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

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1 hour ago, Ricky Rioli said:

I would like to hear a test where everything was the same....including the wood. Would they all sound the identical, or would there still be variation from one instrument to the next? 

Good point.

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I just brought my Ironwood (pau ferro) Stick to the best guitar repair/luthier on the East Coast (USA). While discussing the hardness of the wood, he said "It's pretty."

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Posted (edited)

This reminds me of stuff I was reading recently about whether different types and makes of tone cap make a difference.

This is from Jason Lollar, of Lollar pickups:

Quote

A constant discussion goes on about how caps made of different materials (oil-in-paper, ceramic, metal disc, etc.) sound different in guitar circuits. So, about 10 years ago, I wired up a rotary switch with 5 or 6 different caps from different manufacturers and made of different materials, all of which were measured on a meter to have the exact same capacitance rating. I wired the switch in to a Strat so we could switch from cap to cap and listen for any difference.

We had 6 or 7 people listening, and at first we thought we were hearing subtle differences. But as the test went on, we concluded that what we were actually hearing was differences in how the pick was hitting the string each time. When you are listening for subtle differences it’s easy to miss what variables are involved. Unlike in certain positions in amplifiers circuits – where the entire signal is run through the cap and amplified a million times, in a guitar tone control, the high end passes through the cap and bleeds off to ground, and is never heard.

This is similar to the point that @Ricky Rioli made above - there is no way the player can play the same thing exactly the same twice, so unless you can take account of the differences in playing each time it's not a good test.

If lots of different tests like that with different instruments and players show the same kind of tone for eachg wood, then that would be evidence. Do different people who claim wood makes a noticeable difference all say it makes the same difference?  I don't know, because the difference it makes is meaningless for what I do, I mean, I pick fretboard wood for looks FFS (I've got a paduak and two ebony fretboards, they look great).

Edited by adamg67
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I don't think humans will ever be the best judge. Too subjective. If someone tells me that I'm playing a maple neck, I may hear a maple neck even though it's rosewood. What people hear will always be coloured by what they want to hear and expect to hear.

Let a computer be the judge.

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Okay, I've just done my own test. 

Same bass.  Same amp. Same flat settings. Finger style in same position over pickup.

Only variable,  three glasses of Fitou in between.  It does actually make a difference to the perceived tone. Tomorrow evening, I  will repeat, but with a Montrachet and see what transpires.

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35 minutes ago, leschirons said:

Okay, I've just done my own test. 

Same bass.  Same amp. Same flat settings. Finger style in same position over pickup.

Only variable,  three glasses of Fitou in between.  It does actually make a difference to the perceived tone. Tomorrow evening, I  will repeat, but with a Montrachet and see what transpires.

Your selflessness in the pursuit of the truth is to be commended. Kudos, good sir.🍷

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I don't know very much about the physics involved, and I'm certainly no expert on tone.

That said a couple of things seem obvious to me.

As somebody else said, pickups aren't microphones. They aren't in any way directly picking up vibrations happening in the wood of the body or the neck. They are just detecting the vibration of the strings.

However, the strings also aren't vibrating in complete isolation from any other part of the instrument, wood or otherwise. The strings, bridge, body, neck and fretboard are all part of a system, so it's reasonable to suggest that to some extent (how much is debatable, but its probably minimal), resonant characteristics of the wood could alter the vibration of the strings, and thus have an impact on the signal chain.

To the very small extent that this is likely to be taking place, it stands to reason that it should probably be taking place the most where the strings are in direct contact with the wood. Which probably explains why fretboard wood seems to have a more noticeable impact than body wood.

One thing I can't understand, maybe someone knows - given that the material of the body should have minimal impact, why do hollow body basses all have such a characteristic sound? 

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1 minute ago, Vin Venal said:

 

One thing I can't understand, maybe someone knows - given that the material of the body should have minimal impact, why do hollow body basses all have such a characteristic sound? 

