Favorite tone woods (body)- and why

Still trying to get to the bottom of this one- What is your favorite tone wood for the body of your bass- and why.

Specifically- What are your thoughts on solid mahogany body?

Thank you!

Oh shit! It’s about to get messy in here.

The topic of tone wood and electric instruments can and has generated huge, hateful, and endless flame wars. Tread lightly and with great trepidation.

At the top of this discussion, is whether the wood matters at all. One camp says all you’re hearing are the strings, pickups, and technique, with the wood being completely irrelevant to the tone. The other camp says the wood is relevant and it is the foundation of the tone.

These two sides have been debating each other with great fire and fury since the beginning of the Internet and to this day they still don’t agree and they still argue.

Edit: I think a solid mahogany body is really cool but I have no idea what affect it really has on tone.


I agree, @eric.kiser

There are SO many variables and amplifier/effects settings in addition to strings, pickups, and technique (fingers vs pick) that the type of wood used is just another item on the list…

All that being said, mahogany is reputed to have a darker tone . . . :slight_smile:

HTH @StinsonAlliance84, and, as many others have pointed out, it’s all very subjective so the best thing you can do is to try out different basses to see which one you like the most.

Cheers, Joe


Ha- I CANNOT get a definitive answer on this. For the love of God SOMEBODY take a stand: Ok, the fate of the world depends on if the alien invaders like the tone of your bass guitar- You have two choices for body wood- Alder or Mahogany- You MUST pick one. What is your choice?

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Alder. Bass is a heavy instrument and Alder is lighter.

If you believe the wood matters for tone. Alder is supposed to be brighter and I would rather adjust electronics to find warmth in my amp than try to figure out how to brighten up a sound that was too dark. There are some technical aspects to this but they may be beyond the scope of this thread.


No one is going to be able to tell you what will sound best to you.


That’s because there is NO definitive answer (on any of this bass guitar stuff). If there were, then everyone would buy the same thing.

It all depends on what sounds good to YOU, @StinsonAlliance84. No one here can tell you what that is.

If you are worried about what the alien invaders think, then buy a bass of each type of wood . . . :slight_smile:

Cheers, Joe


If it means anything, I have owned a TRBX304 (excellent bass, solid mahogany, loved it), a TRBX604 (excellent bass, alder/maple body, I am so in love with this bass), checked out a 504 (loved it) and played a mid-80s BB extensively (loved it too, pretty sure it was mahogany.) All sounded awesome to me. Yamaha doesn’t really make bad sounding instruments in general.

But none of that really does mean anything - what matters here is how it sounds to you.


Additionally - if what you are looking for is someone to say “Alder sucks for bass”, no one is going to say that. Alder, Mahogany, and Swamp Ash are all good materials to make a guitar out of, and all have their merits.


Additionally - and I hate to have to throw yet another wrench into the gears here, @StinsonAlliance84 - if you are a beginner at the bass, you just might not be able to really hear the slight differences there might be yet. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do that a year ago… Now, after listening to many different types of instruments and signal chains, I start to be able to better understand what “creates a sound”. It’s a learning process!

So, let your “stomach” decide, especially if it is your first instrument. Go for look, feel and whether you like how it sounds, and don’t worry about woods, hardware, heck not even the strings in the first go… Most of us have bought and sold and bought something else as our understanding and appreciation of what is important for us (individually) is developing!


My quick answer : that’s not so much important. An instrument is not only a body wood, there are a lot of parts working all together. Some other factors are much more important, like the neck shape, the pickups configuration … even the color maybe :grin:

edit : to be clear : I’m not saying that the body wood is irrelevant and doesn’t matter ! I say that I don’t think the body wood is enough to decide if a bass is better than another.


Certainly the most noticeable, yet has nothing to do with sound at all, is what the bass looks like with a natural finish. lol

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