Brazilian Ebony/Ebony over Swamp Ash too bright?

nini

New member
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Hey guys, been stalking these boards and the Warmoth site too long... I'm finally putting together an all Warmoth Tele and I've narrowed my choices down to a couple of options. I'm a sucker for dark and natural, of which there's one piece roasted swamp ash w/ clear satin and mahogany w/ trans amber satin finished bodies in the showcase that I'd like to pair with something along the lines of ebony over brazilian ebony or maybe ebony/pau ferro over wenge. I messed with the showcase images to get a decent idea of my choices and the most aesthetically pleasing one for me was the brazilian/ebony on the swamp ash body, but I'm worried this combination might be too bright overall and I may be pinned into going down the mahogany path. I wouldn't mind an all rosewood neck and I know Warmoth are cleared to ship it overseas again, but with the added cost of all rosewood, shipping to Australia, import duties and exchange rate, something like that is likely going to hit the wallet too hard.

I'd love to hear some opinions about this?

For reference I mainly play post rock/metal and a lot of ambient stuff (drowned in reverb/delay) and I've got a set of Bareknuckle Piledrivers waiting here to go in.

Here's a couple of the images I threw together:

Brazilian/Ebony on Swamp Ash


Same neck on Mahogany
 

stratamania

Senior member
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9,481
There is only one way you will know for sure and that is to build them. (Tonewood recipes are debatable on electric guitars in any case and no two pieces of wood are the same even from the same species.)

Brazilian/Ebony on Swamp Ash is unlikely to be brighter than say Roasted Maple neck/ Swamp Ash body which is a very common combination. And you also have tone controls on your amp.

If for some reason, later on, you wanted to buy a maple neck and a mahogany body you could then swap things around and have two guitars.
 

Cagey

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On the list of things that affect the character of an electric guitar's sound, the body is pretty far down the list. The whole "tonewood" discussion is really only pertinent when talking about acoustic guitars. That's not to say it has no effect, just that it's small. Same is true of "chambering" solid bodies. It's a weight-saving move, with its effect on tonal character being minimal. So, pick the body that makes you happy and call it a love story.
 

TBurst Std

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2,664
It shouldn’t be a brighter than an all maple neck on an ash body Tele.  Tons of those out there. 
The Tele I am building is a swamp ash body. The neck is all Brazilian Ebony.
 

musicispeace

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997
I've come to think of it more in terms of attack and bloom for the notes with guitar neck and fretboard combinations. At this point in time I don't give the body wood much thought on a solidbody. On the neck part I tend to feel that harder woods contribute to a steeper and less rounded attack and may (might) impact how much bloom you get from a given note. I thought I would be an ebony fretboard guy but that has not really turned out to be the case. I think I hear a crispness in the attack that I'd rather have more roundness in. I have one all Bubinga neck that I like a lot and describe it as making things a little rounder than a maple neck but still on the expected bright/articulate side for a strat. I ended up liking an all roasted maple neck far more than I ever expected and liked the texture I was getting in the sound. My favorite fretboard is rosewood, in part because I think I hear a little more bloom in notes. All that said I know pickups make up a big part of what we hear and I tend to believe what you get out a given guitar is sum of all parts+player+amplification option chosen.
 

timezon3

Active member
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88
Totally off-topic here, but replying to musicispeace's comments about attack, I find that pick shape affects that tremendously.  If you're getting a sharper attack than you like, try out a super thick, super rounded pick, and it should tame it considerably.  I have a couple of Acetate Dugain Standug picks and they are real nice for making a soft attack, good for mellow, jazzy stuff.  I prefer a more traditionally shaped pick for rock.  The Dugains are pricey though - you could probably achieve something similar by getting a real thick dunlop and rounding the tip of it.

TZ
 

Logrinn

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3,597
^^^
This is very true and - it seems - often overlooked. The pick makes a huge difference in tone.
 

WindsurfMaui

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329

TBurst Std said:
It shouldn’t be a brighter than an all maple neck on an ash body Tele.  Tons of those out there. 
The Tele I am building is a swamp ash body. The neck is all Brazilian Ebony.

