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Stratocaster body wood

NeoGeo#1

Member
Messages
33
Is there a way I can tell? Both American made, the American Professional was made in 2019.
The American Ultra Luxe was made in 2021. The reason I ask, is that the Ultra Luxe seems like it’s 2 or 3 lbs heavier than the other one.
It’s like someone put lead weights inside. That thing is HEAVY!
Heavier than my new Gibson Les Paul, and from what I’ve read, they are usually very heavy.
I don’t have a scale, but the Publix near me has a scale that’s supposed to be accurate, as it has a sticker on it when it was checked for accuracy last.
I tried to call Fender. I’m not sure if anyone is there anymore.
 

sahhas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
18,244
originally in the 50s, the see through grained wood was ash, that had a sunburst finish to them.
the solid colored guitars were alder.

i have no idea how you tell nowadays....since ash might be in short supply b/c of the bug infestation....and there can be lots of wood variations to them.....
 

Kevin Thompson

Senior Member
Messages
1,264
Is there a way I can tell? Both American made, the American Professional was made in 2019.
The American Ultra Luxe was made in 2021. The reason I ask, is that the Ultra Luxe seems like it’s 2 or 3 lbs heavier than the other one.
It’s like someone put lead weights inside. That thing is HEAVY!
Heavier than my new Gibson Les Paul, and from what I’ve read, they are usually very heavy.
I don’t have a scale, but the Publix near me has a scale that’s supposed to be accurate, as it has a sticker on it when it was checked for accuracy last.
I tried to call Fender. I’m not sure if anyone is there anymore.
If they're solid colors take off the tremolo backplate and pickguard. Look for unpainted wood. If they're sunburst you can tell from the grain pattern.
 

NeoGeo#1

Member
Messages
33
They aren’t solid painted. I can see nice grain in the wood.
Also, they have 3 single pickups.
So what am I looking for?
I keep my backplate off.
So what do you think I have, Alder?
And why the extreme difference in the weight between the two?
It doesn’t really matter at this point, I’m just wondering why.
Thanks for your responses. I appreciate it.
 

Kevin Thompson

Senior Member
Messages
1,264
They aren’t solid painted. I can see nice grain in the wood.
Also, they have 3 single pickups.
So what am I looking for?
I keep my backplate off.
So what do you think I have, Alder?
And why the extreme difference in the weight between the two?
It doesn’t really matter at this point, I’m just wondering why.
Thanks for your responses. I appreciate it.
Post pics if you can. Or tell us what colors the 2 guitars are. Then I can Google a pic and see what it is. I'm guessing the ultra lux is ash and the professional is alder. Most alder strats are high 7 to mid 8 pounds. Northern ash can be cheap, extremely dense, and heavy. Baseball bat wood. I’ve heard of them using that in the past. With southern swamp ash becoming harder to source that would be my guess. Southern swap ash is preferable for guitars, but I don't think fender uses it. The part that's under water becomes porous, lighter in weight, and has good resonance.
 
Last edited:
Messages
6,931
originally in the 50s, the see through grained wood was ash, that had a sunburst finish to them.
the solid colored guitars were alder.

i have no idea how you tell nowadays....since ash might be in short supply b/c of the bug infestation....and there can be lots of wood variations to them.....
Yes, with some bein sassa and even spruce I believe. Back then they seemed to use what ever was at hand, really.
 
Messages
6,931
They aren’t solid painted. I can see nice grain in the wood.
Also, they have 3 single pickups.
So what am I looking for?
I keep my backplate off.
So what do you think I have, Alder?
And why the extreme difference in the weight between the two?
It doesn’t really matter at this point, I’m just wondering why.
Thanks for your responses. I appreciate it.
What kind of grain is it? More smooth and defined like spruce or pine or does it look more like oak with more jagged edges, possibly even with some pores visible?

Usually alder has a reddish hue to it, where ash tends to be grayish, perhaps even leaning towards green.
 

Axis29

Member
Messages
3,610
Alder usually has smoother, less defined grain. My new American Pro ii Strat is an alder bodied three tone sunburst. I like the nice straight, simple grain. I like it's low 7 lb weight, too!

