Midrange and midboost -- Mahogany or Swamp Ash/Ash?

Mapleg4

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I've been reading a lot of guitar websites to find out which type of wood that has the best midrange and sounds the best with a midboosted amp and passive pickups: Mahogany or Swamp Ash or Ash?
 

Shmoopie

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what neck wood? that makes the most difference.  i suggest wenge, walnut, bubinga, or purple heart. 
 

Mapleg4

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Schmoopy said:
what neck wood? that makes the most difference.  i suggest wenge, walnut, bubinga, or purple heart. 

How is Maple compared to these woods? I'm thinking of a Carved Top Solist body. With a flame maple top.
 

jackthehack

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Maple is brighter and as far as I know, swamp ash isn't offered as a neck wood.

If you're looking to emphasize midrange, mahogany's a great choice. Rosewood or wenge would work as well.
 

Mapleg4

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jackthehack said:
Maple is brighter and as far as I know, swamp ash isn't offered as a neck wood.

If you're looking to emphasize midrange, mahogany's a great choice. Rosewood or wenge would work as well.

I've been considering a mahogany neck and body.
 

jackthehack

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Don't be afraid to order that with an exotic laminate top on the mahogant body; adds pizzazz, won't affect tone....
 

-CB-

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Mahogany.... if you like, prefer, or can stand a bit thicker profile, that will help things too.
 
G

guitlouie

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Mahogany has long been considered THE wood for mids.  According to this board, though, Black Korina is another mid-range growler.  I still don't know if you meant for the body or neck, though.
 

JR

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i would go mahogany personally, Just because im a fan of that gibson tone, sg style mo fo.
 

SkuttleFunk

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Mapleg4 said:
I've been reading a lot of guitar websites to find out which type of wood that has the best midrange and sounds the best with a midboosted amp and passive pickups: Mahogany or Swamp Ash or Ash?

Swamp Ash and Ash are one and the same tree. The difference is purely marketing hype loosely based on the weight after it's been dried. When the logs come to the mill they are all purchased as Ash ... when the "inferrior lighter stuff" is culled for the furniture industry, they mark it up and sell it to the instrument industry as a niche product. Not all Swamp Ash grew near (or in) a swamp - raised areas with artesian springs and high ground water content can produce trees that are just as light as those that grew in a low lying area. Even more important to recognize - the density of wood within a tree will vary, sometimes significantly, leaving wood cut from one section marketed as Swamp Ash while the next section up the trunk is marketed as regular ol' Northern Ash


A few insignificant (based on quantity growing in the wild) species of Ash tend to be lighter than others, but it is quite near impossible to discern which is which when looking at a body blank of Black Ash, Green Ash, and Norther Ash.

all the best,

R

 

jackthehack

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Maybe I'm confused/mis-informed, but regardless of the wide variety of names given to even the same species of ash I thought that "swamp ash" was ALWAYS black ash. White ash is harder (like the "hard ash" you occasionally see a Warmoth body made of?), tends to be heavier and has a tighter grain, that's what they make ash baseball bats from.

At any rate, it's the neck wood that makes most of the difference, and haven't seen ash offered as an option....
 

SkuttleFunk

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nope - Swamp Ash is purely a marketing weight designation by most of the wholesale companies. a few small specialty suppliers will sell you Ash by the sub species, but expect to pay prices far beyond the standard market price - pricing high enough that a large scale operation like Warmoth could not afford it


If you'd like, I can refer you to a friend who has his doctorate in forrestry (wood identification and resource management) - and for his figured wood supply business he purchases Ash by weight range since it is not possible to order by sub species (the mills do not know which sub species of Ash they receive since the leaves and branches are removed at the logging site where all species grow together)

unless they have some unusual arrangements with their supplier, Warmoth purchases Ash by density range (the lighter "culled" wood is more expensive because they are asking for it specifically) and does not specify their order on sub species (which would require the wholeseller to have a lab certify which sub species a specific tree belongs to since it cannot be determined visually once the leaves and bark have been removed, a costly and time consuming undertaking I'm sure you can agree)

all the best,

R
 

ibob74

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Can they not identify the species from the logging location? Hard Ash (Northern), Swamp Ash (Southern)?
 

Shmoopie

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i just had a marketing epiphany. take regular ash, and market it as super rare, heavy swamp ash.  no one will think twice.  :doh:
 

SkuttleFunk

Senior member
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many custom bass builders build necks from Ash and Alder - this is acceptable amongst bassists (who are generally open to new things) but frowned upon by most guitarists what are looking for a traditionally made Strat or Les Paul.

while not a traditional neck wood like hard Maple, they both work quite well if you understand the wood properties and make stiffness/density adjustments accordingly. for my Alder necked basses I include a pair of graphite stiffening bars to firm things up. I prefer not to work with Ash due to the need for all of that grain filling prior to finishing ... I suspect that the grain structure of Ash and the added work when finishing it is the major reason why you don't see it more often in instrument necks

all the best,

R

 
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