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Tone Qualities: Pine vs. Ash

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by El Tele Lobo, Jun 6, 2017.

  1. Ash Telecaster

    Ash Telecaster Friend of Leo's

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    No, evidence.

    Nothing wrong with adding a coherent, well documented opinion from an expert witness.

    Plus you obviously didn't read the following posts.
     
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  2. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Well I haven't owned my ash tele since before I stopped playing about 12 years ago. I remember I liked it once I replaced the stock bridge pup with a Barden. And I love almost all of my pine teles. I've never got on with Alder though.
     
  3. Arvidsson

    Arvidsson TDPRI Member

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    Had a bunch of both alder guitars ash guitars and my current number one guitar is a pine bodied tele. One piece, super light and resonant as hell. These things are so subjective but it's easily the best sounding build iv'e done and the body cost a third of the ash bodies i've used before. Could just be that the body worked in harmony with the baseball maple neck.

    On the negative side it real easy to strip holes and such when swapping hardware.

    /A
     
  4. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I noticed this also. My jazz tele seemed to get much warmer and fuller sounding when I replaced the maple neck with a much chunkier TRO-FAT neck. Noticeable tone difference to my ear.
     
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  5. brobar

    brobar Tele-Holic

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    I wish I had one of those "super light" pine bodies everyone keeps mentioning. My hunk a pine comes it at 9.4 pounds. I guess that goes to show... same wood... different weights... density... grains... yadda yadda.

    While I prefer the weight of my 7.4 pound alder-body tele... I prefer the tone of my 9.4 pound pine body. I can't say I prefer the tone of pine more, but I can say I prefer the tone of that particular guitar more.
     
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  6. absurdocaster

    absurdocaster Tele-Meister

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    The real question is which Wood type is best carried by a swallow (whether it is a European or African swallow matters of course)?
     
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  7. Rich B in Tempe

    Rich B in Tempe Tele-Holic

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    IMG_4933.JPG IMG_5006.JPG The 2 teles i currently have, that i assembled out of top quality parts- are pine, the other swamp ash. The 2 guitars have alot of basic similaritys, overall. The fact is they both have different voices: fat- clear- sweet- nice balance- what can i say? Their both awsome guitars- I cant really choose which one is better, there both as good as any Custom Shop guitar ive ever heard or played
     
  8. Dukex

    Dukex Tele-Afflicted

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    I've said it before, threads like this are a pine in the ash.
     
  9. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Poster Extraordinaire

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    I want to believe this so bad, and mostly subscribe to it, but a builder I know did this:


    Built two exact guitars (double cut teles) from the same piece of wood. Too big for one so he he cut it book match style and made two 1 piece bodies. Obviously he used different necks, but both maple with rosewood fretboards from the the same source. Same build components and same pickups. One sounds bright and fast in attack and one sounds airy and open in attack--almost semi-hollow like. Really. And I've listen to both of these guitars up close and acoustic, up close and amped (low volume) and live for years. The findings always stay true. And I've also played both acoustically and low-volume amped multiple times.

    The builder really knows guitars and how to make a good sounding guitar (don't confuse that quality with any ol' builder) and even HE just chocks it up to different woods--even though they are the same exact piece of wood.


    Oh, and they're pine.
     
  10. BigToe

    BigToe TDPRI Member

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    I don't think this was mentioned in this thread so I'll hopefully contribute something useful, but having wound pickups for the last 8 years I've noticed that un-potted hand wound pickups can be wound slightly microphonic (looser tension, less turns per layer). I don't know if anyone has yelled into an old pickup but you can sometimes hear your voice through the inductance by physically vibrating the coil (ever so slightly) with the sound pressure of your voice - basically acting like a microphone. If in fact wood density imparts a certain timbre to the guitar then there is an argument that the acoustic properties of the wood (be it neck or body) may possibly be added to pickup output, especially at peak resonant frequencies.
     
  11. TimothyC

    TimothyC Tele-Afflicted

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    I find ash more musical and pine more woody. But both are 3D sounding.
     
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  12. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Pine makes my playing pitchy.
    Pitchy.
    Get it?
    Oh, nevermind.
     
