Best body wood for HSH "super strat" build?

pantshappened

Member
Messages
174
I'm thinking of building an HSH rear rout strat with Warmoth parts. I originally wanted to just do a Guthrie Govan Charvel knock off. Roasted maple neck, basswood body with maple top. But lately I've been thinking of doing mahogany no top instead of basswood with maple.

I've never really tried basswood with maple, but have tried just straight basswood, but the ones I've tried were ibanez's with dimarrzios which I'm not a fan of. But I don't know if the maple top and pickups I like would make all the difference or what. People in other forums say that basswood is light and dents easily too. Mahogany would be more durable I'm guessing. Especially where I'd probably just do a tru oil finish or something simple like that on the body. And I love the sound and look of mahogany and it'd be a little cheaper than the basswood with maple. And the roasted maple neck would probably be a great combo with it. Any help, opinions, or testimonies of wood combos you've used would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!
 

TimH

Silver Supporting Member
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6,253
If you want to try basswood/maple with maple neck you should find a Wolfgang...better pickups too.

IMHO straight mahogany won't have the snap and bit your looking for and chambered mahogany won't have enough "thump".
 

Eagle1

Senior Member
Messages
8,655
Basswood /Maple is far more of an all-round performer than a light mahogany paired with a maple neck. The mahogany sounds tight and lacks bloom to the note .
 

cardinal

Member
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5,361
I've had superstrats with basswood, basswood/maple, and mahogany/maple bodies, but never one with just a mahogany body. I don't think I could point to any reliable difference between basswood vs. basswood/maple, but either seems to have more attack and snap than mahogany/maple, which sounds warmer with a softer attack. Any of them can be tight and have "bloom" if the parts all are working together (some guitars are just dogs...).

I personally like basswood Ibanez guitars and Dimarzios, but what do I know. I've never had to perform surgery on a basswood guitar, but it seems like the wood is soft. I've worked on other guitars were the wood was so soft it almost crumbled if hit or drilled into. I wouldn't want something like that finished with tru oil, but I'm not sure where basswood fits into that spectrum.
 

pantshappened

Member
Messages
174
I want to do basswood with maple top but my problem with basswood is that it'll probably ding and dent really easily. I wanted to do a tru oil finish on the body, because I believe it lets the wood breath better as opposed to a gloss finish and also to save on cost. I'm guessing that wouldn't go over so well with such a soft wood like basswood
 

Mike9

Silver Supporting Member
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10,973
For that build I'd go with basswood and a maple neck. Unless of course you can find a maple body and maple neck. That's a special combo and sounds wonderful with the right parts and pickups. I've done a couple.
 

xjojox

Tardis-dwelling wanker
Messages
5,741
For that build I'd go with basswood and a maple neck. Unless of course you can find a maple body and maple neck. That's a special combo and sounds wonderful with the right parts and pickups. I've done a couple.
Every piece of wood is different, but there is a reason maple bodies don't happen often. I had a Hamer with a solid flamed maple body, maple neck, and Pau ferro board years ago. Gorgeous to look at, played like a dream, sustained well, but the sound was very hard, very bright. Per most builders that's the norm for that combo. But warmer pickups might tame it, who knows?

To the OP, solid mahogany can work, but in general it's mid punchy. If you like SG's you might like it (longer scale, more snap of course). GG has a sig model that's solid hog as I'm sure you know.

If you are doing an oil finish, who cares if it dings? Basswood is not pretty btw, which is why it's usually painted, but I like seeing wood even if it's not full of grain. It's a light, toneful wood. You'd be fine with it.
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,584
I want to do basswood with maple top but my problem with basswood is that it'll probably ding and dent really easily. I wanted to do a tru oil finish on the body, because I believe it lets the wood breath better as opposed to a gloss finish and also to save on cost. I'm guessing that wouldn't go over so well with such a soft wood like basswood
IMHO, the whole "wood breathing" thing is marketing nonsense. If possible, I'd try my best to banish that thought from your thinking about guitars.

