vs. ash?
  2. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009 Silver Supporting Member

    May 4, 2003
    Both are very common woods for strats. Many subjective schools of thought on which is best. I agree with the below text written for Don Grosh's website:

    Body Woods
    Alder - Most commonly used in bolt-on neck guitars like our Retro Classic models. This is the body wood used on most late 50’s/early 60’s California guitars. It has a full robust midrange with good harmonic content to remain clear. The attack is smooth but crisp. It also takes just about any finish color well. It is the most versatile sounding body wood for our Retro Classic and ElectraJet models, especially when using a humbucker pickup in the bridge position. Visually it has less grain compared to ash.

    Swamp Ash – Used on early to mid 50’s bolt-on neck guitars, Swamp Ash has a more pronounced grain pattern that is very attractive and works great with transparent finishes. Tonally, Swamp Ash has a full bottom end with a clear extended top end. The mids are more “scooped” than Alder. It also has more attack and snap compared to Alder. We are very particular in selecting Swamp Ash for tonal and weight factors. Swamp Ash looks great with any of our transparent or Mary Kaye finishes. Swamp Ash is a great option for a 3-single coil guitar. If you’re opting for a humbucker in the bridge, Alder is a better choice.

    EADGBE Member

    Sep 23, 2005
    You favorite strat players. Are their strats painted or see through finished? The solid colored strats are alder. The see through finished ones are ash.

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