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  1. #1

    Default Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    What are the tonal differences between these two woods.

    I'm curious because the next guitar I want is made from Basswood. I had to use my brothers Epiphone les paul copy for two songs at a gig and I hate to say it, but it actually sounded as good as my Jackson did. It didn't play as good, but it did sound good.

    It was very fat and crunchy, and I asume that the epiphones are Mahogany. If I'm wrong someone correct me . I want an Ibanez iceman and I'm just wondering how it would sound compared to the epiphone.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    You may want to do a search to see if anything turns up on basswood vs. mahogany, because I seem to recall a pretty lengthy discussion about this awhile back.

    My personal opinion is that it is *possible* to make a basswood guitar that will sound similar to mahogany, but I've also heard basswood that sounded similar to alder. Basswood doesn't have an especially unique sound of its own, so you're more dependent on the pickups. I've owned a few basswood Jacksons over the years, and the closest match to mahogany has been with PAF-style humbuckers, or other pickups with medium output and midrange emphasis.

    I think basswood is popular with some players because it's light and pretty flexible in terms of sound. The down side is that it is a softer wood that can be damaged easily, and can sound really muddy with the wrong pickups.

  3. #3
    Banned Douchebag Black Mariah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    AFAIK, the current Epi LP's are alder with a maple top. I think some of them did have mahogany at one point, but I'm not sure which models.

    Basswood blows. There is no way around it. It is too soft, and far too unpredictable tonally. I haven't ever played a mahogany guitar that wasn't chunky and warm, an alder guitar that wasn't midrangey, or an ash guitar that wasn't top-endy (inventing new words and terms here [img]graemlins/laugh.gif[/img] ). The only common thread in the basswood guitar I've played is a tendency to chip if you look at it funny. I do not like basswood, and you'll probably find very few that actually like it, let alone prefer it.

  4. #4
    Zzyzx RacerX's Avatar
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    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    About $400! [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

  5. #5
    Zzyzx RacerX's Avatar
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    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    (rimshot)

  6. #6
    Banned Douchebag Black Mariah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    What? Rimjob? Eew... [img]graemlins/puke.gif[/img]

    [img]graemlins/poke.gif[/img]

  7. #7
    JCF Member charvel750's Avatar
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    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    Tone is dependent on so many factors (pickups, amps, strings, effects, playing style, fingers, etc.) that body wood is only one of many variables. My finest Jackson (NAMM 94 and 1994-95 catalog Explorer) is made from basswood with a maple top, and it's got tone for days. It's list price in 1993 was no less than $3900 clams too! Somebody likes basswood!!!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    I really wonder why Ibanez made the Icemans out of Basswood in the first place. Were the originals that Paul Stanley had and the later ps10's basswood also?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    i have 2 models series charvels and which are basswood and sound amazing. i also have a jackson fusion xl which is basswood with a maple cap, and it sounds even better. and i have an ibanez roadstar II which is basswood and it to sounds great.
    basswood sounds great to me - much better than poplar.

  10. #10
    JCF (I have no life)Member zeegler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    Personally I would try to avoid basswood because of personal experience. The bridge posts on my Dinky started pulling through the wood less than a week after I bought it, and I returned it under warranty. Yes basswood is soft. Might as well make a guitar from balsawood.

  11. #11
    Banned Douchebag Black Mariah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    I have an Ibanez S series... thing. I'm not sure of the exact model. It's definitely basswood. You can tell from the fact that there's more chips in it than there is on my 25+ year old Iceman, and I don't treat my guitars that bad. It doesn't sound all that bad, but it's quite a bit more thin than any 10 pound guitar has any right to sound. Contrast that with the ash bodied Robin I picked up recently that weighs the same, has the same construction, and sounds much better.

    The older PS10's were mahogany, with maple caps. They're huge-ass bodies, so they end up weighing a ton. Mine's about 12 pounds. [img]graemlins/help.gif[/img]

  12. #12
    JCF Member mm2002's Avatar
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    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    I don't think mahogany weighs any more than basswood does it? Just to make sure it wasn't my imagination I just weighed my model 2 (basswood)and model 88 (mahogany). The model 2 weighs 1/2lb more. Granted the 88 is a dinky style but there's not that much "less" wood is there? Just out of further curiosity I weighed a 3DR (basswood) and it weighs almost exactly the same as the model 88 (plus it has one more pickup). hmmmmmmm [img]graemlins/scratchhead.gif[/img]

    edit: Oh, I must add, the model 2 sounds a lot better than the 88 in my opinion. I bought the 88 as a collector but I never have been happy with the tone, so it doesn't get played much!

    [ November 10, 2003, 06:49 PM: Message edited by: mm2002 ]

  13. #13

    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    Mah fuggin EBMM Axis is basswood, and it is very good. very heavy, and of all my guitars, is one of the most clear.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    The weight of mahogany can vary all over the place, depending on what part of the tree it came from. Tonally, you can't beat mahogany, it rules! Basswood sucks, the only thing it has going for it is that it's super cheap.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    no, they were mahogany. basswood is cheap, hence its use.

    sully

  16. #16
    JCF Member PowerTube's Avatar
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    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    I read a couple of years ago that Epiphone Les Pauls are made of whatever mahogany is available, while Gibson Les Pauls use strictly (gasp!) Honduran mahogany.

  17. #17
    JCF ADMIN toejam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    My Hamer Special FM is a nice slab Honduran mahogany body and set neck, 3/8" maple top. That's awesome tone! [img]graemlins/headbang.gif[/img]
    My Ibanez RG7620 7-string is basswood, and it's not really that much lighter than the Hamer, but it's tone is a little brighter but strange sounding to me. It seems like it's in between mahogany an alder, but I'm not that crazy about it. If you want a really light tonewood that just sings, go with swamp ash!! [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

  18. #18
    JCF Member mm2002's Avatar
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    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    Hey toejam...I was just looking at your avatar and wondering..shouldn't it be joetam ? [img]graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]

  19. #19
    JCF ADMIN toejam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    [img]graemlins/laugh.gif[/img] Should be, just changed the two letters around. Someone gave me the nickname in high school.

  20. #20
    JCF Member mm2002's Avatar
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    Default Re: Difference between Basswood and Mahogany

    [img]graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]

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