Basswood or Alder? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
HSH
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Question Basswood or Alder?

Hi, y'all (I'm Southern) I was wondering - do you like the alder Jems or the Basswood Jems better? I have an RG560, so I'm kinda familiar with the basswood (one step up from balsa, imo) but if I don't win this one from here (I'd pick the VWH) then I'm open for suggestions. Played one VWH at GC, liked it, but don't have hours of play on one to go by. Thoughts? Thanks!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 11:19 AM
 
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Re: Basswood or Alder?

I like both for different reasons. (as guitar woods, ive only played an alder jem)

My RG570 and EBMM JP are basswood and sound really fat and thick, they sound great for heavier stuff.

The Alder on my Jem is a lot brighter, not so suited to the real heavy stuff, but great for cutting through with a lead tone. It can sound quite stratty at times too.

Its a little difficult to compare as ive got different pickups in all the guitars, but thats generally what ive found.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 12:04 PM
 
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Re: Basswood or Alder?

I actually prefer Mahogany. Basswood in feel and look also gives off a balsa wood vibe to me lol. Alder isn't better, I think they are both fine, but never my first choice.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 05:26 PM
 
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Re: Basswood or Alder?

i don't like jems, but am very familiar with basswood and alder. my main guitars are made of alder, it's a very well balanced tone wood. i've always considered alder a solid choice for a body wood, nothing special about it, but nothing bad about it either.

basswood gets a bad rap, probably because it's cheap (price-wise) and plentiful, especially in japan. i'm guessing when the japanese started using this wood to make guitars, american guitar builders used this as an argument against japanese guitars, asserting that the wood was 'inferior'. nowadays, basswood is used in all levels of guitars from the high end (jems, suhrs, js models, evh ernie balls) to the bottom of the rack entry level guitars. i've heard that there is a tonal difference in basswood depending on what part of the tree the wood comes from and that there is a desirable basswood and an undesirable cut of basswood. dunno if that is true, but from my experience, basswood emphasizes mids and low end with a nice rounded off high end. one quality of the wood that is very desirable for soloist is a somewhat compressed nature to the tone. basswood has plenty of low end, but it is a soft 'spongy' low end which isn't always suitable for tight distorted palm muting rhythm guitar.

although my main guitars are alder, i love basswood. my js1000 & axis sound incredible, better than my alder guitars...
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 05:37 PM
 
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Re: Basswood or Alder?

I prefer basswood just because its easier on the shoulder.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
HSH
 
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Re: Basswood or Alder?

Quote:
Originally Posted by southpaw_lefty
I prefer basswood just because its easier on the shoulder.
Yes, I definitely agree there, having grown up with an early 1970's Les Paul Custom (cherry sunburst; hey, Ace Frehley had one, so I had to, too! Showing my age now!) Many more years of that and I'd look somewhat "modo", you know, "quasi" modo ;-)

It's one of the many reasons I reach for the RG now, besides the nicer neck, extra frets, better fingerboard access, locking system, more pickups, contoured body...........need I go on? Does anyone notice any sustain differences between the two? My basswood RG sustains as well as my LP, but the LP is mahogany/maple. Thanks again. This is a great site/forum.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 06:15 PM
 
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Re: Basswood or Alder?

I'm definitely a mahogany fan as well. Basswood and alder are pretty light woods but mahogany just has a richer and in some cases darker tone to it.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Basswood or Alder?

But, back to the topic and being Jem-specific, does anyone else care to elaborate? Some of you wealthy (or "wealthy until I bought all of these Jems") multi-Jem owners?
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 09:26 PM
 
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Re: Basswood or Alder?

basswood for me, but I got a jem77bfp which is an american basswood, it's superlight and own a grg 270 which is basswood too but heavy as hell
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2006, 06:57 AM
 
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Re: Basswood or Alder?

I think bass wood is fine, but I probably prefer alder.

For me Alder has more "flavour" to it's tone. If I was running straight in to an amp, then I would probably prefer it. If you are using a lot of processors and effects then basswood is probably a bit "blander" and easier to work with in terms of sculpting a sound.

I play both, neither is better overall.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2006, 09:44 AM
 
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Re: Basswood or Alder?

I have an alder bodied RG and although slightly heavier, to me it has much better tone.
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ace frehley , alder bodied , ernie ball , ernie balls , les paul , les paul custom , palm muting

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