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Want a New Stratocaster - Alder or Ash???

yell03

Member
Messages
1,609
I might have to buy sight unseen.
Currently I have two Teles (1 Ash and 1 Alder), on a Tele I prefer Ash for a more open, bright, and Twangy sound.

Strats I have had both, but it has been a while.

If I recall correctly, Alder was smoother on the Strat and sounded better with gain. Ash sounded much more airy, but did not like gain on the Strat.

I am leaning toward Alder to play it safe.

Either way it will have a Maple Fretboard.

Any opinions or advice???
 

dazco

Member
Messages
15,291
I think you may be right. I've only had 2 ash strats so i can't be sure. But one fit your description perfectly with alder always being as you said. But i think that may not necassarily be the ash itself but a product of maple neck and ash together. Rosewood boards add a smoothness so i've always thought ash and rosewood board might just eliminate that and also be a great combination. Seems like those who have them always say that it is. Tho i always wonder why you see so few like that. Alder is definately a safe bet if you go with a maple neck. With rosewood i'd be chomping at the bit to try rosewood tho.
 

Lespaulsignature 74

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,774
I have two American made Strats one's Alder-maple neck/maple board, the other is Ash-maple neck/rosewood board. I prefer the tone of Alder/Maple...IMO it's has crisper tone, more note definition and a faster attack.
 

yell03

Member
Messages
1,609
I think you may be right. I've only had 2 ash strats so i can't be sure. But one fit your description perfectly with alder always being as you said. But i think that may not necassarily be the ash itself but a product of maple neck and ash together. Rosewood boards add a smoothness so i've always thought ash and rosewood board might just eliminate that and also be a great combination. Seems like those who have them always say that it is. Tho i always wonder why you see so few like that. Alder is definately a safe bet if you go with a maple neck. With rosewood i'd be chomping at the bit to try rosewood tho.
For some reason, I only like Strats/Teles with Maple boards, my Gibsons I prefer Rosewood over Ebony.

I have two American made Strats one's Alder-maple neck/maple board, the other is Ash-maple neck/rosewood board. I prefer the tone of Alder/Maple...IMO it's has crisper tone, more note definition and a faster attack.
That is what I notice with Alder on a Strat.
My Ash Tele is amazing, but that same airy/open tone does not always lend itself to Strats.
 

homerayvaughan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,749
I might have to buy sight unseen.
Currently I have two Teles (1 Ash and 1 Alder), on a Tele I prefer Ash for a more open, bright, and Twangy sound.

Strats I have had both, but it has been a while.

If I recall correctly, Alder was smoother on the Strat and sounded better with gain. Ash sounded much more airy, but did not like gain on the Strat.

I am leaning toward Alder to play it safe.

Either way it will have a Maple Fretboard.

Any opinions or advice???
I agree with what you are saying. Alder is smoother, maybe more mids, whereas light ash (swamp) is a bit more scooped, better at clean that dirt, but I don't use a lot of OD. And I use my ash strat (3lb 11oz body) with a rosewood board, seems to take some of the zing out and smooths the tone to me. But I prefer rosewood anyway. I have 2 alder strats and wanted another that did not sound the same as the alder ones, and it was a great choice. Mine is very loud acoustically and seems to ring and resonate very nicely.

I think it really depends on what sound you are going for. With OD or distortion I would stay with Alder.
 

EtaCarinae

Member
Messages
1,483
If I was buying sight unseen, I would not go ash. I typically prefer ash, but it is less consistent in my experience. With alder, I know what I am getting.
 

dman11

Member
Messages
623
Ash can be light or heavy depending on the particular piece.It can be airy or bright. For airier tones make sure it's Swamp Ash, not Northern Hard ash. But for consistency I'd choose Alder a classic Strat Wood..
 

yell03

Member
Messages
1,609
I agree with what you are saying. Alder is smoother, maybe more mids, whereas light ash (swamp) is a bit more scooped, better at clean that dirt, but I don't use a lot of OD. And I use my ash strat (3lb 11oz body) with a rosewood board, seems to take some of the zing out and smooths the tone to me. But I prefer rosewood anyway. I have 2 alder strats and wanted another that did not sound the same as the alder ones, and it was a great choice. Mine is very loud acoustically and seems to ring and resonate very nicely.

