Basswood or Ash Strat

Badside

Member
Messages
1,512
Oh the can of worm...

Aren't these all Ash?

For what it's worth, ash is a more traditional wood for the Strat.
IMHO, ash sounds brighter and more scooper, basswood is a warmer sound. Of course you should try before you buy so you'll then now if you like it.

If it's because you are comparing the Fender (ash) one to the Squier (basswood), then there are more important differences to take into account.
 

buddastrat

Member
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14,689
Badside has it. To me every single guitar I've had with basswood has a spongier bottom and less bright tone, pretty dull IOW. it's fat sounding but lacks the chime and strat stuff.

I think it's cool tho' for helping get a thicker tone esp. if you have a stiff neck which is bright sounding. With ash, that neck might sound thin.
 

XKnight

Member
Messages
11,087
Alder and Ash are the traditional tonewoods used for a Strat. If you want basswood then go for it, but don't expect it to sound as Stratty.
 

aflynt

Member
Messages
1,742
There are lots of other variables in play not the least of which is the individual piece of wood, but generally speaking Ash and Basswood contribute very different tonalities to the overall sonic signature. In my experience, ash generally contributes brighter and airier influences and basswood generally contributes softer and smoother influences.

-Aaron
 

Gearaddict

Member
Messages
1,431
I'm trying to compare a mim 70's classic strat with ash body to the limited edition mij 70's classic limited edition which is basswood. I believe 70's strats were alder or ash if I'm not mistaken. I'm leaning toward the mim strat.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
14,968
Almost exactly my experience except i DO find some good chime in basswood as long a the rest of the guitar's parts allow it. I like basswood and used it for years. Still have a basswood parts caster. I think it has a fuller richer sound, but the lows can indeed get rather messy depending on the rest or the guitar, the neck, hardware and pickups. I think it does well with a maple neck due to a maple neck's tendency to have a tight bottom end. Really a sweet combination. Ash can be much harder to find a good one thats not too bright or thin. Basswood bodies tend to be much more forgiving. But if you get a ash strat thats well balanced tonally they sound great.

Badside has it. To me every single guitar I've had with basswood has a spongier bottom and less bright tone, pretty dull IOW. it's fat sounding but lacks the chime and strat stuff.

I think it's cool tho' for helping get a thicker tone esp. if you have a stiff neck which is bright sounding. With ash, that neck might sound thin.
 

Analog Kid

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
184
Potential tonal differences aside, be aware that basswood tends to be very soft and will dent/ding if you look at it wrong. Ash is much harder and more durable (and better looking IMO). Seeing how well older, ash-bodied guitars have held up, some of which seem to have been pretty vigorously abused, I would select ash more for that reason than any perceived tonal differences.

However, basswood is a perfect suitable wood for building guitars. EBMM and Suhr, among others, use it fairly regularly and neither are known for building fragile guitars. It can also be very light, so if weight is a concern, basswood might be a good choice.
 

c_mac

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,141
Don't buy into the "classic Strat tone" stuff for ash. My main Strat is basswood and none of you would have any idea if you heard me play it. It sounds just like a great Strat should sound in every position.
 

Madguitrst

Member
Messages
2,768
Nothing wrong with basswood.....or poplar for that matter.

Anyway, it's the whole rather than the sum of the parts.
So, unless you're having a custom guitar built, buy whichever particular guitar does it for you and forget about the micro-analyzing.
Besides, every piece of wood is different and you just don't know until you know.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
14,968
buy whichever particular guitar does it for you and forget about the micro-analyzing.
Easier said then done if you never have analyzed guitars to the point where you know what wood sounds like what, what bridge, etc etc. Granted, it's a long learning process and not for everyone. But heres what it did for me...i can now go look at guitars and i know which ones will work for me w/o even playing them. In the past before i started swapping parts and building strats i have no idea what would get me the sound and feel i really wanted, so i picked guitars based on the overall vibe i'd get and the look. Problem is, that is often completely useless in telling you how you'll like it a month or 3 down the road. And because of that i used to buy and sell guitars so often my friends figured i should become a dealer. I rarely found one i could bond with and enjoy for any length of time. Now i pretty much hit it no less than 50% of the time, probably more like 80. For the last 20 years i have probably bought as many as i did in most any given 2-3 year period back before i learned what sounds like what. So IMO "micro analyzing" is valuable. It was for me anyways.
 

EL 34 X2

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,302
I used a basswood body for a Tele partscaster in the style of Brent Mason's workhorse blue Tele. Paired it with a birdseye maple neck and it tamed most of the dreaded pick pick tones I was trying to avoid. Only down side has been the tendency to show the dents and dings mentioned in other posts. It's been my main guitar since 1988.
 




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