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  13. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Well, generally, hardwoods are denser and thus heavier than "softwoods". And among hardwoods, ash can actually vary quite a great deal. A large percentage of ash lumber is IMO too heavy for guitars, whereas most alder will do for making guitars, assuming other properties are present.

    But taxonomically, ash is pretty much all one thing. And I would say, pine is really not so much like that. If you search around, you can find two species of pine that are about as different from one another as wood can differ. Some is fairly uniform and some has heavy, pitchy layers interspersed with layers of cotton candy. If a person, brand new to wood walked into a specialty lumber store and saw some bland looking Eastern White Pine (no label) and then some Southern Yellow Pine (any of the four species) also unlabeled, we'd have a terrible time convincing him that both are "pine".

    See, variations in ash are all about density, really. Variations in pine can be about density but also about a wide variety of other things such as, tendency to lose a lot of mass when brought down to lower levels of moisture, color, lack of stability as ambient humidity changes, resin content (or lack thereof) and on and on.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
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  14. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    And, if you ask me, they look ridiculous attempting to do this, in 2017.

    I don't mean to offend, but I suspect Warmoth played up this "wood chart" because they needed to cater to the guys like you - who thought about wood in this way. IMO there used to be so many guys who thought like you about this, they were once maybe in the majority. If they're still out there, they lay low on this and most other guitar forums.

    Most folks who have rejected your thesis are not saying that wood totally doesn't matter. The common point of agreement, more and more is, you can't sufficiently predict what a specific body made of a specific wood will sound like - so you have to have a Plan B. Buy 10 bodies of the wood you think you like, and only keep and use the one that actually makes the sound you heard in your head that you wanted to capture. But Warmoth knows most guys won't buy 10 bodies - so, they're in a pickle.

    I've got over 40 guitar bodies from USACG, plus from Allparts, and of the 30+ T bodies, I just mixed and matched them with 30+ or so T necks and varying pickups, trying to find the combinations to suit the various pieces. I wish I had more time for this but honestly, more and more I see the necks and pickups making the bigger differences and the body sort of accidentally marries to some necks, and not to others.

    What this is not, is like baking a cake. One sack of cake flour, and another, are very closely the same thing. Bodies, guitar bodies, no matter which species you use, are just not carbon copies of one another or even close except on occasion.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
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  15. bsman

    bsman Friend of Leo's

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    If you want the definitive answer, you'll have to ask a Druid... :D
     
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  16. ndcaster

    ndcaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    ya, but "looks" and "weight" remain valid, don't they?
     
  17. skydog6653

    skydog6653 Tele-Meister

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    When pine burns, what's left is ash
     
  18. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    A couple of the most thoughtful and insightful responses so far in this thread. Thank you.
     
  19. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    And as a counterpoint to the guys who believe all the sales talk of the Warmoth website, we have those who have rejected all of it so hard, they steered instead into the ditch on the other side of the road.

    Yes, "tone wood" especially as applied to fretboard material and to the composition of solid wood bodies (electric) and chambered or Thin Line as well, is seriously overwrought.

    But.

    It does seriously matter which body you pair that neck and pickups to. IMO you have to slow down and be patient and start from scratch. You will recognize differences, one body to the next. But the hard part is, what can you do with this information? Should you only buy finished guitars, on the hook in stores or from your friends and bandmates - proven examples? Should you hire out the project to a craftsman who will start and build first one, then another then another project for you, eventually presenting you with the best one? Should you spend too much time tinkering when you should be practicing?

    I'm wondering if your true position is not, you'd rather practice or rehearse than waste time, and you prefer to let someone else go down the rabbit hole as to what makes a good body, once it balances and holds finish and screws well, looks decent, and sounds plenty good enough, stage volume, for the drunken music patron with howling ears.
     
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  20. JORear

    JORear Tele-Meister

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    I thought this too but, strings will vibrate slightly different on each wood. Caused by the sound reflecting off the body. Is there a difference? Yes. Is it enough for me to hear the difference? No Everyone has their own ear. If they can hear the difference, more power to them.
    There was a test done with power bands. Athletes that were wearing them tested faster than when they had them off. To make a the test interesting, the athletes were tested with only a rubber band. It looked just like the power band but didn't have the mojo in it. The people tested the same as with the power band. This is to prove that it's a head game. Whatever makes you play or sound better makes you play or sound better.
     
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