Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Can an ash body and maple neck REALLY make this much difference?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by DHart, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. trouserpress

    trouserpress Tele-Meister

    May 4, 2015
    swapping pickups takes too much time for the ears to remember. Get another twang king (second hand), new strings for both guitars and temporarily solder both neck pickups to the output jack. That would be great!
  2. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    Too many variables aside from the woods you're questioning Different pots, different neck pickups, bridges and their pickups, necks and so on to make a reasonable judgement about wood tone. I have built many Telecasters and can say that all parts were the same except the bodies and necks. One was ash and maple fretboard, the other was alder ( coloured) and and rosewood neck.

    All other parts were the same. I wish I knew how to post pics. The Ash/Maple was, to my ears, and it's new owner's, great. He is a real "Maestro" and described it as "phenomenal". His words , not mine.

    The other was a little more "warm" and I believe that ( clear lacquer) Ash bodied guitar was the best Telecaster I have made.
  3. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    I won't doubt for a moment that an Ash/Maple TELE can be a bit more "sparkly and bright" than an Alder/Rosewood TELE. I'd say that's perfectly possible, though the difference would likely be fairly subtle.

    Every Tele that I have has a distinctively different tone than each of the others - and I've got ten of them.

    In my case, though, I have the sense that the difference I'm hearing has more to do with the different neck pickups than with anything else - though the other differences between the guitars are also likely to contribute, in some small way, to the difference in tone.

    I simply must make some pickup changes just to see what difference I might hear. Even with the time required to make such changes, I would definitely notice a moderate change in tone - I'm very attuned to the subtleties of tone as I play in a very "clean" style. Both of these guitars sound great - they're just quite a bit different in their "brightness". Some folks would probably prefer the less-bright Twang King guitar. And others may prefer the brighter Lion King guitar. There is no right nor wrong here - just different.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
    Tonetele likes this.
  4. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    I agree DHart they all sound different. I was just quoting one of many builds where an Ash guitar really did sound better to our ears ( the client and mine).
    DHart likes this.
  5. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley
    It is well known that cherry burst is brighter and sparkles more than blue. Just puttin’ that out there. :D

    Seriously though...
    I have an alder strat (my original first fender guitar) and an ash strat. From the moment I strummed the ash strat, it just sparkled more... even unplugged. It’s the reason I brought it home after trying it in the store. I can’t tell you it’s the ash — as @tarheelbob posted, there’s a Lot of Things in that tone chain.
    Unplugged, ignoring the pickups & electronics, there’s strings, nut, neck resonance, bridge, saddles, body resonance.
    Some, or all of those are contributing to make my ash strat brighter, crisper and louder — unplugged — than the alder strat.

    Oh, and the ash is a sienna sunburst, so of course it’s going to sparkle more than the black alder! :cool:
  6. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI

    Twang Kings are machine wound?
    Lion King hand wound?
    That build process alone will make the internal capacitance different between the two which contributes to the muddiness/brightness metric if wound with the same wire to the same number of turns. However, they are probably vastly different in the wire+coating and number of turns designs.

    Get a way to record the tones for each test.
    Record baseline of both.
    Swap pickups, record.
    Swap pickups back, record (verifies no disassembly/assembly process issues involved)
    Swap loaded control plates, record
    Swap loaded control plates back, record

    Keep everything else you have as you have it. If the brightness does not travel with one of these swaps then you can dive into the rest of the guitar and the strings.

    If you put the recordings in Audacity (a free program), you can compare wave forms and frequencies. Don't touch the amp and make sure guitar controls are set wide open and don't get bumped while testing.

    DHart and El Tele Lobo like this.
  7. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Afflicted

    The same wood body and same wood maple neck can REALLY make a big difference.

    Untitled 1.jpg
    jim777 likes this.
  8. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's

    Oct 21, 2014
    This should be interesting
  9. PCollen

    PCollen Tele-Afflicted

    May 7, 2010
    Man of the World

    Hell yes....just as Keith:

    DHart likes this.
  10. Fenderdad1950

    Fenderdad1950 TDPRI Member

    Feb 4, 2019
    Your aged cherry burst is gorgeous, two thumbs up
    DHart likes this.
  11. JodanOrNoDan

    JodanOrNoDan Tele-Meister

    Jan 2, 2019
    Let the deniers deny. A lot of things can change the sound of a guitar, but it starts with the wood and ends with your hands. In my experience the wood makes a difference. All things equal maple necked guitars are brighter. My tele's are maple necks. I even have a couple maple necked LP's. Most of the time I prefer the brighter sound. When I need to cut through a mix I always use a maple necked guitar. I can always screw around with equalization but it is just a lot easier to just play the maple necks to begin with.
  12. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013
    Two guitars with different pickups, different strings, different electronics, and different bridges sound... different?

