Strat Experts; Ash or Alder?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by teleluvver, Mar 30, 2020.

  1. Shiny_Beast

    Shiny_Beast Member

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    Yup, and not all bent saddles are created equal in this regard.
     
  2. Rossi163

    Rossi163 Supporting Member

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    Ash and alder are both great tone woods for any Fender style guitar. Ash can be more open and have more pop, and alder tends to be smoother and well balanced. My advice is shoot for the lightest body in either wood and you'll be good. If you have the opportunity to choose from a few bodies in person, knock on them and the one that rings out the best is the one.
     
  3. jalmer

    jalmer Member

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    I had an Alder strat with a rosewood board. It was the least bright strat I've had but in a good smooth way. I suppose 500k pots or different pickups would have brightened it up. But stock, no.
     
  4. GT100

    GT100 Member

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    I know. As everyone knows a Strat with Gibson PAFs and 500K pots in it sounds just like a Les Paul.
    Right?

    Lloyd
     
  5. shane8

    shane8 Member

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    run the racks

    every guitar is slightly different

    the last thing I worry about is wot wood it is

    what you think you want may go out the window …...
     
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  6. Rotten

    Rotten Silver Supporting Member

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    I've noticed more of a difference in fretboard wood in both Teles and Strats. You can balance, though, with the right set of pickups. Brands don't matter -- it's the right match for a particular guitar to you particular ears that matter. For glass, I tend to like lower output pickups through an amp just getting to power amp overdrive, but just barely.
     
  7. treedroppings

    treedroppings Member

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    I tried a pale moon ebony tele , and it didn't have any of the specs that I wanted but it sounded so good with a GC return policy that could be fun for a few days and return it!!
     
  8. babadethkat

    babadethkat Member

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    The older I get the more I become stuck in my ways. Tele is always the answer. I have a couple of strats and can't bond with them anymore. My favourite is a partscaster Hard Ash tele Nashville style. A nice glassy middle pickup to get the funky glass when needed.

    But back to point. get the heaviest hard ash 70's strat you can get ....pure glass. The wood might have a SLIGHT effect but those 70's pickups are glassy as hell. Even better find yourself a Tokai Silver Star lol

    The tone knob is your friend.
     
  9. Eugene Wallace

    Eugene Wallace Member

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    If someone who can tell the difference between ash and alder, and know how these things sound clean is an expert, then I'm an expert.
    Good swamp ash shimmers, bad grade swamp ash does not.
    Alder is beautiful clean too, and you get less shimmer usually.
    Between a great piece of swamp ash and a great piece of alder, I'd pick alder cause it loves dirt whereas swamp ash can get a bit bright and pierce sounding.
     
  10. budglo58

    budglo58 Member

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    No discernable difference to my ears that can be narrowed down to wood type. I have both. Both have glassy cleans like you would expect from a strat. Leo put ash with translucent finishes and alder for opaque finishes . It was that simple. My preference is ash , because I love the way it looks.
     
  11. stellablue

    stellablue Member

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    Wood is wood.
     
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  12. Jabby92

    Jabby92 Member

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    On a Strat I prefer alder, with a Tele I prefer ash. Find they're are the most balanced woods for each guitar.
     
  13. joebloggs13

    joebloggs13 Member

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    I just came here to say that....my Tele is alder, and I like it. :hide
     
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  14. Warkli

    Warkli Member

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    Very little difference between ash and alder to me. I personally prefer alder because I experienced some harshness in ash strat when distorted. It's becoming harder to tame high frequincies in mid gain (that differs through the amp ofc). Alder is easier for bluesy tones. I'm saying again, talking about very little differences.
    Ash shines with its aesthetics and little brighter cleans if thats what you need.

    Just my two cents
     
  15. LReese

    LReese Member

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    I like Alder best. Certain pickups don't work well with Ash IME.

    That said, with the right hardware/pickups either would be fine.
     
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  16. teleluvver

    teleluvver Member

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    I completely agree, but there’s not many racks to run in my area. I’ll probably end up taking a road trip.
     
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  17. MKB

    MKB Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm not much of a traditional Strat guy, but I've never been happy with any bolt on unless it had a maple neck\fingerboard and ash body. What really turned me into primarily a bolt on player was roasted ash and maple, IMHO it makes a tremendous difference on the neck and body.
     
  18. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Member

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    I’ve only owned alder, but I’ve played ash, Indian Red Cedar, basswood and a few others. They sounded like what you expect them to sound like.

    Empirically, I could reasonably say the body shape has as much affect on the sound as the wood.

    I mean, I don’t think that’s true, but based on my experiences, Strats sound like Strats and Teles sound like Teles. The differences are so subtle that if wood was a consideration, it'd be because of the weigh or looks.
     
  19. Uncle Dad

    Uncle Dad Member

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    I have owned several ash teles, an ash explorer, and currently own one ash tele, two ash strats, and an ash hardtail superstrat. Also an alder tele or two and a couple of alder strats (plus many hog and Japanese mystery wood). They all sounded different to each other, some minimally, some radically. I like the look of ash with a translucent or non grain filled finish. Each piece has a sound (or sounds): the species not so much.
     
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  20. K-Line

    K-Line Vendor

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    I think your pickup choice will make far more difference. My advice to customers are to #1, go with the fingerboard you like. Then color. This dictates whether it will be alder or ash. Then pickups. The article from Fender is about as in-depth as needed. Think of ash as a flat eq. Alder has a slight upper mid bump. Not much difference. I then wind pickups to match desired outcome. Bright is good. You can always roll of a tone knob but when you need a cut, you cannot add one. Not brittle and harsh, but present.
     
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