I think it really depends on what sound you are going for. With OD or distortion I would stay with Alder.
I do play with overdrive a good bit of the time.

If I was buying sight unseen, I would not go ash. I typically prefer ash, but it is less consistent in my experience. With alder, I know what I am getting.
good point
 

slogger

Member
Messages
1,719
There is a lonestar strat for sale in the emporium with OHSC. $650.00 or BO. It's a steal for that guitar. It appears to be from the 96-2000 run and has a SD Pearly Gates in the bridge, maple neck/fb. I'm not sure if the wood is Swamp or Alder though. I have a Sienna Burst from the same era and it's ash but from what I understand only the sienna burst from that run were made of ash and considered an upgrade, the rest were alder. Nice guitar for little money. I have no association with this guitar. Here's the thread:
https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?posts/13958722#post13958722
 

yell03

Member
Messages
1,609
There is a lonestar strat for sale in the emporium with OHSC. $650.00 or BO. It's a steal for that guitar. It appears to be from the 96-2000 run and has a SD Pearly Gates in the bridge, maple neck/fb. I'm not sure if the wood is Swamp or Alder though. I have a Sienna Burst from the same era and it's ash but from what I understand only the sienna burst from that run were made of ash and considered an upgrade, the rest were alder. Nice guitar for little money. I have no association with this guitar. Here's the thread:
https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?posts/13958722#post13958722
thanks for the info, I'll check it out
 

catpeople

Senior Member
Messages
3,178
I have two swamp ash guitars and one alder, and I prefer the swamp ash ones, but it could be the pickups or bridge. They seem to sustain better.
 

Rex Anderson

Member
Messages
5,159
I have guitars from Don Grosh. His standard is Alder for Strat and Ash for Tele.

I think you can get them both either way, but I'd talk to Don or someone like him (Suhr, Anderson etc) to get their take on which woods to use and their reasons.

Suhr used to have a very informative section on wood selection on his website, but he is revamping it and it's no longer there.
 
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gatornavy

Member
Messages
671
I like the way ash looks with a semi-transparent finish. Other than that, I'd perfer alder on a strat- my CS '56 sounds amazing with it's alder body!
 

wilblee

Hack sans shame
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,056
I have three alder Strats, two with ebony boards and one with maple; and two ash Strats, one with maple and one with rosewood. Since they have wildly different pickups and control harnesses it's hard to say what effect the wood combinations have, but they all eventually sound good with whatever I plug them into. If they don't right away, then I twist various knobs until they do.
 

yell03

Member
Messages
1,609
I have guitars from Don Grosh. His standard is Alder for Strat and Ash for Tele.

I think you can get them both either way, but I'd talk to Don or someone like him (Suhr, Anderson etc) to get their take on which woods to use and their reasons.

Suhr used to have a very informative section on wood selection on his website, but I thing he is revamping it.
I pretty much agree with that

Go rosewood or mahagony just to be different!

PJ
A while ago I played a Mahogany Strat with Rosewood, it was surprisingly nice, but not my first choice if I am only going to have 1 Strat

I like the way ash looks with a semi-transparent finish. Other than that, I'd perfer alder on a strat- my CS '56 sounds amazing with it's alder body!
Ash looks better, but for a Strat I think I will go Alder

I have three alder Strats, two with ebony boards and one with maple; and two ash Strats, one with maple and one with rosewood. Since they have wildly different pickups and control harnesses it's hard to say what effect the wood combinations have, but they all eventually sound good with whatever I plug them into. If they don't right away, then I twist various knobs until they do.
I am sure they all sound great, just each is different.
Being I am only going to have 1 Strat, Alder is probably the safe bet
 






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