TBurst Std I'd like to hear about your ebony neck. Did you put a finish on it or is it natural? the feel compared to a satin maple neck or a roasted maple neck.

I don't like the color of the roasted maple neck but may get one to avoid spending for the finish plus getting a naturally feeling neck. Then I thought about a Brazilian ebony neck with a black ebony fretboard. I hope it would have the same feel as the roasted maple and a similar tone. So please give us any feedback on your tele Brazilian neck if you would. Thanks.
 

Cagey

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24,425
Brazilian Ebony is pretty dense stuff. I happen to know Tburst's neck weighs 2.2lbs, which is a LOT for a neck. Heaviest guitar neck I've ever handled, beating the previous 2lb record held by my Ebony over Bloodwood neck. In contrast, a typical Ebony over roasted Maple neck will weigh roughly 1lb. Doesn't sound like much, but ask your neck/shoulder about it after a couple hours on stage  :laughing7:

Any combination of very dense and/or very brittle neck woods is gonna be "bright". They don't absorb vibrations like other softer or more pliable woods do. So, what you'll end up hearing is pretty much just the strings and pickups, minus whatever the bridge eats. Along with that fairly level tonal character, you also get a lotta sustain for the same reason - there's little absorption of string energy, so they tend to ring longer. This can all be either good or bad, depending on your perspective.

The nice thing about a neck that doesn't try to be its own tone control is it leaves it all up to you. Given the right filters, you can make it sound like anything you'd like. You can always cut/shape whatever frequencies you don't like, but if the vibrations don't exist in the first place because the guitar itself is eating them, all the gear in the world won't create them for you.
 

TonyFlyingSquirrel

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4,274
And piggy backing on Cagey's comments, "
The nice thing about a neck that doesn't try to be its own tone control is it leaves it all up to you. Given the right filters, you can make it sound like anything you'd like. You can always cut/shape whatever frequencies you don't like, but if the vibrations don't exist in the first place because the guitar itself is eating them, all the gear in the world won't create them for you."

This lends well to active pickup circuits because they can be personalized quite extensively.  You see this applied more in bass guitars than regular guitars, but they work for a reason.
 

Cagey

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24,425
Especially these days when high-end modelers and other more sophisticated sfx/preamps exist that give you so much control it can be overwhelming.

There was a video on YouTube some years back when the AxeFx first came out where this very talented player sat down and played a buncha clips from a number of tunes through the Axe, a flat amp and a FR/FR speaker, each time changing presets on the Axe to suit whoever's style/whatever tune he was trying to emulate. Same player, same guitar, same preamp, same power amp, same speaker, and every one of the clips just nailed the original sound. It was eerie how accurate it was, and I'm sure it sold a lotta AxeFx units.

Been a while since I've seen it, and can't find it now, but I'd bet his guitar was one that didn't add/subtract frequencies.
 

stratamania

Senior member
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9,481
@Cagey you are probably thinking of Ketil Strand, only he did use different guitars. Here is part 1.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGSFb9nYFdo[/youtube]
 

stratamania

Senior member
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9,481
Cagey said:
No, that's not it, but it was very much along those lines.

What about this one I just found it.  Peter Autschbach

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIW4KGGp3Uc
[/youtube]

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAJfONBq89U[/youtube]
 

Cagey

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24,425
Sorry, swing and a miss. Again, along those lines, though.

The one I'm remembering played kinda like one of those "Top 50 All Time Hits" compilation album advertisements you used to see on TV 100 years ago, where they'd excerpt clips about 8-10 bars long from all those tunes, so you got a taste of what the collection consisted of. So, 2-3 seconds of a famous EVH tune, 2-3 seconds of Keith Richards, 2-3 seconds of Eric Johnson, 2-3 seconds of Aerosmith, etc.

It may have been pulled for copyright infringement reasons, and that's why I can't find it again. Shouldn't have, as the clips were too short to be anything but fair use, but YouTube can be funny sometimes.
 

TBurst Std

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That is who I was thinking of Ketil Strand. Here is part 3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEwxZsZqJbA

 

Cagey

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24,425
If that's not it, it'll do. I'm beginning to question my memory  :laughing7:
 
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