Why is Basswood considered low end wood when it is on great ibanez guitars??? - Page 6 - Jemsite
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post #76 of 86 (permalink) Old 07-10-2015, 06:04 AM
 
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Re: Why is Basswood considered low end wood when it is on great ibanez guitars???

I would not say Basswood is low end, but I would say it is an excellent tone wood that can be inexpensive compared to some other woods. I can hear tonal differences between woods, pickups, potentiometers, even different peoples fingers, through a good amp. Through some amps, not so much. I would imagine someone with hairy ear lobes, will hear something different than someone without. I have used earwax remover, and had to change the settings on my amp afterwards!!!

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post #77 of 86 (permalink) Old 07-20-2015, 11:02 AM
 
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Re: Why is Basswood considered low end wood when it is on great ibanez guitars???

This thread is very amusing to me. I get a good chuckle reading all the replies on the tonewood debate. It's even more amusing that this thread was started back in 2007 and has been resurrected several times. On top of that it morphed into a tonewood debate and I don't think anyone truly answered the original question of why basswood is considered low end wood.

I don't ever chime in on these debates because everyone just argues in circles but I think this time I'll thro in my 2 cents.

Let me first go back in time to 2007 and respond to the original question. I don't consider basswood to be low end. That all has to do with marketing, availability, how & where it's used, and people's perception none of which touches on it's true quality. In general basswood is fairly plentiful therefore it's cost is lower than other "exotic" woods. On top of that it's one of the softer woods used in guitar building and is alot less strenuous on tools. Just this here is the perfect formula for large companies to use it in their mass produced models. On top of that basswood doesn't have much figure to it so it's usually painted; your not going to see much custom burst finishing or anything like that on it. You want to save bursts and such for your more highly figured woods. Painting a solid color is cheaper in terms of material (paint & clear coat) and labor costs than a burst or other type of finish. This is another addition to the formula of keeping production costs lower. Basically, from a mass production stand point due to it's lower costs in terms of availability & labor basswood is a perfect candidate to be used on entry and mid level models. Of course companies are going to market it just as such and offer them at a lower price than their higher end models. Does that mean it's a low end wood, NO, certianly not. It means it a low cost wood. Plus on these entry & mid level models less expensive hardware and electronics are used. The end product is a lower price guitar offered to the public. All of that said, in the minds of the public the majority of the time low price equals low quality. What people don't realize it that the lower quality part comes from the hardware & electronics (ex. zinc ally bridge vs solid brass bridge or powersound pickups vs dimarzio pickups). The lower quality DOES NOT come from the wood used. This is why you'll see signature models like JEM's or higher end RG's using basswood too. The extra cost comes from better hardware & electronics, not necessairly "better" wood. Plus when you have an artist's name attached to a guitar that jumps the price up too. To sum all of this up since basswood is seen being used more on entry and mid range models; therefore, being offered at a lower price to the public, people forget about all the other factors that attribute to the lower costs such as hardware, electronics, labor etc. and for some reason attribute the lower price to poor quality wood. This false perception is the reason some consider basswood to be low end when it certianly is not.
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post #78 of 86 (permalink) Old 07-20-2015, 11:31 AM
 
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Re: Why is Basswood considered low end wood when it is on great ibanez guitars???

Also, I'd like to chime in with one good point about basswood:

In the tone wood debate, Alder is considered to be an industry standard because it's high-mid quality is perfect for a mid range instrument like a guitar. However, Basswood is very mid focused, and from tone wood snobs they say it lacks any character, like Mahogany or something. However, in terms of overall balance, it is one of the best tone woods imo. Yeah it's cheaper and softer than many other kinds of wood, but for tonality, it's a beast and is GREAT for guitars.

Having said that, people who say it has no figuring need to look at my RG685. Basswood body and some REALLY nice figuring over a trans purple finish. I was surprised when I saw how nice the wood looks
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post #79 of 86 (permalink) Old 07-20-2015, 12:08 PM
 
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Re: Why is Basswood considered low end wood when it is on great ibanez guitars???

Now let me chime in on the tonewood debate.

First off let me say I do not agree or disagree with either side of the argument as of yet (in terms of electric solid body guitars) because there is very little true scientific data to support either side. I go by if it sounds good to my ears it works for me no matter what it's made of. The one thing I do agree with is that wood type DOES affect the sustain of a guitar to a degree. Many factors contribute to sustain and wood is one of them. In terms of wood it deals with the density and ability to sustain string vibration. Denser species will will contribute to longer sustain because the denser the wood the better it's ability to sustain sonic vibrations, and this has been proven.