Like @Humble Texan Fan says, ash usually has heavier grain, thicker with a more porous appearance. His description of oak-like grain is a very good one. Fender has stated that they are limiting the use of ash these days.... That makes me wonder about your Ultra.

The difference in weight? Wood is wood. Some pieces are heavier than others. While generally, alder is lighter than ash, it depends on the tree, where in the tree the boards came from, where the tree grew, etc. Heck, I have some really heavy 150+ year old pine... It's heavier than some of the pieces of oak I have laying around the shop!
 

smallbutmighty

I do my own stunts.
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,421
Post pics if you can. Or tell us what colors the 2 guitars are. Then I can Google a pic and see what it is. I'm guessing the ultra lux is ash and the professional is alder. Most alder strats are high 7 to mid 8 pounds. Northern ash can be cheap, extremely dense, and heavy. Baseball bat wood. I’ve heard of them using that in the past. With southern swamp ash becoming harder to source that would be my guess. Southern swap ash is preferable for guitars, but I don't think fender uses it. The part that's under water becomes porous, lighter in weight, and has good resonance.
This.

If it's unusually heavy and made in 2021 I would also bet it's Ash.

Pics would likely settle this.
 

Axis29

Member
Messages
3,610
How can I add a picture?
I see http, but my photos aren’t on the web, but on my iPad.
You can grab a free image hosting account (I use IMGR, but there are a bunch out there these days), or you can upload the picture to your 'gallery' here at TGP, then select the button above that looks like a camera.
 

Axis29

Member
Messages
3,610
On my desktop version, there's a menu choice at the top of the page that says 'Media'. Underneath there, is a tab for 'New Media'. You can add images from there.

But, you said you're on an iPad? I am not sure if it's any different.... But, that's what I got.
 

sunking101

Member
Messages
2,751
Fender aren't using ash anymore in the Ultra range IIRC but I'm not sure about the Ultra Luxe guitars. You may just have an especially heavy lump of alder.
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23,708
Is there a way I can tell? Both American made, the American Professional was made in 2019.
The American Ultra Luxe was made in 2021. The reason I ask, is that the Ultra Luxe seems like it’s 2 or 3 lbs heavier than the other one.
It’s like someone put lead weights inside. That thing is HEAVY!
Heavier than my new Gibson Les Paul, and from what I’ve read, they are usually very heavy.
I don’t have a scale, but the Publix near me has a scale that’s supposed to be accurate, as it has a sticker on it when it was checked for accuracy last.
I tried to call Fender. I’m not sure if anyone is there anymore.
Solid colors? The last few years? US made? Alder.
 

NeoGeo#1

Member
Messages
33
After a lot of research, I’ve found that they are both ash.
I just don’t know why the one is so very much heavier than the other.
Same pickups. Same everything.
I guess it’s the wood. Maybe from a different area?
I don’t know.
I went back to Sweetwater, and researched both guitars. They are both ash.
Thanks for your responses though.
 

John C

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,739
Fender aren't using ash anymore in the Ultra range IIRC but I'm not sure about the Ultra Luxe guitars. You may just have an especially heavy lump of alder.
The Ultra Luxes are ash, but they are not using ash any more on the regular Ultra models or on the American Professional IIs (and they had dropped it on the American Professionals last year prior to them being replaced by the IIs).
 

John C

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,739
After a lot of research, I’ve found that they are both ash.
I just don’t know why the one is so very much heavier than the other.
Same pickups. Same everything.
I guess it’s the wood. Maybe from a different area?
I don’t know.
I went back to Sweetwater, and researched both guitars. They are both ash.
Thanks for your responses though.
Just to verfity: what color is your American Professional? The sienna sunburst was ash and 3-color burst was alder.

Wood varies and it is unlikely the body blanks came from the same tree.
If they are both ash then you're just finding that there is variance in wood. Plus with the worldwide ash shortage Fender could be using heavier blanks (they will likely be 3-piece bodies) these days because that is what is available to them.
 




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