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Squier's definition of "Basswood", a moving target?

Discussion in 'Squier Tele Forum' started by Danomo, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. Danomo

    Danomo Tele-Holic

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    I've had three Squier's that claimed to have "Basswood" bodies: A '51, a Bullet Tele HS, and now a VM Cabronita.

    The '51 was pretty light, and not very dense, I was able to easily & cleanly route it by hand with a rotozip, it required little sanding to make the routes clean. It also held the strap peg screws poorly, I ended up moving to bigger screws and school gluing them in.

    The Bullet SEEMED similar in consistency but much less dense, and had many burrs and fibers hanging in the existing routes (almost like Balsa). These burrs were too soft to sand, and had to be sliced off with an exacto knife to clean them up. The the bullet was MUCH lighter than the '51, and was quite neck-divey using a cheap strap. Acoustically it is the loudest of the three.

    The Cab is HEAVY compared to both... heck, it's body is heavier than my Blacktop Tele. While I might expect that if they were the same wood (as the BT has a tummy cut), based on the other two Squier's , I expected it to be lighter.
    Inspecting the cavities, it's much more dense than either of the other Squier's. It also seems harder (when poked with a dental pick and exacto knife), it's only a bit softer than the BT (which is Alder).

    So, What gives?

    I realize different parts of trees have varying densities, but these differences are massive. Basswood covers a group of trees, but I wonder if Fender is getting what they are paying for to these Indonesian vendors?
     

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  2. Buzzardeater

    Buzzardeater Tele-Holic

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    I asked about this and was told that different parts of the tree have different densities and weight. My 51 is pretty heavy and quite dark sounding. Other 51s I have seen were lighter and sweeter in tone.

    I really like your grouping. It's very similar to mine.
     
  3. bob1234

    bob1234 Tele-Afflicted

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    Asian basswood is much different than american basswood. American is light, tight, and evenly grained, works like pine. Asian basswood is generally much heavier and more like cedar when you cut it. Like all woods, it can vary in weight and structure.
     
  4. rockinstephen

    rockinstephen Tele-Meister

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    Wikipedia gives a good description of basswood. Check it out...
     
  5. Killin5

    Killin5 Tele-Meister

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    The Cab at my closest GC is very light. I didn't weight it, but comparing to and American or a MIM standard the weight was sort of a relief. It however has the control cavity caved in around the knob. If not for that, I'd probably own that guitar.

    I haven't had a chance to test another one to see if what I like about the damaged one is unique. I have been keeping an eye on the weight posted on the Sweetwater site for these and it isn't consistent.
     
  6. Danomo

    Danomo Tele-Holic

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    Yes, they do, they also give it a very specific density (an Asian variety is used as a bubble stone like filter), but my three are all over the place in density. If I had to guess, I'd say the Bullet was a young tree and not properly dried in the kiln (hence the messy routes and stringy fibers). The '51 was probably more typical of what you'd see (I've had other basswood guitars, they were most similar in density and weight to the '51).

    The Cab, well... it seems like something different entirely, more like the Alder of my BT, since it's all black, and the cavities are coated with "conductive" paint (the hard stuff like in the MIM's and MIA's, not the more recent typical Squier gooey stuff), I'll have to wait until I do something to it to really see the difference...

    Though at this point, the only Mod I'm thinking down the road is S/P, and that won't require drilling (S1 or Push/pull).

    I'll weigh the BT and Cab when I get a chance.
     
  7. Danomo

    Danomo Tele-Holic

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    How bad? Would it be covered by a standard Tele control plate? Or one from a '51? , because blanks of both are available. I got my Cab at GC for $250, I'm thinking you could snag it closer to the $200 side and put a plate on it.
     
  8. Killin5

    Killin5 Tele-Meister

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    I originally was thinking the same thing with the plate. It would almost be covered. Or just put it back into position and level it out with the top and wick some CA glue in. Then reinforce it from the inside. They wouldn't let me open up the control cavity to look at what was going on inside.

    It has gotten worse the longer it has been there. When I first saw it, it wasn't horrible. Now instead of being broken on one side of the cavity, its is broken on both. I really liked the guitar, but wasn't really looking for a Squire. My opinion of the Squire guitars has changed since I've given them a closer look. I love the pickups in the Cab. Its just a fun guitar to play.

    I think this one is $229 and while that is a good price, if they all play the same, I'd be more comfortable buying a non damaged one. They wont budge on the price either. Since it is only "scratch and dent" and doesn't impact playability. Its guitar center logic. If it were me, I'd work with someone to get the guitar out of the store. Or I'd have my repair guy fix it and hang it on the used wall for the same price. It would sell.

    I sort of feel bad for not buying it.
     
  9. SixShooter

    SixShooter Friend of Leo's

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    From Wiki:

    "The genus is generally called lime or linden in Britain[1] and linden, lime, or basswood in North America"

    I know what a Linden tree is. I wasn't aware that was the same thing as Basswood.

    BTW, how do you pronounce Basswood? Bass like the fish or Bass like Fender Bass?
     
  10. Danomo

    Danomo Tele-Holic

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    Every band I was in seemed to think the two were interchangeable... And hilarious :rolleyes:

    Of course... I played bass in those days.
     
  11. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    The fish.
     
  12. GuitarJonz

    GuitarJonz Poster Extraordinaire

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    Bottom line...every piece of wood is different. I've seen both boat anchor and feather weight guitars made of basswood, ash & alder, even the same model guitars, side by side. Ain't nature curious? :D
     
  13. Danomo

    Danomo Tele-Holic

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    I brought the Cab home today and weighed it: 7.8lbs
    I also weighed the BT: 7.8lbs :eek::oops:

    Yet they feel so different on the lap and in the strap, the BT is more balanced on the lap, and the Cab hangs better in the strap. The neck on the BT is chunkier (even though they are the same nut width). I imagine the BT neck is a tad heavier and the Cabs body (or weight distribution in the body) is slightly heavier.

    I'll probably end up weighing the bodies and necks separately at some point.
     
  14. Missipimud

    Missipimud Tele-Meister

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    Ran into some Tilia americana (Basswood) the other day in North-central Mississippi. Its not very common down here. Usually on shady north-facing slopes near streams.
     
  15. elelpe

    elelpe Tele-Afflicted

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    My take is that they use any kind of wood that they could get from lumber producers and write it down as basswood or agathis as body spec. So you might get balsa, meranti, sungkai, agathis (dammar), nyatoh (nato) or even mahogany body. Woods are readily available in Indonesia and cheap. The higher grade and exotic woods are used for luxurious furniture industry, not guitar, particularly entry level guitars.
     
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