    Gotta be the wood, brah.
    jim777, fenderchamp, eallen and 6 others like this.
  13. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

    Oct 28, 2015
    Well, if you compare the tone of the two unplugged you should be able to get some clues. If they sound way different unplugged you know that at least some of the difference is in the wood/mechanical construction/bridge/saddles/frets/strings side of the confusion.

    Myself, I don't want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. When I have a guitar that sounds amazingly satisfying to me, NO EXPERIMENTS. Don't change any parts, just play it.
  14. WireLine

    WireLine Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 23, 2003
    Midland TX
    My latest venture has alder/rosewood...have 2 with this configuration and a couple with ash/maple. Yes, there is a distinct difference, one neither better no worse than the other.

    Of the 2 configurations though, I nearly always go for the alder/rosewood setups, as the tactile differences are remarkable. Rosewood, you are actually fingering the wood, maple you are fingering the finish
    DHart likes this.
  15. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Dec 27, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    The part of the amplified tone that is (potentially) affected by the guitar's body and/or neck may be subtle but can (potentially) add that little extra "something" to the edge of a guitar's tone that makes it sound sweeter and brighter or duller and more drab (assuming there is a difference and depending on the individual listening to it).

    I just got into a huge pissing match at another forum over this topic so want to make it crystal clear that I believe any views (regarding tonal differences relating to wood) are impossible to prove either way since the conclusions are based entirely on the subjective nature of human hearing.

    That said, what is not debatable is that the strings most certainly do interact with other parts of the guitar to various degrees, which is why I created the following thread (see link below) describing how I see the process working - although I'm NOT saying the results indicate any specific outcome (good or bad) - just that there is an interaction.

    And, despite obviously expounding some of my own views on the matter here and there, individuals are absolutely encouraged to come up with their own conclusions:

    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
    DHart and JodanOrNoDan like this.
  16. Miguel-martinez

    Miguel-martinez TDPRI Member

    Jan 14, 2019
    you can notice a difference between alder and mahogany but between alder and Ash i dont think so, specially if they also use rose wood for the fingerboard.
  17. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Dec 27, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    This is not proof, just an observation...

    I have a 1981 Carvin DC200 that is made entirely of maple (maple body / maple neck) and even before I ever heard of the concept of "tone wood" and that maple is considered to be a "bright" sounding wood, I noticed that this guitar was fairly bright.

    I've done several pickup changes and it consistently stayed quite bright. I even put nickel covers on the pickups (which is suppose to stifle some of the higher frequencies) and it is still bright.

    Like I said, not proof, but somewhat curious none the less...

  18. Brokenpick

    Brokenpick Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 29, 2008

    Good Lord, yes. There's so much at play here, that you can't even BEGIN to make a case for The Wood Tone routine.
    Different PICKUP??
    Different STRINGS??? and different AGE strings?????
    -Here's one for ya, how 'bout the screws holding things together on those "different wood" guitars? Guitar Tech friend of mine (who bailed from this forum years ago) used to do work on folks' guitars, and as part of his service, always went over the whole guitar appropriately torquing the screws. You'd be amazed what you find when you do that. If ya think wood or bridge materials might make some small (or large) difference, whaddaya think
    a neck not tightly seated in the pocket, or a bridge plate not tightly screwed down might do?
    This is silly. Next we'll hear that each guitar was played through different amps to exhibit the wood tone.
    Bob M and alnico357 like this.
  19. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Relax, man. You're going to be ok. :lol:

    String sets are both new, by the way.

    Not likely that the wood is accountable for the majority of the difference, but could play a very small role in the equation.

    I'm betting it's mostly the difference between the Twang King and the Lion King - especially since the Twang King has the 930k volume pot! ;)
    jim777 and AxemanVR like this.
  20. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Dec 27, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Of course the pickups don't "hear" the wood (or hardware) (or screw torque), but they do "pick up" the string's vibration, which undoubtedly interacts with the wood to some degree I assume.

    I mean, the strings are attached to the guitar, so their vibrations must interact with it to a certain extent, right?. Seems at least "somewhat" likely that the strings vibration can be affected by the mass it's attached to and, if so, that effect can "possibly" affect how the pickup's EM field sees it.

    Anyway, I 'm not stating any conclusive facts, but it certainly holds *some* plausibility, doesn't it? To say that the guitar's mass plays absolutely no role on how the strings vibrate seems a bit far fetched to some people (not me of course - I go with whatever the status quo dictates for fear of sarcastic beat downs)...

    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
    JodanOrNoDan likes this.
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