Anyhow, there are so many different traditional superstrat woods....alder, basswood, ash...even poplar. Mahogany has never been popular, though there are a couple of Soloist models that use mahogany wings, I think. That's a different animal, though. That's a neck through design.

You could try alder. It's a bit tougher, and looks a bit nicer, than basswood. It's somewhat boring tonewise. I guess you might call it "balanced". Still, it's a good traditional choice. It's perhaps even THE traditional choice, and it would probably be my first choice for this kind of guitar. I think it's an excellent match for the superstrat style format. When I think of that style guitar, I think of a workhorse that has to cover a lot of ground, and for that I would lean towards a combination of woods that tends to result in a generic sort of tone. Alder body and Maple neck pretty reliably ends up there, IMHO, at least when it's in the general shape of a strat.
 

pantshappened

Member
Messages
174
IMHO, the whole "wood breathing" thing is marketing nonsense. If possible, I'd try my best to banish that thought from your thinking about guitars.
I meant that more as I myself think that. Never really seen it advertised. Its obviously more so with acoustics, but I believe the same for solid bodies. Just covering wood in all this glossy finish seems like it wouldn't let the wood do its thing so much. Just MHO
 

xjojox

Tardis-dwelling wanker
Messages
5,741
+1 for alder. It just works in strat bodies. Medium weight, good tonal balance, good sustain, all around good wood. And less expensive than most.
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
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9,584
I meant that more as I myself think that. Never really seen it advertised. Its obviously more so with acoustics, but I believe the same for solid bodies. Just covering wood in all this glossy finish seems like it wouldn't let the wood do its thing so much. Just MHO
Well, you certainly want to watch the thickness of the finish, especially on acoustics. A reasonably thin finish might be in the range of maybe .010"...maybe a little less. The spruce top on a typical acoustic might be in the range of about .100". Think about that. The finish could add a layer of essentially plastic that's 10% of the top's thickness!

TruOil is a drying oil, and it is still film finish. Pretty much every instrument finish that adds reasonable protection will be a film finish. None of them can actually block moisture indefinitely. They just slow it down. I take that back. Maybe polyester can form an effective tomb. Anyhow, any tonal effects will mainly come from encasing the guitar in plastic, not because the wood is sealed, and it really comes down to how much finish you apply. Most finishes can be applied thinly, even though many factories choose not to out of convenience.
 

Mike9

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,973
Every piece of wood is different, but there is a reason maple bodies don't happen often. I had a Hamer with a solid flamed maple body, maple neck, and Pau ferro board years ago. Gorgeous to look at, played like a dream, sustained well, but the sound was very hard, very bright. Per most builders that's the norm for that combo. But warmer pickups might tame it, who knows?
Yes pickup choice is important, but yes it rang like a bell and the sustain was unreal.
 

mlp-mx6

Member
Messages
86
I wanted to do a tru oil finish on the body, because I believe it lets the wood breath better as opposed to a gloss finish and also to save on cost.
You need to let go of this "let the wood breathe" myth. Finish seals the wood or it isn't doing it's job. The wood does not breathe. The wood is dead. At best (worst) it moves due to humidity changes, which the finish is intended to limit/prevent.

Choose Tru-Oil for good reasons if you want. Breathing wood is not among them.
 

freddyfeebleman

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
486
It seems to me that all finishes breath otherwise properly dried and sealed/finished wood would never warp and would be impervious to moisture completely - no finish is this good!
 

mlp-mx6

Member
Messages
86
Completely impervious would only be possible if every possible path for humidity is sealed. I do not think this is true for any wooden instrument.

If "breathing wood" is a good thing then unfinished would be best, since it would breathe the most.
 

pantshappened

Member
Messages
174
Basswood is definitely soft, my Ibanez is chipped on all the corners from that.
That's such a bummer :-/ all I hear is how great it sounds. Especially with a maple top. I was also thinking maybe alder with a maple top. Or even just straight alder. Or maybe ash. My tele is ash and I love the sound. But totally different pickups from what would be in this guitar. I'm obviously all over the place haha
 






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