This whole tonewood debate all started as a marketing gimic perpetrated by guitar manafacturers so they could sell their products at a highere price. They made these tonewood claims with no facts to back up what they were saying and the public bought into it without question. "If gibson, fender, etc said it it has to be true." Not many botherted asking to see their proof. Those who disputed the claims never bothered to do any true testing of their own either. Thus the debate was born with neither side offering any real proof one way or the other.

As far as affecting the actual tone of the wood, that's still up in the air because there is hardly any true scientific data available. In fact I only know of one real experiment done by a grad student at a university. I forget which university it came from but I do remember it was a reputable one. The basics of the experiment was that 2 guitar bodies were made each using a different woods made to the exact same shape and dimensions. All other parts such as neck, electronics, hardware, even the same screws and strings were used on both bodies; meaning the exact same parts were swapped from one body to the other. Both guitars sonic properties were measured in a sound lab using specialized eqipment and setup of the monitoring devices were kept exactly the same meaning microphones and such reamined the same distance away, guitars were placed in the same spot in the same room etc. etc. The only factor that changed in the experiment was the guitar body wood. The end results were that acoustically tonal differences were seen but when plugged in there were no tonal differences. Good science was used in this experiment to obtain these results. And like a true scientist the author of the paper stated that the experiment and results were only preliminary and the experiment did not 100% prove or disprove the tonewood theory/debate and further testing would be needed.

Unfortuantely, proponents on this debate one way or the other have never done any kind of experiment like this. All you see is internet trolls (Mr. Groove, Mr. Chapman) spouting off at the mouth strumming two completely different guitars going "can't you hear/not heat a difference" thus further adding to all the mis-information out there. Well guess what, the human ear is no where close to a scientific instrument. On top of that because of the psychology of our brains if you're expecting to hear a certian result your brain will trick you into thinking you did hear that result weather it's there or not. It's along the same lines as the placibo effect or hearing demonic messages when you play your ABBA records backwards. So as of now all we really have to go on is a bunch of patheticly flawed psuedo-science experiments and extremely flawed and bias results.

We'll never have any hard facts or evidence either way until someone gets around to doing some real science and gets a full on experiment up and running. Until then I say this to all of you (especially those who like to go spouting off at the mouth, you know who you are), Have your opinions, if you wish to discuss them do it calmly & rationally and keep an open mind to the other side of the argument. Don't go off all half ****ed and start name calling and putting down others just because their opinion differs from yours. Remember nothing is proven at this point. I'll also add let's all go with what works for some doesn't work for others. Tonewood or not if it sounds good to you then it sounds good.
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post #80 of 86 (permalink) Old 07-20-2015, 12:16 PM
 
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Re: Why is Basswood considered low end wood when it is on great ibanez guitars???

Mr. Chapman=Rob Chapman?
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post #81 of 86 (permalink) Old 07-20-2015, 12:29 PM
 
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Re: Why is Basswood considered low end wood when it is on great ibanez guitars???

Quote:
Originally Posted by MatiasTolkki View Post
Mr. Chapman=Rob Chapman?
Yeah he had a huge discussion about tone wood with Scott McGroove.
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post #82 of 86 (permalink) Old 07-20-2015, 12:32 PM
 
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Re: Why is Basswood considered low end wood when it is on great ibanez guitars???

Quote:
Originally Posted by MatiasTolkki View Post
Having said that, people who say it has no figuring need to look at my RG685. Basswood body and some REALLY nice figuring over a trans purple finish. I was surprised when I saw how nice the wood looks
I definately agree with you there, I've seen some examples of basswood with a tranparent color and even a natural finish that shows off nice figure & look absolutely gorgeous. Even though you can have great examples of basswood's figure in the industry unfortunately it's considered paint grade, especially if you compare it to something like highly figured maple. It is one of those woods that you really have to know what you're doing to bring out it's true natural beauty with a transparent finish. It absorbes stains, dyes & finishes unevenly due to it being fairly porous so you have to prep the wood really well and correctly to achieve a nice transparent finish. But if you do everything right it can put that piece of figured maple to shame. I know RGTFanatic has a an RG guitar with a full natural finish that is stunning.

I forgot to add this into my earlier post too. I noticed people comparing cost of wood to its quality. This holds true but only from a specific perspective. When people talk wood quality it's mainly referring to grain lines and figure at least from an industry point of view. Maple is maple, basswood is basswood, poplar is poplar, etc, etc. The industry doesn't measure quality based on density or anything like that. The only measurement they take is moisture content to make sure the wood is sufficinetly dried. Anything else when it comes to quality is based on visual inspection. They just look at imperfections such as cracks, knots, warpage and how figured the wood is to determine its grade.

