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It appears wood has little to no effect on tone.


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He’s not convincing me.  As you probably know, thicker strings sound warmer than thinner ones regardless of what the fretboard is made of. 

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29 minutes ago, xgsjx said:

He’s not convincing me.  As you probably know, thicker strings sound warmer than thinner ones regardless of what the fretboard is made of. 

What? Mr Myung is talking out of his rear end and my basses already do this? But he’s a renowned (for a value of renowned) bass player with a endorsement deal and everything. Ah, I think I see the light, or at least the 💰. ;) 

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1 hour ago, Steve Browning said:

 

I don't think that can be right. If that is so, then it's possible for a 175 to sound exactly like a Les Paul. If we are saying the material has no effect then how does construction? The pickup has no idea it's attached to a large hollow body, any more than it knows it's attached to a solid lump of wood (or mahogany/maple sandwich).

has anyone ever put strat pickups in the correct position on a les paul with a strat tremelo bridge?

 

that would be worth listening to.

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18 minutes ago, tegs07 said:

has anyone ever put strat pickups in the correct position on a les paul with a strat tremelo bridge?

 

that would be worth listening to.

The concept was clearly investigated…

image.jpeg.37ae4d0f7f57cbb36cc61026fa2f93e6.jpeg

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5 minutes ago, ezbass said:

The concept was clearly investigated…

image.jpeg.37ae4d0f7f57cbb36cc61026fa2f93e6.jpeg

well i guess if it sounds like a strat rather than a les paul there is a (definitive?) answer out there…

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On 16/05/2022 at 09:48, BigRedX said:

 

All about construction rather than the actual woods.

I’ve had more than one vintage guitar lover point out that it’s the dryness of the wood.  Again, just one ingredient in the stew, in my humble opinion.  

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On 17/05/2022 at 21:23, Marcray said:

I’ve had more than one vintage guitar lover point out that it’s the dryness of the wood.  Again, just one ingredient in the stew, in my humble opinion.  

Just like audiophiles hearing their silver connector cables wrought by Elven Smiths in the light of the full moon. 

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Has the effect of placebo on tone been considered? An instrument may just be the sum of its parts but if someone really believes it sounds better and it gives them confidence they will most likely play it better. 

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17 minutes ago, tegs07 said:

Has the effect of placebo on tone been considered? An instrument may just be the sum of its parts but if someone really believes it sounds better and it gives them confidence they will most likely play it better. 

That's a good point.  My thinking is that although it seems wood has little to no effect on tone, it does have an effect on the playability of an instrument.  I still plan on having a nice £2k+ bass, not because it may or may not sound different from a decent £6-700 bass with the same pickups, but because hopefully more attention to detail will have went into it, giving a pro quality playability and feel as well as being comfortable.

 

I know that it's not a given with all higher priced instruments, which is why I'd likely be looking at the smaller companies.  If I had the funds, it'd be a Ritter.  🤑

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, xgsjx said:

That's a good point.  My thinking is that although it seems wood has little to no effect on tone, it does have an effect on the playability of an instrument.  I still plan on having a nice £2k+ bass, not because it may or may not sound different from a decent £6-700 bass with the same pickups, but because hopefully more attention to detail will have went into it, giving a pro quality playability and feel as well as being comfortable.

 

I know that it's not a given with all higher priced instruments, which is why I'd likely be looking at the smaller companies.  If I had the funds, it'd be a Ritter.  🤑

Good luck. Ritters are visually very interesting and unique. Speaking of which I guess semiotics also play a part. The contestants on The Appreciate may be tools a lot of the time but with the clothes and right surroundings appear convincing. The same can be said for a musician. Malcom Maclaren may have been detrimental to The Sex Pistols in that he didn’t appreciate the strength of the songs and they had a core of competent musicians. But he did understand semiotics and marketing.

 

Edit: What’s this got to do with tone and wood? How good an instrument sounds may depend on far more than just what its made of. Im sure there are studies out there where people judge the sound of an instrument as being better if they know it’s a famous make. Violins being a good example. There are also cases where world famous classical musicians busk underground railway stations and people walk on by.  This maybe because people are busy and absorbed in the humdrum it may also be that without all the signals of success, power and theatre the music and musician is diminished.

 

Without a grasp of semiotics Hitler would have been just another bitter, twisted nut job ranting at passers by. 

Edited by tegs07
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1 hour ago, xgsjx said:

That's a good point.  My thinking is that although it seems wood has little to no effect on tone, it does have an effect on the playability of an instrument.  I still plan on having a nice £2k+ bass, not because it may or may not sound different from a decent £6-700 bass with the same pickups, but because hopefully more attention to detail will have went into it, giving a pro quality playability and feel as well as being comfortable.

 

I can most definitely relate to this. When I got my first really good bass - an Overwater - the step up in playability was massive. I then realised that any short-comings in what I was able to play and how I sounded would be entirely down to me and not the instrument.

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3 hours ago, xgsjx said:

That's a good point.  My thinking is that although it seems wood has little to no effect on tone, it does have an effect on the playability of an instrument.  I still plan on having a nice £2k+ bass, not because it may or may not sound different from a decent £6-700 bass with the same pickups, but because hopefully more attention to detail will have went into it, giving a pro quality playability and feel as well as being comfortable.

 

I know that it's not a given with all higher priced instruments, which is why I'd likely be looking at the smaller companies.  If I had the funds, it'd be a Ritter.  🤑

Maybe I’m missing the context of your point, but the choice of wood, does seem to be a factor in the sound characteristics of the instrument.  In the last couple of years I bought a nice Serek bass.  I was very happy with it, but experimented with the pickup choice that Serek themself offer.  When I changed the pickup, the basic sound characteristics of the bass remained the same, the spectrum of adjustment widened with the upgraded pickup.  
 

