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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, before anyone get's upset, I tried the search feature here but it just kept taking me back to the same original list of topics which didn't address my question. So if this has already been belabored to death here (and I'm thinking it might've been), I apologize. I'm new to JEM's and currently am in the beginning stages of looking to buy my first one. I'd also like to add that this site is by far the best source of information that I've found on the subject. So why did Steve and/or Ibanez make some of their bodies in Basswood in the beginning, then go to Alder and now I see that they're going back to Basswood again? What's the deal? Is it a struggle between weight and tone or what? Thanks for you time and patience with a newbie.
 

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Different woods for different sounds, it's as simple as that. Pretty much the same reason Vai has more than one signature pickup. It's all about the variety.

Rock on!
 

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Different woods for different sounds, it's as simple as that. Pretty much the same reason Vai has more than one signature pickup. It's all about the variety.

Rock on!
not quite.

Vai likes basswood. Vai likes good sound. Vai NEEDS light weight on stage.

Alder is a good sound, but incredibly light.

I have 1 basswood jem, and 1 alder jem. The basswood is about twice as heavy subjectively speaking. Sound similar enough, but the weight difference is kind of astonishing.
 

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If Vai NEEEDS light weight should they than not stay with Alder yet the 77 as well as the new Floral are Basswood.

I don't think it has anything to do with Vai at all. Alder is probably more expensive :)
 

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not quite.

Vai likes basswood. Vai likes good sound. Vai NEEDS light weight on stage.

Alder is a good sound, but incredibly light.

I have 1 basswood jem, and 1 alder jem. The basswood is about twice as heavy subjectively speaking. Sound similar enough, but the weight difference is kind of astonishing.
I think it was the guitar world September 93 edition where vai went into detail about selecting alder for the body wood of his new guitar. I'm fairly sure the sound rather than needing light weight was the reason mentioned.
 

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Has that guitar a "plastic sound" ?.....................NO
If you close your eyes could you tell it's a plastic guitar?.......................NO
Even if it was made of wood could you tell which wood?.......................NO

So what's the part of the wood in ELECTRIC SOLID BODY guitars?

Almost none or it's so small that our ears can tell which wood it has,there'd be only guessings.
Strings,pups,ampd and effects are probably 99% of the tone.
NOBODY in the world can listen to a ELECTRIC SOLID BODY guitar plugged into an amp with or without effects and tell which wood it has FOR SURE,again.....it'd be only a guessing.
Of course the story is different with ACOUSTIC guitars.

Am I wrong?
Ok so go to a guitar store,plug 10 unknow different guitars into the same amp and make a list with your guessings about their woods.
You could say -this guitar sounds like basswood to me,the seller would say it's mahogany and the manager would say it's alder.
Guessings.
 

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The weight aspect is dependent on the actual body you have. None will be the same, in fact they vary massively and as for basswood or alder being lighter that too depends on the body you are holding not alder or basswood.
 

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I always thought that it had something to do with the development of the Evolutions, the 7VWH is the only guitar to use alder as well as the only one to use Evos (all the rest use Breeds, Blazes or PAF Pros)

It's just a theory, I'd be interested to hear what Steve says about it...
 

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Has that guitar a "plastic sound" ?.....................NO
If you close your eyes could you tell it's a plastic guitar?.......................NO
Even if it was made of wood could you tell which wood?.......................NO

So what's the part of the wood in ELECTRIC SOLID BODY guitars?

Almost none or it's so small that our ears can tell which wood it has,there'd be only guessings.
Strings,pups,ampd and effects are probably 99% of the tone.
NOBODY in the world can listen to a ELECTRIC SOLID BODY guitar plugged into an amp with or without effects and tell which wood it has FOR SURE,again.....it'd be only a guessing.
Of course the story is different with ACOUSTIC guitars.

Am I wrong?
Ok so go to a guitar store,plug 10 unknow different guitars into the same amp and make a list with your guessings about their woods.
You could say -this guitar sounds like basswood to me,the seller would say it's mahogany and the manager would say it's alder.
Guessings.
I see what you're trying to say but I disagree. Sure, you may not be able to ID which exact wood is being used for X guitar-but does that mean you won't hear a difference? I've had the same exact pickups/electronics in a basswood and mahogany guitar. Night and day difference. Sure, there are differences in guitars of the same species of wood, but the differences will be to a lesser degree.
 

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I see what you're trying to say but I disagree. Sure, you may not be able to ID which exact wood is being used for X guitar-but does that mean you won't hear a difference? I've had the same exact pickups/electronics in a basswood and mahogany guitar. Night and day difference. Sure, there are differences in guitars of the same species of wood, but the differences will be to a lesser degree.
Still we all plug our guitars into amps which have equalizers so we change our guitar tones,at the end what you hear is 99% pups,amp and effects.So who care about those differences?We all use equalizers so if a wood is bassy or trebly we all always change it with our gear/amp equalizers ;)
Plus pups have their own frequencies so those differences you mentioned are more about gear than woods.
 

