Is Ash generally preferred vs Alder, for a Tele?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by DHart, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

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    You have to go through the color variations on the pro tele:
    https://shop.fender.com/en-US/elect...rican-professional-telecaster/0113060700.html
    go to the main telecaster page and click on rosewood for fretboard material. there are 13 models with rosewood available.

    the laminated rosewood on the AO60's refers to the curved board that replaced the early slab board tele's
    the AO 50 would never have had a rosewood board.
     
  2. dptele

    dptele TDPRI Member

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    I like alder in terms of what it looks like but have played both ash and alder teles and do not discern any sound differences that cannot be attributed to the pickups.
     
  3. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Go to 9.30.

    Like I said: Oly White.

    When he turns the guitar around you can clearly see the alder grain in the back.
     
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  4. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yeah.... hahaha.
    I would not judge the body wood by comparing complete guitars.
    You need to isolate one part to judge and compare that one part.

    I've found that an alder body under 4lbs softens the attack and treble a little compared to a same weight swamp ash body.
    Because of this I can tailor the whole guitar sound by choosing ingredients that work well together.

    Compare a 5lb alder body to a 4lb ash body, I doubt there will be much difference in the tone of the guitar. The 4 pounder might sound more "lively"...
    And the 5 pounder would be heavy by some standards.

    If one really wants to know the differences they need to swap just the body a few times using the same neck, hadware and pickups, better still using just a bridge pickup and no tone control, plus of course into the same amp at the exact same settings including volume, into the same speaker cab in the same location, playing in the same spot, and playing as close as possible to the same things. I find clean sound easier to compare.
    With a Tele you can keep the bridge pickup and saddle heights the same to ensure no pickup adjustment skews the results. You may need to shim one or the other assembly to get the action the same on both setups. Or not.

    Switching between pickups confuses the memory of the sound.
    Thus using only one pickup improves the accuracy of the experiment.
    I would also plan on setting a fairly bright tone on the amp, maybe a good deal brighter than you prefer, and then playing that bright setting for the warmest possible tone you can manage with your hands. It is easier to remember being able to mute a bright tone enough to sound warm, based on dialing the amp for as bright a tone as you can mute satisfactorily.
    Then after the body swap, you can recall how close you were able to get to a nice warm full tone.

    If you set the amp sort of in the middle where you easily get your preferred tones, it will be easy to make both body assemblies sound the same.
    The fact that one can make any guitar do their bidding may make some insist that all the wood discussion is pointless. Great! Don't participate!
    Some who feel the wood doesn't matter do agree that a pickup that sounds too bright in one guitar will sound just right in another. Great! Stick to what you believe!

    To isolate the difference, you really need to target how much the body pushes the amplified tone. And this requires establishing a edge limit, as opposed to staying in the middle, away from any maximum or minimum treble.

    Virtually any wood in a body will allow the guitar to make guitar sounds.
    How bright the brightest tone is would be the test IMO.

    How medium the tone is, tests what exactly?
     
  5. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    When picking wood for an MJT build I went with Alder. I chose it because I was putting a solid-painted finish on the guitar and thought it would be a waste to cover up a pretty piece of Ash.
     
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  6. GuitarPlayerFL

    GuitarPlayerFL TDPRI Member

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    I just had a neck made from Warmoth with an Indian Rosewood fingerboard.
    From their website:

    WE ARE SHIPPING ROSEWOOD AGAIN!
    Warmoth has now obtained all the CITES permits necessary for the export of Indian Rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia) and Kingwood (Dalbergia cearensis). International customers may resume purchasing these species through our web site.

    Please be aware: if you are an international customer, you may be required to obtain CITES import permits for these woods. As the importer, it is your responsibility to be informed of and comply with your country’s import requirements. Warmoth Guitar Products, Inc. does not take responsibility for import regulations or fees.

    Shipments of Rosewood within the USA are not effected, and will continue as normal.
    *International shipments of Bubinga, Cocobolo, and Palisander Rosewood will remain suspended indefinitely.
     
  7. tedtan

    tedtan Tele-Meister

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    With any visible grain, I'm with heffus; I would lean towards white blonde rather than Olympic white, but that's just my take on it, nothing official.
     