This is why for me personally, I’ve ended up keeping only the basses that have a certain resonance acoustically that I could hear amplified when plugged in.  This was a completely unconscious decision.  🙂

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4 hours ago, tegs07 said:

Im sure there are studies out there where people judge the sound of an instrument as being better if they know it’s a famous make. Violins being a good example. 

 

 

Acoustic instruments do have differences in tone depending on their build material. That isn't the point of this post. It's solid bodied instruments that the o.p. is talking about.

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Having owned a very wide range of basses and also acoustic guitars, I think there is one common thread. Some instruments feel and sound sterile, or boring, or whatever. Others inspire you to play better because of the feedback you get and the response you get from subtle changes in your playing. I am convinced that each instrument has, for lack of a better work, a personality. Why else do some of you own several P basses? That personality is down to a combination of design, electronics, body and neck construction, strings, etc, plus some intangibles. Otherwise, why can you play two identical solid-body basses and they feel and/or sound different?

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There's an interesting study relating to this here:

https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1944/14/18/5281/pdf?version=1631608918

I haven't looked though it in detail but it seems to show different responses at different overtones for ash and walnut bodies on an electric guitar, and more sustain for the ash body. From the conclusion:

"This study confirms that the elastomechanical and acoustic properties of the material
used for the solid body of an electric guitar also affect the acoustic properties of the
instrument."

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If i am looking for a bass, the tone wood claims or counter claims would not influence my choice. if i liked the sound and it felt good to play and i liked the look of it. that's it. The reality for me is that i only have two basses that i tried before purchase and the others i bought on line and they sound great. The reasons they sound different is a combination of far too many things for me to be able to isolate and properties of the construction woods. YMMV

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9 minutes ago, JoeEvans said:

There's an interesting study relating to this here:

https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1944/14/18/5281/pdf?version=1631608918

I haven't looked though it in detail but it seems to show different responses at different overtones for ash and walnut bodies on an electric guitar, and more sustain for the ash body. From the conclusion:

"This study confirms that the elastomechanical and acoustic properties of the material
used for the solid body of an electric guitar also affect the acoustic properties of the
instrument."

 

A sample size of one for each type of body renders this "study" scientifically meaningless. All it proves is that these two different bits of wood sound different.

 

For it to be worthwhile not only do they need to show consistent differences between multiple bodies made out of the same two species of wood, but the bodies made out of the same species of wood should sound the same.

 

As I have said before it very easy to make two solid wooden bodied electric instruments sound different. 

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5 hours ago, Marcray said:

Maybe I’m missing the context of your point, but the choice of wood, does seem to be a factor in the sound characteristics of the instrument.  In the last couple of years I bought a nice Serek bass.  I was very happy with it, but experimented with the pickup choice that Serek themself offer.  When I changed the pickup, the basic sound characteristics of the bass remained the same, the spectrum of adjustment widened with the upgraded pickup.  
 

This is why for me personally, I’ve ended up keeping only the basses that have a certain resonance acoustically that I could hear amplified when plugged in.  This was a completely unconscious decision.  🙂

Watch the first video in the thread (if you haven’t already). It shows a $100 guitar sounding identical to a custom built one when the pickups & strings are the same.

I’m still looking for any that prove otherwise, but so far I’ve found nothing. 

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1 hour ago, JoeEvans said:

There's an interesting study relating to this here:

https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1944/14/18/5281/pdf?version=1631608918

I haven't looked though it in detail but it seems to show different responses at different overtones for ash and walnut bodies on an electric guitar, and more sustain for the ash body. From the conclusion:

"This study confirms that the elastomechanical and acoustic properties of the material
used for the solid body of an electric guitar also affect the acoustic properties of the
instrument."

But this says otherwise…

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Apologies if this one is already in the thread but I thought this was quite a good one as these things go , I thought  that the different woods did sound different or was that what I told myself ??, jurys still out for me but I do know 2 seemingly identical basses can feel and sound different

 

Edited by spencer.b
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Posted (edited)
On 14/05/2022 at 07:54, xgsjx said:

This popped up in my YouTube feed & although it’s a guitar, I don’t see why bass would be any different.

 

So are expensive basses really about a more comfortable neck & visual appeal?
 

 

I thought re. the bit around 5 mins that the partscaster sounded way less resonant and didn't have the frequency range of the Anderson but the 2x4 sounded very similar to the Anderson , suggesting fretwork and neck joint contact plays a big part??

Not sure what the air guitar bit added to the discussion as it did effectively have a body cos of the contact points, I thought it did sound different, less focused maybe

Edited by spencer.b
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32 minutes ago, spencer.b said:

Apologies if this one is already in the thread but I thought this was quite a good one as these things go , I was surprised that the different woods did have the characteristics they're supposed to , jurys still out for me but I do know 2 seemingly identical basses can feel and sound different

 

My ears are 100% cloth; I heard no difference between any of the comparisons. I could not tell, if played back blindfold, which body was which. :$

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3 hours ago, xgsjx said:

Watch the first video in the thread (if you haven’t already). It shows a $100 guitar sounding identical to a custom built one when the pickups & strings are the same.

I’m still looking for any that prove otherwise, but so far I’ve found nothing. 

As someone who has made a career of using software instead of instruments, I do understand that.  I think the video is right on.  For me personally (personally being a very important word here), I need that resonance or the instrument feels dead in my hands and I’m uninspired to play it.  Which speaks to what I believe is the most important part of sound, the player.  

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, xgsjx said:

Watch the first video in the thread (if you haven’t already). It shows a $100 guitar sounding identical to a custom built one when the pickups & strings are the same.

I’m still looking for any that prove otherwise, but so far I’ve found nothing. 

Doesn't sound identical to me 

Edited by spencer.b
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