Gutiar Woods - Alder or Basswood ???

Discussion in 'Bass' started by born2suffer, Jul 10, 2005.

  1. born2suffer

    born2suffer Guest

    I plan on buying a cheap guitar(as stated in the pick-up thread) and now I don't know what wood is better, alder or basswood.
    I read something here:

    but I still want to know what wood would be best for metal like Death,Lamb of God or Slayer ??

    I could get a Jackson JS series guitar with Alder body (Kelly or Warrior for me) which sound quite good (i have a dinky,but the CVR2 pick-ups kind of suck) :twisted:
    I could get a B C Rich Mockingbird 40 Lashes,Basswood Body:twisted:
    a Dean Vendetta 1.0,Mahagony body,alder neck,but I'd rather like a more aggressive design like the other guitars. :?

    So,any difference between alder and basswood ??
    help !!

    Thanx. :D
  2. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2005
    Home Page:
    Personally, for metal, I like the Jackson's if you're talking about cheap guitars. And particularly the Dinky and Kelly. And whenever it comes down to picking between and alder body or basswood, I choose alder every time. It has a tigher grain and to me it sounds more resonant and offers more sustain.

    I'm wondering why you don't upgrade the Dinky by dropping in a Duncan Pearly Gates at the bridge. Or have a shop install a set of active EMG's for you. I love the Dinky as a cheap metal guitar. Especially the Dinky Reverse. But the Kelly is a really decent buy as well.

    I've never liked the sound of the cheap BC Rich guitars, but that's just me. A lot of guys love them. The "made in NJ" Rich's are a different story though and sound awesome IMO.
  3. born2suffer

    born2suffer Guest

    the problem with my Dinky is that it has a Floyd and the fuckin cheap licensed thing keeps detuning,and I live nowhere near someone who could adjust it.I want a fixed bridge and if I get a new one I might as well change the style.I am a huge fan of Chuck Shuldiner(R.I.P.) so I'd like the Warrior .. I also think that the Alder sounds damn nice,it resonates fine on acoustics .. I guess that is it with the B C Rich guitars for me ... the site also suggests Basswood to be less resonant .. plus I like the Jackson guitars coz they're really solid..
  4. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    Sep 10, 2000
    To answer your question ...

    Generally, alder is a better body wood. HOWEVER ... I wouldn't let the differences in body wood be your deciding factor. There are many other factors that can make or break a guitar, especially when it comes to inexpensive guitars. How does it sound? How does it feel? Does it stay in tune well? Does it pick up interference easily? How is the fit and finish? How is the action? Is it comfortable to you when you play it? etc, etc, etc ...

    Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but the impression that I get is that you are a younger player, on a tight budget, and you want a new guitar that will look cool strung across your shoulder. Based on that impression, I'd just like to give you a little advice which will hopefully help ...

    Let's say you get your new guitar and you go to jam with some of your friends ...

    Scenario A) You show up with a cheap knock-off of your favorite guitar hero's multi-thousand dollar axe. It's some boring color, it's very obviously the cheapo version, and when you plug it in, nobody is particularly impressed.

    Scenario B) You show up with a gorgeous, quality instrument that lights-up all the eyes in the room. You plug it in and it sounds like a fine musical instrument. All your friends are envious.

    Most guitarists would obviously choose the latter scenario.

    There are a lot of companies out there building some NICE guitars that you can get for a steal. When it comes to being on a tight budget, "bang-for-the-buck" is of utmost importance. Shop wisely and you will find that you can set your sites much higher than you are now. Here are some very good examples: (comes in a SWEET red!)

    These are just a few examples of some of the great bargains currently on the market. Don't accept mediocrity for your hard-earned money!

    Cheers :)

    Michael (SOS)
    Guitar Teacher
    Founder and former moderator of this Guitar/Bass Forum
    Former site administrator
    Long-winded bastard

  5. born2suffer

    born2suffer Guest

    thanx for the advice ..
    unfortunately it came a little late .. I already got my B C Rich Mockingbird Forty Lashes.I got it for a bargain price,instead of the usual price of 330 euro in german,I got it for 220.I read that basswood absorbs mids and stuff like that,but the guitar sound no worse than my alder Jackson JS30.I am currently waiting to get my DiMarzio X2N,a pick-up I chose,because it suits my playing style aka. metal.
    Those guitars you showed me have one disadvantage : they are not available in europe generally there are less bargains like that(good quality,I mean)..
    Now that I am speaking to a pro,could you please answer me how to wire the pick-up when I get it ? is it enough to plug the wire in as it is now ? or do I have to re-wire the thing ? I have nobody to wire it,as I come from Romania and the nearest guitar shop is 600 km away .. so I need to do it myself.
    thanx for the help.
  6. Rider

    Rider Guest

    dang those are some sweet looking guitars man. BC rich are some decently built axes, from what my impressio nis playing on them at guitar center. pretty solid construction.

    as for wiring, it should be pretty close to what you already have in it, but i would suggest unless youve done soldering a good bit before to ahve someone else do it. else you will end up with these enormous clumps of solder (like when i did my squire years ago, heh).

    if anything, take a picture of the current wire setup, in case something goes wrong, youll know where everything should go.

    you might be able to get a schematic of the wiring for your guitar and compare it to the new pickup.

    let me know how the pickup sounds, i havent had much experience with dimarzio pickups. all i hear about is emg for playing metal.
  7. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    I've always liked the sound of mahogany. Like those old Gibson Melody Makers from the 60's. It's cheap wood but it always seemed to add a nice growl to the tone.
  8. twon

    twon Guest

    i agree with pez. my guitar is solid mahogany and sounds real nice.

    but then again it is a gibson sg.....
  9. Mario-C.

    Mario-C. Active Member

    Nov 17, 2002
    Mexico City
    Home Page:
    alder is great when you need that kind of sound, but that wood has such a distintive sound it can almost get in the way, at least in my experience, you can get those classic vintage strat sounds with alder in a second, but I have to fight my alder guitars a bit more when I want more variation, not to say it sucks of course, it sounds great ... basswood is a more neutral sounding wood to me, a little boring as well, mahogany sounds great to my ears, it has more mojo ...

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