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When I get on my computer I will show you guys the video of steve vai talking about why he chose alder. (weight).

So combative for no reason, knock it off.
 

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I think it was the guitar world September 93 edition where vai went into detail about selecting alder for the body wood of his new guitar. I'm fairly sure the sound rather than needing light weight was the reason mentioned.
"In the past, I was never concerned about things like wood or the pickups or the sound of the tremolo. But I decided to find out what all these things contribute to the sound... Originally I had a basswood body, and I had them make me identical guitars with alder and maple bodies. I recorded all three and did the A/B test. What I noticed was that maple was very bright. The alder is a little warmer, and that is the one I like. The basswood sounds thinner."

Sound. Not weight.
 

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Basswood wasn´t a very often used wood for making guitar bodies before the jem appearence. Vai choosed it because he liked the sound consistency between different guitars (identical sound and weight when switching from one guitar to another on-stage or with the production line guitars).

The idea of developing an alder body for a Jem came when someone at ibanez designed an alder guitar for Eddie Van Halen. That guitar was at ibanez USA an someone thought that it would be taken as the initial idea for another Jem. DiMarzio made for Steve dozens of different pick-ups and he tried them whith different bodies and different configurations (direct mounted, pickguard mounted, floating trem, fixed bridge...) What finally came out was what we know as 7V WH.
 

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Interesting idea VY. Not calling you a liar by any means please don't take it like that but do you have a source? Interesting thread. Props to a new member who used search and then made a topic that is in fact valid! good work sir you earn a cookie!
 

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Still we all plug our guitars into amps which have equalizers so we change our guitar tones,at the end what you hear is 99% pups,amp and effects.So who care about those differences?We all use equalizers so if a wood is bassy or trebly we all always change it with our gear/amp equalizers ;)
Plus pups have their own frequencies so those differences you mentioned are more about gear than woods.
Just to let you know.....some of us choose our guitars by the woods they're made of. I personally do it to better emphasize certain characteristics of my amplifier. I fully respect your opinion, but please remember that many of us use very little signal processing gear. The less processing you use..... the more your guitars tone-woods will stand out.

"Plus pups have their own frequencies so those differences you mentioned are more about gear than woods." ........sometimes the gear is used because of the woods, not inspite if it.
 

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Interesting idea VY. Not calling you a liar by any means please don't take it like that but do you have a source? Interesting thread. Props to a new member who used search and then made a topic that is in fact valid! good work sir you earn a cookie!
Yes:

_ The EVH alder ibanez guitar history is told at the book: Ibanez, the untold story. Don´t have it by me now but I could post the exact pages tomorrow for those interested.

_ For the different combinations tried in the 7V WH developing there are lots of press releases over there, but I specially like the 1993 UK Guitarrist Issue where Steve speaks about the S&R album and at the end there is a 7V WH test report. Is the one with Peter Green on the cover. I can´t remember the exact number and the date but I can post it tomorrow too. There Steve speaks that during the A/B recording test he found the pickguard mounted pick-ups to sound better than the direct-mounted ones, against otherwise thought by everybody. He also didn´t found any sustain difference between floyd vs fixed bridge guitars. Finally he recorded the same thing with three identical guitars except for the wood as stated before in this thread and then he random listened to that recording not knowing which one of the three was sounding. He choosed the one he most liked and it turned to be... the one made from alder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for all of your responses although I didn't mean to cause such a stir! I may be new to JEM's but not electric guitars in general. As far as guitar bodies and the relation ship of whether or not the wood type affects the tone at the end goes, and whether or not you can "adjust it out" with your gear to get the sound you want, you might ask yourself why there are thousands of luthiers and guitar parts makers (ie: Warmoth, etc) who have several wood choices for the bodies, necks, and fingerboards. You have to ask yourself why all of these sources would offer such a variety of wood types if they had little or no effect on a guitars' tone. If that were true then they'd probably be making guitarbodies out of balsa wood and save alot of players backs. Just my $.02 worth, FWIW. Thanks again!
 

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Thanks for all of your responses although I didn't mean to cause such a stir! I may be new to JEM's but not electric guitars in general. As far as guitar bodies and the relation ship of whether or not the wood type affects the tone at the end goes, and whether or not you can "adjust it out" with your gear to get the sound you want, you might ask yourself why there are thousands of luthiers and guitar parts makers (ie: Warmoth, etc) who have several wood choices for the bodies, necks, and fingerboards. You have to ask yourself why all of these sources would offer such a variety of wood types if they had little or no effect on a guitars' tone. If that were true then they'd probably be making guitarbodies out of balsa wood and save alot of players backs. Just my $.02 worth, FWIW. Thanks again!
correctamundo on the balsa wood argument :D

Steve may have chose alder for its sound, but one of the design criteria for the 7vwh was it had to be light when he was throwing it around on stage all the time.
 

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Light is a seconday benefit of alder. It was choosen due to its sound. Basswood is also a light wood. I think lighter than alder.
 
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