Last edited by madasahatter; 07-20-2015 at 01:02 PM. Reason: added extra comments
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post #83 of 86 (permalink) Old 07-20-2015, 12:37 PM
 
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Re: Why is Basswood considered low end wood when it is on great ibanez guitars???

Quote:
Originally Posted by MatiasTolkki View Post
Mr. Chapman=Rob Chapman?
Yes I was referring to Rob Chapman & Scott Grove and their idiotic back and forth on the tonewood debate a little while back. There were a few others that threw in their poor quality youtube videos & uneducated opinions too. The end result of that was the arguments just went round and round and people reverted to cursing at each other, a bunch of name calling and generally making themselves look like fools. That was truly hilarious to follow.

Last edited by madasahatter; 07-20-2015 at 12:54 PM.
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post #84 of 86 (permalink) Old 07-21-2015, 04:07 AM
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Re: Why is Basswood considered low end wood when it is on great ibanez guitars???

Quote:
Originally Posted by madasahatter View Post

First off let me say I do not agree or disagree with either side of the argument as of yet (in terms of electric solid body guitars) because there is very little true scientific data to support either side. I go by if it sounds good to my ears it works for me no matter what it's made of. The one thing I do agree with is that wood type DOES affect the sustain of a guitar to a degree. Many factors contribute to sustain and wood is one of them. In terms of wood it deals with the density and ability to sustain string vibration. Denser species will will contribute to longer sustain because the denser the wood the better it's ability to sustain sonic vibrations, and this has been proven.
IMO there are so many factors that can kill sustain, that body wood type might be a secondary factor, especially since the majority of notes depend more on the neck wood and construction rather than the body wood. Also sustain is a function of string number and fret position as well. A mahogany fixed bridge might sustain better on 14th fret G, bend one full note, but a basswood might sustain better on G 5th fret harmonic. So for in order to measure if wood makes any difference then we have to have *identically constructed* instruments, same hardware, same scale, same exact construction, same exact offsets and measurements and then measure exactly the sustain on all strings/frets/bend-or-normal. Then one could figure out which one sustains better overall, and which one fits his/her most common playing patterns , e.g. one could be interested on the higher register, some other on the middle, some other on open notes.

A very nice article dealing with sustain is this : https://www.unibw.de/lrt4/mechanik/m...r/deadspots-en

Last edited by panix; 07-21-2015 at 04:14 AM.
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post #85 of 86 (permalink) Old 07-21-2015, 09:21 AM
 
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Re: Why is Basswood considered low end wood when it is on great ibanez guitars???

LMFAO! After years of therapy, I have been convinced that Basswood is NOT a low end tone wood. My tone wood psychologists : Edward Van Halen, Steve Vai, and a couple others over the years, convinced me of this. I had been brainwashed by marketing techniques not known to me. My brain was convinced that just because a guitar was made from a particular wood, that it would have a certain tone. One day I played multiple guitars made of the same type of wood, and discovered that they didn't just sound different, but they also varied in weight. I nearly had a mental breakdown! This is when my life became very interesting. I began therapy immediately. I began to experiment with ear altering prescriptions from Dimarzio and Seymour Duncan. Then it led to other addictions like potentiometers and even capacitors. That went on for a while.(Paper in oil caps, WOW, that was a trip!) Thankfully this all happened before the invention of YouTube. I got to experience everything myself, first hand. I still have occasional relapses, and find myself drawn to a piece of tone wood because of a certain look or grain pattern that is appealing to me. I heard someone mention the tonal differences of finishes, (Poly, Nitro cellulose,) and I had to crank up the 100 watt Marshall in a small room to make my ears numb and ring. " This is meant for entertainment purposes only " I do not condone any of these tone chasing behaviors. These are the rants of a recovering tone chaser with a chronic case of G.A.S.

Last edited by Naked Ape; 07-23-2015 at 12:15 PM.
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post #86 of 86 (permalink) Old 07-21-2015, 11:47 AM
 
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Re: Why is Basswood considered low end wood when it is on great ibanez guitars???

basswood is a cheaper wood that is sustainable and also very easy to work with.This is also why it seems like some many Ibanez guitar finishes get chipped so easily,
Basswood is similar to poplar and paulownia. I think you'll see more companies move to use these because they will become cheaper alternatives to woods that come from slower maturing tress.

Paulownia can grown something like 15 feet in a year making it one of the fastest hardwoods to reach harvest size. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulownia

You can try a paulownia body from www.guitarmill.com or guitar fetish store.

I also really dig poplar and have a project jem with a poplar body. ernie ball and warmoth both use poplar for certain bodies
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