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What's the difference between Ash and Swamp Ash?

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Does anyone know if one is 'better' than the other?

I ask specifically because some Lakland Skylines are made of Swamp Ash and others of just plain old Ash

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I’ve worked with a lot of ash and it’s a very nice wood, probably one of my favourites , it’s got a nice grain and a very straight grain, that’s why it’s used for necks , the grain on swamp ash is not as dense as it grows in wetlands, The wood database is always a good source of information https://www.wood-database.com/swamp-ash/

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7 minutes ago, Reggaebass said:

the grain on swamp ash is not as dense as it grows in wetlands

Does the water content mean that the Swamp Ash grows more in the same period leading to it being less dense? I would have thought that the "wetter" wood would be heavier.

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Just now, TheGreek said:

Does the water content mean that the Swamp Ash grows more in the same period leading to it being less dense? I would have thought that the "wetter" wood would be heavier.

Not once it's dried out. It has a higher water content, so the same volume of wood weighs less.

/amateurscience!

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1 minute ago, TheGreek said:

Does the water content mean that the Swamp Ash grows more in the same period leading to it being less dense? I would have thought that the "wetter" wood would be heavier.

If I remember from my college days 🤓, When a tree grows in water or wet conditions the structure is constantly full of water so it  doesn’t grow as tight grained as it would above ground or in hot conditions 

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2 hours ago, Reggaebass said:

I’ve worked with a lot of ash and it’s a very nice wood, probably one of my favourites , it’s got a nice grain and a very straight grain, that’s why it’s used for necks , the grain on swamp ash is not as dense as it grows in wetlands, The wood database is always a good source of information https://www.wood-database.com/swamp-ash/

Is ash a common wood for necks? Must admit I’ve no recollection of playing a guitar or bass with one, although maybe it’s used on more boutique instruments than I’m used to?!!

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, casapete said:

Is ash a common wood for necks? Must admit I’ve no recollection of playing a guitar or bass with one, although maybe it’s used on more boutique instruments than I’m used to?!!

Not particularly common, although Fodera and Wood & Tronics do use it. Matt Garrison’s and Janek Gwizdala’s basses had/have Ash necks. 

With regards to the OPs question, swamp ash is typically lighter and yes, the tone is generally perceived as different. Some makers tend to favour one, some the other, or use one or the other for a specific type of tone.

Edited by 4000
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Swamp ash is any of the 40+ species of tree that are described as "ash" that has been grown in swampy conditions.

As others have said the wetter growing conditions tend to make the wood less dense once it has been dried out ready for use. Whether it makes any predictable difference to the sound of an instrument is debatable since there are too many variables within the category of "swamp ash".

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10 hours ago, casapete said:

Is ash a common wood for necks

You’re right, it’s not common but as 4000 says some builders do use it, there are some nice acoustic guitars made from all ash , here’s a nice one 

A4814094-27C7-46BB-8613-A17C147C95FB.jpeg

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9 minutes ago, Reggaebass said:

You’re right, it’s not common but as 4000 says some builders do use it, there are some nice acoustic guitars made from all ash , here’s a nice one 

 

I can't comment on how common it is. But according to the guitar guitar website the bodies(not the necks) of all the Lakland Skyline series basses are made of Ash or Swamp Ash. 

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14 hours ago, Reggaebass said:

If I remember from my college days 🤓, When a tree grows in water or wet conditions the structure is constantly full of water so it  doesn’t grow as tight grained as it would above ground or in hot conditions 

Makes sense...

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I mostly use ‘Ash’ as opposed to swamp ash though a recent 33” scale build is off a piece of swamp ash and it sounds great...(single P pickup).  To me the difference in looks is swamp ash looks pretty much the same which ever piece you buys. The ‘Ash’ that I generally call UK or European ash can be tight grained and more ‘rippled’ giving a more middle range punch to a more open grained for a tight but slightly more open punch but swamp ash has a bit of a punch too and overall I prefer this sonic attribute of any ash over basswood or alder....I was at Frankurt’s trade show working some years ago and visited Mike Tobias’s stand. He invited me, as budding luthier, to try his basses, none of which delivered the sound I liked (as I had already started using ‘UK ash).  It wasnt’t until he brought out an ash body bass with a laminated top that I heard the sound I liked. It taught me a lot about different wood sounds.

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1 hour ago, mybass said:

I was at Frankurt’s trade show working some years ago and visited Mike Tobias’s stand. He invited me, as budding luthier, to try his basses, none of which delivered the sound I liked (as I had already started using ‘UK ash).  It wasnt’t until he brought out an ash body bass with a laminated top that I heard the sound I liked. 

I tend to feel the same about maple basses. 

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On 06/01/2021 at 15:06, casapete said:

Is ash a common wood for necks? Must admit I’ve no recollection of playing a guitar or bass with one, although maybe it’s used on more boutique instruments than I’m used to?!!

Here's one with a roasted ash neck that I worked on the electronics for a couple of years ago:

RAsh_back.jpg.79c9a9c6eab170da9d9e1721f770f475.jpg:

 

RAsh_backstock.jpg.bdb00695c7aa32050c566ea9426cdf45.jpg

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2 hours ago, Passinwind said:

Here's one with a roasted ash neck that I worked on the electronics for a couple of years ago:

RAsh_back.jpg.79c9a9c6eab170da9d9e1721f770f475.jpg:

 

RAsh_backstock.jpg.bdb00695c7aa32050c566ea9426cdf45.jpg

That grain is so nice 👍 

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The difference between bass and sea bass? Appropriately.

Or fried and pan fried?

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