Because the hollow body has substantially less density than a solid body so absorbs more frequencies as it resonates in sympathy with certain frequencies. Typically higher frequencies are the easiest to absorb so will dissappear the quickest resulting in the darker tone associated with hollow bodies. 

Think of it like trying to soundproof a room. The higher frequencies are the easiest to remove with the lower frequencies persisting. 

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DeGier did this with a passive P type a while ago.

Anyhow. There was a sound variation between the body Wood types.

Have had this discussion so many times now I can’t be bothered.

That video with the slapping borders on useless...

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Posted (edited)

Given what we see on social media, I do think a more suitable discussion would be, do different brands of ramen sound different?

Edited by EBS_freak
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When there's a video with a load of basses made of the same materials which all sound the same, then we will cross the border into usefulness. 

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and there we go with the Density bull again

It's not the Density, it's the Hardness & Stiffness of the system.

The Harder the Hardware & the Stiffer the woods, the less tones get attenuated from the timbre.

 

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18 minutes ago, AndyTravis said:

here it is

Don't know about the wood, but the Evening Orchid/Burgundy Mist/Whatever it is Colour bass sounds and looks sweet.

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Isn't is likely that the interaction of all the components in a bass have some effect on the overall sound a bass makes?  But when I'm banging out Mustang Sally in the Dog & Duck I genuinely don't give a stinky poo :D

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5 minutes ago, Killed_by_Death said:

and there we go with the Density bull again

It's nice of you to put it so politely. 😘

6 minutes ago, Killed_by_Death said:

It's not the Density, it's the Hardness & Stiffness of the system.

The Harder the Hardware & the Stiffer the woods, the less tones get attenuated from the timbre.

 

 

Is density not related to hardness and stiffness? 

Surely it can be said the more dense the wood fibres are packed together, the stiffer and harder the wood becomes. 

Whatever way you want to pull apart statements, I meant that a harder/stiffer/denser(whatever) wood will absorb fewer frequencies. 

Sometimes I wonder if you're TimR in disguise. 

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Posted (edited)

I would love to listen, but all I can hear is what sounds like hundreds of bass guitars being launched down a staircase in quick succession.

Edited by wateroftyne
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1 minute ago, Maude said:

Is density not related to hardness and stiffness? 

If you were to build it from something more stiff & the same Density, you'd have less loss.

If you build it from something with more Density but less stiffness, you'd have more loss.

 

3 minutes ago, Maude said:

Sometimes I wonder if you're TimR in disguise. 

Was he flawlessly logical?

 

6 minutes ago, Maude said:

It's nice of you to put it so politely. 😘

 

It's just that SO many people think Density is the defining thing, it's just a by-product.

 

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What does an oscilloscope show in these different tests..? Anything visible, and objective, rather than just our ears and subjectivity..? Whilst typing this, I've had the previous video playing, with the three different body woods. Without seeing them on screen, they all sound the same, to me. B|

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7 minutes ago, wateroftyne said:

I would love to listen, but all I can hear is what sounds like hundreds of bass guitars being launched down a staircase in quick succession.

You’ll appreciate the video I posted most likely, decent playing at least - if not scientific enough for some.

 

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I'm ordering my next bass in balsa and I'm gonna slap someone with it. I'll post the results.

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Can someone do a video analysing threads on tone woods and see if the contents of the OP of each thread makes any difference to what gets posted in the thread? 

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5 minutes ago, StickyDBRmf said:

I'm ordering my next bass in balsa and I'm gonna slap someone with it. I'll post the results.

What grade of balsa..? Inquiring minds need to know... B|

Balsa Density, Grade and Grain ...

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From my experience of watching loads of YouTube videos (lol), I reckon wood does have an effect on sound but there's loads of stuff that has much more of an effect - pickups, strings, bridge, scale length would be a few. And I reckon if we're talking about wood, the fretboard wood makes way more difference than the body.

Personally I prefer a pretty bright sound, cuz you can always take frequencies away, but you can't add em in.

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