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For those who pretend tone doesn't come from wood...


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18 hours ago, Killed_by_Death said:

 

You don't actually want the wood to resonate, unless you like dead-spots.

If the body wood is soft, it will sap away the high-end frequencies.

If it's covered in 5 mm of finish, that also helps neuter the high-end.

 

Good point. I still maintain my point on the effect, but you're right, of course, it's resistance to movement we're looking for, not flexibility.  Interesting thought about the finish making a difference. So when I buy my cheap bass and rip off the 1.5mm of paint and lacquer. The paint the soft-wood body with 2 thin coats of Halfords best rattle-can, I've potentially wrecked it. 

Edited by Grangur
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Is one cause of the perceived difference between maple and rosewood fretboards how securely the wood anchors the frets? One end of the vibrating metal is held by a nice big bit of metal, the other end by a fleshy finger pressing it against a thin strip of metal. Does all fretwire go the same distance into the fretboard? Does harder fretwire make a difference to the crispness of the attack? 

At the other end of the string, what are the factors affecting how well the string is anchored to the body? The softness of the wood, how the bridge is seated into it? (Does G&L's bridge, which has a broad foot that sits in the body, mitigate the effects of using softer woods?) If you seated both the bolt on neck and the bridge into a single piece of steel, what would that do to the vibrancy of the string? And how many 10s of 1,000s of instruments would you have to test in laboratory conditions before you were able to put all these factors into an order of importance?

I'm very happy for absolutely none of these questions to be answered ;)

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15 minutes ago, Ricky Rioli said:

Is one cause of the perceived difference between maple and rosewood fretboards how securely the wood anchors the frets? One end of the vibrating metal is held by a nice big bit of metal, the other end by a fleshy finger pressing it against a thin strip of metal. Does all fretwire go the same distance into the fretboard? Does harder fretwire make a difference to the crispness of the attack? 

At the other end of the string, what are the factors affecting how well the string is anchored to the body? The softness of the wood, how the bridge is seated into it? (Does G&L's bridge, which has a broad foot that sits in the body, mitigate the effects of using softer woods?) If you seated both the bolt on neck and the bridge into a single piece of steel, what would that do to the vibrancy of the string? And how many 10s of 1,000s of instruments would you have to test in laboratory conditions before you were able to put all these factors into an order of importance?

I'm very happy for absolutely none of these questions to be answered ;)

Leland Sklar has all his basses fitted with mandolin fret wire. So he believes in the difference.

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12 minutes ago, oldslapper said:

Glad to be of assistance 😂

A pictorial representation of the inside of my head when I attempt to think of all the possible options available for all the factors affecting the vibration of a bass guitar string:

Brownianmotion.gif

 

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2 minutes ago, Grangur said:

Leland Sklar has all his basses fitted with mandolin fret wire. So he believes in the difference.

Let's put it this way: if you are good enough, you can use mandolin frets. They are not that easy or comfortable to play.

If you or he thinks the fret width is the key to a far better sound, please go ahead. This is like flatwounds are the ultimate, because James J. used them. You probably get my point, do you?

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I like thinner frets on a bass, but I’m more interested in Leland’s pickup positions on his Frankenstein P. I’d really like to be able to have a play on that. How there has never been a Fender signature bass recreation of that bass is beyond me, FFS Gibson did one!

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27 minutes ago, ezbass said:

I like thinner frets on a bass, but I’m more interested in Leland’s pickup positions on his Frankenstein P. I’d really like to be able to have a play on that. How there has never been a Fender signature bass recreation of that bass is beyond me, FFS Gibson did one!

Don't forget he also prefers the reversed P split.

The reversal makes sense to me. The Fender way of doing it exaggerates the treble in D & G, andthe bass in E & A

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44 minutes ago, itu said:

Let's put it this way: if you are good enough, you can use mandolin frets. They are not that easy or comfortable to play.

If you or he thinks the fret width is the key to a far better sound, please go ahead. This is like flatwounds are the ultimate, because James J. used them. You probably get my point, do you?

James Jamerson couldn't play like you or me either. We are who we are.  No I don't want mandolin wires either, but LS clearly believes it makes a difference. Can't tell you what that is..  I'll stick with standard wires that come with the bass. I have enough problems with those!

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I'm pretty sure there is a whole range of variables which affect the general sound of a particular bass guitar design (I too have noticed a slight difference with stainless steel frets - stainless steel strings definitely make a difference). 

Goimg back to the discussion a few posts back about rigidity of construction v resonance - my most resonance (perceived) is a natural ash Stingray 5 with a maple board - it is also the heaviest bass guitar I have - it's construction involves a six bolt neck joint and the body wood is covered with poly finish - the neck is finished with the finest coating of oil and wax finish (so is almost bare) with a thin matt coat of poly at the headstock. The construction is absolutely rock solid, yet acoustically the body of that bass is exceedingly resonant to the point you can feel the vibrations - if you hold the upper horn it resonates (vibrates) a lot - this is all acoustically. Plug it in and the tone and growl is fabulous - a number of other musicians (bassists and others) have commented on it - I have other similar basses which don't have this level of resonance or once plugged in, tone and growl (I believe the growl is partially coming from the resonance of the construction). 

Obviously basses which are neck through avoid the neck joint and may also behave differently as a result. 

I think the bass I've been talking about may just have a very resonant piece of body wood - I've attached a pic for reference...

image.jpeg.3ea28c08e07903007569582fc5d7d4a0.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Grangur said:

No I don't want mandolin wires either, but LS clearly believes it makes a difference.

In the playability (nuances etc.) or the sound? I may be talking about two different things in one sentence here.

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3 hours ago, Grangur said:

Interesting thought about the finish making a difference.

I'd urge anyone refinishing an instrument to consider going natural finish & just using a drying oil.

I doubt many play it while there's no finish on it, but if they did I believe it would convince them to leave it that way.

 

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1 hour ago, Killed_by_Death said:

I'd urge anyone refinishing an instrument to consider going natural finish & just using a drying oil.

I doubt many play it while there's no finish on it, but if they did I believe it would convince them to leave it that way.

Don't give in to half-measures; go all the way or not at all..! -_-

Wxh1wB9.jpg

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3 hours ago, itu said:

In the playability (nuances etc.) or the sound? I may be talking about two different things in one sentence here.

Leland Sklar is using mandolin frets because he says he can get a sound quite close to fretless. It's him saying that, not me.

I had a few basses with mandolin frets and I never heard anything coming close to a fretless sound...

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Maybe some people hear it and others don’t. My missis just throws her eyes up as I adjust the knobs on my bass and expound on the nuanced differences in tone. Says it all sounds the same to her. 
 

In saying that I think the electrics are what matter for tone but we all love the instruments that feel good. Different story with an acoustic instrument. 

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52 minutes ago, Killed_by_Death said:

Pickups & controls matter, but Johnny Bravo isn't going to magically transform his Basswood Squier into an instrument that sounds just like an Ash Fender by changing the pickups.

There's an awful lot of basswood Squiers out there that sound just fine. :|

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