Basswood vs Alder - Jemsite
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-24-2004, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 60
Basswood vs Alder

I did a search on this subject, but I found "0" topics. In fact, ANY topic I have done a search on, I always end up with "0" found. Maybe someone can explain to me by PM if I am searching right.

Anyhoo, I just wanted to know if anyone can notice a difference between the two woods? I would imagine that there IS a difference in it somewhere like sound, weight, overall feel, or Vai would not have opted for this wood for no apparent reason. Right?

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-24-2004, 08:54 PM
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Basswood, tonally, is right between Alder and Mahogony (more on the mohogony side of the spectrum). Its quite a bit darker in tone than Alder, and weighs a little less. Alder tends to sound a little more toward Maple (though not near as bright) and to me tends to give more a Strat-y type sound (probably because thats what most of them are made with....go figure)
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-25-2004, 12:35 PM
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I've seen it written that basswood tone has been known to "cut through" a little better when using FX and such. Whatever.

I've also been told that it's a little softer than the other typical hardwoods used in guitar manufactuiring, thus making it a little easier on the machinery.

One person also told me once that basswood may not hold up well with heavy strings at normal tuning on Floyd guitars. There are quite a few on this list that may argue that.

Mike 777 Haug
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-03-2004, 12:20 AM
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I would agree that alder is quite a bit brighter and little heavier than basswood. But there are differences in basswood between asian basswood and american basswood. The american version is lighter and less dense leading to a warmer overall tone, more balanced while the asian woods tend to be heavier and more dense, transmitting more highs. Of course there will be exceptions to every generality with respect to wood.

Darren at ATD informed me that the RGs use asian basswood while the signature models and J-Custom lines use only american basswood. Have no idea if this is completely accurate or not, but he's spent a lot of time dealing with signature series Ibanez guitars so I figure he's closer to right than I would be on my own.

Alder and ash are typically known as being bright and snappy tonewoods, that's why they are the first choices for Teles and Strats.
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