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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can anyone tell me how each of this wood sound like?
Does the wood used really make a big difference in sound and tonal quality?

Cheers
:)
 

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Basswood vs Mahogany

I'm not a luthier or anything, but I've been playing for a long time and have owned tons of different guitars, and I think I may be able to give a little input here. Keep in mind that this is only opinion, and there are many, many variables involved such as pickups, neck scale, type of bridge, etc....
My personal feeling is that basswood sounds, well.....I think the word is "tighter". It seems to resonate quite well, and I have been told that this is because it is a rather open-grained wood. I think it has more high-end (treble) qualities than mahogony.
Mahogony, on the other hand, sounds to me like it's "fatter". It's tighter grain and greater weight seems to harken to the low-end and give it a nice classic-style "punch". Once again, this is opinion. But if you examine one of the most classic rock guitars ever built, the Les Paul, the body is mahogony topped with maple. I have been told that the maple is there to add a crisp, high-end tone.
Once again, only opinions. I'm sure there are many more folks out there who could add much more to the subject, and I sure hope they do.
The best advice is to go out and play them. I would sit down, dial in the amplifier, and not touch it. Maybe even set up an "a/b" pedal so you can switch guitars quickly and not loose the ear for the previous tone.
Once again, keep in mind the variables. Pickups, string guage, neck wood, amplifier, even different sizes and guages of picks can affect tone, at least to some extent.

Good luck picking one!!
 

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Basswood vs Mahogany

James,
Yes, wood type does effect tone. But it's hard to put into words the differences. I'll try.

Basswood: To me is more bright, but not overly bright. Rings well.
Mahogany: Very smokey. Great wood for heavy stuff. Does have that punch that Basswood does not.

But try them both out, I think the differences are pretty clear when you can hear them both...
 

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Basswood vs Mahogany

James

Yes, wood has a tremendous effect on the way a guitar sounds and behaves. The way we as individuals react to and interpret the sounds of different woods can range quite a lot... most tonal descriptions i've read are quite anecdotal, and no tonewood is really "better" or "worse" than any other... just different!

In my experience, basswood is a very "alive" sounding wood for guitar bodies. It has a very open, breathy kind of sound. Mahogany is a much heavier wood, and has a much more focused sound, with more prominent lower-mids than basswood.

If you want some more detailed reference, two places i look are Warmoth's description of the woods they carry for bodies and Tom Anderson's tone reference page.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Basswood vs Mahogany

Hey thanks a lot for the comments everyone!
:)

Actually i am looking for a 'fatter' sound ...something like LP... Looks like i will really need to try out mahogany guitars now

:D

Cheers
 

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Basswood vs Mahogany

I agree with a lot of the sound qualitites that everyone has previsouly posted, but here's a wrench in the works for you.

I have owned several Mohagany bodied guitars, although they sounded good, didn't quite have what I wanted. I went back to Basswood guitars exclusively.

I recently picked up two Mohagany bodied guitars, and played around with the pickup selections. Now that was the ticket.

The point that I am getting at is that you can play around with different combinations of woods and pickups until you find something that works for you.

Do not listen to people who tell you "that pickup won't sound good in that position or in a guitar with "that" kind of wood." It's all subjective. Why do you think there are custom made pickups (ie; Evo/Breed/Custom Custom.)
 

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Basswood vs Mahogany

A darned good way to put it. It is truly very personal. I just wish I wouldn't change my mind on how I want to sound every week or two!!
 

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Basswood vs Mahogany

Warmoth is good but they did not explain thoroughly all the woods that they carry for guitars.
Is there someone who knows a web site which described completely ( in detail ) all woods for guitars ?
 

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Basswood vs Mahogany

Hey Slug...
I don't think any of us want to get the exact same tone all of the time. That's why we need multiple guitars and amps!!!! At least that's what I tell my wife. :biggrin:
 

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Basswood vs Mahogany

From my experience Scott and Darren describe the difference well. I'm a fan of mahogany, but that might be changing. I cut my teeth on a 65ish Gibson SG Special, and really like my 540 LTD (also had an Explorer & Yammy SG2000 along the way). I now have a Pretige RG with mahogany & quilted maple cap, but I find it a bit stiff sounding. I also have an older RG570 which is either alder or basswood w/maple cap, and it seems to sing a bit more. I'm thinking that it's just too much heavy dense wood...the RG is a relatively thick body, maybe too thick to sound good with mohogany for me? I wonder if the direct mounted pickups contribute to what I'm hearing?
Greg
 

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I change my mind from month to month. Basically I think my ears become accustomed to something so I tend to stop liking things i once loved, so I will change my setup and be in love with this wood, this amount of gain one month, when it will be a different one the next. Im currently smokin mahogany. :) I dig it when its got maple on top more or sapele and also its just got the bottom end and punch that basswood just cant do.
 

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Just curious... why would you post in a thread that's been dormant for 10 months? You'd have to dig down preeeety deep in the forums to pull this one out! Bored?

I've got guitars with walnut, mahogany, basswood and alder bodies with maple/rosewood, maple/ebony, maple/maple and mahogany/carbon fibre neck/fretboard combinations, and each of them has a very distinct voice, even when played unplugged. Each of them also has different pickups and electronics, which further enhance their differences.
 

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Well...since the thread is active.... I'll say that I think playing guitars side by side unplugged is a useful way to get more input as to how the wood shapes it's tone. I really like the sound of my mahogony guitars unplugged, and noticed that most piezo-equipped guitars I've ever seen are made from Mahogony. But man, you crank the gain knob on an amp and everything changes. I do think the tightness of basswood sounds great with some high-output pickups and a high-gain amp.
 

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MidnightFlamed said:
I do think the tightness of basswood sounds great with some high-output pickups and a high-gain amp.
That's really interesting. "Tight" isn't an adjective i'd use to describe basswood... just goes to show you how everyone's perception of what is pleasing to their ear differs quite a bit.

I usually find harder, heavier woods are more "tight" sounding... maple, mahogany, walnut, ash... even alder has a bright snappiness that could be described as "tight". They tend to be very focused. Lighter woods like basswood and poplar tend to be a little more uniform, and i describe their sound more as "open".
 

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a wise man once said "talking about tone is like fishing about archetecture" Using one to relate to the other is a nearly impossible task.
 

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Well since im about the only one who does a forum search darren I was reading up a little on mahogany, sinch I just bought a mohog body rg, and wanted to read up a bit and then added my two cents to things. ;). I thought thats what we were suppposed to do instead of adding new threads :)
 

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I have no problem with reviving old threads... as long as they're on topic, relevant and mud-flinging... i'd prefer revisiting existing thread than making five new redundant ones :D

That said, other people here and at other forums tend to frown upon the process... no biggie either way :) ...glen
 

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I see...so, does that mean that mahogany has more of a "crunching" punch that basswood.

So that's why the K-7 is made of Mahogany, but with PAF pickups, to balance the tone?

Maybe that's the reason all the S-series 7-strings are made of Mahogany, cause if they were made of Basswood, the overall sound would be very light, due to the thiness of the body.

Just some reflections. :mrgreen:
 
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