Strat body woods...Ash vs. Alder

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Kyle Ashley, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. Kyle Ashley

    Kyle Ashley Supporting Member

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    What is the primary tonal and weight differences between Ash and Alder for a Strat body? I tried to search under "Ash" but nothing was coming up.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Kyle Ashley

    Kyle Ashley Supporting Member

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  3. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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  4. AndrewSimon

    AndrewSimon Member

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    Ash will have more "snap" and "pop" (attack)
    Ash will have slightly more highs and lows (less mids) then Alder.
    I just went from Alder body to swamp ash (medium heavy) and I love it!

    :cool:
     
  5. diego

    diego Member

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    Another way to think of it, is that ash is a little dryer, alder a little sweeter or diffused. They both sound great.
     
  6. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    And a set of pickups in one may not sound as good, or might sound better in the other.
     
  7. K-Line

    K-Line Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a swamp ash on my S and prefer because it does have the snap that I always feels that they lack. Hey I am a tele player, like the big tone.
     
  8. steven.rogers

    steven.rogers Member

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    I have an Am Dlx Ash Strat and it weighs just under 10 pounds.
     
  9. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    Ash will also give you a more compressed tone in my experience.
     
  10. wildschwein

    wildschwein Member

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    Great link - anything with a positive view of Basswood (=guitar body wood for the masses) always goes down well with me.
     
  11. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't know that I agree about the "more lows" that alder, but ash definitely has more highs. It imparts a thinner tone - not necessarily a bad thing (strats are thinner sounding than les pauls), just a characteristic. It's a sweet top end. Ash definitely has fewer mids, which is my bug with it. It took my owning 1/2 dozen ash-bodied Strats before I finally figured that out. John Suhr is dead-on accurate about ash bodied Strats with rosewood boards - sizzle city. I like ash better for Teles (where it RAWKS!). Ash body and a good Esquire bridge pup is a combination MADE for rock-n-roll.

    jb
     
  12. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I agree with it being scooped. It's a bit more hollow and has more of a rich, acoustic tone. I don't know about thinner, because ash can have a bigger low end IME. I just traded a nice alder/maple CS strat for an ash/maple CS strat. I got to compare the alder strat to two ash/maple strats extensively. all had the same CS '69 pickups in them. The alder one sounded thin and bright compared to both of the ash one which had a deeper, richer tone. It was a bit scooped as well, but the low end from the ash gave it a bigger footprint, and you could feel the low E string really resonanting through the wood on both ash strats. I didn't feel the alder wanting to resonate the low E, but it did move a lot with the open A string. Had a higher resonance I guess. Now I could see if you get a piece of ash that is stingy on lows, that can definitely sound thin, especially northern ash. It seems to have a lot of bite on all those heavy northern ash strats.

    The alder strat had a thinner, hi-mid "plink" to the high notes, while the ash ones seemed to have a little more robust tone on the higher notes. I could see the alder one good for cutting through with that high mid, but on a clean tone it was like two beer bottles clanking together-ouch. A lot can be in the neck tones, too though so I switched necks on them, and I still preferred the ash bodied strats. I just liked the chunkiness of the ash, seemed more balanced tonally.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
  13. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Member

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    I like alder too but prefer ash. It produces IMO more high end AND low end = better attack, snap (which I love). IME it is also more articulate than alder and produces a better note definition than alder.
    Alder = better for blues
    Ash = better for rock, hard rock.
     
  14. Kyle Ashley

    Kyle Ashley Supporting Member

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    Nice opinions here. I am building a Partscaster and looking for info although I already have an EJ body coming in next week. I have a buddy with a MIJ basswood tele, and that thing is great. I've offered him a lot for it, but he won't take it. I've always liked most basswood guitars I've heard, but then again, it could just be the magic combination of pickups to wood in those instances.
     
  15. stratnpaul

    stratnpaul Member

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    I think you should go with ash. It goes well with your last name! :)
     
  16. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Ha, I totally missed that. But that's decides it right there!
     
  17. Geetarpicker

    Geetarpicker Member

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    I like a light weight ash body. They seem to have a clearer tone to me, and not too bright IF you get a light one. In some ways they also seem more responsive and alive in the controlled feedback department when you crank them up.
     
  18. Majai

    Majai Member

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    Please explain "sizzle" in the context of guitar tone?

    I think of bacon frying as making a "sizzle" sound. I've never heard any guitar produce a tone that I would refer to as sizzle (amps maybe).
     
  19. Kyle Ashley

    Kyle Ashley Supporting Member

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    Yeah sizzle sounds like an adjective I'd like to avoid when referring to my guitar tone!
     

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