  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    While I generally agree that swamp ash has more interesting grain, and some is really beautiful to look at, a lot of swamp ash and northern ash bodies are really not pretty to look at but get clear finish anyhow, while alder can be very nice looking, and can be made even nicer looking with a suitable finish.

    I think we got stuck on the idea that ash is pretty and alder isn't because it was Leo's production method, where I guess he paid more for the ash, and he didn't think alder looked as good.
    Or maybe more correctly, Leo painted alder because it required less prep for paint, and put clear finishes on ash because they were easier than solid color finishes where the grain could telegraph through if not filled well enough.
     
  9. Dukex

    Dukex Tele-Holic

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    I just like Telecasters. :cool:
     
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  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I think it's interesting that there is a popular idea that ash has a brighter tone than alder, so it's better for a Tele, while at the same time there is another popular idea that you need an over wound Tele bridge pickup to reduce "ice pick" and get a suitable tone without having to resort to a C rex or other hemp cone speaker to make that bright Tele sound less bright.

    One point that seems to get missed is that while we talk about light weight swamp ash, we less often talk about light weight alder.

    A huge amount of the alder that ends up in Fender bodies is really awfully heavy.
    Yet alder can be as light as swamp ash, if you choose light weight stock or finished bodies.

    We also have a huge surge in light weight pine and ultralight paulownia for Tele bodies, so it seems like the perception that a good Tele tone is best gotten with swamp ash is kind of an old wives tale by now.
     
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  11. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Ash is seen as the "classic" Tele wood, regardless of the type of neck. It was used on Teles even after Fender started using alder (because the standard finish for Teles was blonde, just like the standard finish for Strats was sunburst, and Fender thought the blonde finish looked best on ash).

    I have seven Tele-type guitars. Four are ash, and I have one each of alder, pine, and Honduran mahogany.
     
  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    No pic of my SB MIJ alder Tele but here’s a couple of alder bodies I think are really pretty, both in wood color and grain.

    IMG_0782.jpg

    IMG_0783.jpg

    The second offset Tele style isn’t yet finished, needs some sanding and gloss coats


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  13. Dobronaut

    Dobronaut Tele-Meister

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    I'm the odd man out. I prefer Paulownia, or as Fender call it Empress wood.

    But as a general rule the wood doesn't matter to me, a good tele is a good tele. As long as I can tolerate it on the shoulder for a couple of hours, and I like the neck. The wood is the last thing I think about.
     
  14. Wrighty

    Wrighty Friend of Leo's

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    I’m sure it does!
     
  15. muudcat

    muudcat Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    not to mess with the subject at hand but I understand the MIJ 62 reissue I have is basswood, but I know very little about wood, all I know is I like the guitar and how it sounds
     
  16. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

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    I do prefer alder for tele solid body, along with spanish cedar. The exception was the heavily chambered, spruce topped ash body I had on a partscaster. A unique and beautiful sound there.
     
  17. qblue

    qblue Tele-Afflicted

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    While I am not a proponent of tonewoods, I feel that Ash has more range and seems to be much more spiky in the treble range. Alder is more midrange and more focused. I love rosewood as fingerboard wood, but fingerboards don't make any tonal difference. Maple is fine as a fingerboard wood.

    But while I prefer Ash, I want the tonal difference of a 60's Tele (Alder body + rosewood board) can offer, because it would fit in my small collection, and have a slight tonal difference, in comparison to Ash.
     
  18. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I don't know if I could ever form an objective opinion about this Paulownia.

    Paulownia trees are popping up like weeds, in many places (especially roadcuts, abandoned pastures) all across the South. They're crowding out native tree species (they grow outrageously fast) and critters don't seem to be able to find food value in them much. The trees break up pavement, break drain lines and invade well bores and what have you. The leaves are extremely large and seem to fall one at a time. The seed bearing pods persist on the ground and make a mess. I don't welcome this tree, and so I would feel very odd using the wood in something as personal as a guitar.

    I find myself tolerating poplars and various pines I would like to get rid of but I know, perhaps only the poplars and pines can compete with the Paulownia - in this way all the trees I really want get reduced to the margins.
     
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